A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE UNDERSTANDING OF GOD IN J.S. MBITI’S THEOLOGY
This article investigates how Mbiti articulates the theological reflections on the understanding of God from an African perspective. Mbiti systematises data of the African concepts of God in a set of Western Christian doctrinal systems. He presupposes a continuity between the Christian and the African concepts of God, and overemphasises the similarities. Mbiti regards African Traditional Religion(s) (ATR(s)) as monotheism and as a praeparatio evangelica, and maintains that the Christian God is the same as the God worshipped in ATR(s). In Mbiti’s theology, negative attributes of the African God, which are irreconcilable with the God of the Bible, are not critically evaluated, and the concept of the Trinity is not articulated. In this article, the notions of African monotheism and of ATR(s) as a praeparatio evangelica are criticised. This article claims that what African theology needs is to clarify the Christian concept of God, and to articulate the understanding of God within a Trinitarian context.