Christian Spirituality in Africa: Biblical, Historical, and Cultural Perspectives from Kenya

Bibliographic Information: 

Park, Sung K. Christian Spirituality in Africa: Biblical, Historical, and Cultural Perspectives from Kenya. Eugene, OR.: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2013.


It is a daunting task to describe Christian spirituality in Africa since Africa is diverse and there are more than 3,500 ethnic groups in Africa. To describe Christian spirituality of a certain African nation, Kenya in our case, can also be a challenging task since Kenya is composed of more than forty tribes. However, commonalities exist within tribal African cultures. Trying to avoid generalizations, this book seeks to describe Christian spirituality in Kenya.

Part 1 describes biblical and Christian historical (Western) spirituality as a foundation of Christian spirituality. Both Old and New Testament spirituality provide norms for Christian spirituality. Christian spirituality also developed over two millennia and its expressions are varied according to each specific situation in which unique forms of spirituality developed. Patristic, medieval, and Protestant spirituality all provide us with rich traditions of Christian spirituality. This foundational understanding of biblical and Christian historical spirituality is essential in our study of Christian spirituality.

Part 2 deals with the historical development of Christianity in Kenya. Missionaries introduced the Bible to Africans along with Western civilization, thus a unique form of Christian spirituality developed. The East African Revival Movement, the first revival among mainline mission churches, refined the Christian faith that missionaries handed down to Africans. Then the charismatic/Pentecostal revival under which the African church experienced tremendous growth takes the African church in a certain new direction.

Part 3 presents African culture and African Traditional Religion (ATR). As mentioned in the beginning, although African culture and religion are diverse, it is still possible to describe them in a singular term through the eye of a particular culture—here the Kikuyu—because of common characteristics they share. African culture and religion are also discussed in light of their relationship to Christian spirituality. Finally, the secularization of Kenyan society and the necessity of spiritual formation as a vital forward movement are discussed.

In this book I wanted to provide some foundational material for the discussion of Christian spirituality in Africa (Kenya). Although Christianity grows at a tremendous speed in Africa, nurturing of Christians is not widely practiced for various reasons. Thus, in order to deepen spirituality of Christians in Africa, one must first of all develop a proper understanding of Christian spirituality.

Wipf and Stock Publishers: Pickwick Publications