THC6114EN - Kingdom of God in African Context

Course description

This course examines the subversive nature of God's Kingdom Gospel within the imperial Greco-Roman setting in order to evaluation the reception of the Gospel message in African (home and diaspora) contexts. With due consideration of the world of Scriptures, this course discusses God's Kingdom in light of the dual analysis of Roman and European powers. It takes the resulting framework of Empire, as a significant stepping stone to formulate a thicker meaning of the Gospel as an announcement that competed with the Roman imperial context of Jesus and early Christian movement's activities. From this background, this course analyses the extent to which the later Christianized European Empire engaged Africa on the terms of the Gospel learned from its Roman imperial setting. An excursus into contemporary African life leads students to examine eight models of understanding God's Kingdom and ultimately to choose or reconstruct that they think best represents God's Kingdom in Africa.

How this course benefits students

Students who take this course discriminate between Euro-Americanized Gospel and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. They understand that each Gospel has a depth of its own and assess the euro-American claims of humanitarianism and civilizing mission in light of the concept of imperial ruling (of Africa) and thereby evaluate the meaning of the Gospel alongside of the rise, progress, and assertion of Western powers in/upon Africa and diasporic Africans. Students acquire competency in basic notions of economics, politics, and geography and learn skills that help them integrate non-theological topics with theological concepts amenable to further God's kingdom in Africa. This course therefore helps increase faithfulness to God's Kingdom by taking into consideration ruling that contradict God's rule in the African experience in Africa and in the diaspora.

Why this course is important

Increasing attacks upon Christian faith are being mounted by African scholars and activists dissatisfied with historical and contemporary Western encroachments upon Africa. As a consequence, this course helps students understand those legitimate noises that tend to be on the way to Gospel proclamation. Students acquire clarity with insights into Western imperialism as an extension of Roman imperialism of Jesus' day and position themselves as extension of Jesus' subversive witness in imperial contexts.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Contextual Theology
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

This course helps students integrate insights from socio-rhetorical and narrative readings of Scripture in order to formulate Christian thoughts from the the perspective of Scriptural emphasis on Empire. This reading of Scripture helps students understand how preoccupation with God's reign is germane with taking the world of Scripture and our own seriously and together. Student focus on self-selected Scriptural texts such as the Gospels of John or Mark and employ Empire-sensitive reading on them. With the task calling for understanding non-theological materials, students benefit from addressing such issues while also remaining close to Scripture, even though with new dimensions of scriptural portrayal of God's Kingdom and its pertinence for African life, history, and contemporary experiences.

Missionally driven

Africa has been a major terrain of missional activities, the most known being those championed by modern western missional organizations. This course evaluates the cases of British and France's imperialistic dealings with Africa from the missional dimension of God's Kingdom. Students appreciate the extent to which the resulting African experience of God's presence in Africa and among Africans in the diaspora. The dimension of God's Kingdom projects the long standing presence of God in Africa before and beyond the western evangelization of Africa. By taking this missional approach, students critically examine the ways in which missional activities can learn from Western missional activities, endogenous attempt to retrieve of the Gospel from its domestication into Western cultural mores, and contemporary attempts to recast the Gospel as the rule of God's Kingdom.

Contextually informed

Students taking this class understand the present context of Africa and compare it with the Greco-Roman imperial context within which a particular understanding of God's Kingdom emerged through Jesus. This contextual understanding of the Gospel then and now (in Africa) helps students appreciate the liveliness of Christian faith as a Spirit-led construction of divine vision in response to pressing issues affecting real lives.

Interculturally focused

There already is a legacy of understanding God's Kingdom in the world. By focusing on an African dimension of that understanding in a way that takes, students experience an intercultural dimension of theological understanding and thus prepare for theological hospitality within the larger world of theological studies. This intercultural dimension also prepares student to engage mission and ministry in Africa with thought-driven theological concepts cooked with African spiritual, political, economics, and sociological realities.

Practically minded

This course helps students perform ministry actions in Africa or towards Africans in ways that are worthy of God's Kingdom. It leads participants to desist and encourage others to refrain from actions that offend the same Kingdom as has been and continues to be the case. Students understand those actions to encourage and to be discouraged as direct and indirect acts performed in God's name, many of which are in tension with God's Kingdom. Given the theological import of this course, students build strong roots for and reorient Christian ministry actions that affect Africa and people of African descent.

Experientially transformed

This course has the potential for redirecting students' experience of Christian ministry in African contexts. It is possible that African Christians reconsider their experience of Christian presence in society while other Christians may reconsider their involvement in furthering God's Kingdom in Africa. Such experiences depend on students' views of God's Kingdom and the extent to which such views were in according to its working pattern in the Roman context of Jesus and his disciples.