Animal sacrifice in African traditional religions : a connecting point to Christian witness (case study - the Pokot tribe of Northern Kenya
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This paper will examine Pokot animal sacrifices, a religious practice that plays a significant role in the life of the community. Blood sacrifice among nomadic Pokot cannot be ignored if effective evangelization has to take place. This is precisely because any anomaly in life will require an immediate remedy. An animal has to be sacrificed in order to correct, cleanse or purify the situation, or the person. This restoration of any brokenness is corrected by the power of life believed by the Pokot to reside in the blood of the animal. This religious practice stands at the center of the community’s worldview; it is the fulcrum ritual that balances the order of things.
When Christianity came to Pokot some thirty years ago, the pioneer missionaries gave minimal time to analyze what was happening in the Pokot religious life. The approach to evangelism and church planting was done in a manner that suggested Pokot religion and culture had no purpose and meaning. This approach has tremendously repulsed many Pokot from accepting Christian faith.
It is at the heart of this paper that an understanding of the practice of animal blood sacrifice among the Pokot can be a reliable bridge to presenting them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In order to make a valid case for a contextualized approach of Pokot sacrifices, one that will point them to the Savior Jesus Christ, this paper will draw its findings from two sources. First source is the Pokot worldview. The definition of who the Pokot are, their culture, their religion and sacrificial system will be given. Second source is the Scripture. In this section an understanding and theological approach of the Biblical sacrifices in both the Old and the New Testaments will be addressed. Finally, this paper will make some proposals on how this work will be translated from theory to practice.