I remember while in Bible college, my Church History and Systematic Theology professors (both of them from the West) used to reiterate that Africa is the hope of Christianity. The Church History professor could go further and foretell that a time is coming when missionaries from Africa will go and evangelize the West reversing the trend of having Western missionaries coming to evangelize Africa.
Their observation was mainly based on what is happening in Africa where more people are being converted to Christianity unlike in the West where Christianity is not growing very much and in some parts it is slowly dwindling into oblivion.
All along I have believed my professors’ observation but now I have started having second thoughts because the main issue is not just having many Africans becoming Christians but what type of “Christians” are these people becoming. Indeed, Christianity is growing in Africa but what type of ‘Christianity’ (if I may use that word) is growing roots among us Africans.
I stand to be corrected, Christianity in Africa stands at the crossroads today because despite that we have some people who are preaching the Gospel as given to us in Scripture, there are also others who are advancing Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy. It is sad that many Africans, knowingly or unknowingly, are buying into Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy as pure Gospel.
But what do I mean by Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy. Allow me to use the word ‘Biblical Christianity’ to define better Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy. Biblical Christianity recognizes and teaches that the Bible is God’s Word. But Liberalism teaches that the Bible is man’s word about God. In other words, the Bible is not God’s word. Neo-Orthodoxy, on the other hand, teaches that the Bible is God’s Word only in the passages that speaks to you the rest is man’s word.
Now, on first glance, many of us would dismiss the fact that liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy are growing roots among some Christians in Africa but when you take a closer look, you will be greatly surprised.
Is it not in our churches today where people can stand up and say something like: “Well, the Bible says … but that was then, things have changed let’s do it this way.”
Again I ask: Is it not in our churches where statements like: “I know the Bible says… but I have received a new and special revelation, God wants us to do….” are made?
Don’t we have some people within our churches who stand in authority over God’s Word and we tend to believe what they say and teach more than Scripture?
I can go on and on; however, the truth I am endeavoring to put across is that if we keep on compromising on Biblical Christianity and let Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy rule in our churches then we should forget of Africa being the hope of Christianity. If Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy have killed and continue to kill Christianity in the West, should we believe that they will revive and grow Christianity in Africa?
The number of conversions to Christianity should not deceive us and cause us to take our eyes off the ball. We need to be sure of what type of Christianity these people are being converted to. If it is not Biblical Christianity then Africa cannot be the hope of Christianity and we will never see African missionaries going to evangelize the West. What message will they take there?
I always pray that God in His greatness and grace will open the eyes of Christian leaders in Africa to see and realize how evil and destructive Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy are. It is my prayer that God in His mercy and grace will raise Christian leaders who do not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. I pray for leaders who pay careful attention to themselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers, to care for the church of God (Acts 20:27, 28). If this can happen, then, for sure, Africa is the hope of Christianity.
Please Lord, help and bless Africa to contended for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). In that way, we will become the beacon of hope. All this to your glory alone. Amen!