How and why did Christianity explode on the African continent in the 20th century? The following is an interview I did with the late Dr. Ogbu Kalu of McCormick Seminary for Christian History & Biography’s “African Apostles” issue:
Anatomy of an Explosion
It’s an indelible image: the white missionary venturing into deepset Africa. But the real story is what happened when African converts relayed the gospel message in their own words.
an interview with Dr. Ogbu Kalu
Taking a close look at the explosion of Christianity in twentieth-century Africa, we meet a remarkable group of colonial-era (roughly 1890 to World War II) apostles who were born, grew up, and ministered in sub-Saharan Africa. We have been inspired and challenged by their stories. We hope you will be, too.
While the story of Christianity’s spread in Africa is nothing less than awesome, it is also nothing more than the work of God, who always uses the foolish things of a sin-scarred world as the building material for his body.
Western missions in colonial Africa proceeded by slow, painful steps. The missionaries’ best efforts were often hindered by cultural misunderstandings, economic abuses, political agendas, and racist presuppositions. While missionaries were picking their tortuous way through the colonial period, indigenous African evangelists and teachers exploded onto the scene like dynamite. Yes, they worked on the same confused, conflicted landscape as the missionaries. Nonetheless, something happened when the gospel was proclaimed under African sponsorship. It revolutionized the continent. Continue reading
When Bruce Wilkinson’s little book The Prayer of Jabez made a splash five years ago with its message of possibility thinking and prosperous ministry, I got to thinking: had anyone famous in church history also preached on Jabez? Had they reached the same conclusions as Wilkinson? Enter the prolific, and Puritan-inspired, Charles Spurgeon:
Spurgeon on Jabez
What history’s most prolific preacher said, in 1871, about the Prayer of Jabez.
As we have recently been reminded by Bruce Wilkinson’s best-selling book on the subject, Jabez—a man mentioned only once in the Bible—prayed for God to “enlarge his territory,” and God granted his request.
Wilkinson, founder and former president of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, interprets “territory” as “opportunity for evangelistic ministry.” Arguably, no person in the history of the church has had a larger “territory” than the 19th-century British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Continue reading