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. Reformers within the missionary churches as well as independent church leaders called for change in the institutionalized church. Botswana 59.9% Christianity was the platform through which Western education was implemented. The person who introduced Christianity to Aksum is said to be Fremnatos - known as Frumentius in Europe, later a saint. By the end of the 2nd century the scriptures and liturgy had been translated into three local languages. 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. That means; Christianity was already being practiced but not called Christianity. 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. By the end of the third century, Christians in the eastern Magrib were in the majority. 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. Christianity was introduced later by European Christian missions initially […] The Black Elite that would form the vanguard of the African Nationalist movement had been largely educated at Missionary Schools. Background. Sao Tomé & Principe 95.8% Home » Black History » How Christianity Was Used To Colonise Africa. During the first three centuries after Christ, Africa was a major center of Christian thought and activity. Christianity in Africa … Part 4: "Pentecost" The African Church Seeks Its Own Language 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. Christianity is a religion developed in the early first century, but by the end of the century had already spread into Northern Africa. This leads many to solely identify Christianity with Europe. Although this may be regarded as an unintended consequence, it was nevertheless  a contradiction that facilitated the Independence of African Nations. God, however, created the world and then remained distant. 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. 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. Madagascar 49.5% 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’. Two great British champions from the nineteenth century were Thomas Fowell Buxton and Henry Venn, neither of whom ever set foot on African soil. He is variously described as a trader, philosopher and theologian. In Christianity there is a doctrine called General Grace. Lesotho 91% Christianity found its way to Sudan in the 1st century as well, and the region's Nubian churches had links to those in Egypt. 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. In the 20th century alone, there have been some 1.8 million Christian martyrs in Africa. The Dictionary of African Christian Biography Nigeria 45.9% History. 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. Eritrea 50.5% Christianity and Colonialism In Africa Starting as far back as the Monomotapa Empire in the 16th Century, Christian Missionaries began penetrating the African interior. Part 1: The Genesis of the Church The Ancient Church in Egypt and Ethiopia This leads many to solely identify Christianity with Europe. The seeds of the Sub-Saharan church had been planted by Western missionaries. 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. 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. 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. Cape Verde Islands 95.1% 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. 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. We thank the Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC) for the information and material used in this issue. 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. That said, their efforts were not all that successful at the time. Subsequently, it was displaced by Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries. In 1979 a separate Nigerian Province was formed out of part of it, but in 1982 the diocese of Liberia was joined to it. 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. How did Christianity come to Kenya? Increased Dramastically Missionary efforts in Africa increased dramatically after 1870. 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. Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. 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. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. Ethiopia 57.7% 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. Mark the Evangelist made history in the year 43 when he became the first bishop to serve in the Orthodox Church of Alexandria. According to tradition, the disciple Mark the Evangelistwas the one to firs… While Christianity was made the … It says that God gives a certain grace to all people, regardless of their beliefs. 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. Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. SLAVERY AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY. 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. In the South of the continent the Dutch founded the beginnings of the Dutch Reform Church in 1652. Origen was from Alexandria in Egypt, while Tertullian and Augustine were from North Africa. For instance, when Portugal’s Henry the Navigator tried to carry out his exploratio… Equatorial Guinea 76.6% 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. 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, as a religion, originated in the early 1st century CE following the teachings of Hebrew leader Jesus Christ of Nazarene and his disciples. Some religious scholars believe that Christianity was introduced to … 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. At first the church in Alexandria was mainly Greek-speaking. For the next two hundred years, African Christians had to struggle against racism and Western spiritual imperialism. Togo 42.6%. Some Bible translations render two words as “hell”, the Hebrew word “Sheol” and the corresponding Greek word “Hades”. The Portuguese did not scruple to purchase these slaves and a Portuguese ship introduced the first African slaves to Europe in 1441. The first Christians to visit East Africa were Vasco da Gama and his crew, including Roman Catholic missionaries, in 1498. 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.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2020, Christianity.com. Hell is not a place of fiery torment. 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.” This process was accompanied with a simultaneous denigration of African culture and spirituality branding it as ‘demonic’ and essentially characterising it as ‘witchcraft’. Uganda 88.7% The Christian Church has been continuously present on the African continent since the days of Christ. We consider this a most significant project, and Christian History Institute was eager to help. 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. Samuel Ajayi Crowther was the first African to be appointed bishop by the Anglican Church. Who Introduced Christianity in Ghana? This led to both reform, on the one hand, and to the birth of thousands of "African Initiated Churches" (AICs) on the other. The first Christians came in contact with Nigerians in the fifteenth century, when Roman Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese. Congo-Brazzaville 91.2% 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. It is not a saving grace, but it is considered grace nevertheless. How the Women in the Bible Were Revered, Respected, and Diverse. However, this was coupled with the suggestion that these technical skills were the product of a superior Civilization and its Religion i.e. 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 … Central African Republic 67.8% 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. The Protestant evangelists who founded missionary movements in Africa around 1800 adopted a different course from … Christianity was first introduced into Celtic Britain under the Emperor Tiberius in AD 37 in a fairly monastic form. Christianity is targeted by critics of colonialism because the tenets of the religion were used to justify the actions of the colonists. Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. It retreated into Wales and Ireland as the Anglo-Saxon Immigration took place. Tanzania 50.4% 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’. EARLY AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY According to tradition, shortly after the founding of Christianity the apostle Philip baptized a member of the royal court of ETHIOPIA. 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 rudimentary messaging has still not changed, and it appears firmly implanted in the African mind. These African slaves then became Christians and were baptized. 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. Statistical information provided by David Barrett. Spanish North Africa 80.3% Rwanda 82.7% Did you know how Methodist Church came about in Ghana? 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% 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. South Africa 83.1% So last year we assisted in the advance of The Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Now, as the Gospel spread throughout the nooks and crannies of the continent, African Christianity began to define itself on its own cultural terms. 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. 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 Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. Should ‘Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone’ Be in the Bible? Ghana 55.4% Hosted by Christian group Apologetics Kenya, the Nov. 27 to Nov. 29 event is featuring … During the first 5 centuries Christianity was growing rapidly and was introduced to Africans through Alexandria. All rights reserved. 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. 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. The introduction of Christianity to Africa was only credited to European missionaries. 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. 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. 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. Points to Remember. Christianity has existed in Africa arguably since a decade after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. It started around the eastern Mediterranean region, ranging from roughly Greece through the Levant, and spread from there. ... Baptist and Methodist missionaries introduced Christianity to the slave population Jan 1, 1870. Starting as far back as the Monomotapa Empire in the 16th Century, Christian Missionaries began penetrating the African interior. 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. That baptism tended to look an awful lot like the ancestral worship of the water spirits in West Africa. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. He is the subject of our next issue. First, the emergence of a large African theological fraternity composed of both Catholics and Protestants. 100. There are two significant trends in Christianity in Africa since independence. Nevertheless, we are still left asking ourselves how could this even still happen in Africa today? 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. The new era of African missions is still in its infancy. 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. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. In this way, Christianity arrived in Africa before it reached Europe. 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 … first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. 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. Philip preached, converted and baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch in Gaza. 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. Cameroon 54.2% 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. Sadly, Christianity in much of North Africa virtually disappeared as Islam advanced in the following centuries. 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. The African Story: Amazing Growth, Unthinkable Persecution 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. In the 15th century Christianity came to Sub-Saharan Africa with the arrival of the Portuguese. The Spread of Christianity in Africa Timeline created by thejedi. 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. 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. Christianity spread into North Africa through Egypt. Namibia 92.3% Christianity. 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 … 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. Saint Helena 96.2% 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. See also Africa, Christianity in. 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. Due to the Victorian concept of women held by colonialists, African women were excluded from the … Hopefully things will change otherwise Africa’s Political Independence is meaningless without independence of mind, pride in our own Culture and traditions. Missionaries were the chief Social agents of the Colonial system. It was merely a new religion. Part 3: Passing the Mantle The First African Leadership We urge you to visit their website and make use of the materials: www.dacb.org. “Nothing good comes out of Africa” was unchallenged narrative until recently. Alexandria had a large Jewish community. In 1951 the Anglican dioceses in the area, except Liberia, were formed into the Church of the Province of West Africa. Burundi 91.7% Mark the Evangelist became the first bishop of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria in about the year 43. 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". In this article, the author challenges the popular public conception that Christianity in Africa is a latecomer introduced only with the advent of colonialism. In History. 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. It is also believed that the African Jews were converted into Christianity from Judaism and the Jewish revolted around A.D. 115. We must peel off It was a direct statement against Roman rule. 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. 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. Before authentic Christianity could sink its roots deep into African soil, these evils had to be fought. Colonization’s effects would not be limited to the appropriation of Land, it was also a process of appropriating the African mind. Zimbabwe 67.5% This Supreme Being was the creator of the known world. Part 2: The Continuation of the Sub-Saharan Church The European Contribution Gabon 90.6% 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. 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