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Theophilus Opoku: Indigenous Pastor and Missionary Theologian, 1842-1913

This is a brief but rich study of the life of one of the significant early indigenous ministers of the gospel in the Gold Coast. Opoku was born a year before the arrival in Akropong-Akuapem of the West Indians who were recruited by the Basel Mission, a development that marked the beginning of successful Basel Mission work in the Gold Coast after the persistent failure since 1828.

This work, though constrained by legitimate factors of time and length, is nevertheless based on primary sourced. It offers a portrait of Theophilus Opoku that is real and fascinating, and underscores the fact that the goals that the Basel Mission sent its missionaries to the Gold Coast to pursue could be achieved by local or ‘native’ people already immersed in their own culture. Opoku’s life and ministry as presented here confirm that a theologian is not necessarily one who produces theological treatises but one who in daily life and work makes a definite impact that is only feasible through a real engagement of his Christian faith with the existential issues of his cultural context.

Opoku engaged with people of other faiths, whether the primal religion or Islam, and there are lessons to be learnt from this study in how he approached those engagements. — Rev. Dr. Benhardt Y. Quarshie, Rector, Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana

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