Church History. Part III

Church History. Part III

African Church History.

We will not engage on a history of the missionary movement in Africa but rather on a history of indigenous forms of Christianity – that is to say the forms of life inspired by Christianity that were accepted, adapted and spread by Africans.

ECTS Credits:

Professor: Philippe Denis


PART 1 Introduction to the history of Christianity in southern Africa

1. The padroādo era
2. Failed attempts and missionary breakthroughs
3. Colonialism and mission
4. Post-independence Christianity
5. Selected Bibliography


1. Early Portuguese missions in South-East Africa (16th-19th centuries)

a) Three hundred years of missionary presence
b) A permanent state of decadence
c) Obstacles to evangelization
   1) Economic factors
   2) Political factors
   3) Cultural factors

2. Towards segregation: the Dutch reformed church and the native in the 19Th Century

3. A controversial bishop: John William Colenso

a) The missionary
b) The theologian
   1) Eucharistic controversy
   2) Is God angry against the sinners?
   3) Biblical criticism
c) The heretic
d) The activist
   1) Langalibalele’s trial
   2) King Cetshwayo and the Anglo-Zulu war

4. Beginnings of the Catholic Church in the Cape colony

a) Catholicism in the Cape Colony before the arrival of Bishop Griffith
b) Bishop Griffith’s pastoral strategy
   1) building of churches.
   2) opening of schools
   3) cooperation of nuns
   4) opening of new missions.
c) A precarious financial situation
d) Race relations

5. The Christian Response to Apartheid in South Africa

a) Segregation in the church
b) An ambivalent response
c) Ecumenism and the beginnings of grassroots Christian activism
d) Black Consciousness and the Christian student movement
e) Liberation theology and inculturation
f) The Soweto uprising
g) Mass protest and prophetic theology
h) The democratic transition
i) Conclusion