Issue 79 : African Apostles: Black Evangelists in Africa
Originally published in 2003
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Table of Contents
The rapidity of Africa's twentieth-century baptism was stunning. There's no better place to see the future of the global church.
It's an indelible image: the white missionary venturing into deepset Africa. But the real story is what happened when African converts relayed the gospel message in their own words.
Samuel Ajayi Crowther's consecration as the first African Anglican bishop looked like a great leap forward for the church. But the talented ex-slave collided with the roadblock of racism
To Henry Venn, a mission's only purpose was to render itself unnecessary.
Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God, said the Psalm. Yet racism in the mission churches clouded that vision. James Johnson (1836-1917) offered a solution.
Over the protests of a divided church, the scholarly Ugandan priest became the first African Catholic bishop. Just three years after his death, 12 more Africans would follow in his footsteps.
Apolo Kivebulaya, a convert from Islam, bravely preached to witch doctors, hostile chieftains, and Pygmy tribes.
William Wade Harris - a Liberian activist - left an unsuccessful local ministry to trail across the Ivory Coast. In 18 months, he baptized 100,000 converts.
William Wade Harris was one of several indigenous Christian leaders who took an open approach to polygamy. They cited social conditions and biblical support.
East Africa's second generation Christians faced that age-old spiritual problem - dullness of hearts. Simeon Nsibambi's message of a victorious life sparked a revival that continues today.
Simon Kimbangu's brief but powerful ministry inspired faith in Central Africans and fear in white authorities. Imprisoned for stirring up the Congolese people, Kimbangu became the catalyst for Africa's largest independent church.
Known for their fidelity to prayer and confrontation with the spirits of indigenous religion, West Africa's Aladura churches grew from the radical faith of a group of visionary leaders.
Two South Africans changed their country by linking their church with an African American church
Mahay Choramo faced down hardship and violent opposition to the murderous nomads of Ethiopia's southern frontier.
Many are telling the continuing story of the African church. Here are some of the best renditions.