An African Understanding of Salvation: A Case Study of A Group of Christians Popularly Known Among the Agikuyu as the Ahonoki (Saved Ones), and an Evaluation of Their Understanding of Salvation, Visa-Visa New Testament Interpretation

Hinga, Teresia M. (1980) An African Understanding of Salvation: A Case Study of A Group of Christians Popularly Known Among the Agikuyu as the Ahonoki (Saved Ones), and an Evaluation of Their Understanding of Salvation, Visa-Visa New Testament Interpretation. Masters thesis, University of Nairobi.

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The religious situation in Kenya is characterized by a noticeable proliferation and diversity. This is mainly because freedom of worship is constitutionally protected, and thus, most world religions are represented. It is Christianity, however, which dominates the religious scene in Kenya. Christianity itself, however, is not a monolithic phenomenon, but is characterized by division and denorainationalism. This has been explained as a legacy from the missionaries who introduced Christianity along denominational lines such that it has retained a fragmented appearance. This explanation, however, fails to account for the Churches which exist independently of the traditional denominations. These independent Churches are about 6,000 in Africa, and the numbers are increasing. The question pertaining to the causes of this tendency to schism has been asked. The reasons given are mainly non-theological, and it is argued that independency is a result of the Africans’ reaction against the cultural- political imperialism implicit in the imposition of Christianity upon them. It has also been pointed out that schism could also result from religious motives, particularly disagreement on theological issues. Students of the phenomenon of independency however, have tended to concentrate on the non- theological causes, at the expense of the theological ones which may be equally important. In this study, we take an independent group, popularly known, among the Agikuyu as Ahonoki (saved ones), and we explore, to what extent theological factors were behind their separation from the established Church. It is evident from our case study that, though sociological factors were not absent in the formation of this group, the theological factors were the dominant ones. In particular, the Ahonoki feel that they differ from other Christians in their understanding of the issue of salvation, an issue that is central to Christianity as a whole. Their very name Ahonoki, which they have earned due to their explicit claim of being saved implies their preoccupation with salvation. Their exclusive claim of being saved, has also earned the Ahonoki some pejorative attitudes from non-members, who, on this account consider them as Pharisaical. They, on their side, are suspicious of the non-Ahonoki whom they regard as nominal Christians.In this context, we may ask what is the cause of this variant interpretation of the cardinal theological issue of salvation. Could this variant interpretation be a result of a piece-meal-interpretation or a mis-interpretation of the scriptures which is the common basis for Christian doctrine. In short, thesis attempts to answer two questions. (1) To what extent is disagreement on theological issues a causative factor in division within Christianity? (2) To what extent is disagreement ontheological issues due to a piece-meal approach to the scriptures?When we analyse the causes which led the Ahonoki to secede from the established Church, we conclude that they secede mainly because of disagreement on certain theological issues, particularly that of salvation. Secondly, there is evidence that these theological differences are mainly due to a failure to view the scriptures as a whole.The thesis therefore, in conclusion, points out the need for a comprehensive view of the scriptures, if discrepancy of opinion on theological issues, which may lead to schism, is to be minimized. Our recommendation then, is that, viewing the scriptures more wholistically, may take us a long way on the path of unity and tolerance, rather than division and exclusiveness which have riddled Christianity since its introduction to this country.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology > BV1460 Religious Education
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: Geoffrey Obatsa
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 06:28
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2016 06:33

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