Githeri 027: The Passing of a Wise Elder

The passing of a wise elder is more than the burning of a huge library. Our condolences to the entire people of Ghana over the demise of Professor John Atta Mills yesterday, 24th July, 2012. The death of President Mills in not only a loss to the people of Ghana but to the entire people of Africa. May the Lord grant our Ghanaian brothers and sisters the fortitude to bear the loss. Though painful, the death of a brother in Christ is not a loss, rather it is a transition unto glory (1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18)! Sovereign Lord, may you grant wisdom, godliness and a deep sense of direction to the acting President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama. Our prayers are with the people and nation of Ghana!

Otabil Mensah on Tokunboh Adeyemo and the Transformation of Africa

This lecture was delivered by Rev. Dr. Otabil Mensah at the 2nd Tokunboh Adeyemo Memorial Lectures on March 31, 2012 at the Jubilee Ministry Centre of NPC Valley Road, Nairobi, Kenya. The lecture was originally entitled, “Transforming Nations, Beyond Changing Leaders and Constitutions: The Case of Africa.” The lecture was organized by the Centre for Biblical Transformation (CBT) in partnership with Christ Is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), Pan Africa Christian University (PACU), Africa International University (AIU), Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST), and International Central Gospel Church. I guarantee that listening to this lecture will be worth your while. In the meantime, I need to let you know that if you have not already signed up for SOUNDCLOUD, you will need to do so. So, if upon clicking you see something like: “Oops, looks like we can’t find that page,” just sign up with your FACEBOOK OR EMAIL AD.  Click on this link to listen. Enjoy!

“Though He Be Dead, He Yet Speaks”: Dr Tokunboh Adeyemo Immortalized at Africa International University

It is exactly a year today, 4th March, 2012 that Africa International University (formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology) was officially awarded a charter to be a fully fledged university in Kenya by the President of Kenya, Honorable Mwai Kibaki. A thanksgiving service was organized by the authorities of the university to conclude the one week-long maiden anniversary. During the thanksgiving service, the authorities of AIU led by its Chancellor, Professor Watson Omolokoli and its Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Douglas Carew named and dedicated the university’s world-class academic building to the memory of late Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo.  Dr.  Adeyemo went to be with the Lord on March 18, 2010. Until his death,  Adeyemo was one of the Founding Fathers and the first Chancellor of Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya.

ANOTHER SOLDIER, DR. STEPHEN MUTUKU SESI HAS GONE HOME!

The body of our Lord Jesus Christ in Africa and indeed world over has lost another one of its true sons. He was a Christian in the true sense of it, a committed and humble servant of Christ, a servant- leader to the core, a pastor, a scholar of no small measure, and a family man of exemplary model. Our own Dr. Stephen Mutuku  Sesi had gone “home”; he had gone to be with the Lord. Dr. Sesi went on to glory yesterday November 3rd, 2011. The news of his death came to our community, Africa International University (formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology – NEGST) from no other person than our Vice- Chancellor, Dr. Douglas Carew. Dr. Sesi gave in to death after a long struggle with cancer of the pancreas and other complications related to it.

Dr. Sesi was an ordained minister of the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Kenya where he labored as a pastor and once served as a District Administrator. According to The Journey, “Dr. Sesi taught for many years as a lecturer in Islamic studies and was once the chairman of the Department of Missions for The Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST). He was also the President of the Makobe Children’s Home, an AIDs orphanage in Shimba Hills, Kenya.”[1]

Rev. Stephen Sesi earned his PhD degree in Intercultural Studies with bias in Islamics from the famous Fuller Theological Seminary. He will be greatly missed by his family, country – Kenya, the Church in Africa, students, colleagues and friends. Sesi was one of the few (evangelical) Christian Islamicists we have in Africa. His interest in the area of Christian-Muslim relations was not hidden. Dr. Sesi was passionate about  how we as Christians should relate with our Muslim brothers and sisters and how we can lovingly tell them about Jesus Christ. In what could be deemed as one of his last scholarly interactions with colleagues before his struggles with cancer began, Dr. Sesi was one of the 50 scholars who attended the International Academic Conference on African Christian and Islam held in Accra, Ghana from 6th to 10 July, 2010 – a true confirmation of his passion for Muslim outreach.

Until death, Dr. Sesi was the Acting Director of the Institute for the Study of African Realities (ISAR), one of the three constituent schools of Africa International University. Humanly speaking, and considering the unceasing tension between Christians and Muslims in most part of Africa, one would have thought that now is the best time to have the likes of Sesi in the strategic ministry of the Christian Muslim relations of the Church in Africa. But our God know the best! The words of Dr. Douglas Carew are fitting consolation for us in times such as this: “the Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. Even as we mourn at this time we affirm with Job, “I know my redeemer lives,” and stand in the assurance that our Lord Jesus is “the resurrection and the Life.”

Let us pray that God will raise more disciples of Christ and labourers in His vineyard like Sesi for His Church in Africa and indeed for His Church around the world. Dr. Stephen Mutuku Sesi is survived by his wife Dr. Josephine Mutuku, and three sons – James, Judah, and Jesse. Indeed, to God be the glory for a life so impact -full and a life well spent!


            [1] The Journey, a monthly newsletter of First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood, Texas, USA; August 2009 Edition, page 3: http://fpc-kingwood.org/mediafiles/journey-august-2009.pdf, Cited on November 4, 2011.

“Though He Be Dead, He Yet Speaks”: Reflections from the First Tokunboh Adeyemo Memorial Lecture [Part 2]

The second keynote speaker was Prof. Vincent C. Anigbogu. Anigbogu is a Nigerian, and currently the Director General, Institute for National Transformation, which has centers in Atlanta, Nairobi (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda), and Lagos (Nigeria). He is also the President and CEO of the consulting firm, JC (Jesus Christ) Quality Management Group in US, Nigeria, and Uganda. He has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alabama in 1986. He also obtained his M.Sc. in Analytical Chemistry and B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA in 1981 and 1978, respectively. He has taught, conducted research, and published in the field of analytical Chemistry for nearly 20 years at several universities including Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA (1992-95) and Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA (1995-2004). Upon discovering his calling into ministry and passion in leadership development, he left the field of chemistry in 2004 to pursue his in passion leading to the establishment of the Institute for National Transformation which now has centers in many countries and growing. Professor Anigbogu dream is to see the development of purposeful leaders who will impact their generation and Africa.[1]

Anigbogu complimented Dr. Kasali by challenging African Christian leaders in all strata of the society to fight for the future of the continent. His discussion was centered around “Facing Brutal Fights about Africa and Its Future.” In the words of Anigbogu, “we are here not so much about hearing speeches but to stand up from here and go out to make positive difference in our continent and in our world.  He quarried that, “how long will it take to convert the knowledge into action in Africa?  He observed that majority of African leaders that went through the best universities in the world have performed below the expectations of their generations and nations. He lamented that, “why go to the best universities in the world and failing to make the best of it in on our land? Why we are so educated and yet lack life enhancing skills?” He noted that Adeyemo’s vision is not only about knowledge; it is knowledge applied with renewal of minds.

He argued that the cause of bad leadership in Africa is due to the fact that the biblical principle of mentoring has been given little or no attention. He noted that the Lord aims at using the many new Christian universities springing up across Africa as avenues to correct that wrong. According to Anigbogu, the new generation universities started especially by new generation Churches aim at helping students major on how to solve problems facing our continent. He advised that the Church leaders should learn to use biblical principles to respond to Challenges facing Africa. This according to him “is a major shift already understood by some new generation universities in Africa.’’ He counseled stakeholders in university administration in Africa to rethink their approaches to education in Africa. Anigbogu added that, well thought-out policies and problem-solving approach to studies will not only produce great minds but it would also help our universities rival the best universities around the world.

Anigbogu observed dependency mind-set as another factor responsible for poor leadership in Africa. He described it as sad that even in the 21st century many African leaders still seek developmental help from abroad when we are already due for creating competitive opportunities. This according to him explains why we are always looking for aids and yet we have been immensely endowed by the Almighty God with several resources. Many mineral resources have been taken away by nations that have learned to process and later sold to us. According to Vincent, those nations are able to perform far better than we do because of their mind-set, dominion mind-set.  It is therefore a challenge to university leaders to raise leaders with dominion mindsets. Anigbogu concluded that only leaders with such minds could bring positive and transformational change to our society. He noted that events surrounding the life of  Tokunboh Adeyemo show lived and died for the cause of leadership in Africa. Anigbogu challenged his audience to learn from the life of Adeyemo. Anigbogu concluded his speech with a big and heart-searching question begging for answer by all who attended the meeting: “if you die today will you be remembered for what you consumed or what you created/contributed?”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Douglas Carew, the Vice Chancellor of Africa International University noted that, “if Byang Kato envisioned NEGST [Nairobi, Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, now Africa International University); Tokunboh Adeyemo midwifed it.

Carew added that what we now have as Africa International University was a dream of Adeyemo. He remembered Adeyemo as a scholar and thinker per excellence. Carew argued that for Africa to move from a depending to productive continent; we must pay urgent attention to research.  Research according to Carew is key to producing transformational leadership! Carew was however quick to add that, “transformation of mind is not enough; we need continuous renewal of mind.  He explained that Romans 12:1-2 reveals that transformation of the mind is essential to developing Christians of integrity, noble character, and value; and that is evident in the life of Paul the Apostle by the virtue of his encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus. Carew argued that Christians must be renewed in their minds, wills [commitment] and their worship of God to be able to make any positive impact in the society.

In conclusion, Dr. Douglas Carew recommended that for the Church to able to sufficiently respond to the challenges facing our continent today it needs to take note of the following:

1.      Have a clear view of the gospel: The great dichotomy between the secular and sacred should be discouraged as much as possible in order to have a gospel that reflective and engaging. The dichotomy between the secular and sacred only shows the gospel as a privatized enterprise.

2.      Develop a clear view of Christian society: Why is the Church in Africa so vocal on what we are against but very quiet on what it stands for? What is our identity? We need to have a clear understanding of not just Christian principle but also of Christian virtues.

3.      We need a bigger picture of the Christian society as seen by Adeyemo.

4.      African Church leaders need to understand of current intellectual discuss, ideas, and structural arrangement that forms societies. We should not under-estimate the power of thinking. This is essential for us to be able to engage the social, political, economic and other issues that could shape our continent. We should be able to critique those rationales from a Christian perspective. Hence the need to have Christian professionals in all strata of our society.

5.      Christian leaders must note that reflective engagement calls for developed strategies for change.


[1] “Vincent Anigbogu” on Beulah Heights University Website, http://www.beulah.org/Staff.aspx?id=Vincent.Anigbogu culled on March 28, 2011.

“Though He Be Dead, He Yet Speaks”: Reflections from the First Tokunboh Adeyemo Memorial Lecture [Part 1]

It is exactly a year that a great African Evangelical Theologian- Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo went to be with the Lord. An inaugural Memorial Lecture was organized in honor of his memory today March 19, 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Lecture was organized by Center for Biblical Transformation (CBT), the institution he founded and led until his transition into glory on March 17, 2010. The lecture was held at the Pan-African Christian University (PACU), Valley Road Campus, Nairobi. The theme of the lecture was: “Transforming Minds to Transform Africa.” The meeting was another testimony to the immense contributions of Adeyemo to the healthy growth of Christianity in Africa and indeed the world at large. The meeting was attended by people from all works of life from within and outside Kenya and two members of the Adeyemo’s family; Ireti [wife] and Dele [son] were in attendance.

Dr. Kwesi Atta-Krah, the current Chairman of CBT, and as he described himself, a mentee and ‘apprentice’ of Dr. Adeyemo, gave the introductory speech as well as launch the Tokunboh Adeyemo Memorial Lectures. Atta-Krah spoke of the giant strides that CBT has been making since the demise of Adeyemo. According to Atta-Krah “one of those strides is the establishment of Tokunboh Adeyemo Memorial Lecture and this is the first in the series of lectures that will be given annually.” The lecture was organized in partnership with Christ Is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), Association for Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), Africa International University – AIU (formerly, Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST), Pan-African Christian University (PACU),  and International Central Gospel Church. In the meantime, the aim of the lecture is to celebrate the life of Adeyemo; to renew the zeal and commitment of the Church in Africa to transformational leadership; and also to create partnership bet ween the Church and other Christian organizations in order to form a common cause in continuing Adeyemo’s vision of holistic transformation.

Rev. Boniface Adoyo welcomed people to the meeting and additionally gave remarks on the life and times of Dr. Adeyemo. Adoyo was the immediate past Bishop of Christ Is the Answer Ministries (CI TAM), with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya- the denomination where Adeyemo worshiped until his demise. In the words of Adoyo, “Adeyemo performed beyond the expectation of his generation.” He added that we have lost a great voice in African Christianity, in Evangelical Theological scholarship; and we have missed the voice of a genuine servant of God.

Adeyemo was not only a theoretician but also a sincere practitioner of the Christian faith. A doyo opines that, “what Adeyemo taught and live for did not die with him. His vision for transformational leadership, good governance, corruption free society, marketplace evangelism and discipleship and balanced Christianity did not go with him; he left us the legacies today through the establishment of CBT. Adoyo added that Adeyemo has begotten so many children today that have great potentials of multiplying his vision across the continent of Africa and indeed across the world.  He challenges African Christians that “if an individual like Adeyemo could make that much contribution to the development of Christianity in Africa and in several strata of the society; what values are we adding to our society today? Adoyo concluded that Adeye mo lived and died for a value added cause – holistic transformation through transformational leadership. Adeyemo lived for that which does not die; and so, Adoyo, challenges the audience to live for dreams that will never die –  dreams that will out last the dreamers!

The first Key Note Speaker was Dr. David Kasali from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kasali holds a PhD degree in New Testament from Trinity International University, USA and a former Vice-Chancellor of Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (now Africa International University). He had worked with Adeyemo over a period of 16 years in various capacities; first as his student at NEGST and later as a colleague. Kasali is currently the President of Congo Initiative and Rector, the Christian Bilingual University of Congo.

It was obvious from the way he eloquently and emotionally presented his speech that Kasali just like his mentor Adeyemo, has a heart for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Africa as a whole. According to Kasali, ‘like the experience of the Biblical Moses on the mountain top, God showed Adeyemo an Africa of redeemed future; an Africa that will be liberated from all forms of oppression, an Africa that will be a gift to the world; an Africa that rediscovers God; an Africa that will reshape democracies and indeed, an Africa that will be a gift to the world in all strata of the human life and society.’ Like the recent unstoppable Japanese Tsunami, Kasali observed that the future of an enviable Africa moved powerfully in the heart of Adeyemo. Adeyemo lived and died for the soul of Africa and we should be challenged to rise up to take the baton from him. The scholarly contribution of Adeyemo was revisited with great encomiums by Kasali; and according to him, the desire of Adeyemo is that Africans may show the spirit of determination in order to claim the continent for Christ.

Kasali mourned that one year after the demise of Adeyemo, the battle for the soul of Africa continues. He cited the examples of the unrests Ivory Coast, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia to mention just but few as indicators of the many challenges the Church in Africa would have to respond to. According to him, ‘Congo has been referred to as the world’s capital of rape; Corruption, HIV-AIDS, Witchcraft, Prostitution, Child trafficking are still the order of the day in Africa. Terrorism, rape is being carried out not by strangers but by fellow Africans and country men. Ironically, Africa is the richest continent of the world in terms of mineral resources and yet it’s the poorest of the continents.

Kasali asked, “Where is the Church of Jesus in all these challenges?” Kasali accused the Church in Africa of practicing Evacuation Theology – a theology that has no regards for societal development. He argued that the African Church on a general note has little influence on educational and political strata of the society because of its long time dichotomy between the secular and the sacred. Consequently, Africa has one of the fastest numerical growth rates of Christianity in the world today yet with little impact. This is particularly so according to Kasali, because there has been little or no focus on the human mind. The Church in Africa needs more than numbers; it needs transforming biblical Christianity. Kasali called on the Church in Africa to set values and not run away from it.

However, Kasali noted that in spite of the dark spots in Africa, there have been pockets of progress in the continent and such gains have come through the contributions of great minds like Adeyemo. In the area of scholarship for instance, we see more and more African scholars publishing and now the world is hearing from Africans not only about Africa but also African voices on global issues. Kasali announced that the Church must fight to rescue Africa for Christ. Adeyemo’s noble vision of holistic transformation- transforming one mind at time, one leader at a time must be taken by the Church in order to raise men and women who will portray the qualities of the biblical Joseph in Africa.  He postulated that the battle can be won- one mind at time! The battle can be won with one leader at time! Kasali concluded that some of the NEGST/AIU Alumni like Dr. Peter Okaalet (of Uganda), Rev. Prof. LARBI, E. Kingsley (of Ghana), Rev. Dr. Boniface Adoyo (of Kenya), Dr. David Kasali (of D.R. Congo), and Dr. Douglas Carew (of Sierra-Leone) are making great contributions to development of the African minds and society today because God brought them in contact with visionary and purposeful leaders like Tokunboh Adeyemo.

…to be continued!

 

___________________________________

 

DISCLAIMER

Please note that no copy of the papers presented by the different speakers at the meeting was given to any members of the audience. This article is therefore expressed in my own words and interpreted based on my understanding of the speeches as presented by the speakers. Although I have tried my best to correctly represent the views of the various speakers, there may be some misrepresentations in this article especially because this piece was written in the cause of  the verbal presentations; and  the fact that this is the summary form  of the speeches transmitted. Therefore, if there is any misrepresentation in this article, they are not necessarily those of the speakers at the meeting.

One Year Down the Line: A Tribute in Remembrance of Professor Steve de Gruchy (1962-2010)

An African proverb says, “it is not how long we live but how well.” This proverb is true of the life of Professor Steve de Gruchy. Just when they began to settle down in reproducing themselves; the news of their sudden death by drowning stormed the world. The event of Prof. Steve de Gruchy’s death is very similar to that of our ancestor, Dr Byang Kato. No doubt, Byang Kato was one the tallest African Evangelical theologians. To refer to Kato as a pace setter and the father of modern African evangelical theology will not be an over statement. In his 30s, Byang Kato had already earned a Doctor of Theology from the prestigious Dallas Theological Seminary; he became the first General Secretary of the Association for the Evangelicals in Africa and Madagascar (AEA & M), and the visioner of Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de Bangui (a graduate school of theology located in Bangui, Central Africa with the vision of serving the francophone African nations ), and Africa International University (formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya for the Anglophone Africa nations). Kato pioneered and articulated some of the African theologies we have today. Although some scholars have contested Kato’s position on a variety of subjects in African theology especially the ones related to the relationship between Christianity and the African cultures; that not withstanding, he remains a scholar whose contribution we cannot avoid in contemporary African Christian Theology. What a star Kato was in his days? But at the prime age of thirty-nine (1936-1975) Kato drowned while swimming in Mombasa, Kenya in 1975; that was just a few months after he had been appointed as the AEA & M General Secretary. Not how long but how well!

Meanwhile, the challenges facing our world today are mind-boggling; they include poverty, violence, disease, religious terrorism, climate change and other natural disasters to mention just a few. There have been struggles by individuals, groups in politics, academics, private and business institutions across the world to provide solutions to some of these challenges. The amount of time, energy, and resources invested on a daily basis to finding these solutions are unquantifiable. The question then arises: as Christians in this Era of global Christianity, what has been the response of Church to these challenges? As Andre Karamaga puts it, “the church as an institution cannot be isolated from the upheavals currently assaulting the world. But the church must be renewed if she is to cope with the dramatic changes taking place in our world today. As God’s instrument of change, the church is called to participate prophetically on breaking the edge of world events”[1]While Karamaga’s submission is undoubtedly true of our world today; it is even truer of Africa. The impacts of poverty, AIDS, violence, bad governance and democracies, corruption, etcetera, are intense in Africa than any other part of the world.[2]Yet according to Karamaga, ‘Africa is labeled as one of the most religious continents in the world with Christianity credited to that every day up to 16,000 Africans embrace the Christian faith.”[3]This is indeed an irony!

This is where the contributions of Dr. Steve de Gruchy become very important for us in contemporary Africa. No serious study can be done in the area of Theology and Development in Africa today without reference to the massive contributions of this eminent African theologian, Steve de Gruchy. His books as well as his numerous articles published in learned journals are in high demand. Steve’s academic contribution is not limited to Africa; he equally made significant contribution globally in his field of specialization. According to his colleague, Dr. Sue Rakoczy, “his (Steve de Gruchy’s) academic and professional contributions had influenced people all over the world.”[4] Until his death, Steve was the head of the School of Religion and Theology at the University of KwaZulu Natal. Professionally, “he was involved in various ways with the World Council of Churches’ Justice, Peace and Creation team, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and Council for World Mission, the International Congregation Fellowship, and the Church Unity Commission in South Africa.”[5]

Steve was not only a theorist; he was also a practitioner of his faith- Christianity. He was not a perfect human though, but by grace of God he was able to use his God-given abilities to worship of his Creator and also to serve his people as it is expected of a true disciple of Christ. He was until his transition an ordained minister in the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.[6] It is also worthy of note that Steve was also man who loved his family very dearly. The fact that event leading to his death happened when he was on outing with his family is a proof of his commitment to the same.

He spent about a decade more in life than Kato; Steve de Gruchy died at the age of 48.[7] A native of South Africa; Steve’s death reminds us of other tall African theologians who died recently.  Professor Steve de Gruchy has joined the list of eminent African theologians like Kwame Bediako, Ogbu U Kalu, Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo and others who left toward the end of the last decade. Though, he is gone to be with his God for a year now, the shock of his demise by drowning in Mooi River in South Africa on Sunday February 21, 2010[8] is still very fresh in our memories. Indeed, another has star has fallen in the modern history of African Christianity! It’s indeed a big challenge to fill the vacuum that Steve left in his family, the Southern Africa Christian community; the Church in Africa and indeed the entire world. We however take solace in the fact that he lived a fruitful life and now resting in the bosom of his Lord! Surely, the English proverbs that says, “we never know the worth of water till the well is dry” is true of the Professor Steve de Gruchy. We covet your prayers for the family that he left behind! Steve is survived by his wife Marion Loveday and children Thea, David, and Kate.

 


REFERENCES:

[1] Andre Karamaga, Problem and Promises of Africa, Towards and Beyond the Year 2000: All Africa Conference of Churches (Nairobi: Africa Church Information Service), 12-13.

[2] Gerrie Ter Haar, How God became African: African Spirituality and Western Secular Thought (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2009), 74. Tokunboh Adeyemo, Is Africa Cursed? (Nairobi: Christian Learning Materials Centre, 1997), 11; and Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, African Christian Ethics (Nairobi: Hippo Books, 2008), 167-9.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Sue Rakoczy, “Professor Steve de Gruchy” in The Southern Cross Blog.

http://www.scross.co.za/2010/03/professor -steve-de-gruchy/ Accessed on February 28, 2011.

[5] http:/intercong.org/our-regions/Africa/steve-de-gruchy. Accessed on February 28, 2011.

[6] International Congregational Fellowship, http://intercong.org/our-regions/africa/steve-de-gruchy/ accessed on February 28, 2010.

[8] Council for World Mission, “Churches Worldwide remember Steve de Gruchy” http://www.cwmission.org/news/churches-worldwide-remember-steve-de-gruchy, accessed on March 1, 2011.

NIGERIA AT 50: 50 POST-INDEPENDENCE THEOLOGIANS WORTH CELEBRATING

As Nigeria celebrates its 50th independence anniversary today October 1, 2010; I thought it would be wise for me as a budding scholar to highlight few of our Christian Theologians who have help shaped the way theology is done in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. These scholars have made giant strides in their respective areas of specialization. It is therefore important according to Chuckwudi Anthony Njoku “for us to pay tribute to them for putting the name of Nigeria on the international scene as a result of their great works.” (Chuckwudi Anthony Njoku, Religion, History and Politics In Nigeria: Essay in Honor of Ogbu Kalu. Edited by Ogbu Kalu et al.; Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 154-5). Njoku adds that Nigerian Theologians both home and in the diaspora have contributed in varying to the development of theological enterprise in Nigeria; and the economic and  socio-political condition of the country must have must have being a catalyst” (Ibid).  This is why it is very appropriate for us to say something brief about them at such a time as this with the aim of encouraging the up coming generation of young people. The list includes names of theoreticians and practitioners. I am however aware that Nigeria is blessed with several outstanding theologians and as such the list below is not exhaustive in any way. Note also that I have not listed them hierarchically. The list is therefore based on my personal opinion and I take responsibility for that. At this time that some Nigerians are reflecting on whether there is a reason to celebrate, may I call your attention to the fact that the men and women below are worth our celebration:

  • +Prof. Bolaji Idowu. No serious scholarly work can be done on Africa in the fields of Africa Tradition Religion(s), Theology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Literature, Yoruba Language, Culture, Missions and History without a reference to the massive scholarly contributions of  Bolaji Idowu. He is undoubtedly one of the most cited Africans of out time. In spite of the fact that he is no more around with us, his works continues  to be a force to reckoned with in the world of scholarship today. More…
  • +Dr. Byang Kato (ThD Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary). According to HighBeam research, “almost thirty years since his premature death cut short an outstandingly promising ministry, Byang Kato’s contribution to the growth of African evangelical Christianity remains unique. His book Theological Pitfalls in Africa, translated into French as Pieges theologiques en Afrique, still provokes comment and controversy, as it has done since its publication in 1975. In recent years the Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology has published accounts of his life and work by Christina fireman (1996) and Yusufu Turaki (2001). The Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology named its chapel after him, as did the Faculte de Theologie Evangelique de Bangui its library, appropriate recognition of his role in the foundation of both institutions. The idea that he was “the founding father of modern African evangelical theology” is no exaggeration, readily justified by an appraisal of recent African church history.” More…
  • Prof. Osadolor Imasogie is no doubt one of the fathers of modern Evangelical Theology. His work, Guidelines for Christian Theology in Africa remains one of the fundamental books for anyone who seeks to know how to do theology that will matter in Africa and to Africans. Wikipedia describes Imasogie as “the first Nigerian president (now President Emeritus) of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria; former Vice-President of the Baptist World Alliance.” His biography can be found in Who’s Who in Africa, Who’s Who in Commonwealth and International Book of Honor among several others.
  • Cardinal Dr. Franscise Arinze. According to David Loyn  of the BBC, “in the history of the Church, there cannot have been many candidates for the papacy who come from as poor a background as Francis Arinze – certainly none who have traveled so far, either in distance or in the journey of their faith.” Suolair reports that he was of the few and the first African that was shortlisted to succeed Pope John Paul II. Arinze is undoubtedly one the great men and women who have put the name of Nigeria into a global limelight for the right purpose. More…
  • Prof. Cornelius Olowola (ThD Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary). Professor Emeritus of Theology and African Traditional Religion. Also former Provost ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria; and the immediate past President of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA, formerly Evangelical Church of West Africa and Sudan Interior Mission, SIM respectively) with its headquarters Jos, Nigeria. More…
  • Prof. Oyin Abogunrin (PhD, University of Ibadan). He is Professor Emeritus of New Testament in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan. Abogunrin has published extensively both locally and international. He is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant New Testament scholars on the continent of Africa. He was for several years the leader of the Nigerian Association for Biblical Studies. More…
  • +Prof. Ade Dopamu (PhD Religious Studies, University of Ibadan)
  • +Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo (PhD Theology and PhD Philosophy at Dallas Theological Seminary and University of Aberdeen respectively). He was for 22 year the General Secretary of the Association for Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) and the Chancellor of the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. More…
  • +Prof Ogbu U. Kalu (PhD,University of Toronto). According to Kevin L. Howard, “Kalu was the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago.  He published 18 books and over 180 articles in journals and as book chapters.” In the words of C.R. Clarke, ” Kalu has been at the forefront of scholarly research in African Christianity for almost thirty years and was probably the most accomplished Christian scholar in North America” ( Clarke, Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Vol. 32; No 1; 2010, 108). More…
  • Prof. J.A. Ilori (PhD, North Texas State University Denton, Texas). He has published extensively in the areas of Foundations of Education, Methodology Foundations of Education and Educational Research Methodology. He was several years a teacher at the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and a former President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Prof. Omosade Awolalu. He was at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan in Nigeria for many years, and is the author of books and articles on African religious traditions, and particularly those of the Yoruba people.
  • Arch. Bishop Peter Akinola is the retired Primate of Nigerian Anglican Communion. Besides being a brilliant theologian, Akinola is socio-political analyst that has the admiration of Nigerians. More…
  • Archbishop Sunday Coffie Mbang was the fourth indigenous leader of the Methodist Church Nigeria. More…
  • Prof. Jacob K. Olupona (PhD, Boston University). Olupona is a Professor of African Religious Traditions, with a joint appointment as Professor of African and African-American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Harvard. More…
  • Prof. Yusufu Turaki (PhD, Boston University). He is a Professor of Theology and Social Ethics at the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion, Church and Society (CRCS). He holds a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from Boston University, and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Yale Divinity School. He was the General Secretary of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), is a former National Vice-President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and worked with the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) and the International Bible Society (IBS) in Nigeria and Kenya (Yusufu Turaki, Tainted Legacy. Nigeria, 2010, Back Cover)
  • Prof. N. Y. Nabofa (PhD, University of Ibadan). He is a Professor of Religious Studies with specialization in African Traditional Religion in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Ibadan. More…
  • Prof. (Fr.) Justin S. Ukpong is a Professor of New Testament, Formerly of Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Currently the Vice-Chancellor, Veritas (The Catholic) University of Nigeria, Abuja.
  • Prof. Yusuf Obaje (PhD, University of Edinburgh). He was the former President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary and the former Chaplain of Aso Rock- the home and office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • Dr. Ademola Ishola is currently the General Secretary of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. More…
  • Prof. Matthews Ojo (PhD, University of London) Professor of Church History in the Department of Religious Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. An excellent scholar and writer whose work is enjoying wide readership in Nigeria, Africa and world over.
  • Prof. Ukachuckwu Chris Manus (PhD, KU Leuven, Belgium), is a Professor of African Christian Theology at the Department of Religious Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is the author of Christ, the African King: New Testament Christology, (Frankfurt/Main, Peter Lang, 1993) and Intercultural Hermeneutics: Methods and Approaches, (Nairobi, Acton Publishers, 2003). Professor Manus has published extensively in his field in many national and international journals. He is currently engaged in orientating his research on gender, sexuality and theological education in the context of HIV and AIDS in Africa (Manus, Nordic Journal of African Studies 16[2]: 244–260 [2007], 280).
  • Prof. David Tuesday Adamo (Doctor of Religion and PhD in Biblical Studies at the University of Baylor). Adamo is an outstanding Professor of Old Testament and currently, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Kogi State, Nigeria. “Adamo’s is an international scholar who has published scholarly articles in every continent of the world” (Adamo, 2005, Back page).
  • Prof. J.O. Akao (PhD, University of Glasgow). He is a distinguished Professor of Old Testament with high international repute. He was for many years a teacher in Biblical Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan. Currently, he is currently the Bishop of Sabongidda-Ora Diocese of the Nigerian Anglican Communion. More…
  • Prof. Victor Cole (PhD,Michigan State University). He is a Professor of Educational Studies and currently Head of the Department of Educational Studies at the School of Professional Studies (SPS), a constituent school of Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya. Cole was formerly a Curriculum Consultant for African Leadership and Management Academy in Zimbabwe. He was also the former Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya (Adeyemo: 2006, xiv). Cole is a brilliant and a widely traveled scholar whose expertise is in high demand globally. More…
  • Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie
  • Prof. Dzurgba, Akpenpuun is a Professor of Religious Studies and the Head of the Religious Studies Department of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. More…
  • Rev. Fr. Dr. Matthew Kukah (PhD, University of London). According to Word Forum, Matthew Hassan Kukah is a Catholic Reverend Father and Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat in Nigeria. In May of 1999, father Kukah was appointed by Nigerian President Obasanjo to the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission to investigate the human rights abuses of past military regimes. Father Kukah is a rigorous scholar and respected commentator on such issues as religion, ethnicity, civil/military relations, and human rights. He is a prolific writer and has authored a number of books on these issues, including the critically acclaimed work, Religion and Politics in Northern Nigeria Since Independence.
  • Rt. Rev. Dr. John Olorunfemi Eniayekan is currently the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). More…
  • Prof. Raphael A. Akanmidu (PhD, University of Birmingham). He is a Professor of Philosophy of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. Akanmidu’s scholarship is enjoying wide readership locally and internationally.
  • Dr. Gideon A. O. Oshitelu (PhD, University of Ibadan). He is a Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Christian Theology at the University of Ibadan. He has published extensively both locally and internationally in the areas of Philosophy of Religions, Church History and Systematic Theology.
  • Dr. Afe Adogame (PhD in History of Religions Bayreuth University). He teaches Religious Studies and World Christianity at the Divinity School of the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. More…
  • Prof. M.F. Akangbe (PhD, University of Ibadan). Akangbe is a distinguished Professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical Studies at United Missionary Church of Africa Theological Seminary. He was formerly the Provost of the College.
  • Prof. Deji Aiyebgoyin (PhD, University of Ibadan). Aiyegboyin is a brilliant Professor of Church History and Christian Theology in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Ibadan. He is currently the President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. More…
  • Dr. J. B. Lawal (PhD, Trinity International University). Lawal is the charismatic leader of ECWA Theological Seminary Igbaja where he also teaches Christian Ethics and Apologetics.
  • Dr. Pandang Yamsat (PhD, University of Aberdeen) was formerly the Provost of Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) where he teaches the New Testament. He is currently the President of Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN).
  • Prof. Samuel Waje Kunhiyop (PhD, Trinity International University). Samuel Waje Kunhiyop is Head of the Postgraduate School, South African Theological Seminary. He was previously the Provost and Professor of Theology and Ethics at Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS). More…
  • Prof. Kore Danfulani (PhD, North Texas State University). He is a Professor of Biblical Counseling and  Education at ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria. More…
  • Prof. Dapo Asaju is a professor of religion at the Lagos State University, Nigeria. More…
  • Dr. Akintunde E. Akinade (PhD, Union Theological Seminary). Akinade is a Professor of  Theology and World Christianity in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University. More…
  • Dr. Dorcas O. Akintunde
  • Dr. Eunice Oluseun Abogunrin (PhD, Trinity International University). She is an Adjunct Professor of Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Caleb O. Ogunkunle (PhD, University of Ibadan). Ogunkunle teaches Old Testament and Christian Theology in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Ilorin. More…
  • Dr. Tersur Aben (PhD, Calvin Theological Seminary). He is a distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology and the Provost of the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Bukuru-Jos, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Olufemi I. Adeyemi (PhD, New Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary). He teaches New Testament at Liberty University, USA.
  • Dr. Richardson Ade Oyediran (PhD, New Testament Dallas Theological Seminary). He is an Adjunct Professor of New Testament and Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja and the Deputy General Overseer of Salem Gospel Church, Ibadan, Nigeria. More…
  • +Dr. T.B. Ogunrinu (ThD Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary) was an outstanding Professor of Systematic Theology at the UMCA Theological College, Ilorin and ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria before he passed on.
  • Dr. Bulus Galadima (PhD, Trinity International University). He is an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Philosophy,and  Historical Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria. More…
  • Dr. Samuel Peni Ango (PhD in religious education at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria). He teaches Theology and Christian Education at UMCA Theological College, Ilorin, Nigeria. He was the immediate past Provost of the same institution. More…
  • Dr. Lasisi, Lawrence Adeniyi
  • Dr. Zacchaeus  O. Apata teaches New Testament Greek at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja and now the Chaplain of the University Chapel of  Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Olusegun Noah Olawoyin (PhD, University of Ibadan) teaches Philosophy of Religion at the University of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.

_______________________

+= Rest in Peace

The Fall of an Iroko Tree: A Tribute in Honor of Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo (1944-2010)

It is with heavy heart but with gratitude to God Almighty that we received the home-going news of one of the giants in the history of the  Church and Christianity in Africa. Our own Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo has gone to be with the Lord today March 18, 2010. Adeyemo was an African Christian statesman of high repute. He was a detribalized Christian and a true son of Africa. Adeyemo was a very brilliant, level-headed and one of the true African-Christian leaders with exemplary virtues. The Church in Africa needs more men like Adeyemo but unfortunately real men like him are becoming scarce by the day in Africa. I guess it is high time for the church in Africa to raise its voice in prayer for the Lord be gracious to us and grant us again sincere, faithful, humble, sacrificial, loving, purposeful, scholarly, hard-working, and forward-looking men and women like Tokunboh Adeyemo.

Tokunboh Adeyemo was born into a royal Muslim family in Western Nigeria. The second in a family of eight children, he was the oldest son. Destined to be the chief of his tribe, he was educated in the best institutions in the country and became involved in politics as a young man. When people looked at him, they saw a faithful Muslim and a young man with a promising future, but Tokunboh felt an ache inside, an emptiness he could not fill. A teacher at the school where Tokunboh was headmaster invited him to church. When he witnessed how people with few material possessions could worship God with such joy and fervor, he was impressed. He decided to find out the reason for their joy. On 13 September, 1966 he went to hear an evangelist at a tent meeting. The message from John 10:10 explained that Christ came to introduce not another religion, but a relationship. “As the man concluded, I decided to follow Yeshua, the giver of life”. Today all eight members of Tokunboh’s family are followers of Jesus Christ (Interview with John Brand, AIM International).

The salvation he experienced in the Lord Jesus Christ was the turning point of his life. The Lord was going to use his zeal and knowledge not only for his immediate family, community, or nation but the entire continent of Africa. He was a man with high regard for education. He was aware of the fact that one of the crises facing African Christianity today is in the area of leadership and that the church in Africa is not exempted from this challenge.  No wonder he gave himself to adequate training so as to be able to contribute to the growth of the church in Africa.

In order for him to be recruited in the mission of God for the church in Africa, the Lord granted him the privilege of training in some leading evangelical schools and public universities of all times. He had his Bachelor of Theology degree at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria; Masters of Divinity and Theology at Talbot School of Theology of Biola University, California, USA; Doctor of Theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary, Texas, USA; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (Africa Bible Commentary, xiii).

It is obvious that Adeyemo’s passion for ministry was leadership in Africa. He believes that the problem of Africa is not lack of human or material resources. According to him, “Africa’s problem can be summarized in one word: ‘leadership’ – inept leadership, corrupt leadership, selfish leadership. We need leaders who do not focus on greed, but see themselves as servants of the people. If we could use properly the wealth with which God has endowed this continent, Africa would be a super-power!” Adeyemo did his best to educate the church of this great need while he served for 22years as the General Secretary for Association for Evangelicals in Africa (AEA, the umbrella body for Evangelical denominations in Africa) with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

He has written and co-authored several books and articles published in leading international journals. His contributions to scholarship and Christianity in Africa are unquantifiable. Some of these works include: The Doctrine of God in African Tradition, Following Jesus in a Rich-poor Society, The Making of the Servant of God, A Christian Mind in a Changing Africa, Salvation in African Tradition, Deliver Us from Evil: An Uneasy Frontier in Christian Mission, Africa’s Enigma and Leadership Solutions, and Is Africa Cursed?: a Vision for Radical Transformation, and many other works that space will not permit us to list. Adeyemo is the General Editor for Africa Bible Commentary, a monumental Bible commentary written by seventy African Scholars. No wonder, Dennis White (former Senior Pastor of Nairobi Pentecostal Church and Adeyemo’s pastor of many years) describes Adeyemo as “a gifted African scholar, theologian, elder of the church and one of the sharpest minds that he has ever met in his thirty-eight years of Christian ministry.” He further describes him as “a thinker, a realist, a spiritual brother and advisor.”  His outstanding leadership skills have won him a lot of admirations within and outside the Church in Africa. One of the several awards that he received was the honorary doctorate awarded him by Potchefstroom University, South Africa for his outstanding Christian scholarship and leadership.

Besides all these numerous achievements, Adeyemo was a man who delicately balanced academics and spirituality, a virtue which is very rare in our time. Our experience in Africa has shown that men in the caliber of Adeyemo usually have the tendency of becoming proud and conceited. But Adeyemo would not allow anything to stand between him and his maker. He was until his demise an elder at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Valley Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

Until his death, Tokunboh Adeyemo was the Executive Director of the Centre for Biblical Transformation based in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Chancellor of the famous Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (a constituent school of  Africa International University, Kenya). Although Adeyemo has joined our great ancestors like Byang Kato, and even recently, Kwame Bediako, Ogbu Kalu and many others; his family and the church in Africa should be comforted with the fact that he served his generation. He left us the younger generation with many virtues to emulate.

It is true that the Iroko (wood of the ‘Chlorophora excelsa’, is native to the west coast of Africa. It is sometimes called African, or Nigerian, teak, but the iroko is unrelated to the teak family. The wood is tough, dense, and very durable. It is often used in cabinet making and paneling as a substitute for teak, which it resembles both in color[Encyclopedia Britannica])tree has fallen but we shall meet again at the home beyond.

Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ireti Adeyemo and their two sons. We thank God for his life and please let us keep his family in our prayers.

______________________________
Sources:

  • Tokunboh Adeyemo, ed. Africa Bible Commentary (Nairobi: WorldAlive, 2007)
  • Tokunboh Adeyemo, Is Africa Cursed? (Nairobi: WordAlive, 2009 [1997])
  • Iroko Tree (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  • Gottfried Osei-Mensah, Wanted Servant Leaders (Accra: Africa Christian Press, 1990).
  • John Brand, The Blessing and Enigma (Interview on AIM International about “the impact of the gospel in Africa, Aids, poverty and the role of the African Church in the world during this century.”)

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