Having before discussed the contributions of Africa to global Christianity here, we come back to my main question. Did Lactantius, Augustine, and Tertullian, identify themselves as Africans? Or were they ‘merely Europeans in disguise’?
It is morning here, and I am at church. I know I shouldn’t be checking my phone. But I did. Ninno Jack Junior has just sent me a WhatsApp message, one that I usually should not have opened. But I did. The text was short: “Nevender has passed on.”
If there is a text that has proved complex for Bible readers, both ‘Lay’ and ‘scholarly,’ it is 1 John 5:16-17. I have sought various viewpoints and interpretations. I have read the passage over and again. The text remains complex, and the sin that leads to death seems to stay elusive.
One benefit of learning biblical languages is that you get to read the Bible in the dialect it was written. This can be quite a remarkable experience as you capture those nuances that are hard to translate. But also, the joy that comes with discovering clarity of the text in the original language where the translated passage is not so clear is enormous.
I hope this is a convenient time to have a chat, to have a conversation that matters. I have earnestly followed the discussion on social media and watched your excitement about the ‘Men of God’ in town. I understand. I too have some people whose teachings excite me. After all, we were created for praise and made for worship.
Christianity has always been at home in Africa, right from when our Savior found residence in Egypt till now. The story of how early Christianity came to Africa varies, but it is not hard to imagine how seeds were sown. Northern and Eastern Africa have always been open to Jerusalem, and the thought is that there existed Hellenistic Jews as far as Libya even before Christ was born.
Many leading figures of Christian thought and faith who were born and raised on the African continent self-identified as African, despite the influence and privileges of the Roman empire, and contrary to the arguments set forth by some western academic scholars.
When I read Genesis 22, I am amazed at Abraham’s obedience. It seems like God just tells him to sacrifice Isaac in verse 2, and in verse 3 he is saddling his donkey with wood going! But is it as simple as it looks? I think we may have to scratch the surface and ask questions of the text.
When Paul writes in 2 Cor. 1:20 that ‘all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen to the glory of God through us,’ he is not referring to what we ask for.
Truth is freeing, but also frightening. In an age of political correctness, it is more appealing and deceptively rewarding to merely let truth slide under the rug, wear a smile on the street than invite conflict to your corner. The consequences of neglecting reality vary, from temporal to eternal.