Dr. Kwame Bediako passed away this week. Kwame was one of the most remarkable senior African leaders I have ever met. He had a surpassing level of scholarship (two doctorates - one in English and one in French). He had a range of knowledge of the history of the church in Africa (and Europe) that could keep us spell-bound for hours just listening to his stories. And he had a most profound understanding of the relationship between the gospel and African culture. He also had a huge passion to bring African Christians together to affirm their Christian identity in authentic ways that would overcome some of the worst legacies of the colonial era. And yet he wore all this learning with such a light touch. His twinkling eyes and sparkling humour and laughter were a constant tonic. It has been such a joy and privilege to know him for many years.
The Akrofi Christaller Memorial Centre for Mission Studies, that he established at Akropong, Ghana, has a fine record of research and publication in African Christianity and contextual theology, and just recently got its charter from the government of Ghana for the awarding of degrees including doctorates.
So we shall miss him greatly. He is a sad loss to Ghana, to Africa, and indeed to the world church.
Please pray for his wife (known to some as Gillian and to others as Mary), who has been totally involved in all the work that Kwame did, and is herself a writer and editor of immense experience.
It is hard at a time like this to understand the ways of the Lord. But the legacy that Kwame Bediako leaves is simply enormous, and we pray that his ministry and contribution will now be multiplied even further through those whom he has mentored and inspired over the years.
Rev Dr CHRIS Christopher J H Wright
Langham Partnership International
Dr. Kwame Bediako graciously spoke at Zondervan on May 7, 2008. Below is a video of Dr. Bediako speaking on the topic of "Understanding the Unity of the Church."
Dr. Kwame Bediako, a historian and theologian from Ghana, was one of three theological advisors for the Africa Bible Commentary. Dr. Kwame Bediako held doctorates from the Universities of Bordeaux (French Literature) and Aberdeen. He was an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Founder/Director of the Akrofi-Christaller Memorial Centre for Mission Research and Applied Theology, Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana, and Founder Secretary of the Africa Theological Fraternity. He was a Director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and Honorary fellow of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, New College, Edinburgh. He was also Honorary Professor in the School of Theology, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Dr. Bediako was author of Christianity in Africa: The Renewal of a Non-Western Religion; Jesus in Africa: The Christian Gospel in African History and Experience; and Theology and Identity: The Impact of Culture upon Christian Thought in the Second Century and Modern Africa.