Chapter in Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa

CompanionRoutledge has just published its Companion to Christianity in Africa, edited by Professor Elias K. Bongmba from Rice University. This 576 page volume offers a multi-disciplinary analysis of the Christian tradition across the African continent and throughout a long historical span. The volume offers historical and thematic essays tracing the introduction of Christianity in Africa, as well as its growth, developments, and effects, including the lived experience of African Christians. Individual chapters address the themes of Christianity and gender, the development of African-initiated churches, the growth of Pentecostalism, and the influence of Christianity on issues of sexuality, music, and public health. This comprehensive volume will serve as a valuable overview and reference work for students and researchers worldwide.

The volume includes my chapter, ‘Christianity and Same-Sex Relationships in Africa’. It offers a critical discussion of the relatively recent development in which homosexuality, same-sex relationships and gay or LGBTI rights have become major issues in African Christian circles. The chapter provides both a historical context and a discussion of some key factors and issues – such as the transnational dimension, the influence of Pentecostalism, and the impact of the competition with Islam – aiming to give insight into the complex relationship between Christianity and questions of homosexuality in contemporary African contexts. Doing so it also pays attention to emerging African Christian LGBTI voices. The chapter argues that the current state of modernity and globalization in postcolonial Africa has made homosexuality, and issues of sexual and gender diversity more broadly, a key public and political concern and has also led, irreversibly, to the emergence of gay and lesbian or LGBTI/queer communities at the margins of society. We are yet to see how these dynamics will affect future developments within African Christianities.

Adriaan van Klinken, ‘Christianity and Same-sex Relations in Africa’, in Elias K. Bongmba (ed.), Routledge Companion to Christianityin Africa, London and New York: Routledge 2016, 487-501.

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