History of how Christianity started in Africa
Have you been wondering about how Christianity started in Africa ? or you ever try connecting dot as to was it until the missionary during colonial period? I suppose you should not stress anymore, you should sit back and enjoy this post
The run down of this post are :
3. Simon the Cyrene
ABRAHAM: Abraham introduced Christianity to Africa during his time in Egypt, Abram, who later became Abraham. At the age of seventy-five years, God asked him to leave Haran with his family, to a land he would show him. God promised to make Abram a great nation, bless him, and make his name great, so that he would be a blessing to others. He, his family, and Lot, who was his brother’s son, left with their possession to the land of Canaan. At Shechem, God appeared to Abram and showed him the land of Canaan. Here, Abram built an altar to the lord. After building the altar, Abraham settled his family north of Jerusalem in the hills between bethel and Ai. Bethel was the place where Jacob, Abraham’s grandson would have his dream in which god reaffirmed his promise to him. Again, Abraham construction of an altar in bethel marked this land as set aside for the worship of his God. Abram moves his family again to the Negev region. Negev was the name for the southern dessert region in the land of Canaan, it was a dry area, removed from any body of water. Therefore, the people of this region were completely dependent on the seasonal rain for their livelihood and survival.
The Nile River provided the Egyptian with reliable source of water resulting plentiful harvest and healthy livestock. This favorable condition made it a very appealing place for Abraham to settle down. If Pharaoh knew that Abraham was Sarah husband, he would have to kill Abraham in other to add Sarah to his harem so both Abraham and Sarah lied about their relationship while in Egypt displaying their lack of faith in God to provide for them. To appease God and end the suffering in his household, Sarah is returned to Abraham with instruction for them to leave Egypt. While Abraham was in Egypt which is part of Africa, his way of worship would likely have impacted into the people who then served God, a likely pre-Christian contact.
2) JOSEPH: Joseph was one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a son of Jacob and his wife Rachel. Known as “the righteous one,” he was favored by his father (who gave him a special colored coat) and sold by his brothers to Egypt, where he ultimately became ruler of the land, second only to King Pharaoh. Joseph was born in the Mesopotamian town of Haran, to his parents Jacob and Rachel. At the age of six, he left Haran along with his family and journeyed to the land of Canaan, eventually settling in Hebron.
Jacob displayed extra affection to Joseph, who was born to his father’s old age, h presenting him with a specially-crafted garment. This prompted feelings of jealousy within his brothers, especially the sons of Jacob’s other wife, Leah. These ill feelings exacerbated when Joseph repeated two of his dreams to them, in which he was portrayed as ruling over his brethren. In the first, the brothers were gathering wheat in the field, and the brothers bundles bowed to Joseph’s bundle. In the second, Joseph envisioned the sun, the moon, and eleven stars (symbolizing his parents and brothers) bowing to him. Soon enough, when Joseph was seventeen, the tension come to a head. One day, Jacob instructed Joseph to visit his brothers in Shechem, where they were tending their sheep. Litle did he know that this would be the last time he would see his dear son, until their reunion a long twenty-two years later.
Seizing their chance, the brothers threw the unsuspecting Joseph into a pit. A short while later they spotted an Arab caravan passing the scene, and the brothers sold Joseph to the traders. He was eventually brought to Egypt, where he was sold to Potiphar, one of King Pharaoh’s ministers. For a while, things started to look up for young Joseph. Divine success enabled him to find favor in his master’s eyes, and he was appointed head of Potiphar’s estate, However, this would not last for long.
Attracted by his handsome looks, Potiphar’s wife desired to be intimate with him. To her consternation, Joseph continuously refused. One day, when no one was home other than the two of them, the mistress grasped Joseph’s garment, demanding that he consent. Thinking quickly, Joseph slid out of his cloak and ran outside. This self. control earned him the appellation, “Joseph the righteous.” But Potiphar’s wife turned the tables on Joseph, telling her husband that it was Joseph who had tried to entice her. The angry master reacted by placing his trustworthy assistant in prison. joseph’s charisma followed him to prison as well, and the warden soon appointed him as his right-hand man. In time, his unique qualities expressed themselves in an additional area: when the king’s royal cupbearer and baker were imprisoned Joseph successfully interpreted their dreams, correctly predicting that the cupbearer would be released and the baker, hanged.
Two years later, King Pharaoh himself envisioned two dreams, which none of his advisors were able to explain. Remembering the Hebrew youth from his prison days, the cupbearer suggested that Joseph be summoned. Joseph, then thirty interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams as being a Divine prediction for seven years plenty followed by seven years of famine, and advised Pharaoh to prepare by storing grain during the first seven years. Impressed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharad appointed him as his viceroy, second only to the king himself, and tasked him win readying the nation for the years of famine.
Meanwhile, the effects of the famine were felt in nearby Canaan. Hearing the there was grain in Egypt, Joseph’s brothers journeyed there to buy precious food from the viceroy, not realizing that he was their very own brother.
Joseph decided to utilize this opportunity to observe whether his brothers truly regretted having sold him. Using a succession of dramatic maneuvers, Joseph tested his brothers’ determination to save their youngest brother Benjamin-Joseph’s only maternal brother-from the plot he set up for him. Once he saw their devotion toward Benjamin, Joseph finally revealed his identity to his astonished siblings. Following this heartfelt reunion, Jacob and his family settled in the Goshen section of Egypt. This series of events served as the backdrop for Israel’s ultimate enslavement in Egypt and the subsequent Exodus.
After appointing Joseph as viceroy, Pharaoh gave him as a wife Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Midrashic sources identify Potiphera as none other than Potiphar, Joseph’s previous master. Joseph and Asenath had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, both born during the seven years of plenty. Before Jacob’s death, he gave Joseph a gift: his children would be the only ones from among Jacob’s grandsons to be treated as independent tribes. Indeed, throughout the Jews’ journey in the desert, the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim received equal status to the other tribes, and they inherited individual portions of the Land of Israel.
Joseph ruled Egypt for a total of eighty years, until his death at the age of 110. his passing, he made his brothers promise to take his coffin along with them when they would eventually leave Egypt for the Promised Land. After his death, he was embalmed and laid to rest in Egypt. Indeed, when the Jews left Egypt many years later, Moses made sure to locate Joseph’s tomb and carry his remains to the Land of Israel.
Joseph was subsequently buried in Shechem (known today as Nablus), and his resting place is visited until today.
BRIEF HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN NORTH AFRICA
The history of Christianity in Africa probably began during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, two thousand years ago. The New Testament of the Bible mentions several events in which Africans were witnesses to the life of Christ and the ministry of the apostles. It is possible that the history of Christianity in Africa began when these Africans shared what they witnessed with other Africans. The Gospel of Luke records that a Cyrenaic was compelled to bear the cross for Jesus, prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. Cyrene was located in North Africa. The book of Acts records that, on the day of Pentecost, Egyptians and Cyrenians were among the crowd, and they heard the apostles proclaim the Gospel in their native languages. Acts also records the conversion of an influential Ethiopian eunuch to Christianity. Finally, the book of Acts records that following the apostles missionary journey to Cyprus, new converts from Cyprus and Cyrene preached the gospel to the Greeks of Antioch. in him, love him, obey him, and abide in him. Far from seeking to keep his identity North Africans were the first to receive and embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The early church in North Africa went through severe persecutions A.D. 64 through 311. In response, the church established the Catechetical Schools of Alexandria, among other similar schools of Christian instruction. Many significant leaders of the faith emerged from the early African church. Persecutions in Egypt resulted in the dispersion of Christians to the innermost regions of Egypt. Egyptian churches spread the Gospel in the Coptic (Egyptian) language and planted churches throughout the interior of Egypt. However, Christianity, in the region, was weakened by theological and doctrinal controversies.
At the start of the seventh century, the Coptic Church had established itself as the national church and had penetrated every region of the country. Although Christianity began in North Africa several centuries before its introduction in Egypt, the church in North Africa did not grow as quickly because the North African church used the Latin language in its services and literature, rather than the language of the people.