NATURE OF CHRISTINA MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES IN WEST AFRICA
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIANITY
Christianity is a religion that believes there is only one God. It is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christianity has evolved over the centuries. Like any religion, disciples from one generation to another and from place to place as missionary including Africa conveyed the message and teachings.
Christianity in Africa is not devoid of the culture of the people. This integration easily promoted the mass exodus of missionaries into Africa and West Africa in particular. It must be noted that the coming of missionaries to Africa saw a dierent orientation of the culture of the West African people
that was said to seen as negative arising from some customs such as the killing of twins, burial of the living alive with a dead king including corporal punishment to oenders for conduct of certain level of criminal activities. African culture and or customs is not a monolith and while the foundations remain fundamentally unaltered, the interpretation and expression of continues to be a forever-blossoming flower.
Christianity has been plagued with the history of European conquest and today it is yet to escape that legacy and become an agent of true liberation. With the exception of Ethiopia, the intention of Christianity in Africa was never to create development, in any capacity, in the African mind. Jesus was a Jew. He observed the Jewish faith and was well acquainted with the Jewish Law. In His early thirties, Jesus traveled from village to village, teaching in the synagogues and healing those who were suering.
Thus being the very first missionary of the Faith. Jesus’ teaching was revolutionary. He challenged the established religious authorities to repent from their self-righteousness and hypocrisy and realize that the
Kingdom of God is rooted in service and love. Jesus’ teachings stirred the hearts of people and created instability, something the Jewish religious authorities feared. Soon, a faithful group of men began to follow Jesus and call him teacher. These men became His disciples. Jesus taught His disciples about the will of God and about the “new covenant” God will bring to humanity through Him. Jesus helped them to see that mankind is bound to the pain and futility of life as a result of sin. Due to sin, mankind lost its relationship with God.
The purpose of this “new covenant” is to restore those who accept it into a renewed fellowship of forgiveness and love with God. What is this new covenant? Jesus himself would pay for the sins of all humanity by being crucified unjustly on a Roman cross. Three days later, He would rise to life, having conquered death, to give hope to a hopeless world. Well, it happened just as Jesus taught, and His disciples were witnesses to an amazing miracle. Their teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, died and three days later rose again to become their Messiah. Compelled by a great commission to share the love that the God of this universe had imparted upon them, the disciples began to proclaim this gospel of hope throughout the territory as the
earliest missionaries. Thus, from a small group of ordinary men that lived in a small province in Judea about 2000 years ago, and the Christian Faith has since spread to the rest of the world including West Africa. Their gospel message was and still remains simple: “For God so loved the world, that
He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
Though most of the historical record for the start of the Christian faith is recorded in the New Testament accounts, the history of Christianity actually began with prophecy in the Old Testament. There are over 300 prophecies (predictions) that span over a period of 1000 years that are recorded in the Old Testament concerning the coming of a Jewish Messiah. A study of Jesus’ life, death and background will show that He was undoubtedly the fulfillment of these Messianic prophecies. Thus, even long before Jesus came in the world, His mission was made known to mankind through the Word of God. At first glance, the history Christianity’s origin may seem like nothing more than a fairy tale. Many feel that it’s just too implausible, and even intellectually dishonest, for people living in the 21st century to believe that these events actually took place. However, the Christian faith, unlike any other religion, hinges on historical events, including one of pivotal importance. If Jesus Christ died and never rose to life, then Christianity is a myth or a fraud. In 1 Corinthians 15:14, Paul exhorts his readers to grab hold of this central truth, that “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” The evidence for the resurrection is the key to establishing that Jesus is indeed who He claims to be. It is the historical validity of this central fact that gives Christians genuine and eternal hope amidst a hurting world.
NATURE OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES IN WEST AFRICA