A Paper presented at the 3rd World Christianity Conference, Princeton University, March 3-6, 2021Reuben Kigame (PhD student Africa International University, Nairobi; MSC, B.Ed.)

It is a great and humbling privilege for me to be part of this year’s World Christianity Conference! My topic interrogates the communication of the Gospel within the African culture and how entrenching this Gospel through theologization has tended to divide rather than unite. A close look at the theological fraternity on the continent, as is the case everywhere else where Christian theology is articulated, will show that theologians have been classified into various camps such as conservative and liberal, evangelical and ecumenical, biblical and cultural, classical and contemporary, Pentecostal-Charismatic and Mainline. While such categorization for research and related analytical purposes may be useful, there is a sense in which it does not mirror the unity call of Jesus, but there is another sense in which it polarizes, thus limiting collaborative discourse. This classification has been escalated to the position where, for instance, if you lived in the United States, should you associate yourself with the Republican Party, you are considered evangelical and conservative, a possible candidate for heaven, and if you support the Democrats, you are deemed liberal and, quite likely a candidate for hell. Depending on what you teach, what you have said in your books or journal articles, which schools you have attended, etc, you are a good or bad theologian.

This Paper is an attempt to initiate an experimental discourse on how this could be minimized by providing more latitude for the examination of each other’s position through shrinking the screaming labels and tags around African and any theologians. I set out to try and reconcile two of Africa’s greatest theologians, Byang Kato and Kwame Bediako, both of who have gone to be with the Lord, but whose contribution to African theology remains a big blessing. To do this posthumously is, certainly, not beneficial for them but, I believe, for us in the Church and the Academy today, but especially for the African Church which seems to thrive on schismatic polarization.         

I will briefly define the four key terms in the discussion, ending with Neutrosophy, which is the theoretical peg on which I hang my application. I will then briefly discuss six points of tension between Kato and Bediako by drawing from a selection of their published works before concluding with some remarks on how a neutrosophic reconciliation between them might be possible. My reconciliation experiment will be drawn from the two sources that divide them, namely, the Bible and the African culture. 


The term ‘Gospel’ is most studied in Bible schools and seminaries. Huge chunks of course work in Homiletics are weaved around understanding what the Gospel is and how it should be preached. Despite this prevalent preparation that leads to Church planting, the average African understanding of the Gospel remains limited and narrow. For a majority of believers in Africa, the ‘Gospel’ is simply the delivery of a homily or, as the case would be among Pentecostals and Charistmatics, “coming to Jesus and being saved.” Getting “saved” is often associated with attending a service or open air crusade and responding to the altar call by raising your hand or walking to the front of the hall or stadium to kneel for prayer. The way it was practiced by Charles Phinney, Billy Graham or Reinhard Bonke. Even in theological circles, most of us content with the term ‘evangelion’ or ‘Good News’ which we exegete endlessly in term papers and hermeneutical presentations. While this is important, I propose that Jesus, the author of the Gospel gave it an unbelievably broad spiritual, social and political context. For this reason, Jesus’ spin, and not our hermeneutical or populist contemporary acclamations, captures the real essence that fits all the cultural spiritual, social and political needs. This sense is captured in Isaiah 61 and consummated by Jesus Himself at the beginning of His ministry as recorded in Luke 4. Isaiah writes:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

This definition presents the Gospel as redemptive but also transformatory through the proclamation of spiritual and physical liberation. As Pope Francis has well captured in his Evangelii Gaudium, the Gospel of Christ brings total joy.[1]The theologian is a participant in understanding and applying the Gospel. Jesus is the source of the Gospel, and its application is the human society. Without society there is no Gospel to preach. The Gospel is universal – a message and application to the whole world. For God so loved the world that He gave His son. Paul says the Gospel is the ‘power of god unto salvation’ to the Jew first but also to the Gentile. No one is excluded from the need, power and goodness or benefits of the Gospel. The Incarnation is not a preserve of the Jews. The Word “became flesh and dwelt among us.’ Jesus has been here and, beginning with the first disciples, we have all beheld Him – the only begotten of God sent to us in our cultures. We have met Him in the Scriptures, prayers, songs, fellowship, nature, but also in our reflection as theologians. , This means that God meets us where we are and what we do every day. This is part of culture; But what exactly is meant by culture, and what makes that culture African or European?

African Culture

According to Gabriel E. Idang (2015) Culture entails the totality of traits and characters that are peculiar to a people insofar as they are marked out from other peoples or societies.[2] These peculiar traits include the people’s language, dressing, music, work, arts, religion, dancing, social norms, taboos and values.[3] Just the way there is no homogenous European, Asian or American culture, there is no single African culture. What is meant by ‘African culture’ in this Paper is the sum total of what Africans believe and practice and how it differs from other cultures including the Jewish and Greek cultures in which the Bible was presented. We argue that there is no cultureless society and neither is there a culture that is superior to another. When discussing Kato and Bediako, this point becomes extremely important because they are mainly divided by their positions on the relationship between African culture and what Kato elevates as ‘biblical culture.’ This Paper seeks a conciliar perspective on their theologies.


Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations especially where such relations have been broken. It entails the removal of hostility or animosity. Other terms associated with reconciliation are reuniting, pacification, appeasement, placation, settlement, rectification, resolution, mending, remedying or even compromise, concord or amity. One significant term associated with reconciliation which caught my attention is the term ‘propitiation.’ Does this ring a bell? Yes, remember John writing in his 1st Epistle that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). This is thus a solemn responsibility which shadows upon the work of Christ. It involves Christ’s own mandate carried in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” The neutrosophic reconciliation I am engaging in the discussion is, thus, solely for conciliar purposes and greater latitude in listening to one another as we engage in theological reflection. This is probably the first time this is being done using this theory in theology in general and World Christianity in particular. As shall be seen in our conclusion, it is pegged upon the heart of Christ who desires that all His disciples may be one as well as the multiculturalism that defined the First Church. It is consummated in Christ’s tolerance of the diversity of personality and profession among His twelve disciples but a stricture on truth that would see Him strongly fire at the religious hypocrisy of His day. So, what is neutrosophy and how does it work in the reconciliation process?

Neutrosophy as Theory and Tool of Reconciliation

The dialectical approach that is often used to discuss African theology is useful but it introduces a dualistic inclination which restricts theological discussions to an “either-or” logic without regard for the possibility of an “excluded middle.” Given this categorization, African scholars are viewed to be in a specific camp and not any other. While proportional truth is by nature categorical whatever the society, and tends to lean towards deduction, the comprehension of its constituent parts is scientific and hence inductive in nature. This means that to take any of the African theologians and put a label around him such as “evangelical” or “liberal”, “biblical” or “traditional,” can end up being as misleading as concluding that all Republicans in the United States of America are Christian and all democrats non-Christian.

In this paper I argue that this Hegelian way of judging truth or propositions can be problematic in that it may result in unnecessary animosity. It is also philosophically insufficient because it introduces an endless cycle of categorizations which ARE simply reduced to “thesis and antithesis.” In my opinion, what Hegel proposes in order to resolve the clash, i.e.?  “Synthesis” is itself a thesis again, which also needs another antithesis. You end up with an endless cycle that resembles that oldquestion of what came first between the chicken and the egg. The dialectical categorization of African theologians leaves someone like Byang Kato in some kind of puritanical position pitted against authors like E. Bolaji Idowu, Kwame Bediako and John Mbiti who are then viewed to be too liberal to be truly Christian. Depending on which theologian is studied closely or the denomination he belongs to, it is common for emergent scholars and students alike to take positions and occasionally bedevil those who hold onto a different theological starting point even labelling some “good” or “bad” theologians. This is not to imply that we are to ignore theological or doctrinal pitfalls and logical fallacies in the works of those who discourse on African theology. We must point misleading positions and arguments out. However, while none of the theologians holds the monopoly of understanding the convergence of theology and culture, and while anyone of us could overemphasize a theological passion over another, this paper proposes a more accommodating theoretical framework that utilizes aspects of a new branch of philosophy called Neutrosophy in order to encourage a closer look at the possibility of harmonizing the concerns of various thinkers writing on the same subject. Neutrosophy is a more useful analytical tool, accepting the possibility of examining truth or propositions from a logical standpoint, but goes a little further in its critical approach to the various angles and layers of representation. Neutrosophy would lay bare any truth in a proposition, accord it sufficient logical examination, but also clearly show existing alternatives in any claim or proposition. This means that, any African theologian who sets out to discourse on the relationship of Christianity and African culture should be viewed as a mere contributor to the discussion rather than one who bears the final word om the subject. Kato, as well as Bediako, read neutrosophically, are not ends in themselves. They do not close the discourse with the finality of “whoever adds to or subtracts” from the discourse is in danger of committing the unpardonable. 

On a superficial level, my effort may be viewed as the creation of a synthesis of competing theological positions, but a closer look would bring to the surface my commitment to demonstrate that each of these scholars, in setting out to discourse on the enculturation process in Africa, has some important concerns which, if read neutrosophically, adds up to the complete picture of what the continent may be battling with. In other words, if Byang Kato proposes a closer attention to the significance of the Bible in informing African theology and Kwame Bediako points out the importance of using culture to better understand the biblical message, the two positions may seem contradictory but, if read neutrosophically, it will become clear that they are actually complementary. Even if one were to reduce my position to that of the “six blind men of Indostan” touching an elephant, I would grant it on condition that the accusation includes the possibility of their sitting down at the end of the day and comparing notes including the option of inviting in a seventh seeing man to illumine their observations. [4]Indeed, I have argued elsewhere that Jesus ends up being that seventh seeing man who “became flesh and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth.”[5]     

I wish to operationalize Neutrosophy as defined by Fu Yuhua in his paper titled Expanding Hegelian Triad Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis with Neutrosophy and Quad-stage Method. Drawing from the 1995 work of Florentin Smarandache, Yuhua defines Neutrosophy as a new branch of philosophy that “studies origin, nature and scope of neutralities, as well as their interactions with different ideational spectra.”[6]  

The fundamental principle in Neutrosophy as a theory is that every idea i.e. <A> often tends to be neutralized, diminished or balanced by <Non-A> ideas (not only <Anti-A> as Hegel asserted) – as a state of equilibrium.  In between <A> and <Anti-A> there are infinitely many <Neut-A> ideas, which may balance <A> without necessarily <Anti-A> versions.[7]

To neuter an idea one must discover all its three sides:  of sense (truth), of nonsense (falsity), and of undecidability (indeterminacy) – then reverse/combine them.  Afterwards, the idea will be classified as neutrality. [8]

Smarandache adds that while epistemology studies the limits of knowledge and its justification, Neutrosophy goes beyond these limits and puts under the magnifying glass not only the defining features and conditions of an entity but also the whole derivative spectrum in between. Again, while epistemology studies philosophical contraries, e.g. “E” versus “anti-E”, Neutrosophy studies “neut-E” versus “E” and versus “anti-E” which implies logic based on neutralities. In the same way, seen against hermeneutics, Neutrosophy does not only look at interpretation of ideas as hermeneutics does, but also creates new ideas and analyzes a wide range of the ideational field by balancing unstable  systems and unbalancing stable ones.[9] Applying this to our current discussion, each of the theologians’ positions could be discussed individually and analyzed using Neutrosophy, but each of them could be balanced against another theologian or more in order to come up with a more comprehensive position for looking at the issue being discussed. Kato and his critics could be discussed individually or harmonized in order to accord the discussion a bigger platform of consideration. With regard to the Gospel, this is what we will endeavor to do in this paper.

Let us look a little deeper at how the theory of Neutrosophy works.  Writing from the world of mathematics and computer science, Charles Ashbacher (2002) states that Neutrosophic logic is a branch of classical logic and functions as “an extension/combination of the fuzzy logic, intuitionistic logic, paraconsistent logic, and the three-valued logics that use an indeterminate value.” He adds that in neutrosophic logic, “every logical variable x is described by an ordered triple. x= (t, i, f) where t is the degree of truth, f is the degree of false and i is the level of indeterminacy.”[10]

            Yuhua goes on to explain that Neutrosophy considers every notion or idea together with its opposite or negation, i.e. “A” and “anti-A” and the spectrum of neutralities (ideas located between the two extremes, supporting neither of them). While Neutrosophy is the basis for neutrosophic logic, neutrosophic set, neutrosophic probability, medicine, military science, cybernetics, physics and engineering statistics especially in software and information fusion, these scientific applications are not our interest here. Instead, this paper employs Neutrosophy in a conciliar manner in order to demonstrate the possibility of the key concerns of African theologians to find a mutual biblical basis of discourse. In the case of Byang Kato’s concern about what he calls “incipient universalism” as read against the enculturation principle defended by Mbiti, Idowu, Healey and Sieverts, Nyamiti and Bediako, Neutrosophy would call for the understanding that the term “universalism” as well as its adjective, “incipient” require definition in the light of incarnation and the evident biblical portrait of Christianity as a faith to be taken to “the ends of the earth.” In the same way, enculturation that is not grounded on a clear biblical position requires examination to determine if it can stand the test of the one and only Gospel that does not become what Paul calls in Galatians 1:6:10 “another” or “different” Gospel. We shall thus use Neutrosophy as a conciliatory tool to bring Byang Kato, Kwame Bediako as well as all the other African theologians to the Lord’s Table where, as the case was at the Last Supper, Jesus mingled and communed with His rainbow band of disciples who were diverse in character, vocation  and behaviour,  including a Thomas who has the capacity to doubt, a Peter who is quite vocal and may occasionally carry the tendency of denying Jesus, a politician who was simply referred to as “Simon the Zealot”, a tax-collector called Matthew or Levi, two loud men who were given the nickname “sons of thunder”, a Judas who ends up hanging himself as well as a John who tarries intimately at Jesus’ bosom.

Key Points of Tension between Kato and Bediako

Let us now briefly survey the apparent divide between these giants of theological scholarship in Africa. We will break down the discussion into six main themes:

  1. Salvation
  2. The Ecumenical-Evangelical Divide
  3. The supremacy of the Bible
  4. Cultural relevance
  5. Continuity and Revelation
  6. Identity

1. Salvation

Kato and Bediako approach salvation in the African context from two different angles. This is what makes a number of people conclude that there is a soteriological battle between them. Kato is seen to be arguing for salvation through the cross of Christ devoid of any traditional religious support while Bediako leans towards African traditions being significant in helping the African understand and receive the Gospel. While Kato hardly saw anything salvific in pre-Christian Africa, Bediako, Mbiti, Idowu and several others argued that God was already at work, revealing Himself through various strands of truth. As we shall see later, for example, where Kato saw traditional Jaba prophetesses as mere conduits of demonic influences, Bediako argued that, if these prophetesses predicted things that came to pass, it would imply that they were messengers of the truth. Read neutrosophically, as Africans, this becomes interesting because Kato acknowledges that some aspects of the African culture and tradition are good and even point to the need for salvation. On the other hand, Bediako has no other authority for what the Gospel is except the Bible and insists on the Lordship of Christ for the African people. Kato would have a problem with Mbiti and more recent successors  such as Healey and Sybertz, who present Jesus as a superior ancestor who plays the same role as the “Redeemer Kinsman” of the book of Ruth or highest priest with a better sacrifice than the traditional animal sacrifices of the African society.

According to Byang Kato, any attempt to begin with culture in order to understand and interpret the Gospel leads to a dangerous opening into the possibility of justification leading to salvation without the cross, hence universalistic to the point of implying that non-Christian beliefs can lead one to salvation. Using the Jaba religious tradition as a case study in his doctoral dissertation, he shows that unaided culture cannot fully explain the gospel and that to accommodate cultural dynamics to justify pre-evangelism is dangerous because it can lead to syncretism. Kato writes:

Jaba wrong conception of sin results in a wrong view of salvation. If an anti-social act is all there is to sin, salvation from sin would be in the same terms. … If sin is only societal, the social gospel has to be the right solution. This is what liberal ecumenists hold.[11]

Kato adds that, understood this way, to be saved according to Jaba language is to be accepted and to be accepted is first of all in the community of the living and then in the “city of the dead.” This implies that, for the Jaba, being representative of several African communities, “the way for the offender to be accepted by his fellow citizens is to pay the fine or take the punishment prescribed for him,” usually coming in the form of exclusion from the tribal gathering or a ”payment of so many goats and so much wine.” [12]

Bediako objects to this approach in his book, Theology and Identity… (1992) which he developed out of his doctoral thesis as well. According to Bediako, it is impossible to even discuss the authority of the Scriptures Kato elevates, without their historical context. He argues that the Bible is preeminent in interpreting culture but it, too, is a product of cultural formulation and expression. Bediako confesses that his interest in the theme of the relationship between the Gospel and Culture was rooted in the development of what he described as his own “Christian self-understanding.” This quest made him concerned about the need to seek a clarification for himself regarding how the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its abiding form relates to the inescapable issues and questions which arise from the Christian’s cultural existence in the world but especially how this relationship can be achieved without injury to the integrity of the Gospel. He states:

In the theological circles of my formative years as a Christian convert, the usual approach to the question of Gospel and Culture was to seek the appropriate response solely from the Scriptures, particularly of the New Testament. Only gradually did it become obvious to me that this important Scriptural orientation needed to be given an equally valid historical dimension, historical to the extent that it took serious account of the developments and respon­ses of Christians of other periods in the Christian story, quite apart from the historical realities that link the problems of our modern context to other contexts in the Christian past.[13]

Taking a strong position that seems to contradict Kato’s perspective, Bediako then adds:

The weakness for me of the "purely" Scriptural orientation is the assumption that the historical tradition of the Church has little value in interpret­ing the realities of our modern Christian existence.[14]
 In application, allow me to observe that Neutrosophy would insist on digesting each of these positions by comparison, juxtaposition, contrast, negation, etc. If Kato was read under the label, ‘K’ and Bediako the label ‘B’, then the different ‘K’ elements would be analyzed individually and then against ‘B’. For instance, if ‘K’ was read in isolation on the subject of inerrancy, he would not be the first one to hold this position. His undergraduate, masters and doctoral teachers who contributed to his understanding of inerrancy would have to be called in as contributers to the inerrancy position. We would then have ‘K’-1 -2 -3 etc contrasted with the synthesized position held by ‘K’, before we do the same for ‘B’ and all the attending contributers. We would then contrast contributers against contributers in general or one at a time to really arrive at the totality, if any, of ‘K’. such latitude would yield more than the rush to the labels and categorizations which, at times, deteriorate towards ad hominem applications.,

2. The Evangelical-Ecumenical Divide

In his book, Theological Pitfalls in Africa, Byang Kato sets a demarcation between “evangelicals” and “liberals.” He uses the term “liberal” and “ecumenical” as equivalent synonyms, thereby implying that ecumenists were liberal and liberals were ecumenical. Again, he uses the terms “evangelical” and “conservative” as synonyms, thereby implying that they were the custodians of the faith as described in Jude verse 3 and of a purer stock because they held that god’s word “cannot be broken” as taught in John 10:35.

One of the biggest battles between Byang Kato and Kwame Bediako is on the apparent “purity” of AEAM (Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar) over and against the “darkness” of the AACC (All Africa Conference of Churches), which apparent distinction appears in the theology of Byang Kato. Kato does not reject ecumenism in totality. However, he distinguishes between the “Early Church” and “Modern” ecumenism, arguing that the former was hinged on the purity of doctrine while the latter, as represented by the World council of churches, was syncretistic to the point of accommodating what he regularly referred to as “incipient universalism”.

Kato’s disdain for universalism is seen in his derogatory reference to enculturation theologians as “pigs” while those who share his position are likened to “cats.”    In chapter 10 of his book, Theology and Identity … Bediako uses this imagery of “cat and pig” as a subtitle to discuss the challenge of Kato’s position.[15] Citing Kato’s sharp criticism of the ecumenical movement, Bediako is appalled by this imagery:

The unity of believers and those who are not sure that they are believers cannot produce fellowship. Such a unity may be compared with the unity that results from tying together the feet of a cat and a pig and pushing them into the mud. “There can be no fellowship in that mud. Evangelicals believe only in the kind of unity that also produces genuine fellowship in the Word of God.[16]

Commenting on this, Bediako observes: “Kato therefore concluded that there were “poisonous elements” in the “theology of ecumenism” – basically “syncretism” and “universalism” – at both the worldwide level of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the local level of its African manifestation in the All Africa conference of Churches (AACC). Thus, in his study of the evolution of AACC, from its formation in 1963 at Kampala (Uganda) to its third General Assembly in 1974 at Lusaka (Zambia), Kato’s major concern was to show how the “poisonous elements” in the “theology of ecumenism” were progressively replacing what he saw as “the essential basic doctrines of the Church”.[17]

For argument’s sake, supposing that the “ecumenical” movement was actually equivalent to the tares and the “evangelical” movement to the wheat as typified by the parables of Jesus, what would Jesus’ advice be to Kato? “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”[18]

Kato’s zeal for the purity of the Gospel as well as the doctrine that informs it is to be commended and taken in good faith. Indeed, as Jesus would challenge the Pharisees and Sadducees, Kato would strongly rebuke any form of compromise or hypocrisy in the Church. He would be commended by Jesus as was the Church of Ephesus in the second chapter of Revelation. However, the danger of his position lies in the possibility of “uprooting” both the wheat and the tares especially in the “ecumenical” movement. Besides, in seeking the purity of the Gospel, one must not then muzzle the very quest for its proclamation through alternative methodologies. While exclusivism can indeed point to the caution to stay on the “straight and narrow”, it can also become pharisaic in application. Majoritarianism is not a good test for truth, but neither is minoritarianism. A good example of how minoritarianism may miss the mark is the religio-political groupings in Israel such as the Sadducees, Pharisees and Zealots. In the quest to stay faithful to the Gospel, unfortunately Kato dialectically broadened the divide in the name of purity. He drew a wedge between those who saw things his theological way and those who did not. He pitted the AEAM against the AACC, what he called “evangelicals” against “liberals” or “ecumenical” whom he viewed as compromisers. That Kato saw things this way is not debatable. He wrote:

This kind of unity among those who truly know the Lord and are seeking to serve Him is a biblical unity. It does not enforce any compromise of the truth; in fact, it promotes the emphasis of bible truth.[19]

Against this, Bediako observes:

It is evident that in Kato’s way of thinking, the rationale for the existence of the AEAM consisted in its being an “evangelical” counterblast to the “ecumenical” AACC. The difference between the two institutions, in keeping with Kato’s outlook, was that “evangelical “organizational structures were to be based “on doctrinal agreements”. Since the unity of the “ecumenical” amounted to “unity in the dark”, “the most desirable alternative” for Africa’s “evangelicals”, according to Kato, “is membership in the evangelical fellowship in each country and also membership in the African Evangelical Association”, that is, the AEAM, which alone offered the basis of “true unity.[20] However, Bediako’s position could be read as doctrinal or even spiritual compromise. To him Jesus in the same book of Revelation would say, “If you are neither hot nor cold I will spit you out of my mouth.” He would say if salt loses its saltiness it will be trampled underfoot. The point is, we are not to end up in a Scripture application exchange or hermeneutical battle. Instead, using Neutrosophy, we are to ask, from where and how in these theologies can we get one clear and true whole. We would remove the labels and then use Smarandache’s three-prong tricotomy of True-False-Indeterminate (T-F-I). Having done this, though, we should never forget that there could be endless options in between or even as contrasted with one another. After all, what is theology? Isn’t it thinking or reflection about God? Who has the last word on any reflection? The aim, therefore, is not to suspend judgment or simply wallow in looking for negations, but pursuit of balance in any perspective. We are all beggars of the truth.

3. The Supremacy of the Bible                                                                                     

In his book on Theology and Identity, Bediako asks: How far can we go without changing the content of the inspired, eternal word of God?[21] This is the question that distinguishes the positions of each of these two great minds, Kato and Bediako. While Kato would die for the old reformation dictum, “sola scriptura, sola fide” (Scripture alone, faith alone), Bediako considered his position as narrow, inconclusive and limiting in the application of the Christian faith to the specific situations and experiences of the African person. While he commends Kato for contributing the caution that the Bible must remain a critical pillar of our faith, Bediako found Kato’s position as being incapable of sufficiently addressing the place of pre-Christian cultures in Africa. He found Kato’s blanket reduction of pre-Christian cultures to syncretism as uninformed and his near-labelling of those in the “ecumenical movement” as unkind.   

Bediako cites Kato’s remarks on the evangelical-ecumenical divide where Kato out rightly says that evangelicals are united on the supremacy of the Word of God, thereby implying that those who hold a contrary position from his and that of his fellow “evangelicals”, do not hold the Bible in this high place as “There are differences in the details of interpretation among evangelicals, but all submit to the final authority of God’s Word.”[22]

Kato genuinely believed that those whom he criticized had departed from a principle which he considered vital, and which he believed that he upheld. To understand Kato’s theological outlook, one must appreciate what this insistence on the centrality of the Bible meant to him. To Kato, the “absolute authority” of the bible meant the “absolute authority” of the bible as inerrant.[23] Kato considered inerrancy so important that he would not accept infallibility as an adequate description of the trustworthiness of the bible.

For Kato, the content of the bible constituted not only “the basic source”, but also virtually the only subject-matter of theology. In his criticism of “theological trends in Africa”, it was the use of sources other than the Scriptures as in equal standing with the revealed Word of God that he considered the first major feature of the “African theology” of which he disapproved.[24] (Bediako p. 398).

“In Kato’s view, the investigation of African pre-Christian religious tradition for a possible contribution to African Christian thought amounted to a denial of “the sufficiency of the Scriptures as the sole authority for faith and practice”. … He would not accept Mbiti’s statement that “The uniqueness of Christianity is Jesus Christ”:

To elucidate his position, Kato added that the uniqueness of Christianity must cover more than the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. He asked how one could know for sure about Jesus Christ in an errant Bible. In his own words, “The Scriptures that speak about Jesus Christ must be accepted as God’s final and special revelation. Inerrant authoritative Scriptures alone can give us reliable facts about Jesus Christ and man’s relationship to Him.”[25]

Kato added that while the Bible should speak to every people within their own situation in the language they can understand, there is no need to create particular theologies for each situation because the theological systems being hutched today have man’s experience as their frame of reference. Kato gave the example of the struggle to overcome economic oppression in Latin America which he saw as the ground for the Theology of Liberation. Accordingly, Kato saw this as a clever way of destroying the objective and supernatural nature of God’s revealed truth. He then states categorically, “In the face of this, evangelical Christians must oppose the devil and he will flee. The old-time cry of the reformers, “sola scriptura, sola fide” (Scripture alone, faith alone) must continue to be our vanguard.”[26] Kato sums this up by stating that “The content of thebible is inspired. It cannot be changed. “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). As the bible moves from culture to culture it remains the same. It is the culture that must change. If the Bible did not remain the same, Christianity would have changed so much from country to country and generation to generation that it would hardly be recognizable today.” … Although the content of the bible remains the same, the way of expressing it is changeable. This is because the way of expressing it is not inspired. …”[27]

Bediako objected to this understanding of Scripture, arguing that Jesus was born, grew up and taught from within the Jewish culture and that this was translated into the Graeco-Roman culture of the 1st century.

4. Cultural Relevance

In chapter 10 of his book, Theology and Identity … Bediako argues that one of Kato’s challenges was to see the relevance of the African culture to Christianity. In other words, while Kato defended Christianity as an African religion, it could never be Africanized. To Africanize Christianity was to corrupt it or make it syncretistic. According to Kato, one had even to be careful about translating the message of the Bible into African languages and avoid linguistic substitutions. Contextualizing the message e.g. using African idioms as equivalents of the biblical text was not permissible. He wrote: 

Not only should the message be preached in the language best understood by the congregation, but terminology of theology should be expressed the way common people can understand. But theological meaning must not be sacrificed at the altar of comprehension. Instead of employing terms that would water down the Gospel, the congregation should be taught the meaning of the term as originally meant. [28]

It is not clear what Kato would make of Paul’s words in Romans 1:16 to the effect that the Gospel was preached first to the Jews and then the Gentiles. The book of Acts and Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is an indictment on the tendency by the first disciples to elevate the Jewish traditions over the message and requirements of the Gospel. The Bible was so much born in culture that this culture tended to overwhelm the new faith. The council of Jerusalem, led by James, even took time to discuss and legislate on the way forward.

It is tempting to imagine that this dropping of Jewish cultural packaging of the Gospel increased the purity of the message by completely excluding any cultural expressions. On the contrary, it must be noted, the accommodation of the Gentiles meant adopting some of the gentile culture, which included non-insistence on circumcision and certain food laws and taboos. The proposal James makes pleases all. It was a compromise between two cultures:

It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

This is a clear case of contextualizing the Gospel. Not only is the message translatable from one language to another, but the very experience of the incarnate Christ is realizable from culture to culture. In Galatians 2:11-14 Paul rebukes Peter for his double standards when the application of this principle is tested. We read:

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

Through Paul, we learn that it is permissible to translate the Gospel message into other languages and cultures. Kato would do well to acknowledge that to do so is not unbiblical. The bible presents the taking of the Gospel to the Gentiles as happening through such a contextualization. It is not a different Gospel based on legalism, but the same Gospel celebrated through different expressions. The book of Acts shows how it geographically moves from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria and to the “ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s preaching is heard by people living in Jerusalem but from different parts of the then world, including Egypt and Libya “in the regions of Cyrene.” (Acts 2:10). It spreads to Cush through the Ethiopian eunuch who receives the message from Philip following the explanation of the Isaiah 53 passage. In a sense, Philip translates the message for the Ethiopian eunuch using idioms that he could understand. The Acts 8 account reveals the eagerness of the Eunuch to receive explanation and Philip’s preparedness to explain the Gospel to someone of another culture.

5. Continuity and Revelation

Kato and Bediako are sharply divided on whether God spoke to African people before the arrival of Western missionaries. While Bediako thinks He did, Kato held that there was no connection in revelation and that pre-Christian Africa was pagan. While a lot could be discussed from the portrait of Christianity as a continuing revelation from the works of Idowu and Mbiti, our neutrosophic reconciliation spotlight will remain on Kato and Bediako.

Starting with the affirmation of continuity in God’s revelation in Africa, Bediako strongly argues that, not only are the works of the God of the Bible manifest in pre-Christian Africa, but that Jesus Christ is evident in Africa’s worship and what he calls “grassroots” or “oral” theology even in modern Africa. Making reference to the poems and hymns of an Akan midwife in the deep forests of Ghana called Afua Kuma, Bediako argues in defense of the fact that God has not only left a witness of the lordship of Jesus in Africa’s cultures, but a continuing worship that draws its content, spirit and vigor from the natural revelation of certain African communities. He writes:

It is not my intention to pursue the argument about Africa’s significance beyond this point. Instead, what I propose to do is to present the evidence of a theological articulation within Ghanaian Christianity (though I believe it exists elsewhere in Africa also), one which is rarely Mentioned in the usual discussions about African theology, but which I consider important for Our understanding of what has happened and is happening in the life of many Christian communities in Africa. …  It is the evidence of what I call a ‘grassroots’ theology; some will call it an oral theology, or even, a spontaneous or ‘implicit theology’. Yet it is in its own way, also a reflective theology.[29] 

Bediako then samples this “theology of the deep forest” by citing several lyrical compositions by Afua Kuma, which he explains, are not mere personal prayers and reflections, but community expression among the Akan. We will share one example here:

Jesus is the grinding stone
Before we perform manly deeds.
To take up our weapons of war,
Nkrante brafo, You are the Sword Carrier
Okatakyi Birempon: Hero Incomparable
by the time we reach the edge of the battle
The war has already ended.
We turn back, singing praises.
If you go with Jesus to war,
No need for a sword or gun.
The word of his mouth is the weapon
Which makes enemies turn and run.
If we walk with Him and we meet with trouble
We are not afraid.
Should the devil himself become a lion?
And chase us as his prey,
We shall have no fear Lamb of God!
Satan says he is a wolf―
Jesus stretches forth his hand,
And look: Satan is a mouse!
Holy One! [30]

This example does not only read like a reflection on Ephesians chapter 6 verses 10-18 but rasies the question, what would Kato do with it? Can he ignore it as inconsequential, accidental, stolen, etc? With his inerrancy and bibliology, he would be stranded in explaining. What if they both sat at a table and analyzed this song? What might it yield theologically for Africa? Perhaps he died too young at 39. Had he met Bediako from a more conciliar perspective, Africa would be a better place theologically.

6. Identity 

Although the antagonism between Kato and Bediako can be stretched to several other aspects of theological concern, we shall conclude our discussion by citing the area of identity. According to Kato, the quest for personal identity in Africa naturally leads to syncretism. Apparently, if one tried to be a Christian and an African, he would have to drop everything by way of African belief or subsume it under the culture of the Bible. Kato argues this point in his book, Theological Pitfalls in Africa (1975, p. 12-13) and cautions that the quest for identity by African theologians naturally leads to a dangerous slide into universalism and an emotional appeal to include unbelieving African ancestors in God’s salvation plan, something the bible says is not possible. He wrote:

However, the Western world is steeped in Christianity, so the two appear identical. Rising out of such a terrible background, the African is asking, who am I? The question is rightly asked.  But the reply from many theologians confuses the issue. A search for   identity fails to appreciate the uniqueness of Christianity. Furthermore, an emotional touch, out of genuine love for the ancestors who died without the knowledge of the way of salvation, is a big attraction of universalism. Many would say it is unthinkable and unkind, to hold that all these millions of Africans who died before the advent of modern missions will suffer eternally in hell. The emotive reason for universalism is that these very religious people will surely be saved because of their zeal. Thinking like this overshadows any scriptural reasoning. Universalism is the balm in Gilead for such an emotional yearning.[31]

In the quest for African identity, Kato complained about the overemphasis of Africanity over biblical truth. It was his feeling that, although it was important to accommodate certain aspects of African culture, the culture itself had little to offer in providing the real identity of the African Christian. He thought the African theologians had pushed African culture, religion and philosophy overboard:

African Theology seeks for identity of the African. In order to do this, the advocates exalt African culture, religion, and philosophy beyond proportion. Christianity cannot claim a monopoly of revelation or salvation, some claim, though it may be glibly referred to as being unique. A survey of leading exponents of African Theology will bring out some of these concepts.

On the other hand, Bediako not only saw Kato’s position as narrow, but contradictory because it seemed to emphasize a bible without a culture and the elevation of Western hermeneutics over the beauty of understanding God’s revealed word through a Jesus who was incarnated in all cultures, including the African culture. He saw the search and defense of identity as being at the centre of every civilization right from time immemorial. The Jews wanted their identity to guide gentile believers. Justin, Clement and the other Early Church fathers saw the Graeco-Roman philosophy and culture as a most useful tool to define Christianity and the European missionaries who came to Africa believed that true Christianity also meant embracing European culture and civilization. Thus, most European missionaries viewed everything African as pagan and lacking in civility.

Keith Ferdinando summarizes Bediako’s understanding of identity very well. He writes:

Bediako underlines the importance of the identity question for the African church. While he focuses on the comparison between African theology and that of the early church, it is clear that in his view the issues are not identical; there is contrast as well. The contemporary African Christian identity problem derives not just from the fact of conversion to Christianity from traditional religion, but also from the whole impact of the West on Africa. This, he argues, began well before the arrival of missionaries, particularly with the slave trade which shaped negative European attitudes to and stereotypes of Africa.[32]

At the beginning of Chapter Six of his Theology and Identity … Bediako observes that the African quest for identity was in part a response to the tendency by Europeans to treat everything pre-Christian in Africa as either harmful or valueless. Any African who converted to Christianity from “paganism” was viewed as some kind of “tabula rasa” on which “a whole new religious psychology was somehow to be imprinted.”[33] 

Citing Adrian Hastings, Bediako notes that when the European missionaries came to Africa, they did not expect to find civility, but a dark continent, “its lack of religion and sound morals, its ignorance, its general pitiful condition made worse by the barbarity of the slave trade,” and so evangelization was seen as “liberation from a state of absolute awfulness and the picture of unredeemed Africa.” Africa was painted in colours that were as gruesome as possible to encourage missionary zeal back in Europe.[34] 

The assumption by Western missionaries that Europe had a superior civilization focused not only on the need to intervene in the reconstruction of the material culture of Africa, but also in its thought process. It was largely assumed that the Graeco-Roman tradition the Europeans had inherited was a superior way of viewing knowledge, including that of God. As a result, Western logical categories were evoked as a means of transferring biblical knowledge to the African society. Indeed, this question is at the heart of African theology to this day. The assumption is that to systematize theology, one needs to approach it from the Aristotelian or theistic categories. While Kato had a problem with some of this thinking purely on his fear of what he called “universalism”, Bediako lamented that it robbed the African of understanding god using his African idioms.

This paper proposes the need to read any theological discourse neutrosophically so that no one system is unduly elevated over another without a close analysis, comparing it with other positions or alternative perspectives. It is this application that we shall conclude our discussion with.

Applying Neutrosophy to the Kato-Bediako Divide

C. S. Lewis made an interesting remark in his “Rehabilitations” that I wish to operationalize as a good starting point for our reconciliation exercise: “Do not blame a man for making slow progress to the North when he is trying to get to the East.” It is very common for theologians to charge another theologian with holding a position he may actually not hold. What the Greeks called fighting a “strawman” is quite common even among Christians. Perhaps, instead of just contenting with an ‘Either-Or’ dichotomy, it might be quite useful to push every theological discussion the direction of splitting an idea under dispute into as many constituent parts as possible between two people and then extend the same to other theologians who may purify, sanitize, summarize or even expand on what is being examined.

Supposing a theologian embarked on research to find out something about Jaba cosmology, soteriology or eschatology. Chances are that, when writing on cosmology, for instance, he could make comments on the end of the world as a consummation of what is created. If a different theologian picked up such an eschatological comment and read devoid of the cosmological context, it is very possible for theologian 1 to be judged rather harshly or unfairly by theologian 2 who will come to the discussion with a purely eschatological focus. The modern equivalent might be the decision to cite someone using secondary texts, thereby completely missing the context of the cited text. From a neutrosophic angle, it is important to therefore take passage (a) and run it through its variant readings, negations, as well as historical, cultural, grammatical, geographical and other details. Sometimes what we are doing or are about to do can sharply influence what we say and how we say it. If Kato was about to, say, address the Lausanne Movement, he will certainly employ strict evangelical jargon because that is what Lausanne is about. Depending on how much response or support he gets, he might choose to define his theology along the Lausanne distinctives. To read his books without this in mind would be to miss his point of view.

 It is evident that the two things that divide Kato and Bediako are their apparent priorities regarding the bible and culture. Strangely, both the Bible and most African cultures advance the importance of listening to one another and not imagining that you have the last word on a subject. We shall now give a few examples to buttress the importance of tearing a concept into its multiple angles of application and then finding that ‘Neut’- A position that Netrosophy proposes. We shall begin with the Bible:

Biblical Solution

In Acts 15, the Jewish Elders of the Church are confronted with the question: what should Gentiles practice in order to be as Christian as they were? We will make reference to this to indicate how we are to read each other in the face of controversy or divergent cultural considerations on an issue:

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’ This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. (Acts 15:1-2)

Notice that in the face of the dispute, a council is called to discuss the matter. It is no longer just the position of Paul and Barnabas and those who disputed with them on circumcision. We have a mediating group of elders. The question here is not Either circumcision Or no circumcision. The elders look at the Gospel, the Jewish culture and the Gentile culture, and then come up with an informed accommodation principle. How might Byang Kato and Kwame Bediako respond to the Elders’ ‘accommodation’ principle? Would this position fit inerrancy, evangelicalism, ecumenism or universalism? As long as the same message is sent to two different cultures, it will encounter reinterpretation and accommodation. The theology here would cease to be monocultural and monolingual and take up the status of the multicultural and multilingual. Kato’s picture of “cats” and “pigs” as categorical definitions disappear in the light of multiculturalism. “The church sent them on their way, and as they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.”

This is not just an expression of ‘evangelii gaudium’, but a celebration of how the Gospel is universal. As Paul put it, it is for the Jew first but also for the Gentile. Just as the European Gentiles accepted the Gospel, so did Africans, and just as Paul hints on ‘preparatio evangelica’ in Acts 14 and 17, so do we find Bediako and Mbiti affirmed again and again in Acts 15. Yet, the caution given by the council in Jerusalem represents Kato’s call for the sanitization of culture in the face of Gospel proclamation. Notice that the Elders subtract from culture and not the Gospel.

“Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the Law of Moses.’
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles should hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’” (Acts 15:5-11)

Notice that sectarianism is not new. While it is less than desirable, it is part and parcel of God’s economy of building faith. Israel had Sadducees and Pharisees. Again, read neutrosophically, the divergent points of view could easily be harmonized, and they were, because they all sat together in religious councils. The point is that divergence must be brought to the table and harmonized. Peter’s speech must be read in this light.

This is how James wraps it all up:

When they finished, James spoke up. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me. Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
 "After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things” – things known from long ago.
‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the Law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.’

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul – men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
Farewell.” (Acts 15: 13-29)
This is powerful. It is the answer to Africa’s theological problem of cultural identity in the light of the Scriptures.

The African Cultural Solution

Reconciling two parties that disagree in the African society fell in the hands of councils of elders. This is a universal practice in most parts of Africa. When two elders had divergent points of view, fellow council elders listened and attempted to harmonize. When villagers sinned or offended, relevant sacrifices and libations were recommended. As African theologians, therefore, if Kato and Bediako were to be brought before the elders, their positions would be analyzed, harmonized and resolved using sage wisdom such as sayings or oracular consultations. In Chinua Achebe’s work, Things Fall Apart, we see this practice as normative.

Conflict resolution continues throughout Africa using the principle that no single person has the last word on any subject. This is an ongoing process on the continent. For instance, in Rwanda and Burundi there is a judicial system known as the Gacaca – an open air Council like the Areopagus of ancient Athens. Just like the Areopagus was used in ancient Greece to settle judicial cases as well as ideological disputes such as those between Socrates and his opponents, African courts were this expansive. They would have brought Kato and Bediako before a setting like that of the Gacaca and mediated or harmonized their disagreements, led by wise elders or judges called ‘Abuzi.’

. In their paper titled Methods of Conflict Resolution in African Traditional Society Ajayi and Buhari (2014) attest both to the prevalence of reconciliatory efforts as well as the efficacy of the African process. With their research focused on the Yoruba and Igbo of Nigeria and the Pondo of South Africa, they outline several benefits of conflict resolution in traditional African societies:

  1. They provide opportunity to interact with the parties concerned
  2. They promote consensus-building, social bridge reconstructions and enactment of order in the society.

They conclude:

            …traditional conflict resolution techniques such as mediation, adjudication, reconciliation, and negotiation as well as cross examination which were employed by Africans in the past, offer   great prospects for peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationships in post-conflict periods than the modern method of litigation settlements in law courts.[35]

In conclusion, we argue that the very ideological components that divide Byang Kato and Kwame Bediako are the source of their reconciliation. The Bible, and especially the New Testament, has elaborate accounts of how the Church resolved emerging economic, social, spiritual and cultural conflicts. Gamaliel in Acts chapter 5 draws from history and settles the religious conflict between the disciples and the Sanhedrin. In chapter 6, the apostles appoint seven deacons to study and adjudicate the socio-economic conflict that involved food distribution. As seen earlier in Acts 15, the Jerusalem Council of Elders settled the cultural tensions involving the gospels encounter with other cultures.

In the same way, traditional African reconciliation institutions would have listened to both Kato and Bediako and, perhaps, asked them to be more tolerant of each other and take time to listen to what each was saying instead of succumbing to categorization.


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Bediako, Kwame. “Cry Jesus! Christian Theology and Presence in Modern Africa (The Laing lecture for 1993).” Vox Evangelica 23 (1993). 7-26.

Bediako, Kwame. Theology and Identity: The Impact of culture upon Christian Thought in the 2nd Century and in Modern Africa. Cambria, UK: Regnum Books International, in association with Paternoster Publishing, 1999.

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Idang, Gabriel E. “African Culture and Values.” Phronimon 16, no. 2 (2015), 97-111.

Ferdinando, Keith. “Christian Identity in the African Context: Reflections on Kwame Bediako’s Theology and Identity” JETS 50, no. 1 (March 2007). 121–143.

Ferdinando, Keith. “The Legacy of Byang Kato” Sage Journals 28, no. 4 (2004). 169-174. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F239693930402800405

Francis, Pope. The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2014.

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Kato, Byang H. “Ecumenicals and Evangelicals.” Debate in Germany, 2 (April 1975)

Kato, Byang H. “Evangelization and culture,” in Perception, no. 12, (April 1978), 6, appearing in Kwame Bediako’s Theology and Identity.

Kato, Byang H. The gospel, Cultural context and Religious syncretism, inJ.D. Douglas (Ed) Let the Earth Hear His Voice (Lausanne, Switzerland: International Congress on world Evangelization), Official Reference Volume: Papers and Responses (Minneapolis: Worldwide Publications, 1975), 1217. 

Kato, Byang H. Theological Perspective in Africa: A Collection of Papers and Addresses. Achimota, Ghana: African Christian Press, 1985.

Kato, Byang H. Theological Pitfalls in Africa. Kisumu, Kenya: Evangel Publishing House, 1975.

Kato, Byang H. “Theological Trends in Africa Today.” Theological News Monograph, no. 6 (April 1973).

Kigame, Reuben. Christian Apologetics through African eyes. Nairobi: Posterity Publishers, 2018.

Kigame, Reuben. “Knowledge and Visual Disability in the Light of Plato’s Doctrine of Forms.” Paper presented toSouthern Evangelical Seminary, Sharlot, North Carolina. (February, 2019).

Kigame, Reuben. “The Mediatization of Religion: An Analysis of Kenya’s Electronic Pulpit From 1990 to 2015” Master’s Thesis presented at Moi University School of Information Sciences, (September 2018). 

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Mbiti, J. S. African Religions and Philosophy. NY, Garden City: Anchor Books, 1970.

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between New Testament Theology and African Traditional Concepts. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.

Nicholls, Bruce J. “Byang H. Kato – A Personal Tribute.” Theological News (WEF) 8. (January–March 1976): 2–3.

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Potgieter, R. & Magezi, C. “A critical assessment of Bediako’s incarnational Christological model as a response to the foreignness of Christ in African Christianity,” In die Skriflig 50, no. 1. (2016) doi: a2136. https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i1.2136

Reed, R. & Mtukwa, G. “Christ our ancestor: African Christology and the danger of contextualization.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 45(1), 144–163, 2010.

Richardson, Don. Eternity in their hearts. Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1981.

Richardson, Don. Peace Child. Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1974.

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Turaco, Yusuf. “The Theological Legacy of the Reverend Doctor Byang Kato.” Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology 20, no. 2 (2001): 133–55.

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Yuhua, Fu. “Expanding Hegelian Triad Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis with Neutrosophy and Quad-stage Method.” (2015). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285580627_Expanding_Hegelian_Triad_Thesis_Antithesis_Synthesis_with_Neutrosophy_and_Quad-stage_Method

[1] Francis, Pope. The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium. (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2014).


[2] Gabriel E. Idang, “African Culture and Values.” Phronimon 16, no. 2 (2015), 97-111.

[3] Ibid

[4] Reuben Kigame, Knowledge and Visual Disability in the Light of Plato’s Doctrine of Forms (a paper in Classical Philosophy presented on 10th February, 2019, to Southern Evangelical Seminary) 2-3; 14 and 16. 

[5] Reuben Kigame, Christian Apologetics through African eyes (Nairobi: Posterity Publishers, 2018), 105.

[6] Fu Yuhua, Expanding Hegelian Triad Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis with Neutrosophy and Quad-stage Method, p. 1. (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285580627_Expanding_Hegelian_Triad_Thesis_Antithesis_Synthesis_with_Neutrosophy_and_Quad-stage_Method)

[7] Florentin Smarandache, A Unifying Field in Logics: Neutrosophic Logic. Neutrosophy, Neutrosophic Set, Neutrosophic Probability and Statistics, fourth edition (Rehoboth: American Research Press), 18.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid, 19.

[10] Charles Ashbacher, Introduction to neutrosophic logic (NM: American Research Press, 2002), 53.

[11] Byang Henry Kato, A Critique of Incipient Universalism in Tropical Africa (A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, doctoral dissertation, May 1974) 62-3.

[12] Ibid.

[13]Kwame Bediako, Theology and Identity: The Impact of Culture upon Christian Thought in the 2nd Century and in Modern Africa 1999 edition (Cambria, United Kingdom: Regnum Books International, in association with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle,), 10.

[14] Ibid.

[15] See Bediako, Theology and Identity, 391ff where he is so incensed by this imagery that he systematically tears the argument by Kato to pieces.

[16] Byang Kato, Ecumenicals and Evangelicals in Perception no.16 (May 1979), 8 as cited in Kwame Bediako, Theology and Identity, 392.

[17] Bediako, Theology and Identity, 393.

[18] See Matthew 13:24-30, KJV.

[19] Kato, Theological Pitfalls, 170, Cited by Bediako, Theology and Identity, 396.

[20] Bediako, Theology and Identity, 396.

[21] Bediako, Theology and Identity, p. 397.

[22] Byang H. Kato, Ecumenicals-Evangelicals Debate in Germany, in Perception, vol. 2 (April, 1975), 1 as cited by Kwame Bediako, (Theology and Identity), 397. 

[23] Bediako, Theology and Identity, 397-398.

[24] Ibid, 398.

[25] Byang H. Kato, Theological Trends in Africa Today, 5

[26] Kato, Ecumenicals. 7, appearing in Kwame Bediako’s Theology and Identity, 398. 

[27] Byang H. Kato, Evangelization and culture, in Perception, no. 12, (April 1978), 6, appearing in Kwame Bediako’s Theology and Identity, 398. 

[28] Byang H. Kato, The gospel, Cultural context and Religious syncretism, inJ.D. Douglas (Ed) Let the Earth Hear His Voice (Lausanne, Switzerland: International Congress on world Evangelization), Official Reference Volume: Papers and Responses (Minneapolis: Worldwide Publications, 1975), 1217. 

[29] Kwame Bediako, “CryJesus! Christian Theology and Presence in Modern Africa,” (The Laing Lecture for 1993, Vox Evangelica 23, 1993)7-26. Pp. 12-13.

[30] Ibid, 13.

[31] Keith Ferdinando, “Christian Identity in the African Context: Reflections on Kwame Bediako’s Theology and Identity” (JETS 50/1 March 2007) 121–43, 124.

[32] Ibid, 122

[33] Bediako, Theology and Identity, 225.

[34] ibid

[35] Theresa Adeyinka Ajayi and Lateef Oluwafemi Buhari “Methods of Conflict Resolution in African Traditional Society,” Multidisciplinary Journal, Ethiopia, 2014. 8 (2)pp 138-157.