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SIDIC Periodical XI - 1978/2
Africa and Judaism (Pages 08)

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Dar es Salaam
Statement of Third World Theologians

 

The following excerpts are taken from the statement issued by the Third World theologians gathered for ecumenical dialogue in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, August 5- 12, 1976.

16. Christianity was born in Asia and reached Africa before it spread in Europe. According to reliable tradition the oriental Churches in India tract their origin to the work of the Apostle Thomas, and the Church in Egypt was begun by the Evangelist Mark at the dawn of the Christian Era. Christianity flourished in Ethiopia, North Africa and parts of Asia in the early Centuries, after Christ.

17. However the present-day Churches of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean have their source in the missionary zeal of the European and North American Churches...

20. The missionaries could think of the spread of Christianity in terms of transplanting the institutions of their Euro-American Churches within, of course, the framework of imperial domination. Thus the new Christians were segregated from their fellow human beings, alienated from the traditional religious, cultural heritage and their community way of life. This process strengthened their hold on the new believers. The liturgy was imported wholesale from the mother Churches n; so were the ecclesiastical structures, and theologies. A pietistic and legalistic spirituality common in Europe at the time was introduced in the new churches also. In later times, the Western educational system was spread in the colonized countries largely through the services of the Churches. We have thus the establishment of Christian Churches in these continents more or less as carbon copies of European Christianity, however adapted to the subject situation of the

27. The study of the traditional religions, the promotion of indigenous spirituality are preoccupations of Christian groups in Asian and African countries. In several parts of Africa and Asia serious efforts are being made towards the development of indigenous theologies and liturgies, especially theology of religions. The constitution of truly authentic local Churches is a major preoccupation of many theologians in these countries. Latin America has generated new groups of witnesses to the radical gospel of liberation in almost every country of the continent. Various groups such as women, youth, students, workers and peasants are now contributing much to the renewal of the churches and of a theology relevant to their situations....

31. The theologies from Europe and North America are dominant today in our Churches, and represent one form of cultural domination. They must be understood to have arisen out of situations related to those countries, and therefore must not be uncritically adopted without our raising the question of their relevance in the context of our countries. Indeed, we must, in order to be faithful to the Gospel, and to our peoples, reflect on the realities of our own situations and interpret the word of God in relation to these realities. We reject as irrelevant an academic type of theology that is divorced from action. We are prepared for a radical break in epistemology which makes commitment the first act of theology and engages in critical reflection on praxis of the reality of the Third World....

34. We recognize also as part of the reality of the Third World the influence of religions and cultures, and the need for Christianity to enter into a dialogue with them in humility. We believe that these religions and cultures have a place in God's universal plan and the Holy Spirit is actively at work among them....

 

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