African Perspectives on Catechesis

The Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand
June 18th, 2011

Rev. Dr. GRANT LeMARQUAND, Professor of Biblical Studies and Mission at Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on an African perspective on catechesis.

The unexpected and almost unprecedented response to the gospel in the non-western world raises missiological and pastoral questions concerning evangelism and catechesis. Why have so many people ‘become Christians’ in the global south in the last hundred years, such that mission historian Andrew Walls has spoken of the church as having had a ‘shift in the centre of gravity.’

  • Can we simply attribute this growth to a move of the Holy Spirit?
  • How much of this response is a desire to join the global community, or to become prosperous like the west (‘where the missionaries came from’) is prosperous?
  • How much is the response a sign that the culture in which it has been received was ‘a preparation for the gospel’ (Clement of Alexandria)?
  • How much is it true that Christianity in some places like Africa is ‘a mile wide and an inch deep’?
  • In the light of this massive growth in the global church, especially among the poor, what kind of catechesis is needed and possible?
  • How are pastors to be theologically formed and trained? Are there implications for the church in the west?
  • These questions were addressed by LeMarquand on the final day of the Conference.
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