Decolonising Biblical Christianity, Reforming the African Mind: Colonialism is not Civilisation, Culture is not Christianity.

The above thought-provoking title is from the recent book by Laban S. Mwashekele, volume one. In this volume, the retired but not disarmed pastor analyzes the pollution within Christendom and invites all God-lovers to consider decolonizing Biblical Christianity, to reconstruct the African culture, and to reform the African Mind, as he attempts the same task. However, he does caution the reader on the goal of engaging in such a task, which must be for the good and grace-centered end. The book has four chapters. In chapter one, the author introduces six terms which he said have been misinterpreted, misunderstood, and misused by some, namely, colonialism, cultivation, civilization, culture, cult, and Christianity. In the same chapter, he also defines the term decolonization and gives the motive for engaging in such a task. In chapter two, the author traces the Christian movement as it went from land to land and the negative effects it has inherited. He says that as one comes at the end of the New Testament, Christianity was a body of believers, a fellowship; “it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it moved to America and became an enterprise, and it moved to Africa and became syncretism”. In chapter three, the author proposes that God’s people read and re-read God’s Word, study and re-study God’s work, and meditate and re-meditate God’s will, and all for the purpose of being amazed by God’s marvelous light amid all that troubles the soul. Finally, in chapter four, the author deals with the reconstruction of the center of a human life (which he says is the heart of the whole nation), the reformation of the context of practical worship (which he says is the whole area of faith), and the expectation of revival of Biblical religion (which he says is the life of God in the soul of man). The book is open-ended and without a conclusion, as volume two is soon coming and expected God willing.

This is a wonderful book that I will recommend every Christian and African, whether black or white to read. The author really gave a balance diet on the problems and solutions. The book is historically relevant; the author highlighted on some historical events which are often not heard and if not heard or understood, two things follow: 1. People misinterpret Christianity and consequently, leads to wrong living. 2. People misunderstand Christianity and consequently, treat it as a Western thing. Such events are: African colonizing the Israelites; Constantine intervention; Renaissance and explorers; and Berlin conference. The positive, and something which can also be a negative to some readers (Westerns) is that the author writes with an African style of speaking and thought. The art of repetition and storytelling is heavily present. This can be disturbing to some readers; however, they are meant to add emphasis.

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