Facing the Criticism: Towards a Critical and Constructive Anglican Missiology
Date added: 13/05/2016
FACING THE CRITICISM:
TOWARDS A CRITICAL AND CONSTRUCTIVE ANGLICAN MISSIOLOGY
Robert S. Heaney
Director of the Center for Anglican Communion Studies
Associate Professor of Christian Mission
Virginia Theological Seminary, USA
Thursday May 12, 2016
Westminster Abbey, London SW1P 3PA
As well as directing the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary I also teach Christian mission. It would be fair to say that among students there is both great enthusiasm for the language of “mission” and all things “missional” and great unease about it. On the hand, there is a sense that the church needs to be involved in the proclamation of Christian hope, social action, hospitality, and justice. On the other hand, there is a suspicion that Christian mission has had, and could still have, destructive consequences – especially when it comes to cross-cultural mission and when it comes to other faiths. There is a feeling that whatever future “mission” has it will be more about the neighborhood than it will be about the nations. There is, then, both an impulse to be critical and to be constructive when it comes to the subject of Christian mission. What is less clear is how one might actually proceed towards a critical and constructive understanding of mission beyond this impulse.
Today, I would like to submit one example of how we might begin to develop critical and constructive theologizing on Christian mission. As a way of “facing the criticism” I will draw from the work I did in the book From Historical to Post-Colonial Theology and outline the criticism that two African Anglican theologians have of foreign mission. In the light of that criticism I want, then, to begin to outline how facing that criticism occasions a constructive turn. That will be the second part of the paper asking the “so what” or “what now” question?
- 1. MBITI & MUGAMBI ASSESS FOREIGN MISSION
Arguably, John Mbiti and Jesse Mugambi depict foreign missionary work and the mission Christianity it developed, in relation to colonialism and cultural subjugation. Of course, it may be possible that each dimension of their criticism could be challenged, problematized, reframed, and/or made more nuanced at particular points and some of you may feel compelled to do that in conversation later. Indeed, I do some of that myself in the book (for further sources and references see Robert S. Heaney, From Historical to Critical Post-Colonial Theology: The Contribution of John S. Mbiti and Jess N.K. Mugambi [Eugene: Pickwick, 2015], chapter 2). However, in a paper called ‘Facing the Criticism’ I want us to try and do precisely that by stating as fairly as I can their criticisms according to their own analysis and arguments. In terms of colonialism, they depict missionaries as transcending it, serving similar purposes to it and justifying it. In relation to subjugation, they point to acculturation, disparagement of traditional practice, importation of denominationalism and the imposition of foreign categories onto an emerging African church.
1.1 Mission Christianity and Empire
Mbiti and Mugambi are clear that colonial and foreign mission expansion are related and that the former infected the latter. It is argued that mission intersected with the interests of British colonialism and missionaries provided theological justification for colonialism. However, it would be misleading to deny that they also identify positive contributions made by the modern missionary movement. Three views make up their criticism of the relationship between empire and mission.
First, foreign missionaries could transcend colonial interests. As part of the humanitarian lobby missionaries sometimes protested against colonial policies that were disadvantageous to Africans. Mbiti has “personal admiration and appreciation” for them. Most, he writes, are “highly dedicated people” working in difficult circumstances. Mugambi can depict foreign missionaries as a “buffer” between “rulers and citizens”. Some are people “open and willing to recognize that the Spirit of God cannot be contained, controlled or directed by any man or woman”. For both of them it is particularly Bishop John V. Taylor that fits such a description (see The Primal Vision). Unlike Mbiti, Mugambi goes as far as to say that the genesis of modern African Theology is initiated, in part, by missionaries like Taylor.
While both Mbiti and Mugambi acknowledge that missionaries could transcend colonial assumptions and practices they both recognize that, second, Mission Christianity and colonial interests intertwined. Christianity came to East Africa primarily through, in Mbiti’s words, the “invasion” of foreign missionaries. However, that is neither something to “weep over nor rejoice about”. African missionaries, the end of colonial rule, and African Traditional Religion (ATR) are, at the very least, equally important in the growth of Christianity in Africa to Mbiti and Mugambi. For Mbiti and Mugambi mission Christianity generally did not oppose colonialism, taught converts to obey the colonial powers, and opposed nationalist movements. During the struggle for independence, Mugambi argues, the behaviour of missionaries was “inconsistent with the Gospel”. While they were happy to speak of “freedom in Christ” it was they who were citizens of the empire while Africans remained subjects of it. No concern for the loss of life, including those of devout Christians, seemed to provoke much empathy or sympathy. For Mugambi, such experience was formative and led to a strong distinction, as in Mbiti, between the gospel and missionary misappropriations of it in mission “Christianity”. In practice, therefore, mission Christianity communicated a sub-standard gospel. The biblical gospel proclaims “total liberation” (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-22). Missionaries provided theological justification for colonialism. Because of this association with imperialism and justification of imperialism the foreign missionary movement is, in Mugambi’s judgment, nothing less than “a scandal to the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.
Third, theological justification for colonialism exists. Mugambi appeals to the idea of globalization as a way to disrupt liberal self-satisfaction towards the sins of Victorian forbears. Just as missionaries in the past justified colonialism so today Christians justify globalization. Once uninvited North Atlantic missionaries were enmeshed with the projects of imperialists now they are enmeshed in the projects of globalization. In terms reminiscent of Paulo Freire, Mugambi argues that the arrival of missionaries is the inevitable consequence of North Atlantic exploitation. For the arrival of uninvited missionaries amounts to “false generosity” proposing to stand in for the absence of the brightest and best who have emigrated to Europe and Africa. Such “false generosity” props up an exploitative system under the guise of Christian ministry. In short, such mission baptizes the worst of globalization. Given the intertwining of colonialism and mission, the existence of theological justifications for colonialism, and the failure of mission Christianity to, on the whole, support anticolonial and national liberation it could be expected that Mbiti and Mugambi would incorporate into their writings a strong nationalist emphasis. Consequently, their work might be seen to fit broadly within the concept of cultural, if not political or racial, Pan-Africanism with some, specifically in Mugambi’s writing, nationalist emphasis. In the book, I argue that while pan-African and nationalist emphases might be found in Mbiti and Mugambi (thus sharing the contradictions and vicissitudes of such movements) depicting them in such terms is unnecessarily reductionist. For doing so fails to capture the theological nature of their work.
1.2 Mission Christianity and Cultural Subjugation
Transcending colonialism, intertwining with colonialism, justifying colonialism is what makes up Mbiti and Mugambi’s reading of the relationship between mission and empire. That transcending, intertwining, and justifying had practical implications for African believers and the expression of the faith in an African cultural context. For that reason, we turn from colonialism to cultural subjugation. Mbiti and Mugambi define that in terms of acculturation, rejection of tradition, denominationalism, and the importation of foreign categories.
First, Mugambi succinctly defines acculturation as, “the process through which a subject people assimilates the values of the dominating culture through colonial education, administration and economy.” The need for educating and acculturating Kenyans under colonialism to aid colonial administration dovetails with the missionary project. Europeanization becomes almost interchangeable with evangelization. For Mugambi, the whole modern missionary movement was based on “an erroneous theological presupposition” which identified the Christian faith with western civilization. The suppression of “cultural values and tastes” has resulted in “a rebellion” against “cultural imperialism” (Mbiti) or “missionary imperialism” (Mugambi) by African Christians. Missionaries did not, argues Mugambi, follow the apostolic model of “synthesizing” the cultural context or heritage with the Christian gospel. The authoritarian nature of mission Christianity has not ended, however, with the coming of independence. For foreign missionaries continue to be empowered by larger forces at work beyond the control of those they are sent to serve. The church, observes Mbiti, “tolerates” foreign missionaries because the power and wealth that bring them to Africa resides outside Africa.
Second, the flip side of the acculturating coin is the rejection of African traditional practice in mission Christianity. For Mbiti, missionaries and their Africanconverts, from the nineteenth century onwards, often exhibited a “bulldozermentality” which assumed that African traditions were demonic and, therefore,needed to be “swept aside”. During colonial occupation people were, he writes,“brain-washed” to consider African traditions to be inferior or useless. Mugambiadjudges that for most foreign missionaries African practices were “repugnant”. Consequently, Mbiti writes, missionaries “scandalized, vandalized, and brutally tor[e] cultural life apart – without…clear theological justification”. Traditional rites of passage were suppressed in colonial Kenya. Rituals in regard to birth, adulthood, marriage, elderhood and death were suppressed both by colonial officials and missionaries. Age and experience became replaced by academic and professional qualifications, church membership, and colonial patronage. Mugambi sees the colonial period in Kenya as a time when traditional “power relations” were disrupted leading to the potential break down of social cohesion. Given such subjugation, predicated upon cultural superiority, Mbiti argues, that just as biblical criticism has emerged in the past two centuries it is now time for a critical approach to mission and evangelism.
Third, for Mbiti and Mugambi denominationalism militates against both the Christian Gospel and African sociality. For Mugambi, who rejects the term “tribe” in reference to African sociality, accuses missionaries of introducing a denominational tribalism. There is clear tension in the modern missionary movement. On the one hand, missionaries preached unity. On the other hand, they were involved in denominational rivalry while at the same time accusing the founders of African Initiated Churches (AICs) of “breaching the unity of Church” (Mugambi). When such denominationalism, which by definition resists ecumenism, is mixed with ethnicity, Mugambi asserts: “the political and economic poison resulting from it is impossible to neutralise”. Any practice of mission in the twenty-first century “must be for the promotion of an ecumenically open church, not for parochial, tribal, sectarian cultic communities”. This will only come about if the “logic of domination” is replaced by the “logic of solidarity”. Yet, as Mbiti recognizes, the impulse to denominationalism, even if initially a foreign practice, is now fervently practised by many Africans.
Fourth, in terms of foreign categories imported into African theologizing, Mbiti and Mugambi identify individualism, dualism, and futurism as particularly troublesome. Mbiti’s famous encapsulation of African corporateness (I am because we are) is set in contrast to the accusation that Western missionaries imported a very individualistic understanding of humanity. Mugambi sees this particularly clearly during the Cold War. Here individualism served to contrast Christian societies over against the Soviet Union and its satellite and client states. For both Mbiti and Mugambi the most serious dualism was that between spirit and flesh. Mbiti observes that the practice of missionaries in Africa introduced a dualism in society not previously present. He notes that because of the attendant foreignness of the Christian message communicated in Africa by missionaries, converts are forced to exist in two worlds with the result that the Gospel has not permeated “into the total life of the people”. He argues that mission Christianity seldom presented a God with recognizable power in African contexts. Mbiti particularly argues that futurism is a concept imported to Kenya by missionaries. What precisely this means and how it impacts African experience and theologizing was at the heart of his Cambridge PhD and his book New Testament Eschatology in an African Background (1971).
Some of these critical themes overlap. Intertwining and justifying colonial governance and imperial vision are related to empire in terms of practice and propaganda. Acculturation, the rejection of tradition, and the importation of foreign categories relate particularly to understandings of culture and practices towards or within culture by foreign missionaries. We might summarize “the critical turn”, therefore, in four characteristics relating to transcendence, propaganda, inculturation, and denomination.
(1) Transcendence: some missionaries could transcend the dominantdiscourses of their day.
(2) Propaganda: missionaries fell short in their proclamation of the Gospel in falling into imperialist syncretism. The proclamation became, in Boschian terms, propaganda (see John Flett, The Witness of God [Eerdmans, 2010 ], 63 fn.90].
(3) Inculturation (this is a term that can be justifiably defined in positive terms but for the sake of this paper is not): a top-down or deductive importation of what was considered orthodoxy and orthopraxis chiefly by those from beyond the context.
(4) Denomination: the competitive spirit of Christian missions representing different Christian traditions and/or theological perspectives .
For the sake of reflection and conversation I am going to introduce the so-called constructive turn in four theses that directly respond to transcendence, propaganda, inculturation, and denomination.
- 2. A CONSTRUCTIVE TURN: FOUR THESES ON MISSION
2.1 Thesis One: Only a Theology of Mission Guarantees the Future
One counter criticism of the stance taken by thinkers like Mbiti and Mugambi is that their criticisms are anachronistic. Missionaries of the late 19th century and 20th century were products of their time – it is unfair to judge them in the light of later perspectives and experiences. However, that overlooks Mbiti and Mugambi’s identification of foreign missionaries that did transcend the frame of imperialism and cultural superiority. Their criticism is not simply condemnation, or a call to a better church for the future, but also a lament that African theology is in continuity with so few foreign missionaries. To what extent Anglican theology and/or Anglican theologies of mission remain disconnected or remote from World Christianity is something we may want to talk more about later. We can make a broader point here: the ability to transcend dominant discourses and see a different future was predicated upon, from Mbiti and Mugambi’s perspective, a deeper vision of the nature and mission of God. There were some involved in cross-cultural ministry and inter-cultural theologizing that could see a different future for the church. That is because they had a more properly missiological view of the church and its work. Fundamental to that view was the conviction that it is God that is the agent of mission. That is to say, their criticism is theological. What they aim at is a deeper and broader vision of God. Their call is for a future church that discerns the will of God more clearly and in more life-giving ways. Their call is for a church that more clearly grounds God’s future in the present – a church that already echoes the vision of Revelation 21, where “…the kings of the earth will bring their glory into” God’s unveiling reign (Rev. 21:24). That the criticism is theological is seen particularly clearly in Mbiti’s work in his Cambridge Ph.D (1963) and in his book New Testament Eschatology in an African Background (1971). The strength of that work was that he called the bluff of missionaries who prided themselves on being theologically orthodox and “biblical”. Mbiti argued – you take the Bible seriously? You do not take it seriously enough! You proclaim a christocentric Gospel? It is not Christocentric enough! Both the Bible and a Christological commitment has not penetrated your culture and your cultural assumptions deeply enough is Mbiti’s argument. That theological deficit results in a missiological deficit. The church takes onto itself agency that it has no right to own and thus missionaries are in danger of forestalling the vision of Revelation 21. The future of the church depends not on a retreat from mission and the theology of mission, but more robust theologies of mission that deepen a vision of God and puts the agency of human actors in its proper place. That desire for a deeper vision of God and a chastened human agency takes us to our second thesis.
2.2 Thesis Two: Syncretism is Only Avoided by Reuniting Church and Mission
Mbiti and Mugambi argue that missionaries fell short in their proclamation of the Gospel in falling into imperialist syncretism. Proclamation became propaganda. That is to say, an admixture of a foreign culture and Christian commitment resulted in disparaging other cultures and races. This, along with the West’s loss of moral authority after two World Wars, meant that a shift was taking place. The post-War missionary/ecumenical movement was moving to stress the primacy of God’s agency in mission not least with the widespread adoption of mission of God (mission Dei) language. Of this shift to mission of God language (especially in reference to the 1952 International Missionary Council in Willingen) David Bosch writes, “There is church because there is mission, not vice versa…To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love.” (David Bosch, Transforming Mission [Orbis Books, 1991], 390). Consequently, mission does not belong primarily to a theology of the church, humanity, or salvation neither does it belong primarily in the realm of pastoral, practical, or political theology. Rather, to speak of mission is to speak of God. Mission is thus not a consequent of the doctrine of God. It is part of the doctrine of
God. Mission is who God is and mission is what God does. The being and act of God cannot be separated. The nature of God for the world and to the world is what constitutes the church that in its being is also for the world and to the world to the extent that it is turned towards God (for a fuller treatment of these themes see Flett, The Witness of God). This is borne out in Mbiti and Mugambi’s criticism of missionary activity that was in danger of falling into syncretism. An ontological or missiological gap was allowed to open up between the being of the church and the doing of the church. It was assumed that the being of the church preceded the ministry of the church and this assumption created a gap for other agencies to be actualized. In more straightforward terms: it is not the case that the church first exists and then enters into mission. The church does not exist for mission. The church exists through mission.
…through [Christ] God was please to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of the cross…And you who were once estranged…he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. (Col. 1:20-23)
In the congregation, this doxological and eschatological participation centers on the resurrected Christ’s movement out into the world. Mission is not, therefore, a consequent of the church’s existence. It is the means by which the church exists – it is the matrix in which the church is birthed. As a result, human agency is put in its rightful place as dependent upon the grace of God and as a response to the grace of God. The creatureliness of the community becomes a means of grace because it participates in the grace of God in Word and sacrament. Indeed, as it now often said, baptism is the “sacrament par excellence of mission” (Stephen Bevans and Roger Schroeder, Constants in Context [Orbis, 2004], 363) and that, rightly administered, the eucharist is a celebration and participation in the mission of God. For it culminates in a sending out or co-missioning of those gathered at the Lord’s table to participate further in the mission of God around other tables presided over by other powers.
To accept the elements of Holy Communion is to accept the call of God’s mission. However, if those participating in the Eucharist do so with no intent of being missionaries then the Eucharist, warn Stephen Bevans and Roger Schoerder, is not a witness to the Gospel – it becomes a counter-witness (Constants in Context, 365). Worship, as submission to Christ’s lordship, as discernment of the presence of Christ in the world, and as a participation in Christ’s risen life, is always a sending out of the church to the world. The church is the community that has met the risen Christ, seeks the risen Christ, and witnesses to the risen Christ in the world. A missiologically shaped ministry will, therefore, frame Word and sacrament as participation in the outward moving life of Christ. And as we shall see presently, in thesis three, because that outward movement is christologically conceived – mission cannot be restricted to the local.
2.3 Thesis Three: Mission is Never Simply Local
This third thesis responds to inculturation if by that we mean a top-down or deductive practice of orthodoxy and orthopraxis defined predominately by those from beyond the context. While thesis number three, therefore, responds to the criticism that local theologizing was suppressed the response is not simply to displace inculturation with a radical pluralism of local theologies. Rather, what we are aiming at is an inter-cultural theologizing and inter-cultural Christian mission. In the current Anglican controversies there can be, in some quarters, an impulse to isolationism. However, to reduce mission simply to a local or national context is to isolate ourselves from the voice of God’s judgment across cultural differences and potentially lead to the reification of local or national constructions of ministry trends/strategies/priorities. Such an impulse, if acted upon, would further embed the very things Mbiti and Mugambi are trying to get beyond.
Thesis one had something to say about the locus of missional agency being divine and thesis two had something to say about the christological turningoutwardness of missional agency. In other words, there is a fundamental transcendental referent to mission and divine source for mission. Mission is not defined by us. It is defined by God’s coming to us. That “us” refers to all of humanity. That “us” also points to a humanity that exists in many cultural and geographical locations. One way of understanding the problem Mbiti and Mugambi have with foreign missionary practice is that missionaries were in danger of confusing thenparticularity of their “usness” with a universality that belongs only to God. In contrast, an approach to mission that rightly necessitates contextualization will also be mission that necessitates inter-contextualization. What does this mean? Intercontextualization is a network or fellowship or Communion of believers ever in conversational relationship about their understanding and practice of the faith come to them in scripture, tradition, and experience. This is the practice of a lived faith that brings together testimony and counter-testimony, narrative and counternarrative. We might see this as a Communion that practices a catholicity-frombelow. It may depend upon an agreed covenant as a baseline for further testifying and it may not. But, it will call upon all churches to give an account of how their hope in Christ plays out in their particular contexts and that certainly will mean a prominent space for lay voices. Imagine if the meetings we had as a Communion took that as the point of departure. It would be, at the very least, intriguing to hear how parishes, dioceses, and provinces would make presentations within such a frame. Whatever else might be said under this thesis one thing should be said plainly: inter-cultural theologizing is not a specialism nor the work of academic specialists alone. It is the call of both the risen Christ and the ascended Christ it is the call both of contextualization and catholicity. Suffice it to say here, such intercultural theologizing is inherent to discipleship in a missiologically shaped ministry. Because the Spirit of Christ is at work in God’s world, theologizing that equips believers to understand the significance of culture is needed alongside practical means to “read” cultural phenomena. Cross-cultural voices, texts, and partnerships beyond the formative and dominant cultures and voices of a given congregation become part of how believers understand and practice formation (see Gerald O. West, ed., Reading Other-Wise [Society of Biblical Literature, 2007]; Kathryn Tanner, Theories of Culture [Fortress Press, 1997]). In terms of the formation process for full time and/or ordained ministers such inter-cultural theology becomes necessary to sustain any claims that the theology in, for example, degree programs is critical and that ordinands actually understand and experience the mission to which the church is called. Inter-cultural theologizing, as a key response to the suppression of contextual theology, pushes us to a more expansive view of Communion centered on testimony of Christ. This expansiveness of God’s mission needs further definition. For any practice of inter-cultural theology that simply does not resign itself to the inevitability of ever increasingly theological plurality will also need to commit deeply to an expansive ecumenism.
2.4 Thesis Four: Reconciliation means an Expansive Ecumenism
Mbiti and Mugambi despair at both the denominational competition between foreign missionaries and the ongoing proliferation of denominations. Now, the impulse to denominationalism may be somewhat curtailed or contained in an established church. Of course, it may surface through other means, for example, by a functional disengagement with wider diocesan or provincial or communion-wide structures and conversations. A similar temptation may also be at work in some parts of the Communion amidst present controversies as some might see one way of responding to the Primates’ Meeting as pulling financial support from the operations of the Communion. Mbiti and Mugambi’s response to denominationalism is a deep commitment to ecumenism. That commitment, even in the context of colonial and competitive Christianity, should spur us on to an expansive ecumenism and a redoubling of our articulation of the why and the what of such work.
The why of an expansive ecumenism is founded on the Gospel of reconciliation. The mission of God, through Christ, reconciles God’s creation to God’s self. The church (Romans 5 and II Corinthians 5:19) is the reconciled and reconciling body of Christ. The call of the church is to witness to God’s reconciliation in Christ. While reconciliation is an act of God, humans are called to this mission as embodiments of God’s community of reconciliation. Indeed, the message and practice of reconciliation, in a world of seemingly insatiable brutality, may be the most compelling way of expressing the mission of God today. At personal, cultural, and political levels the church is called into reconciling practices (Bevans and Schroeder, Constants in Context, 390-394). For that reason, the Center for Anglican Communion Studies sets as one of its priorities the work of reconciliation across cultural, theological, and religious difference. Reconciling practices whether within families or communities, between oppressors and oppressed, across violent politicaldivides is complicated not least because the church has been complicit in violence and has not always been a just arbiter. Reconciling practices are, therefore, both “inreach” and outreach. Reconciling practices are about the church witnessing to God’s reconciliation in the ways it laments for its own failures, analyzes power relations, struggles to be more just in its dealings, and humbly reaches out to the wider society in providing particular philosophical and religious analyses of conflict undergirded by a prophetic impulse that because God wills peace it is possible.
The what of an expansive ecumenism begins, I think, with holding onto a vision for the deepest possible form of visible unity possible. If reconciliation is a particularly potent expression of God’s mission then the world will experience this potency in the way Christians embody this reconciliation organizationally and institutionally. The expansiveness of such ecumenism will go beyond “mainline” or “traditional” Christian traditions and reach out to new expressions of Christian faith springing up right in our parishes and beyond in World Christianity. This ecumenism is expansive also in that it will be committed to the deepest possible exploration and co-operation across religious traditions. In our own work at VTS one of my team is a young Muslim scholar and part of our work has been testifying and standing in solidarity around hate speech and the necessity for local neighborhood inter-religious work as well as the more high level consultations and conversations (see www.vts.edu/dodoma2014 and Robert S. Heaney et al, Faithful Neighbors [Morehouse, forthcoming]).
In conclusion, as a teacher this task of entering into a critical and constructive theology of mission has led me to one central commitment. Missiology and theology of mission cannot be taught independent of the criticism of those who have been recipients of mission Christianity. I would argue that theologies of mission taught in
Northern churches and academies (and maybe Southern academies and churches) should begin with criticism of mission practice. In the book I write:
Missiology courses then will not begin with the Bible or with the history of mission but with the literature and critique emerging from the particular. History, Bible, and theology are analyzed, therefore, not as ideas that may or may not cohere and may or may not motivate mission. Rather, how missionaries act and how recipients reflect on such action becomes the site for the analysis of how mission Christianity understands history, Bible, and theology.” (Heaney, From Historical, 215-216).
This I depict as a post-colonial move. If we are to hope for a post-colonial Communion we will, at the very least, need to take with theological and missiological seriousness the work of those who have experienced colonialism and coloniality (see Robert S. Heaney, “Coloniality and Theological Method in Africa” Journal of Anglican Studies 7:1 (2009): 56-61). It may be that in grappling with what a critical and constructive missiology is we may begin to resource a Communion that can hold both these necessitates together. A Communion, in more theological language, where both the voice of God’s judgement and the voice of God’s grace is heard.
 It is more fruitful to compare their work with the emergence of post-colonial criticism and theology (see
Heaney, From Historical, chapter 7). Their writing can then be seen as part of a series of counterdiscourses
critiquing and undermining so-called Western hegemonic intent beginning with the subjugation
of African cultural practices and values.