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The Changing Face of ChristianityAfrica, the West, and the World$
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Lamin Sanneh and Joel A. Carpenter

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177282.001.0001

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Christian Witness in the Public Sphere:

Christian Witness in the Public Sphere:

Some Lessons and Residual Challenges from the Recent Political History of Ghana

(p.117) 6 Christian Witness in the Public Sphere:
The Changing Face of Christianity

Kwame Bediako

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the role of Christian churches, leaders and ideas in the democratization of Africa, with a focus on Ghana. The author argues first that African Christianity needs to be understood on African terms. European and American assumptions about religion and politics are framed by the history of the “Christendom” cultural ideal and the current secular outlook of the North Atlantic world and thus are less relevant for African politics. There is a new public theology arising that contests the tendency in traditional Africa to vest political power with sacred authority. Recounting the election of a democratic challenger to succeed Ghana’s authoritarian president, Jerry Rawlings, Bediako sees evidence that this new Christian public theology is changing the political culture in a genuinely democratic direction.

Keywords:   African Christianity, African politics, Christendom, democratization, Ghana, public theology, religion and politics, Jerry Rawlings

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