By Samuel Kwizera
Christianity in Africa is generally considered by the so-called “Intellectuals” as a western religion on this continent brought by the European colonizers, wolves who clothed themselves as sheep. Some go further to claim that Christianity is a white man’s religion. But is this assumption the best you could come up with after examining the facts?
To examine this well, I will have to introduce you to the first-century geopolitics, intellectualism, religion (Judaism) and some other important variables to consider, but worry not I am not going to bore you since I have a few seconds to impress you to continue reading this or I have miserably failed.
Christian intellectualism which shaped the Christian religion in its current form was first born in Africa in the city of Alexandria which was at that time considered as the University of the World. The contribution of the early African Christian thinkers like Tertullian, Perpetua, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Cyprian, Athanasius, Lucius Caecilius Firmianus (Lactantius) who was an advisor of Constantine(The Roman Emperor) on religious policies and matters, and Augustine of Hippo(Saint Augustine) and many others gave Christianity a deeper foundation making it not a belief of a few fishermen from Galilee but a reasonable faith in the physical birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The African Christian intellectuals supported this belief in its essential roots and times like the formulation of The Trinity, and the current understanding of the divinity of Jesus. Don’t be surprised if I tell you that the father of the medieval theology was an African and long before Constantine made the Roman Empire a Christian empire, Africa had its own empire in the 4th century called the Aksumite Empire, and two centuries after more strong African kingdoms like the Nubian, Nobatia, Alodia kingdoms.
The whole northern and western part of Africa was once a Christian land which shocks many people since it’s currently occupied by the Muslims. But before the persecution and the burning of monasteries and libraries in the region, the people of this land enjoyed a great revival of Christianity
There are many contributions that the European colonizer made in the spreading of Christianity in Africa but to conclude that Christianity is a western religion imported to Africa by European missionaries and colonizers would be either due to ignorance on the facts above, deliberately ignoring them or to choose that stance with a purpose of depicting Christianity as a faith of divisionism, racism, and other stains that would stop any person from associating with it.
The truth is that Christ’s mission is for all people in all nations and this is the same conclusion Peter came to while he was still considering non-Jews to be impure and not worthy for this great gift of salvation. Every truthful study on the gospel of Jesus, its purpose and the people whom he had in mind will come to an end in harmony with this scripture.
Then Peter began to speak “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.