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Theology as the Construction of Piety: A Critique of the Theology of Inculturation and the Pentecostalization of African Christianity

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This essay argues that an important task of theology is the construction of piety. It draws from a few critical moments in the development of Christianity, such as the development of the doctrine of God and Christology in the early church and the rejection of materialistic Christianity in early modern Europe, to argue that these moments reflect the theological struggle to shape Christian piety. The idea that theology is concerned with the shaping of piety is then used to evaluate African theology of inculturation, which has now flowered in the Pentecostalization of African Christianity. It argues that although the theology of inculturation may be helpful in constructing a viable African theology, uncritically embracing the spiritualized cosmology of African traditional societies in salvific discourses promotes a form of piety that is ill-equipped to overcome the marginalization of the continent in the modern world.

Affiliations: 1: Stillman College, P.O. Box 1430, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, Dngong@stillman.edu

10.1163/17455251-02102010
/content/journals/10.1163/17455251-02102010
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/content/journals/10.1163/17455251-02102010
2012-01-01
2016-08-29

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