Ideas, doctrines and dogmas of Christianity that had been proved to be erroneous through the Reformation, the French Revolution, The Enlightenment, Post Enlightenment etc., were dumped on Africa by Christian missionaries.
For the Church, America and Africa were fertile soil for the expansion of the gospel, after loosing influence in Europe.
Most of these missionaries did not even understand or appreciate the culture, philosophy and traditions of Africans. Rather, they saw their race, faith and culture as superior, hence any social, technological, spiritual or economic progress Africans had made was dismissed, and discouraged. They did not even consider the fact that Africa received the Gospel centuries before Europe.
From the Ethiopian Eunuch, to countries like Libya, and Egypt. For Egypt as far back as AD33.
The Bible was interpreted through faulty lenses by these missionaries, hence Christians were able to justify errors like ‘Ham Theology’ as the basis for slavery, segregation, apartheid and racism.
Sadly, even till now some African Christians still manage to convince themselves that they are under a curse from God. As such these ideas justify the current state of affairs individually and collectively.
We arrive at the 21st Century and Africans are crippled with under development, mediocrity and poverty. Our churches are packed, yet we hardly see the fruits of the Gospel permeate our communities, or nations.
For example, instead of fixing roads where fatal accidents consistently occur through the use of technology, we would rather hold prayer meetings to bind the ‘demon’ causing accidents. Suffice to say that the head of the prayer group is in fact a Civil Engineer, his deputy a graduate of Computer Science, and their pastor, a graduate of Urban Regeneration.
We have pastors behind pulpits with no formal theological training, because we are meant to be ‘led’ by the ‘spirit’. So we open the Bible, teach and preach from our narrow lenses. No understanding of the history, context, genre, culture, worldview or authorial intent of the writers.
Who gave us minds? Why do we have minds? Why have we been tasked with the stewardship of the Earth?
We fail to understand that the Jewish faith from which Christianity blossomed is a highly intellectual faith. In fact academics argue that our current system of compulsory education was adapted from the Jewish culture. John the Baptist attended theological school, Jesus attended theological school, Paul and the disciples did; because it was a compulsory element of their upbringing. Once they completed their studies, they learnt a vocation and got married afterwards.
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that those of us in the diaspora have also refused to be enlightened. Instead of challenging backwardness and mediocrity, we form the core. We have no understanding why we are in the West, neither do we understand our role in the progress and development of the Continent, and our World.
But, we are quick to copy doctrines and teachings that are neither Christian nor ethical from the continent. Instead of reading Scriptures retroactively through the image of the invisible God – Jesus.
Father, open the eyes of our understanding, so that we may know the hope of our calling, in Jesus’ name, amen.