More Information
ISBN: 9781783685806
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152
Publication Date: 28/02/2019
Pages: 362
Language: English

A Different Way of Being

Towards a Reformed Theology of Ethnopolitical Cohesion for the Kenyan Context


“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Kenya is a diverse nation, with many ethnic communities and cultural traditions. However, this diversity has led to deep divisions over the years, resulting in entrenched ethnopolitical tension and conflict. In this book, Dr David Kirwa Tarus advocates for a Christian theological response to the nation’s divisions by presenting various theological perspectives on anthropology, society, and politics including those of John Calvin and John Mbiti, as well as other prominent Kenyan theologians. This work traces the history of ethnopolitical conflict in Kenya and the church’s response from 1895 to 2013 and thoroughly examines how a reformed theology can provide a pathway to social cohesion in Kenya.

David Tarus humbly yet boldly challenges Kenyans to pursue national unity and peace by interrogating their allegiances to their ethnic communities and political parties. This book carefully argues why it is only a Christian identity, commitment to humanity as bearing the divine image, and the triune God himself, that can heal the divisions in this land and in turn bring an end to other social evils such as corruption, intolerance, and violence. Ethnopolitical conflict is not confined to one nation, and this study will bear much fruit in other contexts where people yearn for social cohesion.

Author Bios

David Kirwa Tarus

DAVID KIRWA TARUS has a PhD in Christian Theology from McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is currently an adjunct lecturer at Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya. He previously worked as the coordinator of Scott Christian University, Eldoret Campus, Kenya, and taught as an adjunct lecturer at various other universities in Kenya. David is the co-editor of Christian Responses to Terrorism: The Kenyan Experience (Wipf & Stock, 2017). His research interests include theological anthropology, political theology, and ecclesiology. David is also an ordained minister of the Africa Inland Church (Kenya).


Dr Tarus’s work is an exemplary piece of historical, systematic, and contextual theology. He shows that a Christian theology of the divine image (drawing especially on Calvin’s theology) provides a foundation for overcoming ethnopolitical conflict in Kenya.

Steven M. Studebaker, PhD
Howard and Shirley Bentall Chair in Evangelical Thought
Associate Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology,
McMaster Divinity College

This is a well-researched, interesting, objective and revolutionary book; a must-read for every Kenyan interested in “Justice within our borders.”

Eunice Kamaara, PhD
Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Gender Development,
Moi University, Kenya

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Chapter 1
    1. Introduction
      1. The Need for the Book
      2. Definition of Key Terms
      3. Literature Review
      4. Research Methodology/Model/Framework
      5. Structure of the Book
  4. Chapter 2
    1. History of Ethnopolitical Conflict in Kenya: 1895–2013
      1. The Roots of Ethnopolitical Conflict in Kenya: The “Colonial Situation”
      2. The Mau Mau Uprising and the Freedom of Kenya
      3. The Roots of Ethnic-Based Coalitions and Political Parties in Kenya
      4. Ethnopolitical Conflict during President Jomo Kenyatta’s Era (1963–1978)
      5. Ethnopolitical Conflict during President Daniel Arap Moi’s Era (1978–2002)
      6. Ethnopolitical Conflict during President Mwai Kibaki’s Era (2002–2013)
      7. Conclusion
  5. Chapter 3
    1. The Church and Ethnopolitical Conflict in Kenya: 1982–2013
      1. Ethnopolitical Conflict and the Church in Kenya: A Unified Voice (1982–2002)
      2. Ethnopolitical Conflict and the Church in Kenya: A Divided Voice (2001–2008)
      3. Ethnopolitical Conflict and the Church in Kenya: On the Road to Recovery (2008–2013)
      4. Conclusion
  6. Chapter 4
    1. John Calvin’s Doctrine of the Image of God as a Basis for a Reformed Doctrine of Ethnopolitical Cohesion in Kenya
      1. Defining “Reformed Tradition”
      2. Resourcing the Reformed Tradition
      3. Reformed Churches in Kenya
      4. A Brief Biographical Sketch of John Calvin
      5. Calvin’s Doctrine of the Image of God
      6. Conclusion
  7. Chapter 5
    1. John Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life in Relation to His Anthropology and Its Relevance for Ethnopolitical Cohesion in Kenya
      1. The Role of an Individual Believer
      2. Necessary Resources in the Renewal of God’s Image
      3. The Implications of Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life
      4. Conclusion
  8. Chapter 6
    1. John Calvin’s Political Theology in Relation to His Anthropology and its Relevance for Ethnopolitical Cohesion in Kenya
      1. The Overall Shape of Calvin’s Political Thoughts
      2. Calvin on Christianity and Culture
      3. The Source and Justification for Civil Government
      4. Insights and Limitations of Calvin’s Political Theology for the Kenyan Context
      5. Conclusion
  9. Chapter 7
    1. “A Hungry Stomach Has No Ears”: The Political Theology of David Gitari and Henry Okullu as Theological Responses to Ethnopolitical Conflict in Kenya
      1. Bishop John Henry Okullu
      2. Archbishop David Mukuba Gitari
      3. Okullu, Gitari, and Calvin
      4. Conclusion
  10. Chapter 8
    1. Jesse Mugambi’s Theology of Reconstruction as a Theological Response to Ethnopolitical Conflict in Kenya
      1. A Brief Biography of Jesse Mugambi
      2. The Roots of African Theology of Reconstruction
      3. From Liberation to Reconstruction: The Thesis and Methods of ATOR
      4. Support and Critique of Mugambi’s Reconstruction Theology
      5. Contribution of Mugambi’s Reconstruction Theology to the Quest for Ethnic Cohesion
      6. Conclusion
  11. Chapter 9
    1. John Mbiti’s Theologies of Identity, Culture, and Community as Theological Responses to Ethnopolitical Conflict in Kenya
      1. A Brief Biography of John Samuel Mbiti
      2. The Identity Question of Africa
      3. Mbiti’s Theology of Culture
      4. Mbiti’s Theology of Community
      5. Mbiti and Calvin
      6. Conclusion
  12. Chapter 10
    1. Conclusion, Limitations, and Further Research
      1. Limitations of the Book
      2. Further Research and Engaging Non-Christian Audiences
  13. Appendix
    1. Response to Reinhold Niebhur’s Moral Man and Immoral Society
  14. Bibliography
  15. Index of Subjects
  16. Index of Names

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