From Saul the Pharisee to Paul the Apostle: The Conversion of Paul, a Prototype for Africans’ Conversion to Christianity?

Elia Shabani Mligo ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.7  No.1  January 2021 Issue  Article 3 pp. 21-29
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021713  |   Published online 26th January 2021.
© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This article grapples with the question of the relevance of Paul’s conversion in Acts 8-9 in relation to the current African conversion to Christianity. While for many years, scholars have considered the conversion of Paul on his way to Damascus as a proto-type for people’s conversion to Christianity from other religions, this article argues that it can hardly be regarded in that way for African people’s conversion from African Traditional Religion (ATR) to Christianity due to the nature of ATR and its major emphasis. Christianity mostly emphasizes “other-worldly” affairs neglecting “this-worldly” affairs of humanity being conceived as a religion of the “hereafter,” the heavenly religion having little to do with this-worldly affairs. Instead, ATR, due to its concern about people’s current world’s predicaments becomes a religion favored by most Africans even after their conversion to Christianity.

Keywords: Paul’s Conversion, Prototype, Christian Conversion, African Traditional Religion.

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Elia Shabani Mligo is Associate Professor of Contextual Theology and Research at Teofilo Kisanji University in Mbeya Tanzania. Prof. Mligo has published extensively in areas of Contextual Theology and Research. His currently published books include, but not limited to, the following: Women within Religions: Patriarchy, Feminism and the Role of Women in Selected World Religions (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock/Resource, 2020), Rediscovering Jesus in Our Places: Contextual Theology and Its Relevance to Contemporary Africa (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock/Resource, 2020), Writing Effective Course Assignments: A Guide to Non-Degree and Undergraduate Students (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock/Resource, 2016) and Introduction to Research Methods and Report Writing: A Practical Guide for Students and Researchers in Social Sciences and the Humanities (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock/Resource, 2016).

Mligo,E.S,  “From Saul the Pharisee to Paul the Apostle: The Conversion of Paul, a Prototype for Africans’  Conversion to Christianity?” E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies, 7 no.1 (2021): 21-29  https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021713

© 2021 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).