Learning from Africa: the theological and liturgical implications of inculturation for Anglican worship.

Loomes, Gaenor Mary (1999). Learning from Africa: the theological and liturgical implications of inculturation for Anglican worship. The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ff83

Abstract

In thé past thirty years there has been a growing use of the term ‘inculturation’ within the worldwide Christian Church in theological, missiological and liturgical circles. There has been some debate over what this term means in practice, particularly within newer theologies like African theology, and its outworking in worship. However we discover that it is not a new phenomenon but has been an unconscious process from the beginning of the Church’s existence as it communicates the Gospel.

This thesis sets out to discover key principles of inculturation from a broad overview of the following: theology of culture; theology of worship; African theology and current liturgical development in Africa. These principles emerge as Incarnation, Mission and Dialogue.

There is a particular focus upon the new Service of Holy Communion in the Anglican Church in Kenya (ACK) as an example of inculturation as applied to Anglican liturgy. This liturgy is critiqued in the light of African theology and is found to contain all three of the principles.

The conclusion expresses the need for the Christian Church to take seriously both these inculturation principles and the theologies emerging from the so-called ‘developing world’. The example of the ACK liturgy shows that the West which has dominated the expression of the Christian faith in sub-Saharan Africa for a century and a half, has much to learn about cultural relevance from this part of the continent and thus the direction of influence has been reversed.

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