Sin in Cultural Context
Understanding the Old Testament notion of ‘sin’ among the Kongo people of Brazzaville
To be relevant, all theology must relate to context. This study is an example of the complexities encountered in the actual practice of contextualization. It examines the notion of ‘sin’ in the Kongo culture and evaluate it through the lens of the Old Testament understanding of ‘sin’. In the Kongo context, ‘sin’ is understood as any act that breaks the harmony of the community, allowing any kind of evil to enter it. This understanding needs to be transformed by the biblical view of ‘sin’ as always being committed before God, the creator of the world and the one to whom all human beings owe their life. The rich imagery for ‘sin’ in the Old Testament cannot be captured by the one Kongo word disumu; a wider vocabulary can and must be developed.