Understanding Issues of Gospel and Culture by Professor Gillian M. Bediako, Dr. Benhardt Y. Quarshire and Dr. Ernestina Afriyie

Professor Gillian M. Bediako, Dr. Benhardt Y. Quarshire and Dr. Ernestina Afriyie (all from Afro-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Ghana) presented public lectures today Thursday March 22, 2012 on:

  1. Understanding Issues of Gospel and Culture; and
  2. World Christianity, Mother-tongue Scripture and Mission in a New Key.

The public lectures were hosted at NPC Valley, Nairobi by Pan Africa Christian University, Nairobi, Kenya. Here is the audio of the first lecture. Click on this link to listen to the lecture:understanding-issues-of-gospel#


Office of Jesus Christ the Head of the Church

No 1 New Jerusalem Street,

Private Mail Bag 01,

City of the Living God,

The Heavenly Jerusalem.

February 27, 2012.


Dearly Beloved Children,




I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I thank you for the love you have for me and my kingdom. As a result of that love, you have continued to spread my good news amongst your people and made my message of salvation rooted in many. You that used to be the destination of foreign missionaries have surprisingly become a phenomenon in spreading my life-saving gospel beyond your shores. Your effort in taking my word to the very end of the world is impressive and worth emulation by other members of my body. Besides, I am aware of the persecution you are facing from Islamic extremists in your country. Of late, many of you have died; while some have gone through different forms of attacks as my witnesses. I am happy that you remain steadfast even when staring death directly in the face.

I however have some issues against you. I see that the love for money like cancer is eating deep into your testimony. Your obsession about material things of this world is luring you to turn my gospel into a business. Some of your shepherds live in massive material wealth while most of my sheep live in abject poverty. What has happened to my noble message of Christian suffering and perseverance? Sadly, your voice is almost unheard on the challenges of corruption facing your nation. What is your role in the child-witchcraft persecutions in your country? Inadequate attention to training and the noble task of discipleship by many of your leaders is putting the health of the Church which I have purchased with my blood at risk. No wonder, like sheep without shepherds, my children are confused about their identity as the light and the salt of the world.

For the sake of the faithful amongst you; I invite you to repent quickly and pursue the path of righteousness. My anger will consume you like wildfire should you fail to heed my warning. A word is enough for the wise!

The Owner of the Church,

Jesus the Christ


Christianity Today Magazine  (world’s most widely read Christian magazine) through its writer, Sarah Pulliam Bailey directed its readers to read the blog-post I wrote on Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo shortly after his demise on 18th March, 2010. Few hours ago, I was reading through some of the comments posted on Bailey’s article again; and I found particularly interesting  one by Arlyn Briggs on January 24, 2011. I thought you might find the comment interesting too.

Briggs writes, “I was fortunate to hear Dr. Tokunbo Adeyemo at a conference in Nairobi in 2005. I will never forget what he (Adeyemo) said about sight versus vision.”[1] Adeyemo said and Briggs quotes:

Sight sees problems, vision sees potential,
Sight sees plight of man, vision sees power of God,
Sight sees barriers, vision sees bearings,
Sight sees buffeting, vision sees blessings in disguise,
Sight sees the natural, vision sees the supernatural,
Sight sees the visible, vision sees the invisible,
Sight sees the present, vision sees the past, present and future,
Sight sees danger only, vision sees opportunity as well,
Sight sees dead ends, vision sees new beginnings,
Sight sees the status quo, vision sees the possibility,
Where sight gives up, vision goes on.

I hope you will be challenged by the quote above to be a man and woman of vision in life.

[1] Arlyn Briggs commented on Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s “African Scholar Tokunboh Adeyemo Dies” in Christianity Today, Posted on March 18, 2010.

The old has become new!

This is to formally notify our readers that this is the new home of our blog, Christianity in Africa whose old URL was http://pentecostalmovent.wordpress.com.  Due to popular demand, more information about the author has been added. We have also added new pages; Ministry Partnership and Photo Gallery.  All these have been done in order for you to enjoy reading this blog. Below are some of the posts that have attracted wide readership on our blog.  We hope to add more pages soon.  Enjoy!

Are you in doubt with the miraculous?

Dr. Jonathan Armstrong & Babatomiwa Moses Owojaiye

If your answer to the question above is yes, then I encourage you to read the testimony of a friend. Dr. Jonathan Armstrong visited Nigeria for the first time in August 2011. We were in Nigeria to facilitate a week seminar at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja. Jonathan’s visit to Nigeria left an indelible mark on his life. Enjoy your reading!

Miracles in Nigeria[1]

By Dr. Jonathan Armstrong

“Do you have a visa? You’d better check on that…”

Three days before I was schedule to board the plane for my flight to Nigeria, my wife Linda brought up the visa question. Up to this point, the only African countries I had visited were Kenya and Tanzania, and for those countries the process is as simple as purchasing a visa at the airport upon entry.

Unsure, Linda did a quick search on her computer and pulled up a website that specifically stated that Nigerian visas cannot be purchased at the airport.

Everything seems so obvious when you’re looking back on it.

Growing anxious, I stayed up that night until the American embassy in Nigeria opened to ask how to apply for a visa. “Even if you were somehow permitted to board the plane,” the woman at the other end of the phone told me frankly, “you’d be arrested upon deplaning here in Nigeria.”

That wasn’t the news I was hoping to hear.

After a lot of panic and prayers and an astonishing series of “God things” that resulted in someone at the Nigerian embassy in Washington DC taking a personal interest in resolving my problem, I boarded a flight to Nigeria only two days later than planned and arrived the night before the seminar was scheduled to begin.

God is good.

My co-leader Moses Owojaiye met me at the airport, and we had the first of many wonderful conversations. Moses is a native Nigerian who recently completed his M.Phil in Nairobi, and the paper he submitted to fulfill that requirement is currently being considered for an award given to the most significant thesis in any discipline submitted at an African University. To share leadership duties with Moses was a great privilege, and his deep insight into the African church was an education in itself for me.

One of the themes of our conversations, however, was the different way miracles are perceived in Africa and in the United States. Here in the West, we tend to think of miracles as “God breaking the laws of nature.” But according to this definition, we can never actually witness a miracle. No matter what phenomenon we experience, it can only inform our understanding of natural laws. A law whose definition encompasses everything that’s observable can never, of course, be broken.

Instead, we hedge our bets. We call them “God things,” those moments when we believe God orchestrated a series of circumstances for a specific purpose. Africans, however, are more willing to take that leap of faith and risk a raised eyebrow. Africans call them “miracles.”

I put the question to Moses. “So, the fact that I was able to get a visa in 48 hours was a miracle?”

“Yes,” he said, smiling, “a big miracle!”

The seminar went even better than we hoped. The group of students and faculty was the largest we’ve ever had, and they were a very timely and disciplined group. After enjoying the president’s hospitality for breakfast, Moses and I would begin lectures at 7:30 every morning. Lectures ran for 5 hours with Moses taking the final hour. The highlight for me was often the group discussion Moses facilitated at the end of the day, focusing on the way the theology of the church fathers spoke to the specific issues facing Africa and African evangelicalism today.

When it came time to return to the USA, I experienced another of those God things I’m learning to call miracles. The journey was scheduled to be the longest single trip of my life—40 hours of travel from Igbaja to my home in Spokane, Washington, by plane and car combined.

The hospitality in Africa was generous and unfailingly kind, but I admit that by the time I boarded my first flight I was already looking forward to a hot shower after the limited electricity and sponge baths of the seminary. When I reached the airport in Lagos, my heart sank as I noticed the long queue of suitcases in front of me stretching all the way to the check-in counter. The flight from the day before had been overbooked and many people had not been able to board, meaning that today’s flight was likely to share a similar fate. Discouraged and growing anxious at the back of the line, an airport official approached me out of the blue and asked a strange question.

“Are you a Christian?”

Surprised, I said, “Yes.”

“Something in my spirit told me you were a Christian,” he said. He then proceeded to tell me that he would like to upgrade my ticket to business class on the flight from Lagos to Frankfurt. Not only would I be able to make my flight, this meant I would be able to recline to sleep on the flight and—best of all—take a hot shower at the first class lounge when I arrived in Germany. It’s funny how grateful you can feel for a few hours of sleep and a shower.

Calling these things miracles may cause some believers to get uncomfortable. The events seem so small and are easily explained away as the generous impulse of a stranger or the random happenstance of life. Some people worry that if we see start seeing God in everything, we’ll lose our sense of responsibility and succumb to a lazy fatalism. Certainly we need to exercise wisdom as well as faith when we interpret the world around us, but let’s not be afraid of claiming an act of unexpected goodness for a God we know to be good.

If these miracles still seem small, let me share with you one last event that truly spoke to my heart. On the last day of the seminar, Dr. J.B. Lawal (the President of ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja) rose to address the group and say a few words about the events of the week. After speaking about the historically poor relationship between Africa and the West, he gestured to me and said with incredible grace: “You are one of us… you have seen Christ in us, and we have seen Christ in you.”

Love is always the greatest miracle.

This trip changed me and changed the way I view acts of God. Let’s start calling “God things” what they really are. Let’s start calling them miracles.

[1] Please note that this article has been used with the author’s permission.

Christianity in Africa Blog: A Note of Appreciation and Performance in 2011

“Some of your most popular posts were written before 2011. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.”  – WordPress, January 1, 2011.

A Note of Appreciation and Performance in 2011

I wish to take this opportunity to welcome you into the year 2012 and also to thank you for finding time to visit this blog once or more in the course of 2011. Your visits and comments are truly appreciated and have added value to this blog. We look forward to more of your visits and comments in 2012.

According to the annual blog performance report given to me by WordPress today January 1, 2012, this blog in 2011 was visited by people from different countries representing six continents of the world with visitors from the North America and Africa leading. See the distribution below as ranked by WordPress:

North America                                                                      

  • The United States                             88.4%
  • Canada                                                  8.4%
  • Trinidad and Tobago                         1.1%
  • Jamaica                                                0.5%
  • The Bahamas                                      0.4%


  • Nigeria                                              40.4%
  • Kenya                                                31.3%
  • South Africa                                     13.5%
  • Zimbabwe                                         3.2%
  • Ghana                                                2.5%


  • The United Kingdom                         45.4%
  • Iceland                                               31.5%
  • Germany                                            3.6%
  • Poland                                                3.3%
  • Netherlands                                       2.3%


  • India                                                 43.6%
  • Singapore                                          9.6%
  • Philippines                                        7.8%
  • Malaysia                                            6.9%
  • United Arab Emirates                        6.4%


  • Australia                                          77.3%
  • New Zealand                                  22.7%

South America

  • Brazil                                              70.6%
  • Argentina                                      11.8%
  • Ecuador                                          5.9%
  • Suriname                                        5.9%


My Prayer for you in 2012 and Beyond

May the year 2012 be a year of unprecedented favor, breakthroughs, and grace for you. May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you. May the Lord grant you the will and grace to walk with (and work for) him in a higher dimension and in a deeper relationship. May your life be a true testimony of what it means to be a Christian anytime, anywhere, and everywhere. Remember, it is better to be small in Israel than to be great in Babylon! May the light of the Lord shine in your darkness! May the Lord grant you direction in your confusion and in (your) life. May the Lord grant you success in all your undertakings according to his will for you. May the Lord grant you the desires of your heart according to his will for your life. May the devil and all his marshals fail in all their attempts against your life and family. May you continuously experience the presence of God and may it be well with you. Above all, may you lead a humble life; may you be coachable and obedient to the Master; and may your life bring glory to God in the year 2012 and beyond. I pray all these for you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.




I have been a graduate student in Africa International University (formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology) since 2009. In the light of the recent charter conferred on AIU as a fully fledged university in Kenya by the President of Kenya, Hon. Mwai Kibaki; I wish to highlight below why I found AIU a university of choice in Africa. Additionally, the inserted video  further testifies to why you may want to visit or consider Africa international University for your education

  • Academic Excellence: Africa International University (AIU) is undoubtedly one the leading Christian universities on the continent of Africa with excellent academic track records. Academic excellence was my first attraction to AIU.
  • Excellent Faculty: Besides, AIU parades brilliant Professors who are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts around the world. The faculty integrates faith with learning and actively combines scholarship with professional practice in their various fields of specialization. The teachers are not just excellent in teaching; they are also excellent in research and mentoring.
  • On the context study environment and problem-solving approach to learning are part of benefits I am getting here. AIU gives an education that is tailored towards responding to the needs of my society as well as a training that aids me towards achieving the mission of God for my life.
  • Truly International: The international nature of AIU is also a factor one cannot easily brush aside. Over the last 25 years, AIU has attracted faculty, staff and students from about 40 nations of our world representing the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.  This provides me opportunity for networking as well as the privilege to learning with and from people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Excellent Learning Resources & Environment: The Tony Wilmot Memorial Library (TWML) of AIU has a collection of more than 50, 000 volumes of book with vast access to thousands of online journals, articles, monographs, and free books to aid learning. Just like AIU, TWL is arguably one the strongest Christian Libraries in Africa today. AIU is located along Dogoretti Road, in Karen area of Nairobi on over 50 acres of land. The campus is beautiful, green and serene for learning. Additionally, there is 24/7 on-campus internet access and a growing Computer Laboratory for students who do not own personal computers. The very welcoming and friendly faculty, staff and students make you adjust and feel at home quickly.
  • Alumni Making Giant Strides: The graduates of AIU are ‘transformative agents’ making positive impacts in all strata of human society in Africa and around the world. It pays to be part of such a team!


I strongly believe that my training in AIU is preparing me to actively engage the challenges facing my society by providing cutting edge scholarship as a theoretician and balanced/Bible based leadership as a practitioner. Challenges of poverty, bad leadership and governance, corruption, unemployment etcetera need to be faced head on by the Church, and I have been positioned through my training here not only to respond to them but also to train the younger generation of leaders to see this a part of their callings. My desire is to develop Bible-based and solution-driven leadership in the African Church and the world through my preaching and teaching ministries; thereby raising a generation of people that will see the need to positively impact the African Church and the society as a non-negotiable task.You are welcome to be part of the transformation story! Please see the university website for further details: http://www.negst.edu/


Over the years, the Devil realizing the immense potentials of the Holy Communion in bonding Christians to Christ has always struggle to bring many distorted understanding of the practice into the Church. This was exactly what he did with the Corinthian Christians and Paul had to write to correct the misunderstanding (See 1 Corinthians 11: 17-21).

The Devil has not changed his tricks! The Devil as usual has introduced a new dimension to his tricks by making Christ’ very clear instruction on the Holy Communion complicated for Christians. Devil’s intention is simple- to mislead believers.

Here, I will not concern myself with the much debate that the subject of Holy Communion has generated over the years. Issues such as frequency (how often should the Holy Communion service be conducted/administered?), time (what time of the day should it be conducted?), eligibility (who qualifies to participate?) and the elements- bread/body and wine/blood (is it a leavened or unleavened bread? Is it an alcoholic or non-alcoholic wine? Is the body and the blood the real presence of Jesus Christ, or transubstantiation, or transignification, or sacramental union, or memorialism, or consubstantiation, or impanation, or consecration, or words of Institution?[1] I will only concern myself with a development in the practice of the Holy Communion that is fairly new to me.

It is now a common phenomenon and practice in some part of Africa (and probably across the world) for certain preachers to teach and administer the Holy Communion primarily for healing purposes. These teachers teach their sick adherents that they could obtain healing by participating in the Holy Communion. On a numbers occasions, I have heard some pastors charged their congregants to claim healing for themselves in the cause of participating in the Holy Communion. Is this Christ’s purpose for the Holy Communion? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong to pray for and desire healing for our sick brethren; but it is very misleading to teach and also to make them believe they could obtain healing by participating in the Holy Communion. I understand that healing is a “commodity” that is in a very high demand, yet that does not mean people should be deceived in their quest to get healed of their ailments.  The following are some the reasons why I believe it is wrong to administer Holy Communion primarily for healing:

  • There is no single biblical reference to support the practice. Even 1 Corinthian 11: 17-34 that the exponents of this practice usually quote to support their practices says nothing about receiving healing through the Holy Communion.
  • Jesus never practiced or commanded it. There is no single place in the Bible where Christians have been commanded to partake in the Holy Communion for healing purposes.
  • It is against Christ’s purpose for the Holy Communion. Jesus’ purpose is very clear in I Corinthians 11: 23-26: “Do it in remembrance of me!” I am sure that if Christ had wanted us to do it for healing he would have communicated the same to us in a very clear way.
  • The Apostles and Christians of the early Church never practiced it. We heard of the many miracles of healing that the Lord performed through his apostles in the Church but none of the healing was received through the administering of the Holy Communion yet the practice was frequent in those days [Acts 2: 42-47; 19: 11-12]. The mother in-law of Peter was sick and in fact, Paul had a thorn in his flesh, yet neither Jesus Christ nor his apostles administered the Holy Communion to heal the sick [ Matthew 8: 14-17; 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10.
  • As against healing believers, the Bible makes it clear that careless participation in the Holy Communion could lead to sickness, weakness and physical death (See 1 Corinthians 11: 28-30).

In conclusion, we worship the All- mighty, All-knowing and the miracle-working God! He has the sole will and power to heal and not to heal. He could work through any means to heal and perhaps through the Holy Communion, but this MUST be left to His prerogatives ALONE. Preacher should desist from trying to help him by creating doctrines that are not founded on the TRUTH – the Bible. This is therefore a solemn warning to those who are guilty of this strange teaching to beware! To administer the Holy Communion mainly for healing purposes is not biblical. Christians should remember that Jesus said in the last days, “… false  and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matthew 24: 24-25, NIV).

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.



[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.


Could you tell the difference between these products and the ones you’re familiar with? Those are undrinkable sodas (or minerals as Nigerians would call them) made from flowers of different colors by these great ‘men’ and ‘women’ posed behind the ‘products.’ Who says they are not close to making the drinkable ones soon?  I guess they are almost there! Guess what? These guys are wise enough not to drink the soda because they are aware it may be poisonous. What a people? What a future? What a GOD we serve? He holds our future!