More Information
ISBN: 9781839730733
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 10
Publication Date: 31/08/2021
Pages: 186
Language: English

Kwame Bediako

African Theology for a World Christianity


Published in the USA and Canada by Fortress Press:

Kwame Bediako was one of the great African theologians of his generation. Challenging the assumption that Christianity is a Western religion, he presented a non-Western foundation for theological reflection, expanded the Christian theological imagination, and offered a path forward for post-Christendom theologies.

Kwame Bediako: African Theology for a World Christianity is the first full-length introduction to Bediako’s theology. It engages Bediako’s central concerns with identity – specifically what it means to be African and Christian in the aftermath of the failures of colonialism – the relationship of theology and culture, and the need of indigenous expressions of Christian faith for the health of theological reflection worldwide. Challenging stereotypical perceptions of African Christianity and pressing readers to interrogate their own theological convictions in light of cultural and societal presuppositions, this book examines the gift of Bediako’s work not just for Africa but for the world.

Author Bios

Tim Hartman

TIM HARTMAN is associate professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, USA. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia in the area of theology, ethics, and culture and is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Dr. Hartman has published articles in several journals on topics such as global contemporary theologies, Christology, and lived theology. He is also the author of Theology After Colonization: Bediako, Barth and the Future of Theological Reflection.


Tim Hartman’s Kwame Bediako: African Theology for a World Christianity is a timely theological commentary on the life and work of one of Africa’s most influential late twentieth-century theologians. It is a commendable effort at helping those interested in the contours and trajectories of world Christianity, to sustain and memorialize, if not immortalize, the huge contributions that Kwame Bediako made.

J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, PhD FGA
Baëta-Grau Professor of Contemporary African Christianity and Pentecostal Theology,
President, Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, Ghana

The merit of this book is that it identifies succinctly key themes in Bediako’s writings and demonstrates exposure to an extensive range of material, making for a more illuminating analysis and a helpful navigation of criticisms that have been levelled against Bediako’s ideas. At the same time, the self-acknowledged Westerner’s perspective points to the potential value of Bediako’s insights for Christian self-understanding and theological innovation in the West.

Gillian Mary Bediako, PhD
Deputy Rector, Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture,
Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana

Hartman invites readers to think with Bediako and his interlocutors, and the result is an illuminating theological expos. and debate on the Christocentric focus of an iconic African theologian of the twenty-first century – one who joined his ancestors much too soon.

Elias Kifon Bongmba, PhD
Harry and Hazel Chavanne Chair in Christian Theology,
Chair, Department of Religion, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA
Executive Editor, The Journal of Religion in Africa

If we are to take seriously the theological implications of world Christianity, there is no better person to begin consulting than Kwame Bediako. Tim Hartman has done us a tremendous service by composing this meticulous and readable primer to the foremost theologian produced by Africa in the late twentieth century.

Alexander Chow, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Theology and World Christianity,
Co-Director, Centre for the Study of World Christianity,
School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK

Tim Hartman provides a superb engagement with Bediako’s work, making it accessible to a much wider theological audience. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand the contribution of contemporary African Christian theology in the shaping of world Christianity.

Dion A. Forster, PhD
Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology,
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

In our learning from and thinking with Bediako and Christians from Africa, I am inspired to join Hartman and theologians around the world on a theologically reflexive journey where our “theological assumptions and beliefs will be remade in the process” (pg. 128). Bediako proposed a theological revolution; Hartman’s overview of Bediako’s thought invites us to join this quiet revolution with humility and courage.

Rev. Sivin Kit, PhD
Program Executive for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations,
Theology for Transformation/Action for Justice,
Department for Theology, Mission and Justice,
The Lutheran World Federation

This is an astonishing, exciting, and important book, because it uses the work of Kwame Bediako, confirming that theology is biography. Tim Hartman describes the work of Bediako in an illuminating manner and has been able to weave into it the work of other scholars including their critiques on Bediako’s works.

Esther Mombo, PhD
Lecturer, St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya

This is essential reading for scholars and students wanting to understand how Bediako’s work theologically repositions power and resistance, beyond Western modernity, by reclaiming epistemologies and theologies that are distinctly African.

Sarojini Nadar, PhD
Director, Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction
  4. Identity: “In Becoming Christian, I Was Becoming African Again”
  5. Translatability: “Relevance without Syncretism”
  6. History: “Christianity as a Non-Western Religion”
  7. Mother-Tongue Scriptures and Indigenous Translations: “The Word of God Is Always Vernacular”
  8. Contextual Theology: “A Struggle with Culturally Related Questions”
  9. Remaking Christian Theology: “Africa . . . Leads the Way”
  10. Politics: A Theology of “Nondominating Power”
  11. Conclusion: Challenges to Western and African Theologies
  12. Bibliography
  13. Chronological Listing of Kwame Bediako’s Writings
  14. Index