Centre for Theology and Religious Studies

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


I am Mika Vähäkangas, professor in mission studies and ecumenics.

I begun as a systematic theologian and an Africanist at the University of Helsinki. African Christian Theology became my major field of interest, especially during a year of studies at the Lutheran Theological College Makumira in Tanzania. However, it was only when studying and researching a year in Rome, at Pontificia Università Gregoriana, that I could devote myself to mission studies.

After defending the doctoral dissertation I returned to teach at Makumira, and the college had meanwhile got a university status. After six years at Makumira (and a year in between teaching in Helsinki) I returned to Helsinki University to launch the lecturership in missiology.

I have served in my present position in Lund since August 2009.

At the moment I serve as the president of the International Association of Mission Studies.


About the research

My systematic theological doctoral dissertation to Helsinki University was on Tanzanian-born Catholic theologian Charles Nyamiti’s fundamental theology. It analyses how he attempts to combine African traditions with Neo-Scholasticism.

My approach has gradually been widening towards more empirical questions, too. I have been widening my approach to more empirical questions and begun to seek additional inspiration from cultural studies, like in my book Between Ghambageu and Jesus. During the four years in Helsinki, leading “Construction of African Christian Identity as a Dialogue between the Local and the Global” research project was one of the most inspiring tasks. The project brought together three universities, several branches of theology as well as cultural anthropology. See the project website

After moving to Lund the similar interest has continued in the form of leading Nordic Workshops “Interpreting African Christianity: Anthropology and Theology in Dialogue” ( and the present "Looking for Wholeness in an Enchanted World: Healing, Prosperity and Ritual Action in African Charismatic/Pentecostal Churches" that runs from 2012 through 2016. At present, on the empirical side, I am involved in studying Babu wa Loliondo, a Tanzanian Christian healer immensely popular in 2011 and on the theological side I work on issues of contextualization and religious hybridity.


Books (3)
Editorships (6)
Articles (27)
Book chapters (37)
Reviews (28)
Articles in specialist publications and popular press (1)
Newspaper articles (1)
Supervision at Lund University (3)

Research portal (Lund University)

Mika Vähäkangas

Church and Mission Studies
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies

Contact information

E-mail mika.vahakangasctr.luse

Phone +46 46 222 90 59

Mobile +358  451 35 12 91

Room LUX:B318

Visiting address Helgonavägen 3, Lund

Postal address Box 192, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 30