Welcome to this year´s final issue of Exchange. In 51.4, we bring you three interesting articles that address contemporaneous expressions of Christian thought and practice, and the challenges that they face in different contexts. The issue also includes seven book reviews.
In the first article of this issue, Stefan Paas explores the theme of soteriology vis-a-vis Evangelical mission practice. While often recognized as a key aspect in the Evangelical understanding of mission and evangelism, the question of salvation is also often acknowledged as disconnected from the daily life of Evangelical Christians. The article delves into analysing both soteriological issues and practical matters, “a view from the street”, to explore an “emerging narrative” of Evangelical evangelism. The author´s proposal is rooted in the concepts of missio Dei and creation-centered theology as well as in the ministry of Jesus.
Simon Kofi Appiah examines the place of Africa in postmission Christianity and theology – the term mission here referring to the context of colonial Christianity – arguing that understanding African Christianity has major significance for our understanding of global Christianity in the current epoch. He develops this argument through engaging the political/liberationist, multicultural/pluralist, and Pentecostal elements in African Christianities and theologies, and concludes that engaging African postmission theology can assist “global Christianity in its search for a theology that adequately meets contemporary plural realizations of humanness.” In doing this, Appiah both claims the relevance of Africa and her cultural ways for global Christianity and theology and identifies some of the ways in which Africa can enrich Christianity worldwide.
In the final article of this issue Phillip Musoni and Ezra Chitando discuss the spiritualization of the causes and treatment of illness within the African Spirit-type churches in Zimbabwe (and its diaspora) in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Using social media material and interviews Musoni and Chitando describe some of the theological responses of these Zimbabwean prophetic churches to the Covid-19 pandemic. Their findings indicate that white garment churches continue to operate within the African religio-cultural milieu. Musoni and Chitando demonstrate that these churches have remained steadfast in their theology that sicknesses and diseases are caused by evil spirits and that healing can only be realised by addressing the spiritual cause of the illness/disease.