Lessons on Intra-Religious Dialogue: The Society of Jesus and Contemporary Protestantism in Africa

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume III, Issue XI, November 2019 | ISSN 2454–6186

Lessons on Intra-Religious Dialogue: The Society of Jesus and Contemporary Protestantism in Africa

E. Okelloh Ogera

IJRISS Call for paper

PhD Candidate in Religious Studies, Department of Religious Studies, The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya

Abstract: – From the period of the Protestant reformation and Catholic Counter reformation, there have been numerous incidences of antagonism between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Indeed in Africa, the two Christian traditions introduced denominationalism and were always competing for converts. However, Christianity being one religion does not mean the different branches must of necessity compete, but can learn from each other. This paper looks at the lessons that contemporary Protestants can draw from the Society of Jesus, one of the major players in consolidating Roman Catholicism since the reformation period.

Key Words: Jesuits, Protestantism, Intra-Religious Dialogue, Mission.

I. INTRODUCTION

There is no doubting the fact that the Protestant Reformation of the Sixteenth Century shook Western Christianity, and set it on a path of division from which it is still grappling with the effects. The branch of Christianity that has come to be known as Protestantism broke away from Catholicism in ways that were more often than not acrimonious. Catholics and Protestants became antagonists in the race to control the religious life of Europe.
With the onset of the Catholic Counter Reformation emerged the Society of Jesus as a leading protagonist in the “religious strife.” As Michael Hurley (Hurley, 1992) says in the past Protestants could remember Jesuits as dedicated to the undoing of the good work of the Reformation, as the leaders of the Counter Reformation and Jesuits for their part could remember Protestants as their persecutors, oppressors and opponents.
This paper will look at the Jesuit movement with the aim of drawing lessons for contemporary African Protestants. The main question that this paper will seek to answer is, “What lessons can contemporary Protestants in Africa draw from the Jesuit movement?”