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An African Scholar’s Experience

While Christian Union meetings in my high school made me grow in my personal Christian life, they did not achieve much in assisting me to relate my Christian life to the so called “worldly or secular” matters which mattered a lot to me, because a big chasm existed between them. If I was going to be a teacher, a lawyer or a professor, how was my Christian faith going to relate to them? What did it mean to serve God? If all other professionals except pastors were not serving God in their professions, how meaningful was Christianity? I struggled with when I was supposed to wear Christianity and when I was not supposed to.

These are the words of Kenyan, Isaac Njaramba Mutua. He’s a board member of the Centre for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education. The whole article is well worth the read: it charts his experiences of negotiating Christianity, education, his traditional African background, colonialism and the workplace.

At the end is an interesting little piece of contextual theology, ‘An African Creed.’

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the bible,that he would save the world and all the nations and tribes.

We believe that God, made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Most of our readers aren’t African but that may actually increase rather than decrease the relevance of this creed for us, as we seek to enrich our own understanding by learning from others. So, what do you find compelling about this creed?

Categories: University ministry Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

5 replies

  1. Maybe I should read the whole article before asking this (!), but I wasn’t sure what the creed means by ‘We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light.’. Thoughts?

  2. This is such an interesting area of African theology Elizabeth! The work of guys like Kwame Bediako will be useful to you here.

    It’s got to do with trying to work out how God was at work in Africa prior to the arrival of missionaries – the intersection of general revelation and ‘he is not far from each one of us’. How did God ‘not leave himself without a witness’?

    (Note thought that the darkness is not sufficient here – it is better to know God in the light!)

  3. I was also intrigued by the presence of natural theology, in the darkness and then the light. I liked it, because it was real.
    Which is what I liked about the whole thing. It is very accessible in some odd way. The hyenas did not touch him. Jesus is incredibly real in this creed, God is very close.

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