The rapid growth of Christianity is from African evangelism, as well as high birth rates throughout the last few decades. The Christian nature of African kingdoms could prove short-lived if the ruling group was overthrown or challenged by a group opposed to Christianity. To read the original in a PDF format, click here.To receive whole copies of future issues, subscribe here. Africa enjoyed unparalleled scholarship and intellectual revival under Muslim rule. Discover our Unprecedented Progress in Liberia with the Gospel and Safe-drinking Water. The early church historian Eusebius wrote that the apostle Matthew also spread the new faith in Ethiopia. Christianity was peacefully established in the Kingdom of Cush (Nubia) in the 6 th Century, and flourished there for 1000 years. For more information about the state of Christianity in Africa, or how you can help spread God’s message, contact The Last Well today. Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Today, Christianity it is one of the most commonly practiced religions in the continent. 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. Europeans considered converting Africans to Christianity to be part of the process of colonization. Today, membership in Christian churches is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world. In 1900, nine million Christians lived in Africa compared to the 380 million in 2000. ). Christianity in Africa arrived in Egypt in the middle of the 1st century. 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. The early 1900s produced a number of charismatic African religious leaders, including Yohana Kitigana and William Wade Harris. 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. When the early Christians were persecuted by non-Christians, they did not retaliate. The impact of the grammars, dictionaries, and other works needed for the translation of vernacular Bibles was immense. With a few exceptions, missionaries did not carry Christianity into the interior of the continent until the 1800s. Schools set up by both Protestants and Catholics during this period educated many of the people who became leaders of postcolonial Africa. 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. He later named Samuel Ajayi CROWTHER, a former slave who had come to Freetown in 1822, as the first African bishop. While remaining true to its basic beliefs, Christianity in Africa has become a distinctly Africanized faith with elements of traditional belief and culture. The Catholic Church also moved to decentralized control of its missions, giving each one more independence and responsibility for its activities. It is believed to have started in North Africa shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian missions established hospitals and clinics, and many religious leaders and independent churches focused even more attention on healing than on education. 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. Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. These teachings are bringing the people of Africa together as they share the good news of Jesus Christ. Today the continent has more than 300 million Christians. In addition, they identified the rich natural resources that would be the targets of later colonial exploitation. The result of Protestant and Catholic activity over the centuries has been the spread of Christianity throughout Africa. Today, the Christian community in Latin America and Africa, alone, account for 1 billion people. Christianity took root in North Africa at a very early date. Despite the early introduction of Christianity in Ethiopia and North Africa, the religion did not penetrate sub-Saharan Africa for several hundred years. By Conrad Mbewe-Kabwata Baptist . Although not formally authorized as Protestant ministers, some of these former slaves became enthusiastic leaders of the effort to convert indigenous Africans to Christianity. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Christianity is a religion that originated peacefully. Nigeria has particularly witnessed rapid growth in Christianity with numerous African-Christian denominations established across the nation. The rapid growth of Christianity is from African evangelism, as well as high birth rates throughout the last few decades. Attempts to spread the faith by reaching out to ordinary Africans did not occur for many years. An overview of Christianity in Africa from its origins to today. Catholic mission activity was re-energized and reorganized at this time as well. For hundreds of years the Roman Catholic Church was the only church active in Africa. 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. At the turn of the 20th century, Christianity was virtually nonexistent in many parts of Africa but is now the faith of the majority. And this is estimated to grow to 40 percent by 2030. Christianity is the world's largest religion, practiced by roughly 2.2 billion people worldwide. 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. Opposition to the slave trade fueled the great missionary efforts of the 1800s and led to the creation of many new orders. Get access to over 12 million other articles! 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. 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. The spread of the faith in Africa represents perhaps the most dramatic advance in all Christian history, and yet the names and stories of persons chiefly responsible are largely unknown. This article about Christianity in South Africa today first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Providence‘s print edition. Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. At the same time, giving Africans access to written forms of their language allowed them to connect with their own history and cultural heritage. Eight years later the king of Kongo was baptized under the name of Joao I, in honor of the Portuguese king Joao II. While remaining true to its basic beliefs, Christianity in Africa has become a distinctly Africanized faith with elements of traditional belief and culture. 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. To understand what Christianity means in Africa today, we need to look at the spread of this religion in Africa across history. With many Christians in this region being relatively young and with children, the Perhaps the most important force in this development was the monastic movement, which began in Egypt and only later made its way to Europe. The Catholic Church set out to train indigenous clergy to establish an African Catholic Church led by Africans themselves. Today, there are more than a billion Christians (speaking generally) in Latin America and Africa alone. Supporting Article. There are also many other countries in Africa with high Christian populations, such as Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Saint Helena, Seychelles, and South Africa. By the 300s, Christianity had spread to Ethiopia and ERITREA, centered on the city of AKSUM. The result of Protestant and Catholic activity over the centuries has been the spread of Christianity throughout Africa. Africa is set to be the global center of Christianity for the next 50 years. His first Bible, written in the Yoruba language, was followed by versions in other African languages. Discusses history, theology, and growth. 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. 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. They are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By the year 2060, it is estimated that more than four-in-ten Christians will reside in sub-Saharan Africa. The future of Christianity is undeniable in Africa as the continent continues to see explosive growth. For this reason, many Africans resisted the missionaries and their message. Until that happened, white missionaries were urged to adopt African dress, language, and customs. 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. In 1861 a missionary named Henry Venn took the bold step of transferring nine churches in Sierra Leone to local control. A former Buganda chief, Kitigana converted to Christianity, gave up his title, wives, and possessions, and traveled through central Africa preaching. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye. At first, the introduction of Christianity was limited to Africans in coastal areas. Christian religion is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decades. 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. By the end of the 2nd century it had reached the region around Carthage. The rise of Christianity in Africa is also captured outside the continent. 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. Although Christianity in Africa is widespread, the nations situated in the Southern, Southeast, and Central regions of the continent are particularly dominated by Christians. Today, Africa has the most Christians of any continent. On one hand, Africa is the zone of Christianity’s greatest growth. Christianity in Africa Today Why is the Charismatic Movement Thriving in Africa? From the A.D. 100s to 400s, Christianity spread throughout much of North Africa. This unprecedented work is the first one-volume study of the history of Christianity in Africa. Reading the scriptures in native languages gave white missionaries and scholars a chance to grasp the African point of view. The history of Christianity in Africa probably began during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, two thousand years ago. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the southern hemisphere is taking the lead in growth figures for worshipers. As religious persecution continues to spread through Africa, missionaries are diligently working to spread the word of God throughout the nation. Editor's Note . In this way, Christianity arrived in Africa before it reached Europe. 1 out of 4 Christians in the world presently is an African. These organizations aim to preach the gospel to every village they serve, using the provision of safe drinking water as a symbol of God’s love. 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. Written by Elizabeth Isichei, a leading scholar in this field, A History of Christianity in Africa examines the origins and development of Christianity in Africa from the early story of Egyptian Christianity to the spectacular growth, vitality, and diversity of the churches in Africa today. (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. 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. 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