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Making Disciples in Africa: Engaging Syncretism in the African Church through Philosophical Analysis of Worldviews

, 2013
ISBN: 9781907713712
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With two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa professing to be Christian, it should be a concern to all Christians that the biblical worldview has had little impact on the shaping of contemporary African culture. In this book Jack Chalk analyzes the belief systems of the worldviews that are based on Christianity and African Tradition Religion. The analysis, conclusion, and recommendations are presented with the view to helping the church in Africa deal with syncretism and the effect it has on the beliefs and practices of its members.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Resource Experts
  • Compares biblical and African worldviews
  • Addresses cultural challenges in the evangelical African church
  • Suggests solutions to the conflicting worldviews problem
  • Introduction
  • Worldview
  • Biblical Worldview
  • African Worldview
  • Two Worldviews: Conflict or Conformity?
  • Conclusions and Recommendations

Top Highlights

“Islam is seen to be much more inclusive than Christianity in the traditional practices and beliefs it allows its converts to hold on to. It defines its adherents in terms of what they must ‘do’ to be of their religion. For that reason Islam has had greater success in the rural areas of Africa where the traditional practices are more a part of everyday life than in the urban.” (Page 2)

“When Westerners disagree, they state their opinions, agree to disagree, shake hands, and go their separate ways. When Africans disagree (thesis→antithesis), they state their opinions, keep talking until they find common areas they agree on (→synthesis or consensus), shake hands and leave together. This reflects the African view of the harmony of the community being more important than the individual.” (Page 22)

“Throughout Africa traditional customs are changing. Some change is driven by new technology; some by new religion. Yet, during times of crisis, and especially when there is death to deal with, the traditional African, even those professing to be Christians, revert to tradition. Outward custom may change, but the deep core beliefs are very persistent.” (Page 118)

“Unless the African Christian’s beliefs are structured by a biblical worldview instead of the traditional African worldview, their behaviour will be structured more by traditional beliefs and Africa’s culture will not reflect predominately Christian values.” (Page 11)

“The areas in which the doctrines of ATR and Christianity differ make up the defining choices as to which community the African belongs.” (Page 26)

In this insightful book, Chalk identifies on of the key problems facing the burgeoning church in Africa, namely that the African worldview, rather than the biblical worldview, dominates the life and practice of the African Christian. This results in a syncretism which bellies true faith and practice. Having compared the tenets of the two worldviews, Chalk concludes his book by suggesting a number of solutions to the problem. This book provides a timely intervention in an area of African Christianity where few have ventured to go.

—Reuben van Rensburg, principal, South African Theological Seminary, Pretoria, South Africa

Chalk has correctly put a finger on what the evangelical church in Africa considers to be a critical challenge to its mission—the duality of African Christians; divided loyalties between Christian and traditional beliefs. Simply put, ‘syncretism.’ In the 21st century church, secularism and post-modernism swell the ranks of other faiths existing alongside Christianity. We are reminded in this work that ATR continues to be the main vehicle of assimilation but never at convergence with the truth claims of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thus, life and life in abundance continues to elude the average African Christian. This is a significant work in exploring the de-syncretization of the church for Africa’s emancipation and eternal salvation.

—Aiah Foday-Khabenje, general secretary/CEO, Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), Nairobi, Kenya

In his book, Making Disciples in Africa, Dr. Chalk lays out an analysis of the African worldview that is a must read for all non-African Christians who plan on working anywhere on the continent. To understand how Christianity is viewed and received in Africa you must first know what the African worldview is. This book will answer a lot of questions and maybe save many from hours of frustration for someone trying to understand why the Africa church is miles wide but only inches deep.

—Jim Dearman, Assemblies of God World missions missionary, Burkina Faso, Togo and Sierra Leone

Dr Chalk’s philosophical approach brings a new nuance to the issue that was not known before. I believe the book provides a useful basis, not only for a philosophical assessment, but also for a biblical examination of the problem of syncretism in the African church.

—J. Boscoe Bangura, academic dean, The Evangelical College of Theology, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Very few books can educate and motivate the reader to apply themselves to kingdom work as God used the words of Nehemiah, with the result that the people ‘strengthened their hands for the good work’ (Neh 2:18). This book can allow the intentional, kingdom-seeking reader to vividly see the need for redemption in Christ in Africa and identify essential road markers on the path that lead there. I say this from experience as one who discovered Dr. Chalk’s book when it was a little known doctoral thesis. It became one of the richest gems of guidance that God used to help structure the vision for a Christian higher education institute formulated to transform Africa through the breadth of biblical worldview education across theology, the humanities and the sciences. Feast on the depth of Dr. Chalk’s research which so clearly sets an African worldview in the light of a biblical worldview. As Africa is poised for a Reformation to becoming a leader of the global body of Christ, now is the time to thoroughly digest the research contained herein.

—Kenneth D. Turnbull, executive director, African Christian University, Lusaka, Zambia

  • Title: Making Disciples in Africa: Engaging Syncretism in the African Church through Philosophical Analysis of Worldviews
  • Author: Jack Chalk
  • Publisher: Langham
  • Print Publication Date: 2013
  • Logos Release Date: 2015
  • Pages: 192
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Christianity › Africa; Christian life › Africa; Christian life › Biblical teaching; Christians › Africa--Attitudes
  • ISBNs: 9781907713712, 9781907713705, 9781907713699, 1907713719, 1907713700, 1907713697
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T01:32:00Z

Jack Chalk worked as a Certified Public Accountant in Florida for 25 years before being called to full-time missions. He, with his wife, Ann, have served in Mexico, Sierra Leone, and Scotland, and is now pastor of a new church plant in Córdoba, Spain. During his six years in Sierra Leone he served as dean of students, chaplain, and senior lecturer in theology, apologetics, anthropology, and missions. He holds a PhD in religious studies from the University of South Africa.


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    Print list price: $15.99
    Save $3.00 (18%)