The Maasai Creed: Context or Call?

The other day Alan Hirsch posted this creed on his facebook page. He notes, “that was composed in 1960 by the Maasai people of East Africa in collaboration with missionaries from the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. The creed attempts to express the essentials of the Christian faith within the Maasai culture. Jaroslav Pelikan, one of the greatest modern scholars of creeds and their history, considers the Maasai Creed to be an excellent example of the bringing together of universal faith and local experience. Whatever, I love it because in incorporates some of the elements of the life of Jesus, rather than simply highlighting the salvific elements of his work.”

Here is the creed:

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created Man and wanted Man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the Earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know Him in the light. God promised in the book of His word, the Bible, that He would save the world and all the nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, He rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through Him. All who have faith in Him must be sorry for their sins, be baptised in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the Good News to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for Him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

I wonder what it would look like if every tribal local culture sought passionately to practice creedal articulation this way? In many ways I wonder if this isn’t the legacy of this creed; namely that it says that every culture is called to inhahbit the creed locally.

Yet I wonder also, would this undermine the universality of the creed such that its connection through time is lost? Will this just lead to a further segmentalization of the church? Does this matter if faith is more contextual than universal if this contextuality does not harm?

Anyway, a beautiful thing eh?

JC

One thought on “The Maasai Creed: Context or Call?

  1. In the spirit of pushing back and engaging in banter:
    I’m not sure if this would encourage segmentalization of the Church. Furthermore, I’m not sure that segmentalization is always a bad thing. I fear that there will be some downfall if we do push to universalize the Church too much. First, tribes such as these will lose some identity as inevitably the universalization will look peculiarly like the Western Church I am sure. Second, and on that same note, there is no such thing as objectively universalizing the church. A theological decision will be made to go in one direction. Therefore, it’s not always a good idea.
    Thanks for this creed-can you send me the link where you found it?

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