AN ASSESSMENT OF RELEVANT THEOLOGICAL ISSUES WITH REGARD TO THE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION AND CHRISTIANITY IN THE METHODIST CHURCH, MERU COUNTY
Keywords:Theological issues, African traditional Religion, Christianity,, Indigenization,, incarnation, enculturation.
The Methodist church in Kenya (MCK) has been in Meru County since 1912 and there is evidence to suggest that African Methodist converts have continued to stick to some African traditional religious beliefs. The main objective of this study was to address the relevant theological issues following the encounter between African Traditional Religion (ATR) and Christianity in the Methodist Church. The study was informed by Emile Durkheim’s functionalism theory which is a sociological view of religion emphasizing its usefulness to society. The theory posits that what has no function ceases to exist yet some aspects of ATR have been integrated in worship among MCK adherents thereby posing relevant theological issues. Six churches were purposively selected to participate in the study. The data was collected using questionnaires, structured interviews, checklist and church
observation schedules and it was analyzed qualitatively. On the basis of the findings, the study recommended that Christian life and doctrines should be reformulated in the patterns of each and every culture in order to make Christianity durable. The modern Christian leaders should strive to make Christianity strong and permanent by allowing African and Christian culture to blend so as to meet the spiritual needs of Christians and give solutions to some of their problems. The findings of the study will contribute to the current academic concern for evolving an African Christian theology