Exploring the Tension between Christianity and African Traditional Religion in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa





exploration, tension, Christian ethos, African Traditional Religion, Methodist Church of Southern Africa


In the 19th century, missionaries from England brought Methodism to Southern Africa. Like all other missionaries who brought Christianity to Africa, they brought not only the Gospel, but also their culture and language. This article seeks to acknowledge the strides made by the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) regarding implanting Methodism in African soil. Thus, the article further explores the tension that persists in the MCSA between Christianity and African Traditional Religion (ATR). It argues that this tension opens opportunities for the MCSA to explore. The article uses secondary or desk research as a methodology to investigate this topic. The research showed that there is a tension that exists between Christianity and ATR, which affords the MCSA an opportunity to explore what it means to be African and Methodist in the MCSA; to dissect the causes of this tension; and to interrogate these causes for what it means for the MCSA. The article concludes that the tension under study has resulted from the MCSA taking its time to put its resolutions in black and white in the form of liturgy, policy, or guidelines. Thus, a recommendation is made for more dialogue and openness concerning areas where the MCSA could venture towards achieving its vision of “A Christ Healed Africa for the Healing of Nations”. Finally, the article argues that in order to heal Africa, the book of order and the Gospel preached in the MCSA should speak and make sense to Methodists of African descent.


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How to Cite

Mokhutso, Jacob. 2023. “Exploring the Tension Between Christianity and African Traditional Religion in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa”. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 49 (3):20 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-4265/13276.



Received 2023-03-01
Accepted 2023-11-13
Published 2023-11-30