African Atheism: A Case of the absurdity of life without God

africa-60570_1920In recent years I have become increasingly aware of Africans, who are of atheistic persuasions. They vehemently speak out against all forms of religion in Africa and some injustices in our society. (And honestly, there is a lot of nonsense being spewed by the religious folks in Ghana – my homeland – particularly from Christian circles). These Atheists believe that religion is what has made Africa undeveloped and un-progressive. I believe otherwise and I have actually responded to one such article titled, “The Damning effects of Religion in Africa,” written by Kofi Asamoah Okyere here.

One thing these atheists have got going for them is that they have formal education unlike a lot of religious people in these parts. They however seem to be woefully lacking in philosophical skills and historical knowledge. While the prominent atheists in Europe have recognized the logical outworking of atheistic belief (i.e. meaninglessness and despair), these young and modern African atheists do not. Continue reading

Faith and Reason: Friends or Enemies?

Does having faith in God mean you cannot or should not use your head properly any longer? If we would be honest with ourselves, this is one of the nagging questions that come to mind when we take a cursory look at the current Christian landscape in Ghana. It is as if one must throw away his mind in order to be able to believe in God. It seems that strong faith is equal to bad reasoning or less thinking. I have actually heard one of the well-known preachers on radio say that the Word of God (i.e. the Bible) is not for the mind but for the spirit. This is a false division and a very tragic one indeed, for it is wrongly assumed that the mind has no place in spiritual life. It is statements of this sort that make non-religious folks get confirmed in their belief that every religion is devoid of reason. Continue reading

What Is Life All About?

information_point_189250“Although we agree in calling life a burden, very few of us are willing to lay it down. The thought of impending death causes us all alarm,”[1] wrote John Wesley, the father of Methodism. The irony is quite clear, isn’t it? Many of us go about complaining and philosophizing on how difficult and pointless life is. “Life is a waste of time”, one might remark as if to suggest that time is more valuable than life. Yet at the slightest hint of death we hurriedly seek ways to protect our lives. If life is indeed pointless then why protect it or keep it? Why do we get scared at the thought of impending death? Continue reading

On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand!

Rock of Gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar

Listening to Rev. Charles Gyasi’s exposition on Matthew 16:16-18 in church today really corrected my understanding of this passage. Read on to see why. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” was the precursor to the defining question Jesus asked his own followers in Matt 16:13 GNB. “Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet,” was the reply his followers gave him (Matt 16:14 GNB). Then before they knew it Jesus hit them with the thunder bolt question, “What about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter, inspired by God the Father, blurted out the now famous statement, “You are the Messiah [Christ], the Son of the living God.” I think Peter’s answer really saved the rest of the disciples. I can imagine them arguing among themselves about Jesus identity in lieu of Peter’s heaven-sent declaration. The observation by Peter has been very defining for Christianity since then. Continue reading

Unmasking The Prosperity Gospel

Does the prosperity gospel measure up against sound Bible interpretation?

Does the prosperity gospel measure up against sound Bible interpretation?

About two and a half decades ago, the popular Christian message that one often heard in Ghana was about salvation, and this was traditionally presented as relating to sin, righteousness and eternal life. The call then was “Repent and accept Jesus and you will be saved.” Today, in many places, salvation is presented as an experience with Jesus Christ that will give us the tools and power to be successful in life, enable us rub shoulders with rich non-Christians and make us happy. In addition, the understanding of the word “faith”has also been changed. Faith used to be seen as a living trust in God so that even when things did not go well, we still trusted in the Lord. Today, faith is understood in many quarters as a power or force that is used to get anything we want. This modern interpretation of the gospel is what theologians call the Prosperity Gospel. Continue reading

Who Am I Really?

Have you not come to this point in life before? Where you wondered if you really knew YOU? Perhaps it has happened at selected moments in your life or perhaps it has been a nagging issue for the better part of your life. The quest for a meaningful existence plagues all of us, whether your life is filled with suffering or pleasure.  Continue reading

The Influence of Benson Andrew Idahosa on the history and growth of Pentecostalism in Ghana.

BensonIdahosa

Benson A. Idahosa

As a pioneer contemporary Pentecostal leader in Africa, Benson Andrew Idahosa influenced many Africans. In Ghana Idahosa’s influence can be seen in the ministries of well-known church leaders like Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Bishop Charles Agyin Asare, Bishop James Saah, and Rev. Christie Doh Tetteh. The ministries of these leaders together form a big part of Ghana’s contemporary Pentecostalism, which at present is arguably the face of Christianity in the country. This brief post looks at the influence of the Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa on the history and growth of Pentecostalism in Ghana.

Benson Andrew Idahosa was born to John and Sarah Idahosa on September 11, 1938 in Benin City, Nigeria. His parents were poor non-Christians. Because of this impoverished circumstances he did not have the advantage of having formal education until at the age of fourteen years, at which time he was enrolled at a local government school. He became a Christian during his youth and joined the church of Pastor Okpo, the man who was instrumental in his conversion to Christianity. He had a passion for evangelism and conducted outreaches from village to village which brought many to the Christian faith.[1] Eventually, in 1972 Idahosa established the Church of God Mission International.[2]

Benson Idahosa was known to be daring and also one who had tremendous faith in the supernatural.[3] Indeed, according to Idahosa himself, his first raising of the dead was at age twenty-four and it came on the heels of his hearing his pastor teach that Jesus said that his disciples would be healing and raising the dead. He was so moved by this teaching that he immediately mounted his bicycle and rode through the neighbourhoods in Benin City looking for a house that had a dead person. At about 4.30 p.m. he came upon a house where a three-year old girl, by the name Inuaghata, had died. He requested for the family members to leave him and the corpse alone in the house. He then called the girl’s name and commanded her to come to life. After about five seconds, the girl came back to life with a sneeze.[4] This is testimony he repeated during various sermons. Some of his notable quotes that exhibit his daring nature and belief in the supernatural include, “it is more risky, not to take a risk,” “I am a possibilitarian,” “If your faith says yes, God cannot say no.”[5] His mindset and belief have been powerful influences in the lives of his well-known Ghanaian protégés like Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Bishop Charles Agyin Asare, Bishop James Saah, and Rev. Christie Doh Tetteh.

In 1986 Bishop Agyin Asare studied crusade planning under Benson Idahosa in Nigeria. Paul Gifford has observed that Agyin Asare has a strong emphasis on the spectacular phenomenon such as healings, signs and wonders and miracles ranging from resurrecting the dead to replacement of missing body parts.[6] Agyin Asare, in the Stanley Okikhuare documentary film Idahosa: Signs and Wonders, admits that he is a believer in the concept of transfer of spirits and is convinced that his close association with Idahosa has allowed him to receive a transfer of the spirit of signs of wonders that was upon the Archbishop Idahosa and explains the manifestation of signs and wonders in his own ministry. Agyin Asare describes him as “a man of faith and boldness” and again believes that his own faith and boldness is inextricably linked to his relations to Idahosa.[7] In the same film Christie Doh Tetteh also describes Idahosa as “the man of faith, a man of prayer, the man of courage, the man of peace” who never accepted a ‘No’ for an answer. “He dared to go where nobody wants to go,” Rev. Doh Tetteh confesses.[8] Between 1976 and 1978 Duncan Williams had his Bible school education at Idahosa’s Church of God Mission International Bible School, in Benin City, Nigeria.[9] James Saah was also trained at Idahosa’s Bible school, and prior to joining Duncan Williams’ Christian Action Faith Ministry, he worked as the personal assistant of Idahosa for a while.[10]

Benson Idahosa was also known for his prosperity-based preaching. Some of his notable quotes in this regard include, “my God is not a poor God” and “your attitude determines your altitude.”[11] He was known to be flamboyant.[12]  Indeed his Ghanaian protégé, Nicholas Duncan Williams, in like-manner believes that “As a Christian, you should wear the best of clothing, drive in expensive cars, and live in comfortable houses so that the glory of God could be seen in your life because the God you worship is very expensive.”[13] It is easy to observe the close resemblance between Duncan Williams and his mentor, the late Benson Idahosa. They believe that the blessing of God elevates the blessed. The late ’90s saw Idahosa conferring upon himself the titles of “Professor” and “Archbishop.” In like manner Duncan-Williams’ has demonstrated his own process of elevation as evidenced by the changing of his titles from “Pastor” to “The Rev. Dr.” to “Bishop” and presently “Archbishop.”[14]

Although Benson Idahosa died in March 1998, his daring spirit, strong belief in the supernatural, passion for evangelism and prosperity preaching lives on and is influencing many through the ministries of his Ghanaian protégés.

It seems apparent that the significant contribution of Idahosa to the growth of Pentecostalism in Ghana has primarily been in the training and mentorship he gave to the then aspiring Ghanaian Christian leaders through his Bible institute and apprenticeship. These leaders in turn have influenced other notable Christian leaders. Mensa Otabil, founder of the International Central Gospel Church, for instance has admitted that Duncan Williams has had a positive impact on his life.[15] Others like Dag Heward-Mills, Eastwood Anaba and Ampiah Kwofie who have huge followers in the Pentecostal circles are considered to be Duncan Williams’ sons in ministry.[16]

Photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benson_Idahosa

Notes

[1] Bp-Relate, “Biography of Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa,” September 8, 2016. Accessed September 16, 2018. https://believersportal.com/biography-of-archbishop-benson-andrew-idahosa/.

[2]PEW Research Centre, “Historical Overview of Pentecostalism in Nigeria.” October 5, 2006. Accessed September 15, 2018. http://www.pewforum.org/2006/10/05/historical-overview-of-pentecostalism-in-nigeria/

[3] Benson Idahosa University, “Our Founder.” Accessed September 15, 2018. http://www.biu.edu.ng/about-biu/our-founder/

[4] Benson Idahosa, “How I Raised My First Dead: The Benson Idahosa Story,” Yuotube, accessed September 15, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J0sG1cXK6A

[5] “Our Founder,” Benson Idahosa University, accessed September 15, 2018. http://www.biu.edu.ng/about-biu/our-founder/

[6] Paul Gifford, “Ghana’s Charismatic Churches,” Journal of Religion in Africa 24, no. 3 (1994): 251.

[7] “Idahosa ‘signs and wonders,’” Youtube, accessed September 15, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zbSG9hj-cQ

[8] Youtube, “Idahosa ‘signs and wonders.’”

[9] Emmanuel Kingsley Kwabena Larbi, “The Development of Ghanaian Pentecostalism: A Study in the Appropriation of the Christian Gospel in Twentieth Centnry Ghana Setting with Special Reference to the Christ Apostolic Chnrch, the Church of Pentecost, and the International Central Gospel Church” (Phd, University of Edinburgh, 1995), 265.

[10] Larbi, “The Development of Ghanaian Pentecostalism”,  277.

[11] Benson Idahosa University, “Our Founder.” Accessed September 15, 2018. http://www.biu.edu.ng/about-biu/our-founder/

[12] Sam Eyoboka, “How Archbishop Idahosa died – Wife,” Vanguard, April 20, 2010, accessed September 27, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/04/how-archbishop-idahosa-died-wife/.

[13] Ghanaweb, “I’m expensive pastor – Duncan Williams,” November 1, 2011, accessed September 27, 2018. https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/religion/I-m-expensive-pastor-Duncan-Williams-222742?channel=D1.

[14] J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, “Did Jesus Wear Designer Robes?” Christianity Today, October 27, 2009, accessed September 16, 2018. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/november/main.html.

[15] Larbi, “The Development of Ghanaian Pentecostalism,”  301.

[16] “Dag Heward-Mills is my favourite – Duncan-Williams,” Ghanaweb, August 24, 2017, accessed September 27, 2018. https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Dag-Heward-Mills-is-my-favourite-Duncan-Williams-572989

 

Biblical Theology Series: Jeremiah 31–33/Hebrews 8–9

man wearing black crew neck shirt reading book

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

This post is the third in the series and presents my observations of the theological trajectory noticeable in the comparison of Jeremiah 31–33 and Hebrews 8–9. I first identify the textual connections and allusions between the aforementioned Old Testament and New Testament passages and then comment on how the passages demonstrate progress and theological development in the Bible’s theology.

In Jeremiah, God promised establishing a new covenant (31:31–34), an everlasting covenant (32:40). This is a covenant that is different from the one that was made when Israel left Egypt and which was broken by Israel (31:32; 32:23, 31–35). In Hebrews, the writer notes the fact that God found fault with them for breaking the covenant and, in 8:8–12, refers to this promise of a new covenant; the writer actually quotes from Jeremiah 31:31–34. The old covenant was mediated by Moses. In Jeremiah, the promises of the new covenant included the placement of God’s law in the people’s hearts, forgiveness of their iniquity, and also material blessings like restoring the fortunes of the land like it was before (33:7, 9, 11). In Hebrews, Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant which is based on better promises (8:6). Eternal inheritance is mentioned as the gain from the death of Christ which redeems people from the sins committed under the first covenant (9:15), that is, the covenant made during the exodus from Egypt. Also, in Jeremiah God promises to raise up a seed of David who will “execute justice and righteousness in the land” (33:15, ESV); this relates to God’s covenant with David which God says cannot be broken (33:20–21).

In the Jeremiah passage the Levitical priests are those who minister to God in his presence, offering burnt offerings, and making sacrifices (33:18). In Hebrews Jesus is a priest but not like the Levitical priests who offer gifts according to the law of God in the tent made by human hands (8:3-5; 9:1-2). Jesus is a minister in the holy places in heaven (8:2–3). Moreover, while the Levitical high priest needed to enter the holy place every year to make a sacrifice for his sin as well as for the sins of others, Jesus sacrificed himself once for the sins of many (8:24–26)

Both covenants – old and new – were inaugurated with blood. The first covenant was inaugurated with the blood of calves and goats while the new covenant was inaugurated with the blood of Christ himself. While the blood of the bulls and goats purified the flesh, the blood of Christ purifies our conscience from dead works so that we may serve God. God promised in Jeremiah that, in the new covenant, he would put his law on the hearts of his people so that they would know him and that they will be his people and he will be their God; he also promised to forgive their iniquity in this new covenant (31:33–34). In other words, this new covenant will enable the people to live and serve him. This is exactly the theme that the writer of Hebrews picks up when he says that Christ’s blood or death purifies “our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (9:14, ESV) and his sacrifice puts “away sin” (9:15, 26).

The textual connections between the two passages give insights regarding the development in the theology of the Bible. The advent of Jesus, a descendant of David, and his redemptive death on the cross fulfill God’s promise of a new covenant in Jeremiah. It establishes a covenant that does not only bring forgiveness but also enables us to be God’s people who have been purified from dead works and made capable of serving the living God. This is something the old covenant could not achieve.

Biblical Theology Series: Comparing Genesis 12:1-9, 15:1-21 and Galatians 3

rawpixel-769319-unsplashThis article presents my observations of the theological trajectory noticeable in Genesis 12:1-9, 15:1-21 and Galatians 3. As I did in the first article, I will first identify the textual connections and allusions between the aforementioned Old Testament and the New Testament passages and then comment on how the passages demonstrate progress and theological development in the Bible’s theology. It would be worthwhile for you to read the above passages before continuing to read this article.

In the Genesis 12 passage, when God asked Abram to leave his kindred and go to a land that he would show him, God promised him saying, “… in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (12:3 ESV). Abram, in faith, went as instructed by the LORD. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatian church, teaching about faith as against observance of the Law, reminded his Galatian readers of this promise when he said, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed’” (Gal. 3:8 ESV).

In the Genesis 15 passage when Abram, out of frustration of not realizing God’s promise for an offspring, enquired as to what God would give him, God showed him the stars in the sky and promised him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (v. 5). In verse 6, it is recorded that Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Relating to this, the apostle Paul, in verse 9 of the Galatians passage, explains that all those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. God’s promises to Abraham then are not only for Abraham and his descendants but also for all who trust in God like Abraham did. As Abraham’s righteousness was not based on works of the Law but on faith, so also those who believe like he did are counted as righteous through their faith in Christ apart from the works of the law. Apostle Paul explains further that the blessing of Abraham which comes to the Gentiles through their faith in Christ is in the form of the promised Spirit (note that Paul doesn’t say the blessing is material wealth as some preachers have been saying in our time).

In the Genesis chapter 15 passage God ratified his covenant by virtue of having Abraham cut up specific animals in half and God passed through the pieces with smoking fire pot and a flaming torch while reiterating in verse 18 that he has giving the land to Abraham’s offspring. This promise involving the offspring of Abraham was already made in chapter 12 verse 7. Paul indeed latches on to the use of the word “offspring” and argues in Galatians 3:16 that the word is singular rather than plural and this essentially refers to Christ who is humanly descended from Abraham. Having made this connection with the Genesis passages, Paul proceeds with brilliant and insightful argument in Galatians 3:17-29. He refers to God’s ratification of his covenant with Abraham in Genesis and explains the nature of covenants. When covenants are ratified, nothing can be added to them, neither can anyone annul them. In saying this, Paul makes it clear that the fact that God gave the Law to Israel after making a covenant with Abraham in Genesis years prior, in no way annuls the covenant. Rather, the covenant still holds, and especially so now that the promised “offspring” – Christ – has come.

This is a very poignant textual connection that clarifies the nature of the gospel. It is through faith that we are accepted as righteous in God’s sight, not by our good works done in obedience to the Law. This had always been God’s way of justification, even as far back as Abraham’s time before the Law was temporarily introduced.

Biblical Theology series: Comparing Genesis 1 – 3 and Revelation 21 – 22

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The Bible is an amazing book, written over a period of 1500 years on different continents with about 40 human authors; it’s a work inspired by God and contains God’s message. In this three part series I compare selected Old Testament passages to selected New Testament passages to trace the development of the Bible’s theology .

This first post in the series takes a close look at Genesis 1–3 and Revelation 21–22 passages reveals some interesting connections when juxtaposed with each other. In this brief article I point out several of the connections between the two passages, and also present my thoughts on how the passages demonstrate progress and theological development in the Bible’s theology. It would be worthwhile at this point to read these passages before proceeding.

In both the Genesis and Revelation passages, God engages in creation of earth. Yet in Genesis God creates in the context of darkness and when the earth was formless while in Revelation, God creates a new heaven and earth after the old heaven and earth with its sea, have disappeared.  In Genesis, the earth, with its Garden of Eden, was for man to dwell in but the new city in Revelation which comes from heaven is a place where God will dwell with man. This shows that the nature of the living relationship which God began to have with man in the Garden of Eden, yet which was disrupted by sin, will finally be restored permanently. In Genesis, the sin of Adam and Eve resulted in God’s pronouncement of pain on the woman’s childbearing process and man’s labours. In Revelation’s new earth however, there is no more pain.

Sun and moon were created for the earth in Genesis but in the New Jerusalem of Revelation no sun and moon are needed since God will be its light and the lamb will be its lamp. The earth created in Genesis had days and nights, but the new earth in Revelation has no night. Sin was able to enter the Garden of Eden yet nothing unclean will have entry into the holy city in Revelation. For the purposes of giving life to the garden (i.e. to plants, animals and humans) a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden. In the holy city of Revelation however, a river flowing from God’s throne will be the water of life in the middle of the city’s street. One tree of life has planted in the Garden of Eden in Genesis but the holy city in Revelation will have a tree of life on either side of the river. Lastly, Adam and Eve were blocked from the tree of life (vs. 24) after their sin in Genesis; the cherubim and a flaming sword were placed around the tree of life to keep them from having access to eating from the tree of life and living forever. In Revelation however, those who have washed their robes will have access to the tree of life as well as be able to enter the holy city by the gates.

All the above show restoration and fulfillment. In Genesis God had to banish man from the garden prepared for him, because of his sin. In Revelation, God welcomes people who have kept themselves clean from sin into the holy city prepared for man and God to dwell together. These people will be God’s people and he will be their God. In essence, the relationship that was broken in Genesis by sin is restored in Revelation. While God deemed his creation in Genesis as good, he did not dwell there with men. God’s glory however dwells fully with people in the holy city. The materials used to build the holy city are rare gems in the old earth. In Genesis God created a localized garden in the east but in Revelation he creates an entire city, which is grander and glorious. It crowns all that God has been doing between Genesis and Revelation. That which was foreshadowed in Genesis is fully realized in Revelation.

Christianity: An African Traditional Religion

It has become customary in modern times to discuss the history of African Christianity focusing only on the period dating back to the colonial days. Jomo Kenyatta, in his book, Facing Mount Kenya, suggested that the European missionaries used Christianity to swindle the African, when he painted the humorous picture of the Bible-holding missionaries teaching the Africans who had the land to pray with their eyes closed yet when the prayer was over the situation had been reversed – the missionaries had the land and the Africans possessed the Bible.[1] But this post-colonial habit of limiting discussions of the history of African Christianity to the period beginning from the colonial days needs to be corrected since it has made it difficult for many to view Christianity apart from colonialism.

A number of Africans have been calling for the overthrow of Christianity in Africa since it is one of the colonial influences we inherited. I am not referring to those calling for the jettisoning of westernized expressions of Christianity (like the liturgies used in churches, sermons in English, and western forms of dressing etc). I am referring to those calling for the complete burial of biblical Christianity (with its gospel, morals and spirituality) in these parts. Some claim that Christianity is foreign to African culture and impedes African originality and development. It is only African ways and traditions that can guarantee progress in our part of the world, so the thinking goes.

But what is truly African? Is it just our language and colourful cloths? Does it include the way we subjugate women? Does it include our marginalization of the mentally and physically disabled? Does it include our beliefs that getting formal education is the Whiteman’s way of enslaving us? What is African? Is it un-African to search for truth in religion? Is it un-African to want to leave old ways and seek better progressive ways of living? And more importantly: Is Christianity not a part of African heritage? Reuben Kigame, the Kenyan Christian musician and apologist, has rightly suggested that considering the fact that Christianity existed in Africa for a good eighteen centuries before the arrival of the colonialists, the discourse on African Christianity needs urgent reconstruction.[2]

Indeed, present at Apostle Peter’s Pentecost sermon (which converted 3000 people) were among others people from Egypt and Libya.[3] Later, an Ethiopian eunuch was converted and baptized into the Christian faith on his way back to his country by Philip. Further, around the fourth century, Egypt had become a stronghold of Christianity. Indeed, the conflict that eventually led to the development of the Nicene Creed was one that took place between Athanasius and Arius who were both Christian leaders in Egypt.  It is still interesting to note that perhaps the greatest influence on western theological reflections has been from the works of the African theologian, St. Augustine. Besides, a case can even be made that there was an African influence on Martin Luther’s inspiration to work towards the protestant reformation that hit Europe in the sixteenth century. What is my basis for saying this? According to David D. Daniels III, Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Martin Luther made fifteen references to the then-contemporary empire of Christian Ethiopia. In 1534 while recalling his dialogue with Michael the Deacon, an Ethiopian cleric, Luther wrote: “We have also learned from him, that the rite which we observe in the use of administration of the Lord’s Supper and the Mass, agrees with the Eastern Church.”[4]

It is noteworthy that when the Europeans came with Christianity they were not bringing something wholly foreign to African soil. According Thomas C. Oden, an American theologian, Africa took the lead in exploring and understanding significant Christian theological ideas before Europe (and a thousand years later, North America) recognized the decisive nature of such ideas. He contends in his book How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind that the influence of African teachers on early Christianity has yet to be satisfactorily studied not only in the west but even in Africa itself.[5] To the credit of the Europeans though, they were more evangelistic in their Christianity than the Ethiopians had been which may explain why the orthodox Ethiopian church did not spread through the rest of Africa the way the gospel did under the European missionaries. We need to be clear that while Christianity did not originate in Africa (the same way it did not originate in Europe), Christianity is part of African heritage going back eighteen centuries before the colonial days and when we talk about African traditional religions, we should not make it seem like Christianity did not exist in Africa before the European colonialists arrived on our shores.

Notes

[1] Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya (New York: Random House, 1962) quoted in Reuben Kigame, Christian Apologetics through African Eyes (Nairobi: Posterity Publishers, 2018): 240.

[2] Reuben Kigame, Christian Apologetics through African Eyes (Nairobi: Posterity Publishers, 2018): 241.

[3] Acts 2:10

[4] Quoted in David D. Daniels III, “Martin Luther and Ethiopian Christianity: Historical Traces,” University of Chicago Divinity School, November 2, 2017 accessed August 23, 2018. https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/martin-luther-and-ethiopian-christianity-historical-traces

[5] Thomas C. Oden, How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind (Downers Grove, IL: Intervasity Press, 2007): 9.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

If Jesus is the only way to God, what then happens to all those who have never heard of him?

We have recently finished the season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, arguably history’s most influential personality. Dr. Craig Hazen of Biola University argues that there are excellent reasons to believe the story of Jesus in the New Testament: The story of Jesus of Nazareth is contained in the Gospel records (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). On the basis of accepted historical and textual analysis principles,[i] these records qualify as reliable historical documents[ii] which serve as the main sources of evidence regarding Jesus’ life and teachings. In the gospels we see claims to divinity and divine powers being made and exercised by Jesus. Further, detailed narrations of the death and resurrection of Jesus are also found in the gospels. Of all the explanations possible for the empty tomb of Jesus, the resurrection makes the best fit. Jesus’ claim to be God is vindicated by the resurrection. Now here is the uncomfortable conclusion for many people: Everything Jesus said is true if indeed he is God (which his resurrection proves). As it turns out, Jesus claimed to be the exclusive way to God. It is recorded in the Gospel of John (14:6) that Jesus said the following in a conversation with Philip, one of his disciples: Continue reading

The Inspiring Effects of Christianity in Africa: A Response to Kofi Asamoah Okyere

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On 17 August 2016 an article titled, “The Damning Effects Of Religion In Africa,” written by Kofi Asamoah Okyere was published on modernghana.com in which the writer sought to establish a case that religion impeded the development of Africa. He gave two definitions of religion as follows: “Religion can be loosely defined as a belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny. It can also refer to the institutionalisation of such beliefs and their practices.” His points may be summarized as follows: Continue reading

The place of the Mind in Christian life

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In Matt. 22:37 Jesus made it very clear that the mind was very important in a true spiritual life – God commands us to love him with it.

You see, one cannot keep holding on to a belief which his mind is not convinced of. When your mind rejects a certain belief, your life will eventually reject it too. A person’s life is a reflection of what they really believe. We are often surprised that we have many professing Christians in churches today that are not really Christian in their moral lives, work attitudes and family lives. The reality is that such people have no real Christian convictions. Christianity may have some nice-sounding teachings to them but they are not really intellectually convinced of the truthfulness of the Christian message. And so they will come to church alright but they don’t believe that the church doctrines really apply to life as it is. Continue reading

Understanding the Difference between the Law and Grace. Part 2

christ-is-the-end-of-the-lawThis is a follow-up to my article Understanding the Difference between the Law and Grace. Part 1 The coming of Faith really brings a world of a difference in terms of the significance of the Law. It is worth understanding this difference by looking at these two concepts from the perspective of those Jews who once lived under the Law but later put their faith in Jesus Christ. And who is a better resource person than the Apostle Paul. This man practised the strictest form of Judaism but later converted to become one of the most evangelical Christians known in history. He says this: Continue reading