The Church and Politics
A Theological Reflection
The Church and Politics offers an introduction to African political theology that is thorough, practical, and deeply powerful. From traditional power structures to the political ramifications of colonialism, Dr. Bernard Boyo provides a foundation for understanding Africa’s contemporary political concerns in their cultural and historical context. Alongside this overview of African political history, Boyo traces the impact of Western missionaries, evangelicals, liberation theology, and African theologians on the church’s understanding of itself and its role within society.
This book critiques the emphasis on individual salvation that has so often led the church into abdicating its societal responsibilities and provides an exegetical analysis that firmly roots political engagement within a scriptural framework. The church, we are reminded, has a mandate to bring justice and righteousness into every aspect of human experience. As we follow Christ, it is not just our personal lives that should be transformed but our communities and even our nations.
All across Africa, thoughtful Christians are crying out for guidance on how to apply their faith to public affairs. Our God loves justice, good governance, and right relationships in society and commerce. The Bible says much about these things, and so have Christian thinkers down through the ages. But why do so many African preachers have so little to say about it, and how does this body of teaching apply to the African scene? Professor Boyo addresses these questions with this timely and strategic book. May it be read widely. May it be put to good use.
Joel Carpenter, PhD
Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity,
Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
This important book is part of a growing number of African voices speaking back to colonial and missionary forces that have been so influential in framing Africa’s history. It is a deeply researched and biblically balanced reflection on African political theology today. Evangelicals around the world, and especially in the United States, have much to learn from this conversation.
William Dyrness, DThéol
Senior Professor of Theology and Culture,
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA
In this book, Dr. Bernard Boyo offers a definition of the relationship between theology and politics, but more importantly, he reminds us of the innovative interplay of the two as practiced by the churchmen of Africa’s yesteryears – John Henry Okullu, Alexander Muge, David Gitari, Manases Kuria, and Timothy Njoya. We know that the theology and practice of these churchmen motivates for greater contemporary contribution, although in their time they contributed directly to Kenya’s second liberation. Additionally, this is a case for Africa’s rising voice in theological definition.
I highly recommend this book for curious graduate students, churchmen, and students of religion and politics. It is a handy conversation for those who seek to hear and engage with Africa’s current voice in the much-debated area of church and politics.
James Kombo, PhD
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Vice Chancellor,
St Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya
Context is critical for authors writing on any theme in African societies. Context shapes the political theologies and engagements of many African people and societies. Bernard Boyo’s book The Church and Politics: A Theological Reflection achieves this very well by thoroughly illuminating African social, political, and theological engagements in historical, colonial, and post-colonial African societies. A leading African theologian and practitioner, Professor Boyo reflects on an area that is not very well researched. Using exegetical analysis as well as his own personal reflections and observations of the African social-political scene, he articulates the role of African-grounded political theology to produce an excellent book that also privileges African peoples’ voices as they do theology and create theology in a highly contested socio-political, religious, and theological space. I highly endorse this wonderfully written and multidisciplinary book to theological and academic libraries in Africa and beyond. I also highly recommend it to students of African theology, politics, religious studies, political science, history, anthropology, and many other disciplines.
Damaris Seleina Parsitau, PhD
President, African Association for the Study of Religions (AASR)
Former Director, Institute of Women Studies (IWGDS),
Egerton University, Kenya