Langham Scholar studies for future peace in Kenya

16 March 2017 |

The East African Republic of Kenya is a diverse nation, with its 48 million people representing most of the major ethno-racial and linguistic groups in Africa. Bantu (67%) and Nilotic (30%) groups make up the majority of Kenya’s population, while various Cushitic and foreign (such as Arab, Indian, and European) groups comprise the minority. 83% of Kenyans identify as Christians.

Langham Scholar David Tarus is completing his PhD in Theology at McMaster Divinity College in Ontario, Canada. His dissertation presents an African reformed theology of ethnic cohesion for Kenya, where violence erupted along ethnic lines following the December 2007 elections. As a result, approximately 1,300 Kenyans were killed and up to 600,000 displaced in 2007-2008. David’s work carries particular importance and relevance as Kenya prepares for national elections in August. David and his wife Jeane have two children: Berur (5 years) and Tala (9 months).

David’s message:

David’s passion is to help Kenyan churches to live for Christ above ethnic and political inclinations.

I joined McMaster in September 2013 and am now in the final stages of my studies. I submitted the first draft of my dissertation on December 1 last year.

My research is a theological response to the problem of ethno-political conflict in Kenya based on John Calvin’s theological anthropology and political theology. The title of the dissertation is “A Different Way of Being: Toward a Reformed Theology of Ethno-Political Cohesion for the Kenyan Context.” Chapters 1 and 2 examine the history of ethno-political conflict in Kenya and the Church’s response. Chapters 3 to 5 examine various theological responses from select Kenyan theologians. Chapters 6 to 8 contain my own proposal based on reformed theology.

Passion to help churches

The topic is close to my heart because Kenya has experienced conflict every five years during and after its national election. My passion is to help Kenyan churches to live for Christ above ethnic and political inclinations.

Kenya is headed for a national election this August and the country is already polarised along ethnic lines. There is a need to help churches to transcend ethnic and political divisions. Many schools are now introducing courses on peace, justice, reconciliation, and ethnic cohesion, and I want to be at the forefront of the theological discussions on these issues.

Prayer requests:

1. Please pray for God’s grace, guidance, and energy as I come to the end of my studies.

2. If the second reader approves the dissertation, then the defence will be scheduled for mid-March. Pray for God’s wisdom and clarity throughout the process, including finalising post-defence corrections in time for the graduation scheduled for May 2017.

3. Please pray for our return back to Kenya. Our plan is to return home around September. Please pray for job applications. I have submitted a few applications and hope to hear back from the colleges/universities soon.

4. Pray for my wife too that she will find employment in Kenya. Pray for general adjustments for my family, including a good school for our children.

5. Please pray for the health of my parents. My dad is a diabetic and just a few weeks ago we discovered that my mum has cancer. Please pray for her treatment.

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