Monday, February 11, 2008

Did the Whiteman Bring Christianity to Africa?

Dr Ojo,
I still thank you for your questions though I feel like an exercise in futility since after you read this treatise, you will wake up with other accusations about white Jesus or white angel and white God. I will not answer your questions in the manner you have asked them but will do so chronologically. Towards the end, I will explain why the titles we bear are not in our local languages. Let me establish the panorama, so you understand well what I am going to do. I will first of all lay the movement of the Light or Dark skinned people. Definitely you have never heard this before, so it would sound strange and implausible.

The first inhabitants of Syria were children of Ham whom themselves were moors. Shakespeare's Othello casts a glimpse of what was in those days. As olden day Syria became Turkey, during this time there has been migration of the Caucasians (people from Caucasus) due to the shift in power. There was intermarriage; that is what gives the present day complexion of the Arabs and most people of the Middle East. With the advent of the Roman Empire, most of Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, the Balkans and Levant were now like one big country, and this facilitated the miscegenation of all the different colors of people present in this area. Thus, you will find some people really Light Skinned (White) and others really Dark Skinned (Black), but the majority are just plain mixed in this area. As a result, I do not call people white and black because those colors: white and black are different from the colors that human beings have.

Two people from each of these countries: Turkey, Syria, and Egypt will look entirely different unlike in Kenya and Cameroon. It was in this present day Turkey which was Syria in which the city of Antioch was located. Presently, Antioch is called Antakya. Now, before I get you lost, let’s come back to proving that Christianity is not a Whiteman’s religion and was not brought to Africa by the Whiteman.

Before Christ died, he said, "You are Peter, but on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Mt 16:18)." Right here, the church was in view but not yet started. After Pentecost, the church of Christ is offered unto God as a sacrifice and accepted to function, yet it was still under Judaism. With the advent of the Holy Spirit and the rejection of Christ by the Jews, he shifted his plan of salvation to include the gentiles who at this point are still the same moors since the gentiles in the days of Abraham were the offsprings of Ham (moors). So the gentiles here were included in the entire Roman Empire. Do not forget that Christianity is not yet taken to this area of Africa.

The mistake people are making is to think that because the word Christian was being used for the first time in Antioch, it means Christianity began there. That is not true! The laying of hands as seen in Samaria is not part of Judaism but Christianity. (Acts 8:17) and the preaching of the gospel (Acts 8:25) were all elements of Christianity as ordered by Christ. That means; Christianity was already being practiced but not called Christianity. It was merely a new religion.

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. Philip preached, converted and baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch in Gaza. Then he went back to Jerusalem while the Ethiopian Eunuch went back to Africa. We all know that the conversion of such an important personality would not have left Christianity into the doldrums. Now, take note of the development I am giving you. An Ethiopian was and still someone from Ethiopia because it is one of the oldest nations in the world that has not changed in name, people and position. This is the first instant that Christianity entered Africa. Again it was not by the Whiteman. Consequently,  Christianity cannot be termed a Whiteman’s religion.

The second entrance again is that the gentiles have surprisingly received the word of God and have been baptized without the apostles coming to them (Acts 11:1). Probably the contact of the Ethiopian Eunuch has spread through Antioch since the entire region was now like one. As a matter of fact, Rome that was mostly inhabited by people from the Caucasus received Christianity the last, so the Whiteman would not have taken Christianity to Africa.

In addition, Paul who took the gospel to most of the Gentiles was born in Tarsus (Acts 9:11): a city in Turkey, and he could not be called a Whiteman. By the end of the first century after Christ, Christianity was already in Africa. Before the advent of Slave Trade in the 15th Century and Colonization in the 19th century, Africa had already received Christianity and raised up its own Saints like Anthony the Great of Thebes, Antonio Vieira, Augustine, Bessarian, Benedict the Moor, Felicitas and Perpetua, Katharine Drexel, Martin de Porres, Monica, Moses: The Black, St. Peter Claver, Valentine and Dubatatius and Victoria.

The reason why Christianity had to come to Africa again during the 19th century was because by this time ,very few people were now practicing Christians for most have rescinded or backslidden to animism and other African Traditional Religions. It is the same with Europe and America. Right now, America needs a new wave of missionaries to reawaken it to the initial state of the Pilgrim Fathers because it is competing now with Sodom and Gomorrah.

People always fail to dichotomize between a Jew and Judaizer. Jesus would normally be a Jew since there was no dual nationalities in their days. Definitely, all Children and descendants of Abraham were Jews, but the religion that he practiced until the evolution of the same was Judaism. Not all Jews practice Judaism, and not all Judaizers were Jews. That is why we had Hellenists called the Grecians in the church (Acts 6:1).

Jesus transformed Judaism into Christianity by teaching that rather than wait for a messiah, he was the Messiah since Judaism taught that the Jews should wait for a messiah. While Judaizers do not believe in the original sin, Jesus did believe and taught his followers and subsequent adherents to seek ablution by believing in Him.

By sending his disciples to evangelize and including Gentiles into the salvific plan of God, he discards the old guard of Judaism and introduces a new religion that would later be called Christianity when his disciples were called Christians (Acts 11:26); thus, He rejects it. With such an open rejection that amounted to his death and the abandonment of Judaism by his immediate followers, little is left to prove again that Jesus did not die a Judaizer.

Christianity was not practiced in West Africa, Central Asia and Southern Africa because of the difficulty in transportation. After the encounter of the Ethiopian Eunuch, the gospel revolved around North Africa and then went back to the Levante and Asia Minor and then to Europe.

The first missionaries to visit West Africa lost their lives than the ones into North Africa simply because it was underdeveloped. There was no need standing up against the missionaries since the West Africans were experiencing the religion as if for the first time. Definitely, they had to acquiescently obey the missionaries as they were told because only a fool wants to teach the inventor of a car how to use it. This new generation had not inherited Christianity from their ancestors; they have inherited animism and other forms of African Traditional Religions. Unlike now, the bible was not there for the people to read it themselves and know what to do. Even if the Bible was there, it was not written in the local languages of the people since English was not a main language of the people.

The reason why we bear titles in English language is because first it is the language which most of us use. It helps people situate the titles and know how to address us. If I was preaching in my home village, I will definitely coin and use a title in my local language: Kenyang. Secondly, seeing that most of us have received Christianity through the second wave, we have subconsciously integrated their titles, else we would have to redefine and formulate our own theology. I know many have asked me to do so but like always, to write a book in systematic theology one needs ample time. If I have sponsors to support me, I will do that. I will synthesize, assimilate and accommodate some of our culture with biblical tenets.

Christianity is a religion of inclusion and not exclusion; a religion that unites and not one that divides. It is a religion that brings colors and nations together and not one that extols racism and fundamentalism. But again what difference would it make if the Whiteman brought Christianity to Africa? Why would that be bad? After all, most of you talking against the Whiteman are living in countries populated by the Whiteman. Does the color of the person throwing you the lifejacket during your drowning stupor matter? Does the color of the ladder raised up to save you from the inferno in 110th floor of your 111 storey building matter? Does it matter the color of the person that will bring you everlasting joy and peace? Oh no, salvation is salvation and color should not matter. Color does not matter; that is why anti-miscegenation laws did not survive because the white women knew how the negro pleasured them. They did not care what their men said; they cared about the joy those men brought to them. I mean joy those same men could not give them.

The message of Christianity is simple: believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved. It does not matter what color, country, and tribe you came from, or what language you speak. It does not matter what is your social status. All that matters is your trust in him. There are very bad Light Skinned people just as there are with Dark Skinned; all of them need salvation. If Christianity was a Whiteman’s religion as you and the others claim, then every Whiteman will be practicing it. It would have been inherent or innate in them so that as they are born, they will practice it. The mere fact that every light Skinned is not born Christian and has to become a Christian when he or she makes a conscious decision, tells you that it is not a property of a given color. The reason why the Light Skinned have been more active than the Dark Skinned spreading Christianity is because they have been blessed economically, and they have known how to manage those resources properly.
Therefore, if you have not yet received Christ, it is time to do so, so that your sins will be forgiven. It is gross nescience for anyone to call Christianity a Whiteman’s religion or talk of it entering Africa through the Whiteman. If you liked my article, you can make a donation.

Until then, I hope I have answered all your questions.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

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