Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in February 2022 :
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Nationally recognized speaker and church leader Jay Augustine demonstrates that the church is called and equipped to model reconciliation, justice, diversity, and inclusion.
This book develops three uses of the term “reconciliation”: salvific, social, and civil. Augustine examines the intersection of the salvific and social forms of reconciliation through an engagement with Paul’s letters and uses the Black church as an exemplar to connect the concept of salvation to social and political movements that seek justice for those marginalized by racism, class structures, and unjust legal systems. He then traces the reaction to racial progress in the form of white backlash as he explores the fate of civil reconciliation from the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement.
This book argues that the church’s work in reconciliation can serve as a model for society at large and that secular diversity and inclusion practices can benefit the church. It offers a prophetic call to pastors, church leaders, and students to recover reconciliation as the heart of the church’s message to a divided world.
Ghanaian theologian Kwame Bediako presses all Christians to question their own theological commitments. He does so by rethinking Christian identity in light of cultural identity and the shortcomings of colonialism. Bediako’s quest to be both African and Christian informs what it means to be Christian in a secularized Europe and North America. Far more than just chronological and biographical, Tim Hartman’s analysis of the arc of Bediako’s theology demonstrates that Bediako’s vision of Christianity as a non-Western religion allows it to serve as a resource for World Christianity amid the exponential growth of Christianity in the Global South.
Hartman points to how Bediako sidesteps the influence of Western thought by rooting African Christianity in a twin heritage of pre-Christendom patristic theology and precolonial traditional religious practices of Africa. Bediako expands the canon of theological resources available for Christians by eliminating the distinction between gospel and culture. Since there is no such thing as a pure theology for Bediako, culture itself becomes a source of divine revelation through the incarnation.
Hartman’s study of Bediako helpfully corrects inaccurate portrayals of African Christianity. The growth of African Christianity should not be feared, nor mischaracterized as narrow-minded or too conservative. Bediako asserts a polycentric understanding of the Christian faith based in grassroots theologies and the beliefs of actual Christians. While Bediako agrees that Christianity in Africa (and the Global South) is the future of the Christian faith, he rejects assumptions that the Christian faith needs to be yoked to political power. Instead, Bediako offers an alternative understanding of politics based on democracy and nondominating power.
Both Bediako and the book offer a way forward in thinking about questions of religious pluralism. African Christianity has never known cultural hegemony as African Christians have always lived with Islam and African traditional religions. Bediako offers a theology of “Jesus is Lord” while appreciating the integrity of Islam and traditional African religions.
In the end, the book presents an African Christian theologian who values–and does not simply reject–African traditional religions. Bediako believed that traditional African religions, far from being demonic, served as evangelical preparation for the Christian faith and as the substructure of African Christianity, and that African religious imagination was the foundation for the Christian faith worldwide. As Hartman shows, the more distinctively African Bediako’s Christianity became, the more suited that theology became for the world.
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