In recent years the phemena of religious change and diversity have received much attention from students of religion. In their evaluation of such changes in the Christian tradition, systematic theologians appeal to various criteria. The author investigates these criteria in the light of the debate on salvation in African Christian theology. After presenting his own initial position within the Western debate on criteria, he immerses himself in the discussions of African theologians on the nature, agents and means of salvation. Drawing on these debates, he then discusses some demands made on Christian theology in Africa by the culture, context and Christian tradition. These demands are compared to Western criteria relating to reason, experience and revelation. He concludes that, while criteria in African and Western theology are roughly similar, African theologians tend to be more aware of contextual considerations in understanding and applying them. An engagement with African theology can help Western scholars overcome an all too abstract and universalist approach to theological argumentation.
The Author: Gerrit Brand (*1970) is a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Until recently he was a research associate at the Faculty of Theology of Utrecht University, The Netherlands.