Saturday, June 18, 2011

A glimpse of the African Church

This was from a fellow classmate of mine in NT Survey. Though I know there are many great things about the African church, here is a look at some of their struggles:

The Question:
The disciples often had difficulty understanding Jesus because they already had an idea of who the “messiah” should be. Does this happen within the church today? What “political, social, or religious agendas from our culture have shaped how we understand Jesus’ kingdom?” (Burge p. 194, question 5).

The disciples did have an expectation for a Messiah that they had "framed up" in their minds to suite their political, religious, and cultural perceptions.

It still happens today even within the Christian community.
Take for instance, Africa is a place where most cultures have generated a great fear and concern for activties regarding black magic, spell, witchcraft, charms, and potions.
So many people in african churches are motivated to pray, fast, and seek God primarily as an antidote to witchcraft attacks. Several church organizations are flourishing with faithfuls seeking to counter "enemies" with fastings, extended prayers, recitations, and creative prophetic "assignments" to seek protection. The mind set is, somebody in the village, or a contemporary in the place of work may be using charms either to cause harm, or to get ahead in the place of business, so the response for most people is to place either their bible, a cross, a picture of Jesus in their shops, or on the dashboard of their cars while driving. It is a common practice in Nigeria that most people when building either their homes or shops, include a bible within the concrete foundation. Their predominant cultural mind frame is that "Jesus will fight my unseen battles", or "all my enemies must perish".

This mind set holds most peolpe in africa captive to remain faithful to many religious systems, and prevent an understanding of the Kingdom that Jesus brings. Every pre-occupation is with witches and wizards.

Another pre-occupation is in the area of material supply because of the fear of poverty. Jesus is seen primarily as multiplier of bread. Every imaginative scheme is employed to get God to provide. Seeds sown, and the like. Both the preaching of the Word, and the general perception have been colored by trying to secure "miraculous" provision of money or properties

Generally, people's understanding and expectation of God's kingdom is colored by their cultural upbring, and their experiences in life.

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