Syncretism and Inculturation: The Encounter Between Christian Theology and Ghanaian Religious Culture

  • Joshua Awienagua Gariba Department of Sociology, University of Ghana
  • Bernard Kwame Assenyoh Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, California
Keywords: Christian Theology, Ghana, Inculturation, Religious Culture, Syncretism


This paper examines the encounter between Christian theology and Ghanaian religious culture through the lens of syncretism and inculturation. We argue that the perception that the Gospel is intrinsic to Euro-western culture is erroneous and accounts for the inability of the Christian church to transmit the Gospel to African cultures without transmitting Euro-western culture. This has been a major challenge to inculturation in Africa, not least Ghana. Further, we contend that a pejorative understanding of the concept of syncretism is accountable for Christian theology’s rejection of Euro-western Christianity as syncretic. Through archival material and our own experiences of the Ghanaian situation, we demonstrate that Christianity has always been syncretic and its survival as a worldwide religion is precisely because of its irenic character. We conclude that the irenic character of syncretism and inculturation provide sustainable pathways for spreading the gospel message in the church and society.