These black preachers and their successors transformed the face of African Christianity. According to tradition, shortly after the founding of Christianity the apostle Philip baptized a member of the royal court of ETHIOPIA. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. The Protestant outcry against the SLAVE TRADE in the late 1700s and early 1800s marked a turning point for African Christianity. Significantly, the first Protestant missionaries to arrive in West Africa were former slaves who had supported the British in the American Revolutionary War. Today, Christianity it is one of the most commonly practiced religions in the continent. This goal often involved enslaving and even killing local populations. This unexpected behavior propelled the … Christianity accounts for 86.9 percent of the population in Swaziland and 82.4 percent in Zambia. Editor's Note . (See also Copts; Education; Equiano, Olaudah; Ethiopian Orthodox Church; Islam in Africa; Kingsley, Mary; Missions and Missionaries; Prophetic Movements; Religion and Ritual; Tutu, Desmond Mpilo. To read the original in a PDF format, click here.To receive whole copies of future issues, subscribe here. Today, Cairo houses the world’s second-oldest university, Al-Azhar, and the latter two are UNESCO World Heritage sites. These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, said Muriithi, because some African Christians are prosperity gospel believers who don't truly understand the Gospel. ). However, there is no refuting the challenges faced by the African church and continent as a whole. In addition, the Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) is working with the African church to develop a biblical vision that reflects Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want – a strategic framework for growth and sustainability. Christianity came to North Africa in the Roman era. [CDATA[ For hundreds of years the Roman Catholic Church was the only church active in Africa. Aside: When determining the population of Christianity in Africa, most resources use the religion as a blanket term, referring to all denominations such as Protestants, Catholics, Independents, and Orthodox. African Christianity goes back to very early times, and the Christianity that developed in Africa influenced the religion's later growth in Europe. Discover our Unprecedented Progress in Liberia with the Gospel and Safe-drinking Water. By Conrad Mbewe-Kabwata Baptist . Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye. 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. Both men continued and reinforced a particularly African form of Christianity that blended indigenous and European religious traditions. Christianity in Africa arrived in Egypt in the middle of the 1st century. The rapid growth of Christianity is from African evangelism, as well as high birth rates throughout the last few decades. Today the continent has more than 300 million Christians. So, how does the world's largest religion look in this major continent? By the end of the 2nd century it had reached the region around Carthage. Saving China, Saving Ourselves: 1911–1965 History of Chinese Christianity in North America (2) Tseng continues his narrative by recounting how events in China, mingled with events in the United States, influenced the development and growth of the Chinese church in the US with a focus on social justice, public witness, and biblical kingdom values. AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS. Beginning in the early 1900s, education became a major focus of Christian activity in Africa. Despite the early introduction of Christianity in Ethiopia and North Africa, the religion did not penetrate sub-Saharan Africa for several hundred years. Subsequently displaced by Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries, the ancient Coptic and Orthodox churches nevertheless remain active in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Eritrea today. //]]>. Most of them were had fought on the British side in the American War of Independence and had later been resettled in Nova Scotia, Canada. Christianity was peacefully established in the Kingdom of Cush (Nubia) in the 6 th Century, and flourished there for 1000 years. Since 1900, the number of Christians in Africa has multiplied by 70 times, Pew Research Center found. Cities such as Cairo, Timbuktu, and Kairouan were academic and cultural hubs which attracted scholars and travelers alike. There are also many other countries in Africa with high Christian populations, such as Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Saint Helena, Seychelles, and South Africa. Organizations, such as The Last Well, have made it their mission to transform countries in Africa like Liberia by not only providing access to safe drinking water, but also by spreading the gospel. The Protestant evangelists who founded missionary movements in Africa around 1800 adopted a different course from the Catholics who came before them. However, the primary interest of most of the conquerors and traders who journeyed to Africa was to enrich themselves. He later named Samuel Ajayi CROWTHER, a former slave who had come to Freetown in 1822, as the first African bishop. The Catholic Church set out to train indigenous clergy to establish an African Catholic Church led by Africans themselves. The long-term success of efforts to convert Africans to Christianity often depended on local political developments. Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. This unprecedented work is the first one-volume study of the history of Christianity in Africa. Today, Christianity it is one of the most commonly practiced religions in the continent. Perhaps the most important force in this development was the monastic movement, which began in Egypt and only later made its way to Europe. Africa enjoyed unparalleled scholarship and intellectual revival under Muslim rule. According to the Pew Center, “if demography is destiny, then Christianity’s future lies in Africa. The New Testament of the Bible mentions several events in which Africans were witnesses to the life of Christ and the ministry of the apostles. However, the evangelical church is committed to advancing justice, peace, and righteousness throughout the continent. Christian missions established hospitals and clinics, and many religious leaders and independent churches focused even more attention on healing than on education. Most of the region is still Christian today. Beginning in the 500s, Christian kingdoms also flourished on the upper Nile River in NUBIA (in what is now SUDAN). In the 4th century, the Aksumite empire in modern-day Eritrea and Ethiopia became one of the first regions in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion and the Nubian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia followed two centuries later. At the turn of the 20th century, Christianity was virtually nonexistent in many parts of Africa but is now the faith of the majority. The early church historian Eusebius wrote that the apostle Matthew also spread the new faith in Ethiopia. The history of Christianity in Africa probably began during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, two thousand years ago. These teachings are bringing the people of Africa together as they share the good news of Jesus Christ. Europeans considered converting Africans to Christianity to be part of the process of colonization. The impressive growth, energy, and vitality of indigenous churches have transformed the continent into a new Christian heartland. In 1910 there were 2 million Christians in Africa. The recent growth of the religion in Africa is mainly attributed to African Evangelism. Opposition to the slave trade fueled the great missionary efforts of the 1800s and led to the creation of many new orders. It boggles one’s mind that in Africa today, many Christians are conflict drivers. Reading the scriptures in native languages gave white missionaries and scholars a chance to grasp the African point of view. Today, membership in Christian churches is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world due to a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, resulting in significant changes to the infrastructure of the country. However, African Christianity ultimately developed its own special character in which local traditions played a role. This religion has had a profound effect on the social and political development of modern Africa. Protestant missionaries, such as Scottish explorer David LIVINGSTONE, not only spread Christianity but also played a major role in mapping the land, documenting African social systems, and recording African languages. In the 1960s the Catholic Church officially adopted the position that local African churches should lead Catholic missionary efforts in Africa. Later, in the 1990s, it stated that African churches would not be forced to accept pre-existing religious structures and ideas but could develop their own based on local traditions and needs. While remaining true to its basic beliefs, Christianity in Africa has become a distinctly Africanized faith with elements of traditional belief and culture. A former Buganda chief, Kitigana converted to Christianity, gave up his title, wives, and possessions, and traveled through central Africa preaching. Supporting Article. The Head of the South African bishops shared recently shared his visions with the London Telegraph. His first Bible, written in the Yoruba language, was followed by versions in other African languages. After a while, instead of trying to impose Christianity on the Africans, Europeans began to look for ways to use local institutions to gain converts. Missionaries attempted to win over rulers and then use their authority to spread Christianity among the people. The early 1900s produced a number of charismatic African religious leaders, including Yohana Kitigana and William Wade Harris. These religious practices are then often divided further into denominations, however Catholics maintain the highest-concentration. In addition, they identified the rich natural resources that would be the targets of later colonial exploitation. With a few exceptions, missionaries did not carry Christianity into the interior of the continent until the 1800s. The African country of Liberia, a country located on the West coast of Africa, has a density of approximately 40 people per square kilometer. As religious persecution continues to spread through Africa, missionaries are diligently working to spread the word of God throughout the nation. Until that happened, white missionaries were urged to adopt African dress, language, and customs. It is believed to have started in North Africa shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Similarly, in the 100 years or so, the religion called Christianity has grown exponentially in Asia. Africa is leading the charge with 390 million Christians, more than three times than 35 years ago. By the 300s, Christianity had spread to Ethiopia and ERITREA, centered on the city of AKSUM. A notable Berber Christian of Algeria was Saint Augustine (and his mother Saint Monica), important saints of Roman Catholicism.Christianity's influence declined during the chaotic period of the Vandal invasions but … The result of Protestant and Catholic activity over the centuries has been the spread of Christianity throughout Africa. Christianity in Africa Today Why is the Charismatic Movement Thriving in Africa? Although Christianity in Africa is widespread, the nations situated in the Southern, Southeast, and Central regions of the continent are particularly dominated by Christians. On one hand, Africa is the zone of Christianity’s greatest growth. There has been a notable growth in the population of Christians residing in Africa while on the other hand observance of traditional African religions has been on a decline. They are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For this reason, many Africans resisted the missionaries and their message. According to historian Theodor Mommsen what is now Mediterranean Algeria was fully Christian by the fifth century. window.__mirage2 = {petok:"6c57bb0ca4e99d7b11af9690c24c26d31fb7c86d-1609107835-1800"}; Catholic mission activity was re-energized and reorganized at this time as well. The impact of the grammars, dictionaries, and other works needed for the translation of vernacular Bibles was immense. Africa is set to be the global center of Christianity for the next 50 years. The work of Crowther and others like him ensured that Africans, not Europeans, would now lead the missionary efforts in Africa. Today, Africa has the most Christians of any continent. 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. 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. There in what is now SIERRA LEONE they founded the city of FREETOWN. Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. The rise of Christianity in Africa is also captured outside the continent. With many Christians in this region being relatively young and with children, the Now, there are countless variations of the religion being practiced throughout the continent, ranging from newer African-Christian denominations which are popular in Nigeria to the more ancient forms of Oriental Orthodox Christianity which is still practiced throughout Ethiopia, Egypt, and Eritrea. In 1792 more than a thousand former slaves accepted a British offer of free passage to Africa. As Europeans established outposts on the coast of Africa in the 1400s and 1500s, they brought along missionaries, who settled among indigenous populations. Christianity reached those regions by way of Europe during the great age of exploration. This article about Christianity in South Africa today first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Providence‘s print edition. Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. Nigeria has particularly witnessed rapid growth in Christianity with numerous African-Christian denominations established across the nation. The result of Protestant and Catholic activity over the centuries has been the spread of Christianity throughout Africa. They stressed the important contributions that indigenous Africans could make to missionary activity. Another concern was health. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the southern hemisphere is taking the lead in growth figures for worshipers. Important Africans who influenced the early development of Christianity include Tertullian, Perpetua, Felicity, Clement of Alexandria The oldest Christian denominations in Africa are the Eastern Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church (which rose to prominence in the fourth century AD after King Ezana the Great made Ethiopia one of the first Christian nations. Attempts to spread the faith by reaching out to ordinary Africans did not occur for many years. When the early Christians were persecuted by non-Christians, they did not retaliate. Africa is one of the largest and most populous continents in the world, as well as the birthplace of humanity. At first, the introduction of Christianity was limited to Africans in coastal areas. They used their familiarity with the people and their culture to relate the Christian message in a uniquely African context, one that combined elements of European Christianity with African traditions. The Catholic Church also moved to decentralized control of its missions, giving each one more independence and responsibility for its activities. EBSCOhost serves thousands of libraries with premium essays, articles and other content including CHAPTER 4: CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA TODAY. I seek, in this article, to contest the claim that the Christian faith, as one of the major religions in Africa, predominantly fosters negative effects (like conflicts, laziness, fear, lack of curiosity/creativity and violence), and argue that Christianity has been a contributor to progress and development and also a force for more peaceful societies in Africa and the world. And this is estimated to grow to 40 percent by 2030. Christianity took root in North Africa at a very early date. While remaining true to its basic beliefs, Christianity in Africa has become a distinctly Africanized faith with elements of traditional belief and culture. Today the continent has more than 300 million Christians. In Zaire, Christians account for more than 95.4 percent of the population and in Angola, it is 94.1 percent. In Zaire, Christian… By the year 2060, six of the top ten countries with the largest Christian populations will be in Africa, according to a Pew Research Center report. Today, there are more than a billion Christians (speaking generally) in Latin America and Africa alone. 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. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Christianity is a religion that originated peacefully. Discusses history, theology, and growth. Although not formally authorized as Protestant ministers, some of these former slaves became enthusiastic leaders of the effort to convert indigenous Africans to Christianity. As a result, their exploitation of Africa's wealth was accompanied by missionary activity. In 1861 a missionary named Henry Venn took the bold step of transferring nine churches in Sierra Leone to local control. Muslim invasion of the North almost wiped Christianity away until the Portuguese, in their bid to explore and discover Africa, returned to the Western Coast of Africa through Cape Verde with Christianity. Schools set up by both Protestants and Catholics during this period educated many of the people who became leaders of postcolonial Africa. Christianity is the world's largest religion, practiced by roughly 2.2 billion people worldwide. Today, there are more Christians living in Africa than any other continent in the world. In preaching to Africans, they saw much common ground between the lessons found in the Bible and traditional African beliefs and values. One of the tasks Crowther set himself as bishop was to translate the Bible into an African language. 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. Harris was a Protestant teacher in LIBERIA who abandoned his Western style of life and traveled through western Africa baptizing tens of thousands of people. The Portuguese arrived in the kingdom of KONGO in 1483. In the 1300s, the Nubians were conquered by Muslims from Egypt. In exploring these, Christianity in Roman Africa shows how the early African Christians consistently fought to preserve the holiness of the church amid change and challenge. Few African languages had been written down before. 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