African Bible Commentary: New Lens on Life
A good friend of mine recently gave me a copy of the African Bible Commentary. I've wanted one since it became available over a year ago. It is a one-volume whole Bible commentary with entries from 70 African scholars. These highly competent men and women (most have PhDs from highly prestigious schools) present a commentary from their culture and worldview. These African scholars invite us westerners to look beyond the confident, often arrogant results of our biblical study skewed as it is by western cultural limitations.
Kwame Bediako, PhD in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (as well as PhD in French Literature from the University of Bordeaux, France) wrote an opening article for the ABC titled "Scripture as the Interpreter of Culture and Tradition." While Kwame Bediako's entire article is immensely stimulating, one sentence by this African scholar leaped from the page, grabbed my mind and pinned it to my desk saying, "Think!"
Kwame Bediako wrote this simple, stunning sentence: "The gospel has no permanent resident culture" (ABC, 4).
Why did this sentence stun me? Because it socked me in my fat American arrogance. Bediako humbled my supposed theological superiority. His precise sentence was a crow bar that pried away my culture-bound grip on the Americanized "good news."
We live in a truly startling moment in history (no matter how you feel about USAmerican politics). We live in a time when clear, strong voices "from [almost] every tribe and language and people and nation" are helping to shape a global gospel and an international theology that are not hide-bound by any one culture. Western gospel empirialism is fading fast. To God be the glory!