Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Second Advisor

George H. Akers

Third Advisor

Arthur O. Coetzee

Abstract

Problem. This study is concerned with methods of teaching the Bible in Black Africa and particularly among the Beti tribes of South Cameroon. The Gospel message has been brought to the Beti people through the ministry of Western instructors. Some have claimed their teaching to be irrelevant to the Africans. It appeared necessary, then, to find out in what way that teaching was irrelevant to Beti people and to suggest positive methods which could be applied in order to facilitate the Beti grasp of the Christian message and, consequently, to predispose them to a full and inner acceptance o f the Gospel.

Method. Three main research methods have been used:

  1. A review of available literature dealing with methods of teaching the Bible in Africa, with the religious, social, and cultural background of the Beti.
  2. Interviews with selected outstanding Beti scholars. The interviews were recorded and transcribed for analyzing.
  3. A statistical chi-square analysis of the responses to a survey questionnaire in which four hundred Beti villagers were involved: including young and old people, illiterate and educated, Christians and non-Christians, men and women.

Findings. The findings can be summarized in three main areas:

  1. An acquaintance with the Beti people, who live mainly in South Cameroon. They originally believed in, among other secondary gods, an ultimate God, called Zamba, or Ntondo obe. They worshipped through specific rites and are characterized by specific patterns of thought and a consistent set of values.
  2. The general external methods which should be considered, if the Christian message is to be conveyed in relevant terms to the Beti, are namely, the importance o f communication, values, patterns of thought, needs finding, a positive example, progressive revelation, and the authority of the Bible.
  3. There are specific biblical issues which have positive common points with Beti beliefs (God, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, baptism, the Holy Supper) and other biblical teachings with which Beti beliefs are in apparent conflict with the Gospel (polygamy, Christian diet, ancestors, origin of sin, and the law of God).

Conclusion. It appears then that a knowledge of the religious beliefs, the values, and the thought patterns of Beti people on the part of the religious educator creates an atmosphere o f reciprocal confidence, esteem, and appreciation. This helps to establish a positive communication which is the primary condition for a fruitful dialogue between the Beti people and the Gospel worker. In this encounter, the Word of God which is in the Holy Bible, must be recognized as normative and authoritative for the enrichment and the sanctification of the life experience of every man Beti and, by analogy, of the Black African.

Subject Area

Religious education, Bible--Study and teaching--Africa, Andrews University--Dissertations--Religious education.

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