Poverty, the Bible, and Africa
Contextual Foundations for Helping the Poor
Poverty reduction is a worldwide concern, yet if the church is to play an effective role in its alleviation, an approach that is both biblical and contextual is required.
In Poverty, the Bible, and Africa, Isaac Boaheng formulates a theology of poverty that engages Scripture, African traditional wisdom, and contemporary African concerns to create a paradigm for understanding and alleviating poverty in Africa. Boaheng highlights that, whatever our cultural context, God frowns upon materialism, extravagance, and love for riches; yet the author also demonstrates why a contextual theology must address people’s societal and cultural needs alongside spiritual ones. If we desire a model for poverty reduction that is both theologically sound and contextually appropriate, we must facilitate an encounter between the teachings of Scripture and the socio-economic, political, and religious realities of a particular context.
Combining in-depth cultural analysis with careful exegetical reflection, this book offers refreshing insight into the challenge of confronting poverty in Africa. Boaheng’s approach, however, is relevant far beyond the continent and is transferable to any context where others are seeking to effectively understand and combat poverty.
This is an important book on the subject of poverty in Africa. The author approaches it from a theological perspective and offers a constructive critique aimed at correcting misplaced notions of wealth and poverty in the African context. It is highly recommended for the academy, church readership, and national policy makers.
John D. K. Ekem, DTh
Kwesi Dickson-Gilbert Ansre Distinguished Professor of Biblical Exegesis and Mother Tongue Hermeneutics,
Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon-Accra, Ghana
Boaheng brings solid exegesis as he reframes the challenges of poverty and injustice. He does not hold back on challenging aberrant theology, colonial injustice, and issues such as corruption, which create barriers for people to experience “fullness of life.” At the same time Boaheng helps unpack how the rich cultural heritage across African societies can be a strong foundation to build upon, rather than importing solutions which are culturally and contextually inappropriate from the global north. This should be on the required reading list for everyone involved with mission and development in Africa.
Matthew Maury, MBA
CEO, TEAR Australia
Boaheng’s combination of perceptive cultural insights and in-depth biblical analysis shines a prophetic light on the inadequacies of prosperity theologies in addressing issues of poverty. An informed, perceptive and authentic voice, I highly recommend this book to anyone committed to deepening their understanding of the alleviation of poverty in Africa.
Mark Galpin, PhD
Postgraduate Programme Leader,
Tutor in Poverty and Justice Studies,
All Nations Christian College, Ware, UK
Isaac Boaheng offers a fresh engagement of the thorny issue of poverty in Africa, not from a victim-blaming perspective as many do, but from the helpful premise that God owns everything. The strength of the book lies in its thorough engagement of Scripture and the African context. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
Frederick Mawusi Amevenku, PhD
Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies,
Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon-Accra, Ghana
Boaheng has only one goal in mind – to develop a theology of poverty that is both theologically sound and culturally appropriate for the context of Africa. However, it is not only a book for Africa and African Christians. I really hope and pray that the whole global body of Christ will read this book and learn from it. This book stresses again the importance of biblical and holistic discipleship starting with the leaders of the church and Christian organizations as they model it and equip others.
Rev. Jan C. Wessels
International Director, Faith2Share (UK)
Table of Contents
- Why Another Book on Poverty for Africa?
- Overview of the Book
- The African Worldview
- African Religious Worldview
- Sociopolitical Context
- Economic Context
- Poverty in the Context of Africa
- Perspectives on the Concept of Poverty
- Traditional African Perspectives on Wealth and Poverty
- Poverty as Absolute, Moderate and Relative
- Poverty and Economic Inequality in Africa
- Some Causes of Poverty in Africa
- Some Effects of Poverty in Africa
- Poverty in the Context of the Old Testament
- Key Biblical Terms for “Poor”
- Exegesis of Deuteronomy 15:1–11
- Exegesis of Isaiah 10:1–4
- Poverty in the Context of the New Testament
- Exegesis of Matthew 6:19–34
- Exegesis of 1 Timothy 6:6–10
- Theological Synthesis of Exegetical Analyses
- Prosperity Theology in Africa
- What Is Prosperity Theology?
- The Rise of the Prosperity Gospel
- The Planting of Prosperity Theology in Africa
- Major Teachings of Prosperity Theology
- Critique of Prosperity Theology
- A Contextual Approach for Poverty Reduction in Africa
- Contextual Theology in Africa
- Proposed Approach to Poverty Reduction in Africa
- Subject Index