More Information
ISBN: 9781783688111
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 20
Publication Date: 31/07/2020
Pages: 384
Language: English

The Kingdom of God in Africa

A History of African Christianity


African Christianity is not an imported religion but rather one of the oldest forms of Christianity in the world. In The Kingdom of God in Africa, Mark Shaw and Wanjiru M. Gitau trace the development and spread of African Christianity through its two-thousand year history, demonstrating how the African church has faithfully testified to the power and diversity of God’s kingdom. Both history students and casual readers will gain greater understanding of how key churches, figures and movements across the continent conceptualized the kingdom of God and manifested it through their actions. The only up-to-date, single-volume study of its kind, this book also includes maps and statistics that aid readers to absorb the rich history of African Christianity and discover its impact on the rest of the world.

Author Bios

Mark Shaw

MARK SHAW is professor of historical studies and director of the Centre for World Christianity at Africa International University. He studied World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh, UK, (MTh), and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania, USA, (ThD).

Wanjiru M. Gitau

WANJIRU M. GITAU teaches World Christianity and Practical Theology at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida, USA and is a research fellow of Virginia Theological Seminary, Virginia, USA. She has a PhD in World Christianity from Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya.


This book is authoritatively compelling as a significant resource for students and scholars of World Christianity and general readers.

—Afe Adogame, PhD
Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Religion and Society,
Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, USA

What a timely revision given Africa’s rise to prominence within World Christianity! Meticulous historians and masterful narrators, the authors’ interpretation through the lens of the kingdom of God showcases the study of World Christianity at its best.

—Diane Stinton, PhD
Dean of Students and Associate Professor,
Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Shaw and Gitau offer a concise and fresh ecumenical treatment of African Christian history by placing it squarely in the academic discipline of World Christianity, utilizing Christ and his kingdom as a guiding motif.

—Todd M. Johnson, PhD
Co-director, Center for the Study of Global Christianity,
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA

The new edition of this highly acclaimed book provides a welcome paradigm for interpreting African church history. A rich resource for students, teachers and researchers of African Christianity.

—John Karanja, PhD
Professor of Church History,
Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya

With verve and imagination, Mark Shaw and Wanjiru Gitau deploy the multivalent biblical motif of the kingdom of God to unlock the inner dynamics of the history of Christianity in Africa.

—Kenneth R. Ross, OBE, PhD
Professor of Theology,
Zomba Theological College, Malawi

The beauty of a story is in the telling as much as in the content. Mark Shaw and Wanjiru Gitau here tell the wonderful, captivating story of Christianity in Africa. The comprehensiveness as well as the preciseness in which the authors tell this story makes one to want to keep on reading.

—Samuel M. Ngewa, PhD
Professor in Biblical Studies,
Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya

Mark Shaw and Wanjiru Gitau’s decades of research, teaching and mission in Africa have produced a wealth of experience that is evident in the pages of this important work. In it, they provide a fresh, up-to-date, and thoughtfully written chronicle of the growth of Christianity on the continent.

—Kyama Mugambi, PhD
Researcher, Centre for World Christianity,
Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya

Today, anyone wishing to learn something of Christianity must observe what God is doing in Africa, and to do that effectively, this book will be of the greatest help. No theology or World Christianity syllabus will be complete without Shaw’s and Gitau’s The Kingdom of God in Africa. It is highly recommended.

—Harvey C. Kwiyani, PhD
Programme Leader, MA African Christianity,
Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK

Table of Contents

  1. List of Maps
  2. Part 1: The Imperial Rule of God: Beginnings to AD 600
    1. Wrestling with the Kingdom – Approaching the Story of African Christianity
    2. The Kingdom Along the Nile – Christianity in Egypt to AD 640
    3. The City of God – Christianity in North Africa to AD 640
    4. Kings of Glory – Christianity in Ethiopia and Nubia to AD 600
  3. Part 2: The Clash of Kingdoms: Medieval African Christianity (600–1700)
    1. The Kingdoms of Allah and Mungu – Islam and African Religion in the Middle Ages
    2. Crumbling Kingdoms – Nubian Collapse and Ethiopian Survival
    3. The Kingdoms of Christendom – The European Discovery of Africa, 1500–1700
  4. Part 3: The Reign of Christ: African Christianity in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
    1. The Liberating Kingdom – The Crusade Against the Slave Trade
    2. Kingdom and Community in West Africa
    3. A Kingdom Divided – South African Christianity
    4. The Violent Kingdom – East African Christianity
  5. Part 4: The Kingdom on Earth: African Christianity in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
    1. Ambassadors of the Kingdom – The Missionary Factor in Colonial Africa
    2. Cities of Zion – Independent Christian Movements before 1960
    3. Christianity in Post-Independence Africa
  6. Bibliography
  7. Index of Names
  8. Index of Subjects

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