Many Africans reject Christianity on the premise that it’s a white man’s religion or it was a religion that was used to enslave their ancestors. Their assumptions are neither true nor false.
First, it is important to state boldy that the slavery of “black” people by “white” people in the 16th to 19th centuries (and probably longer) was hyper-harshly unjust.
For those who understand the Bible, this is a far cry from what is discussed in Moses’ writings because such evil slavery was forbidden in Hebrew culture.
A good premise to support this is Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 1:30 that people are capable of innovating new ways of perpetrating evil.
In a similar thread, in 1Peter 2:18-20, the Apostle advise servants/slave to endure the evils of the unjust masters, acknowledging that some slave masters were unduly wicked and harsh.
THE BIBLE DOES NOT ENDORSE HARSH TREATMENT OF SERVANTS OR SLAVES BUT ONLY ADVICES BOTH TO BE KIND, TRUTHFUL AND RIGHTEOUS.
Furthermore, history is littered with many Christians who opposed “White” on “black” slavery. One of them was William Wilberforce. Men of genuine faith like Wilberforce opposed “Racial” slavery because it was seen to be contrary to the value that God places on every human being.
Every human descended from one man, Adam and one blood runs through us all. (Acts 17:26).
Evangelist John Wesley was another father of faith who bluntly opposed racial slavery. He messaged William Wilberforce, encouraging him in his efforts toward the abolition slavery.
Sincerely, you CAN’T be a true Christian and engage in slavery or even mistreat your workers in this modern and free world.
In the letter, Wesley describes slavery as “execrable villainy.” He wrote thus:
Reading this morning a tract wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that circumstance that a man who has a black skin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress (get justice); it being a “law” in our colonies that the oath of a black against a white goes for nothing. What villainy is this?”
The evangelist placed high premium on the value of a man, irrespective of the colour of his skin. That is Christ-like. That is Christeristic. That is Christianity.
Another interesting story is that of the famous hymnwriter, John Newton. He captained slave ships before and after he was a Christian. After Christ was formed in him and began dwelling richly in him, unlike the evil slave masters who never knew the son of God but claimed to be Christians, he repented and realized his errors.
He spent the latter part of his life campaigning against slavery. He penned graphically and emotionally some of the suffering of slaves in the ships’ galleys in his pamphlet “Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade.”
“If the slaves and their rooms can be constantly aired, and they are not detained too long on board, perhaps there are not many who die; but the contrary is often their lot. They are kept down, by the weather, to breathe a hot and corrupted air, sometimes for a week: this added to the galling of their irons, and the despondency which seizes their spirits when thus confined, soon becomes fatal. . . . I believe, upon an average between the more healthy, and the more sickly voyages, and including all contingencies, one fourth of the whole purchase may be allotted to the article of mortality: that is, if the English ships purchase sixty thousand slaves annually, upon the whole extent of the coast, the annual loss of lives cannot be much less than fifteen thousand.”
It is wise to note that both Wesley and Newton were influenced by a group of Christian Abolitionists.
According to excerpt from the BBC: “While some clergymen were using Christian scriptures to propagate slavery, others were scouring the Bible to end it. Although evangelicals tend to receive most of the credit for this, the origins of Christian abolitionism can be traced to the late 17th Century and the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers.
Since their establishment in the mid 17th century, Quakers had faced persecution for their beliefs which stated that everyone was “equal in the sight of God” and capable of receiving the “light of God’s spirit and wisdom”, including Africans. Several of their founders, including George Fox and Benjamin Lay, encouraged fellow congregants to stop owning slaves, and by 1696, Quakers in Pennsylvania officially declared their opposition to the importation of enslaved Africans into North America.
Quakers in Philadelphia and London debated slavery at their yearly meetings in the 1750s, and fellow Quaker Anthony Benezet’s Some Historical Account of Guinea (1772) became required reading for abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic. For instance, it informed John Wesley’s Thoughts Upon Slavery (1774) which in turn influenced many British Christian abolitionists and was said to have inspired the former slave trader turned clergyman, John Newton, to break his decades of silence about his involvement in the slave trade.
Many early Christian opponents of slavery came from congregations such as Congregationalists, Quakers, Presbyterians, ‘Methodists’ and Baptists, who were called ‘Nonconformists’ or ‘Dissenters’ because they disagreed with the beliefs and practices of the Church of England. These Christians were often marginalised because of this, but their counter-cultural stance enabled them to make connections with those who faced other forms of persecution.”
ACTS 17:26: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,”
“ONE BLOOD” in Acts 17:26 is very significant. According to answersingenesis.com: “If “races” were really of different “bloods,” then we could not all be saved by the shedding of the blood of one Saviour. It is because the entire human race can be seen to be descended from one man—Adam—that we know we can trust in one Saviour, Jesus Christ (the “Last Adam”).
REJECT OPPRESSION WITH EVERY THING YOU HAVE AND NEVER ATTEMPT TO OPPRESS OTHERS.
Prophet Femi Oshin. Wall of Fire Ministry. +27620958500.
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