More Information
ISBN: 9781783683604
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 12
Publication Date: 14/12/2017
Pages: 266
Series: Africa Society of Evangelical Theology Series
Language: English

Christianity and Suffering

African Perspectives


We often hear these days that the centre of Christianity is moving toward the Global South and Africa is a key player in that movement. This makes the study of African Christianity and African realities important – even more so when it is being done by Africans themselves in their own context. The Africa Society of Evangelical Theology (ASET) was created to encourage research and sustained theological reflection on key issues facing Africa by and for African Christians and those working within African contexts. The volumes in the ASET series constitute the best papers presented at the annual conferences of ASET and together they seek to fill this important gap in the literature of Christianity.

Africa is all too familiar with suffering. Yet there is a dearth of sustained theological reflection on suffering by Africans, or for Africans. Christianity and Suffering: African Perspectives addresses this need and is the fruit of the 5th Annual Conference of the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology. The contributions address age-old issues like why God does not prevent or relieve human suffering; they wrestle with causes of suffering including witchcraft, poverty, curses, and war; and they also explore appropriate Christian responses to suffering, all from within the African context.

”The authors have dealt with the doctrine of theodicy from an African setting, thus instilling Christian hope in the midst of pain, misery and untold suffering. They have endeavored to demonstrate that even in suffering our loving God is still in control.”—Professor Zablon Nthamburi, PhDProfessor of Theology, Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi, KenyaFormer Presiding Bishop of the Kenya Methodist Church

The Africa Society of Evangelical Theology (ASET) is a professional society, founded in 2009 for the purpose of fostering evangelical theological scholarship and to facilitate collegial relationships among scholars and practitioners of the Christian religion in Africa. Its core values are: (1) Faithfulness to the Bible, (2) Professional ethics, (3) Creative and critical thinking, (4) Christ-like humility, (5) Community of scholars encouraging, respecting, and learning from one another, and (6) Development and inspiration of young scholars. To learn more about ASET, please visit its Facebook page:

Author Bios

Rodney L. Reed
(Edited By)

RODNEY L. REED is a missionary educator who has been serving at Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi, Kenya, since 2001. Currently, he is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to that, he served as the Chair of the Department of Religion for nine years. He holds a PhD in Theological Ethics from Drew University and is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene.


The authors have dealt with the doctrine of theodicy from an African setting, thus instilling Christian hope in the midst of pain, misery and untold suffering. They have endeavored to demonstrate that even in suffering our loving God is still in control.

Professor Zablon Nthamburi, PhD
Professor of Theology, Africa Nazarene University
Former Presiding Bishop of the Kenya Methodist Church

In this publication, the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology takes a look at Christianity and suffering from an African perspective. Personal and corporate sin leads to suffering. God is not seen as author but as Redeemer from both sin and suffering. Some writers expose unique African negative contributions to suffering, and other writers challenge the church in Africa to find and implement appropriate solutions.

Daryll Gordon Stanton, EdD
Former Chair, Department of Religion, Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi, Kenya

Table of Contents

  1. Preface

  2. Acknowledgments

  3. Part I Suffering in the African Context
    1. 1 Poverty and Suffering: The Role of the Holy Spirit
      1. David Bawks
    2. 2 Politicians, Funerals, and the Bereaved in Kenya: Biblical Perspectives
    3. on Death and the Afterlife in Light of 2 Samuel 1:2–27
      1. Diphus Chosefu Chemorion
    4. 3 Sickness in Africa:
    5. A Holistic, Integrated, Christian Understanding and Response
      1. Steven D. H. Rasmussen
    6. 4 Why Nigerian Christians Accuse People of Witchcraft: A Review of Cases Among the Igbo Nigerians
      1. Felicia Chinyere Priest
    7. 5 Loving “Witches”: A Christian Educational Intervention to Help Those Accused of Witchcraft in Northwest Tanzania
      1. Janice Horsager Rasmussen

  4. Part II The Christian Response to Suffering
    1. 6 Following Jesus in a World of Suffering and Disaster
      1. Isaiah Majok Dau
    2. 7 A Missional Approach to Suffering Inflicted by Spiritual Powers: A Case Study of Northern Kenya
      1. Judy Wanjiru Wang’ombe
    3. 8 A Christian Response to Curses in Africa
      1. Nathan Nzyoka Joshua
    4. 9 Why Prosperity Gospel Preachers Are Prospering While Most of Their Members Are Suffering
      1. Peter Mbede Oyugi
    5. 10 Strengthening Christian Responses to Human Suffering
      1. Philip Thuo, and Daryll Stanton

  5. Part III Toward an African Christian Theodicy
    1. 11 Is God a God of Retribution? A Worldview Interpretation Using the Four-Legged-Stool Hermeneutical Model
      1. Elizabeth Wairimu Mburu
    2. 12 The Book of Job: A Challenge to African Spirituality Regarding Human Suffering
      1. Sammy Githuku Wangonya

  6. List of Contributors


David Bawks

DAVID BAWKS is a minister with Nairobi Chapel, having served in Kenya since 2008. He graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical/Theological Studies and History, then went on to complete a Master of Divinity at Africa International University. Previously, he taught at Carlile College and led the Nairobi Chapel Tyrannus Hall training ministry. Currently he leads a new church plant at Nairobi Chapel Karen.

Diphus Chosefu Chemorion

DR DIPHUS CHOSEFU CHEMORION is an ordained Minister of the Reformed Church of East Africa (RCEA). He earned his BA (Social Work) degree from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Divinity from St Paul’s University. He also holds a Master of Theology from Emory University (Candler School of Theology) and a Doctor of Theology degree from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Rev. Prof. Chemorion is currently an Associate Professor of Old Testament and Dean of Faculty of Theology at St Paul’s University, Limuru- Kenya. He is also the RCEA Synod Professor of Theology.

Isaiah Majok Dau

BISHOP DR ISAIAH MAJOK DAU is the General Overseer of Sudan Pentecostal Church and former Principal of the Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College. Dr Dau studied systematic theology at the University of Stellenbosch, addressing the theology of suffering. Dr Dau has, in the last five years, been engaged in conflict resolution and peace-building in South Sudan, representing the South Sudan Council of Churches. He maintains a teaching ministry internationally and locally. Dr Dau has written two books, Suffering and God: A Theological Reflection on the War in Sudan (2002) and Free at Last: South Sudan Independence and the Role of the Church (2011).

Nathan Nzyoka Joshua

NATHAN NZYOKA JOSHUA earned his PhD in New Testament Biblical Studies from Africa International University (AIU), Nairobi, Kenya. He is a pastor for Africa Inland Church, and currently lectures and serves as the acting Head of Department for Biblical Studies, at AIU. He is the co-author of Restoring the Beauty and Blessing of Ethnic Diversity: A Training Manual on Ethnicity (AIU and ALARM, 2009). Dr Joshua has three children with his wife, Regina.

Elizabeth Mburu

ELIZABETH MBURU was the first woman to gain a PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, North Carolina, USA. She is an Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek at International Leadership University, Africa International University and Pan-Africa Christian University in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr Mburu is on the board of the Africa Bible Commentary and is the editorial coordinator and New Testament editor for its revision, as well as the Africa Regional Coordinator for Langham Literature. Professor Mburu is also the author of Qumran and the Origins of Johannine Language and Symbolism, T & T Clark, 2010 and a contributor to all three books published so far in the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology Series from Langham Global Library: Christianity and Suffering, 2017, African Contextual Realities, 2018, and Governance and Christian Higher Education in the African Context, 2019.

Peter Mbede Oyugi

REV PETER MBEDE OYUGI is an ordained minister and currently the National Director of Youth Ministries in Fountain of Life Churches International (FOLCI) and a member of the Executive Council of FOLCI. He was educated in Kenya and holds an Advance Diploma in Theology from Bible College of East Africa (2006), a Bachelor of Ministry degree from Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore (2007), and a Master of Divinity from International Leadership University (2011). He is currently pursuing a PhD in Theological Studies at the last institution, focusing on the theologies in contemporary music and how music can be used to teach theology. Rev Mbede is an adjunct faculty member in the department of Bible and Theology at Pan Africa Christian University, Kenya.

Chinyere Felicia Priest

FELICIA CHINYERE PRIEST is a Nigerian and holds two master’s degrees in Missions and Biblical Studies from West Africa Theological Seminary (an affiliate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka), Lagos, Nigeria. She is a PhD candidate at Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya (Intercultural Studies). Her field of research is the conversion of Christians to Islam within sub-Saharan Africa. Apart from serving as a missionary in Sudan, she served for many years as lecturer in the Mission Department of West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS), Lagos, Nigeria. She is equally a Teaching Assistant in Africa International University, Nairobi.

Janice Horsager Rasmussen

JANICE HORSAGER RASMUSSEN has been a missionary for twenty-two years. She taught education, family, and spiritual development at colleges in Tanzania, Kenya, and the USA. She is currently a PhD candidate in Education at Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya. Previously, she was an assistant professor with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, disseminating research into communities.

Steve Rasmussen

REV STEVEN D. H. RASMUSSEN is director of Training East African Ministers (TEAM) and senior lecturer at Africa International University (2008–2017). From 1995 to 2008 he lived in Mwanza, Tanzania, and led Lake Victoria Christian College. Prior to that he was assistant pastor of a multicultural congregation, Bethel Christian Fellowship in St Paul, MN, USA. He holds a PhD in Intercultural Studies from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL, USA. He has written chapters and journal articles on short-term missions, negative ethnicity, the Africa Leadership Study, and Christian responses to “witches” and “witch” accusations.

Daryll Stanton

REV DR DARYLL STANTON is an ordained missionary and educator of the Church of the Nazarene, having served for thirty-five years in eastern and southern Africa. He received his EdD from California Coast University (Santa Ana, USA). Currently he is Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Department of Religion at Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi, Kenya, where he has served for the past twenty years. Previously he trained and mentored pastors and Christian religion educators in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Philip Thuo

DR PHILIP THUO is a lecturer in Community Development at Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi, Kenya. He obtained ThM and PhD degrees in Intercultural Studies (with a special focus on Church in Society) with Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, USA, after undergraduate studies in Economics at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He has served in various capacities as development planning officer both in the Kenyan government and in the private sector.

Judy Wanjiru Wang’ombe

JUDY WANJIRU WANG’OMBE did her MDiv (Biblical Studies) and MTh (Missions) with Africa International University, Kenya. She is currently a doctoral candidate of Inter-Religious Studies in the same university. She has a keen interest in understanding the lived experiences of Muslims, especially those pertaining to the world of spirits. She has served in various Muslim locations and interacted with Muslims from different cultural settings.

Sammy Githuku Wangonya

REV DR SAMMY GITHUKU WANGONGYA is a senior lecturer at St Paul’s University in the Faculty of Theology. Sammy did his Master’s and doctoral studies at McGill University and Catholic University of Eastern Africa respectively. He teaches courses in Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew. Sammy has served as the Dean of the Faculty of Theology and is currently the Director of Postgraduate Studies at St Paul’s University.

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