Original Research

A critical assessment of Bediako’s incarnational Christological model as a response to the foreignness of Christ in African Christianity

Raymond Potgieter, Christopher Magezi
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 1 | a2136 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i1.2136 | © 2016 Raymond Potgieter, Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2016 | Published: 23 September 2016

About the author(s)

Raymond Potgieter, Department of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Christopher Magezi, Department of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


Some African Christians continue to rely on traditional spiritual powers as a means of addressing their spiritual insecurity. In their perception Christ is regarded as being foreign to African spirituality and treated accordingly with the gospel seen as a predominantly western phenomenon. This raises the question regarding their understanding of Christ’s incarnation. This article critically analyses the ancestral incarnational Christological model of Bediako as a response to the foreignness of Christ in African Christianity. Bediako’s ancestral incarnational Christological model is his enterprise of deforeignising Christ in African Christianity by treating Christ under the African traditional ancestral category. This article demonstrates various theological aspects (i.e. the uncompounded divine-human nature of Christ in the one eternal person of the Son of God) that Bediako brings together in order to configure his ancestral incarnational Christological framework in deforeignising Christ. In breaking away from Bediako’s ancestral incarnational Christological perspective, the article concludes by identifying the weaknesses associated with the proposed concept of Bediako, and then suggests that there is a need for an alternative biblical-theological model that best describes Christ’s complete identification with African Christians. This is done without diminishing the actuality of Christ as God incarnate, or encouraging syncretism in African Christianity, or reducing the validity of African contextual needs.


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