The liberating mission of Jesus and the Anglicans of Tamale with special reference to St. Luke's gospel
Ayeebo, Jacob Kofi
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Over the past two decades the study of mission has become increasingly important as a pathogen in theology. This is because there has been a tendency by some scholars to place emphasis on the preaching of the Gospel of salvation and personal liberation from sin, on the one hand, and to emphasise the pursuit of social justice in order to liberate people from poverty and suffering, on the other; thus, creating a serious dichotomy in the Church's mission. This thesis is propelled by a yearning for an holistic understanding and practice of mission in the Anglican Diocese of Tamale. Thus, the thesis explores the liberating works of Jesus, specifically in the Gospel of Luke, as a paradigm for mission in the Anglican Diocese of Tamale. The theological framework is St. Luke's gospel. In presenting the exegetical work on Luke's gospel, key themes emerged and were discussed accordingly. It was obvious that the Gospel of Luke is for the poor and that the nature of God's love is universal. Throughout the study, it is made clear that mission is an initiative of God that offers total salvation through the Church's mission and task. The Church's mission, however, is not only to communicate the gospel so that people will understand it but also, mission should aim for the transformation of people as individuals and as communities. To assess the work, four methods of research have been used: Questionnaires Interviews Document analysis and Observation study. The structured interviews and questionnaire were distributed to clergy, to some selected laity and to church development workers in the Diocese in order to ascertain their views on holistic mission. In addition, other methods were employed within the research to ascertain the relevant information related to the topic: visits to the sites of other projects; extensive reading and analysis of contemporary writings on Christian mission theology; and Christian development work. Arising from this, a detailed content analysis of the responses and documents are presented. Having established the research methodology, the thesis proceeds to explore the area context of the Tamale Diocese to provide the reader with some knowledge of the Ghanaian indigenous worldview, which can either facilitate or a hinder holistic mission practice. Following that, the history of Anglican mission in northern Ghana is examined. The research notes that socio-economic projects have impacted economically on the beneficiaries. However, political and spiritual impacts are minimal. Other strengths and weakness of the diocese and her projects are identified; for instance, working in groups, and the lack of programmes to draw the attention of banks to micro-credit schemes for women are identified as strengths and weaknesses respectively. Arising from the results, a number of critical areas that appear central to holistic mission are identified and discussed, with the hope of influencing the Anglican Diocese of Tamale mission work to be holistic in its mission work; for example, promoting the managerial capacity of mission practitioners as well as beneficiaries, their full involvement in community activities and the pivotal role of the projects' staff were all considered vital for effective implementation of holistic mission. The findings from the research showed that there are many areas of the Church's mission where dualism is practised. The most important finding was that while evangelism and social action are combined in the activities of the churches, there is little in evidence in the Diocesan community development projects that specifically promote or encourage Christian witness. In other words, there is little evidence of that deeper level of holism we have attempted to articulate in this thesis. However, there are also a few findings that do not support the central theoretical argument. Various reflections and suggestions are made that could help to enrich the Diocese in this vital area of study. The study maintains that the Church's mission task should include evangelism, as well as addressing social and political issues and speaking with a 'prophetic voice' on the same platform. The thesis concludes by stressing that life must be looked at as an integrated whole, where the spiritual, the political, the social and the economic are all intertwined. It is my hope that this thesis will serve as a rich resource to those who may show interest in it and to those who may wish to pursue further studies in mission in the Tamale Diocese in the future.
- Theology