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African sacral rule and the Christian church : an investigation into a process of change and continuity in the encounter between Christianity and African tradition, with particular reference to Cameroon and Ghana.

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This investigation into a process of transformation was intended to explore the institution of African sacral rule in its relation to the Christian church and to provide a theological model, which could be used to establish a new mission field. The bulk of the work has been conducted through anthropological and historical methods crossing international boundaries and cultures within both sacral rule and the Christian church in Africa. The specific case studies have been the sacral rule of Grassfields people in Cameroon and the Akan in Ghana with focus on the Basel Mission and resulting churches. On the one hand, this comparative approach brought to light in-depth knowledge of the sacral ruler's encounter with the institution of the Christian church and its representatives. On the other hand, the investigation shows that with some preconceived ideas of sacral rule inherited from the missionaries who had established themselves in deliberate rejection of the existing system of government and the people involved, the African church leaders were put at a disadvantage. However, it has been demonstrated that in the process of struggle for survival and change, each institution has been partially assimilated by the· other. Those who have helped these two institutions to deepen their relationship through a genuine dialogue are outstanding Christians who occupied the position of sacral rulers in both Cameroon and Ghana. They have provided historical material on which an understanding of the cultural changes within sacral rule as well as the Christian church was based. The previous religious experience and knowledge of the sacral rulers are invariably used as a frame of reference for their understanding and interpretation of the Bible and their relationship with Christ.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2003.


Christianity--Ghana., Christianity--Cameroon., Ethnicity--Ghana., Ethnicity--Cameroon., Ethnicity--Religious aspects--Christianity., Cameroon--Church history., Ghana--Church history., Kings and rulers--Religious aspects., Theses--Theology.