In the 15th century Christianity came to Sub-Saharan Africa with the arrival of the Portuguese. The African Story: Amazing Growth, Unthinkable Persecution We thank the Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC) for the information and material used in this issue. Hopefully things will change otherwise Africa’s Political Independence is meaningless without independence of mind, pride in our own Culture and traditions. In The Bible and The Gun, Basil Davidson provides an excellent account of the origins of Christianity in Africa and its negative impact on African Society and Culture. The trend would however pick up in the late 19th Century as explorers like David Livingstone and Henry-Morton Stanley explored deeper into the African interior with the professed intention of spreading the ‘Gospel and ‘Civilization’. This rudimentary messaging has still not changed, and it appears firmly implanted in the African mind. How the Women in the Bible Were Revered, Respected, and Diverse. The trend would however pick up in the late 19th Century as explorers like David Livingstone and Henry-Morton Stanley explored deeper into the African interior with the professed intention of spreading the ‘Gospel and ‘Civilization’. Lesotho 91% 100. Some religious scholars believe that Christianity was introduced to … Christianity is targeted by critics of colonialism because the tenets of the religion were used to justify the actions of the colonists. All rights reserved. Should ‘Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone’ Be in the Bible? While the Portuguese introduced a Catholic form of Christianity to the Kongo Kingdom (central Africa) between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, there were few, if any, lasting results. It is not a saving grace, but it is considered grace nevertheless. How did Christianity come to Kenya? The first Annual African Apologetics Conference is engaging with postmodern and traditional African worldviews by asking if Christianity is Africa’s faith. While the Portuguese introduced a Catholic form of Christianity to the Kongo Kingdom (central Africa) between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, there were few, if any, lasting results. The conflation of Technology and Psychology would prove effective as Missionaries became firmly implanted in African Nations across the Continent until they were able to gather favour with the Royal Families converting them to Christianity. Saint Helena 96.2% This also led to the misconception that has persisted even up to the present day that Christianity is “the white man’s religion,” and that the spread of Christianity in Africa is the exclusive result of modern European missionary work. That is a false teaching. The Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. That means; Christianity was already being practiced but not called Christianity. Christianity was the platform through which Western education was implemented. It is also believed that the African Jews were converted into Christianity from Judaism and the Jewish revolted around A.D. 115. Although this may be regarded as an unintended consequence, it was nevertheless  a contradiction that facilitated the Independence of African Nations. That said, their efforts were not all that successful at the time. The new era of African missions is still in its infancy. It is believed that Mark the Evangelist brought Christianity from Jerusalem to Alexandria in the year 43 before becoming the first bishop to serve the Alexandria Orthodox Church. So, Christianity first entered Africa along the Mediterranean and Red Seas, moving into Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula by the late first or early second centuries CE. ... Baptist and Methodist missionaries introduced Christianity to the slave population Jan 1, 1870. In Egypt and in Ethiopia, however, it had taken deep root, and was thus able to survive the Islamic juggernaut and continues to this day. Christianity, as a religion, originated in the early 1st century CE following the teachings of Hebrew leader Jesus Christ of Nazarene and his disciples. Did you know how Methodist Church came about in Ghana? While Buxton sought to fully eradicate the slave trade by encouraging local commercial and agricultural initiatives in its place, Venn is responsible for laying down the principles of the “indigenous church” whereby the nascent African church began to come of age. Expansion of African Independent Churches throughout Africa Christianity introduced to Aksum Portuguese missionaries arrive in Africa Christianity introduced into Egypt Beatrice Kimpa Vita begins Antonine independent church in the Kongo Christianity introduced into Nubia Major expansion of Christian m missionary work in Africa. Ghana 55.4% Zimbabwe 67.5% Hosted by Christian group Apologetics Kenya, the Nov. 27 to Nov. 29 event is featuring … Missionaries would become integral to the Colonial Project serving as ‘Advisors’ to African Kings enabling the conclusion of Treaties such as the Rudd Concession that facilitated the British Occupation of Southern Africa. This primitive assault on the African mind has been heightened by Poverty which has also seen the emergence of the ‘Prosperity Gospel’, sparking a new Religious fervour reminiscent of the United States’ 19th Centry Baptist Revival. So last year we assisted in the advance of The Dictionary of African Christian Biography. It was merely a new religion. The Protestant evangelists who founded missionary movements in Africa around 1800 adopted a different course from … The Christian Church has been continuously present on the African continent since the days of Christ. Michael has since been deported by the Kenyan authorities, and the Pastors of the local Kenyan Church that had invited him to Kenya have also been arrested. Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. Tanzania 50.4% SLAVERY AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY. Christianity found its way to Sudan in the 1st century as well, and the region's Nubian churches had links to those in Egypt. Colonial Christianity also brought to Africa the concept of the Victorian woman: a woman who should stay in the private domain and leave the “real work” to the men. In the twentieth century, Christianity in Africa exploded from an estimated population of eight or nine million in 1900 (8 to 9%) to some 335 million in 2000 (45%), marking a shift in the “center of gravity of Christianity” from the West to Latin America, parts of Asia and Africa. In 1979 a separate Nigerian Province was formed out of part of it, but in 1982 the diocese of Liberia was joined to it. Christianity was introduced later by European Christian missions initially […] This leads many to solely identify Christianity with Europe. Equatorial Guinea 76.6% Starting as far back as the Monomotapa Empire in the 16th Century, Christian Missionaries began penetrating the African interior. See also Africa, Christianity in. Hell is not a place of fiery torment. When one begins to look at the history of Christianity in Nigeria, one might expect to find its origins in Europeans bringing this new religion across to Africa. EARLY AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY According to tradition, shortly after the founding of Christianity the apostle Philip baptized a member of the royal court of ETHIOPIA. Before authentic Christianity could sink its roots deep into African soil, these evils had to be fought. At the turn of the 20th century, Christianity was virtually nonexistent in many parts of Africa but is now the faith of the majority, as the following figures demonstrate: Other African countries with a significant Christian population are: Seychelles 96.9% The Alexandria-based church initially used Greek, and it was not until the late 2nd century that both the liturgy and the scriptures were translated into three native languages. Christianity and Colonialism In Africa Starting as far back as the Monomotapa Empire in the 16th Century, Christian Missionaries began penetrating the African interior. Eritrea 50.5% Cape Verde Islands 95.1% Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. For example, Toyin Falola asserts that there were some missionaries who believed that "the agenda of colonialism in Africa was similar to that of Christianity". While Christianity was made the … These African slaves then became Christians and were baptized. By the end of the 2nd century the scriptures and liturgy had been translated into three local languages. Ironically, Missionary education served as the very means by which Africans were able to achieve Independence. An Historical Overview by Michèle Sigg of DACB. The first Christians to visit East Africa were Vasco da Gama and his crew, including Roman Catholic missionaries, in 1498. I decided to revisit the question of how Christianity was used to Colonise Africa after the net was abuzz this week with the controversial story of Michael Job , a White American who billed his trip to Kenya as the second coming of Jesus Christ, sparking alarm and outrage after photos and video showing him dressed as Jesus Christ, and ‘blessing’ people out of a car’s sunroof began circulating. It started around the eastern Mediterranean region, ranging from roughly Greece through the Levant, and spread from there. Ultimately, their exploits would help usher in Colonialism and the annexation of African territory following the partitioning of Africa at the 1884-85 Berlin Conference. Christianity in Africa … The story of Christianity in Africa, begun in a quiet corner of Alexandria, Egypt in the first century, is now a global movement changing the world. At first the church in Alexandria was mainly Greek-speaking. Sao Tomé & Principe 95.8% Missionaries were the chief Social agents of the Colonial system. It retreated into Wales and Ireland as the Anglo-Saxon Immigration took place. The school system introduced people in the country to new ideologies, ... these include the Celestial Church of Christ which arrived in western Nigeria from Benin to become one of Africa’s largest Aladura churches. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The Portuguese did not scruple to purchase these slaves and a Portuguese ship introduced the first African slaves to Europe in 1441. According to a 2007 Pew Report, 78% of Blacks in America identify as Protestant while a 2011 report by Pew notes that nearly 24% of Christians live in Sub-Saharan Africa. With Western civilization came not only the good intentions of Christianity, however, but also the appallingly devastating transatlantic slave trade and the inevitable excesses of commercial greed manifest in the white foreigners’ insatiable appetite for Africa’s natural resources. Uganda 88.7% With strong cultural ties between Roman Judea (Israel) and the Greco-Roman Egypt (a large Jewish population lived in Alexandria, Egypt), Mark the Evangelist established a church in Alexandria as early as 43 CE. Further south, Christianity was introduced later by European Christian missions, initially on the heels of Portuguese expansion into the Kingdom of the Kongo and Angola in the 16th century, the slave trade in the ensuing centuries, and the general expansion of European influence and colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries in an explosive combination of “Christianity, Commerce and Civilization.” South Africa 83.1% Samuel Ajayi Crowther was the first African to be appointed bishop by the Anglican Church. For instance, when Portugal’s Henry the Navigator tried to carry out his exploratio… It was a direct statement against Roman rule. He is the subject of our next issue. Under these circumstances, its certainly embarassing and shocking but not inconceivable why some Africans would be duped into believing that a White Man from the United States is the second coming of Christ, just because he looks like the Jesus or Saviour they just saw in the last Church Book and have been taught to believe in all their lives. Although Christianity as Religion forms part of what Richard Dawkins has termed the larger human ‘God Delusion’, the specific manner in which the delusion has played itself out in Africa is directly related to the Colonial and Post-Colonial experience. Philip preached, converted and baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch in Gaza. Two great British champions from the nineteenth century were Thomas Fowell Buxton and Henry Venn, neither of whom ever set foot on African soil. This led to both reform, on the one hand, and to the birth of thousands of "African Initiated Churches" (AICs) on the other. Only at the end of the eighteenth century did the Evangelical Revival begin to bring to Africa an influx of missionaries whose labors would produce the first fruits of an enduring Christian presence in Sub … The person who introduced Christianity to Aksum is said to be Fremnatos - known as Frumentius in Europe, later a saint. Burundi 91.7% Part 2: The Continuation of the Sub-Saharan Church The European Contribution Part 4: "Pentecost" The African Church Seeks Its Own Language In the South of the continent the Dutch founded the beginnings of the Dutch Reform Church in 1652. The seeds of the Sub-Saharan church had been planted by Western missionaries. In this article, the author challenges the popular public conception that Christianity in Africa is a latecomer introduced only with the advent of colonialism. The arrival of Joseph Rhodes Dunwell to the Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1835 resulting from missionary activities of the Wesleyan Methodist Church brought Methodist Church to Ghana. First, the emergence of a large African theological fraternity composed of both Catholics and Protestants. Alexandria had a large Jewish community. Yet it promises that the story of Christianity in Africa, begun in a quiet corner of Alexandria, Egypt in the first century, is now a global movement changing the world. This Supreme Being was the creator of the known world. Christianity in Sudan also spread in the early 1st century, and the Nubian churches, which were established in the sixth century within the kingdoms of Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia were linked to those of Egypt. The introduction of Christianity to Africa was only credited to European missionaries. Togo 42.6%. first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. “Nothing good comes out of Africa” was unchallenged narrative until recently. We consider this a most significant project, and Christian History Institute was eager to help. Spanish North Africa 80.3% Central African Republic 67.8% What does history say about the first Christians of Africa?The New Testament gives us one example: the Ethiopian eunuch evangelized and baptized by Philip in … Congo-Brazzaville 91.2% Who Introduced Christianity in Ghana? A Quick Look at History Christianity in Africa goes back to the earliest days of the church, when it spread along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlands of north and northeast Africa and their hinterlands. Due to the Victorian concept of women held by colonialists, African women were excluded from the … Reformers within the missionary churches as well as independent church leaders called for change in the institutionalized church. Background. Expansion of African Independent Churches throughout Africa Christianity introduced to Aksum Portuguese missionaries arrive in Africa Christianity introduced into Egypt Beatrice Kimpa Vita begins Antonine independent church in the Kongo Christianity introduced into Nubia Major expansion of Christian m missionary work in Africa. Christianity was first introduced into Celtic Britain under the Emperor Tiberius in AD 37 in a fairly monastic form. Points to Remember. History. In this way, Christianity arrived in Africa before it reached Europe. In the 20th century alone, there have been some 1.8 million Christian martyrs in Africa. Now, as the Gospel spread throughout the nooks and crannies of the continent, African Christianity began to define itself on its own cultural terms. However, this was coupled with the suggestion that these technical skills were the product of a superior Civilization and its Religion i.e. The African Story: Amazing Growth, Unthinkable Persecution, The Dictionary of African Christian Biography, Part 1: The Genesis of the Church The Ancient Church in Egypt and Ethiopia, Part 2: The Continuation of the Sub-Saharan Church The European Contribution, Part 3: Passing the Mantle The First African Leadership, Part 4: "Pentecost" The African Church Seeks Its Own Language, The Love of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon, James Ossuary Passed a Test for Authenticity, Come, Father, Heal Our Land by Enos Martin. Christianity spread into North Africa through Egypt. The Dictionary of African Christian Biography This link between the Christian message and African culture was an important factor in the spread of Christianity across the continent in the 1800s and 1900s. For more on Pre-Colonial Africa, you can check out the archives here: Pre-Colonial African Kingdoms and Empires, Africa From The Stone Age To The Iron Age, How Christianity Was Used To Colonise Africa. The Spread of Christianity in Africa Timeline created by thejedi. He did not, however, leave any of these in East Africa and the next missionary we hear about is Francis Xavier, the pioneer missionary, on his way to India, who had talks with Muslim leaders in Malindi in 1542. Madagascar 49.5% Gabon 90.6% As a child I remember being constantly bombarded by images of a gentle White Jesus followed by graphic and horrific images of events like the rapture and the end of days. Christian missionaries in Africa often thought the people served multiple Gods; in reality, all forms of African religion held a belief in one supreme God. Faced with the Technical and apparent Cultural superiority of Western Civilization, Africans began a process of Cultural re-orientation based on the model of Western materialism. But, as Venn had written, if the African church were to mature and establish itself, missionaries had to move on once the seed was sown, leaving indigenous leaders to build the church. Ethiopia 57.7% This also led to the misconception that has persisted even up to the present day that Christianity is “the white man’s religion,” and that the spread of Christianity in Africa is the exclusive result of modern European missionary work. This leads many to solely identify Christianity with Europe. Botswana 59.9% Cameroon 54.2% Home » Black History » How Christianity Was Used To Colonise Africa. Africans continued to be subjected to both subliminal and overt messaging in which their culture was regarded as evil and it was continually impressed upon them that ‘Salvation’ lay in a White Jesus Christ figure. Christianity. This process was accompanied with a simultaneous denigration of African culture and spirituality branding it as ‘demonic’ and essentially characterising it as ‘witchcraft’. Statistical information provided by David Barrett. This figure does not take into account the estimated 600,000 Christians who have died in the genocidal conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi, nor does it fully account for the more than two million deaths in the 17 years of Sudanese civil war waged by the militant Islamist government on the predominantly Christian population of the south. The encounter between Philip, the Evangelist and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:24-40) sheds more light as to how and when Christianity entered Africa. The spread of Christianity throughout Egypt and Northern Africa, during the first five centuries was rapid and intense, despite the prevalence of false teachings, persecutions and martyrdom. Amongst people subdued by Roman authority in North Africa (Aegyptus, Cyrenaica, Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania) Christianity quickly became a religion of protest—it was a reason for them to ignore the requirement to honor the Roman Emperor through sacrificial ceremonies. Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2020, Christianity.com. There are two significant trends in Christianity in Africa since independence. The Black Elite that would form the vanguard of the African Nationalist movement had been largely educated at Missionary Schools. We urge you to visit their website and make use of the materials: www.dacb.org. In 1951 the Anglican dioceses in the area, except Liberia, were formed into the Church of the Province of West Africa. Some Bible translations render two words as “hell”, the Hebrew word “Sheol” and the corresponding Greek word “Hades”. Christianity arrived in South Africa with settlers from Europe, starting with Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, when Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC, Dutch East India Company) authorized him to establish a post to resupply food and fuel to ships traveling between the … Part 1: The Genesis of the Church The Ancient Church in Egypt and Ethiopia He is variously described as a trader, philosopher and theologian. While Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, many areas of North Africa continued to practice Islam until only the last century. Nevertheless, we are still left asking ourselves how could this even still happen in Africa today? For the next two hundred years, African Christians had to struggle against racism and Western spiritual imperialism. The Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB), sponsored by the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut, is an effort to rectify this by gathering stories of the founders and builders of the African church and offering them free over the internet. In 1990, the Black Catholic Clergy Caucus dedicated November as Black Catholic History Month, highlighting the presence and contribution of people of African descent in the Universal Church. Nigeria 45.9% Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. Namibia 92.3% Sadly, Christianity in much of North Africa virtually disappeared as Islam advanced in the following centuries. Part 3: Passing the Mantle The First African Leadership Mark the Evangelist became the first bishop of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria in about the year 43. Christianity has existed in Africa arguably since a decade after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. We must peel off Industrious, brave and armed with technical skills in Medicine, Education, Building etc, they ingratiated themselves to Africans by making available the benefits of their useful technical skills. Rwanda 82.7% The first Christians came in contact with Nigerians in the fifteenth century, when Roman Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. The early church historian Eusebius wrote that the apostle Matthew also spread the new faith in Ethiopia. While the history of African Christianity is multifaceted in its regional development, it is, nevertheless, possible to discern four general phases in the planting and maturing of the African Church. During the first 5 centuries Christianity was growing rapidly and was introduced to Africans through Alexandria. Increased Dramastically Missionary efforts in Africa increased dramatically after 1870. What does history say about the first Christians of Africa?The New Testament gives us one example: the Ethiopian eunuch evangelized and baptized by Philip in Acts 8:26-39. Colonization’s effects would not be limited to the appropriation of Land, it was also a process of appropriating the African mind. Only at the end of the eighteenth century did the Evangelical Revival begin to bring to Africa an influx of missionaries whose labors would produce the first fruits of an enduring Christian presence in Sub-Sahara Africa. God, however, created the world and then remained distant. It says that God gives a certain grace to all people, regardless of their beliefs. According to tradition, the disciple Mark the Evangelistwas the one to firs… Subsequently, it was displaced by Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries. That baptism tended to look an awful lot like the ancestral worship of the water spirits in West Africa. In Christianity there is a doctrine called General Grace. Legend has it that Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD. During the first three centuries after Christ, Africa was a major center of Christian thought and activity. By the end of the third century, Christians in the eastern Magrib were in the majority. Christianity is a religion developed in the early first century, but by the end of the century had already spread into Northern Africa. Whilst Christianity and Missionary Education were instrumental in the rise of African Nationalism, their impact on African Culture and African self-esteem were the complete opposite. The spread of the faith in Africa represents perhaps the most dramatic advance in all Christian history, and yet the names and stories of persons chiefly responsible are largely unknown. In History. Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. 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