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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why Liberal, Western Churches Despise Their African Counterparts



While the Christian Church is becoming increasing old, grey and marginalized in Europe and North America, it is growing in size in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In a recent article by Mark Tooley, this growth is explained thusly.....

"Amid growing United Methodist churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, among others, and a U.S. church losing about a 1,000 members weekly, the 11.4 million denomination likely will soon be majority African.... According to the World Christian Encyclopedia of 2001, Africa was less than 10 percent Christian in 1900 but was over 45 percent Christian by 2000. (This compares to Islam's growth in African from 32 percent to 40 percent.) About 20 percent of the world's Christians now live in Africa, and rates of active church attendance are higher in Africa than in much of old Christendom. One Congolese bishop estimated that more Congolese are in a United Methodist Church on a typical Sunday than in all the United States."


Of course, along with such steady growth, there is a bit of jealousy against the young upstarts in this example, the African church....

"liberal U.S. church activists usually sorely underestimate the depth and richness of African Christianity, including its intellectual traditions, some of which date to the early Church Fathers. Infamously, revisionist retired U.S. Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong once derided African Anglicans for having "moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity," while condemning Third World "religious extremism" and "Pentecostal hysteria." In the patronizing spirit of Bishop Spong, some liberal activists claim African church leaders, in their opposition to liberal U.S. church trends, especially about sex, are merely U.S. pawns."

Preposterous. While the conservative elements of Western churches are a kindred spirit of the African churches, I doubt that conservatives could no more affect church policy in Africa than the liberal wing which would desperately want to do so. One thing that the African churches and conservative Western churches share is a common interpretation of Scripture unaffected by the commonly held (in the West), Modernistic worldview. Tooley concludes his article thusly...

"Undoubtedly United Methodist liberals will craft new attempts to marginalize the growing African churches. And U.S. Episcopalians will largely ignore the protests of the nearly 80 million member Communion, now dominated by large African churches that increasingly dwarf the dwindling U.S. denomination's 2 million in both numbers and vitality. How persuasive will the emptying old-line churches of New England and California be against the arguments of hundreds of millions of African Christians?"


Indeed, what sway does a nearly empty church have when standing in opposition to a vibrant growing church? Perhaps someday, in our lifetimes, the words of author Dinesh D'Souza will seem almost prophetic when he wrote.....

"We may be seeing the beginning of a startling reversal. At one time Christian missionaries went to the far continents of Africa and Asia, where white priests in robes proclaimed the Bible to wide-eyed and uncomprehending brown and black people. In the future, we may well see black and brown missionaries proclaim the Bible to wide-eyed and uncomprehending white people in the West."

28 comments:

Gregg said...

Very interesting observation

Froggie said...

There is no mystery here.
Christians are taking advantage of uneducated superstitious people to perpetuate their worldview.

JD Curtis said...

And how, pray tell, are they accomplishing that Frog?

Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing this JD.

It's encouraging to see God working in people's lives.

I think we as Christians in a comfortable world can become comfortable with our "religion" and become condescending toward Africans because we are indeed jealous. Their real, radical, vibrant faith is exciting and should make us question our own instead of find condescending things to say about theirs. May their faith encourage ours.

photogr said...

I think the Western churches are so cocooned in their own little groups and are self serving, that they fail to see the mission set forth by the Lord as stated in scriptures.

D'Souza might well be onto something here.

Gandolf said...

Yes D'Souza might very well be onto something here.With enough wars and the resulting horrific expenses,one day maybe even the U.S.A might be also in dire straights of being a poor country in great need of many things taken for granted at present .Such as food and clothing and even water to continue to produce crops.History suggests humans often dont quite catch on to future outcomes,until they have finally arrived at the door knocking.

There is nothing quite like great suffering that works to help inforce need of faith on people.When times get tough people will accept almost anything if so happens it brings some help.

In my opinion its just a little sad that all folks accepting being human, isnt belief enough to accept.Folks continue to use their particular chosen faiths like its some game of manopoly to get the upper hand on another.And from this situation arises more conflict sooner or later, that in turn at some stage ends up with more people hungry and poor.

Its a vicious circle thats been happening now for thousands of years.

Gandolf said...

No ammount of money and bombs,even from one the greatest country on this earth, will ever stop certain people from being fully prepared to die for their particular faith.

Its a vicious circle thats been happening now for thousands of years.

Gandolf said...

Its a well known fact there has always been great safety in numbers.

Kinda hard idea to ever achieve though, when all manner of divisive faiths have always tried to rule the world.And there has always been people ever ready to promote them.

The biggest worry i see for the future is possibilitys of tyrannic leaders that may lay in wait,ever ready to make good use of these situations some people unwittingly so freely present.

Smart cats dont really mind if the mice spend all their time and money and energy running around fighting each other to try to become boss.They just get ready to pounce

The Catholic Apologist said...

Froggie,

You should read a book called "The Rite of Exorcism." The book details accounts of priests training for the ministry of Exorcist.

Why do I bring that up? Becasue the Catholic Church is anything but superstitious. In fact the book talks about people who come to an exorcist demanding an exorcism, claiming to be cursed, or possessed- and it is the PRIEST who tells them to see a medical doctor! It is the PRIEST who demands PROOF!

Guess what happens? The people leave frustrated becasue "The priest would not help them" and THEY seek out some witch doctor!

Tell me: Who is superstitious here?

Froggie said...

So Catholics train men to cast out demons that don't exist.

Oooooooook.

Get a grip, man.

JD Curtis said...

Froggie? Do you think evil exists?

Froggie said...

Evil does not exist as an entity. People do evil things.
We label certain actions as evil when they run afoul of natural human empathy, and as ensconsed in societal laws.

Adam Nardoli said...

"Tell me: Who is superstitious here?"

The people who believe in magic invisible monsters?

JD Curtis said...

The people who believe in magic invisible monsters?

I'm sorry Adam, but your previous post was a bit unclear.

What can you conclusively prove for me now?

That God does not exist?

Or that there is no such thing as the supernatural?

Christ Follower (no longer) said...

Yeah Adam, then prove that there is no invisible teapot orbiting Mars.

JD Curtis said...

If it's invisible, then how do you know it's the form of a teapot?

Adam Nardoli said...

By touch!

JD Curtis said...

It's just plain goofy to just throw some arbitrary item out and claim that it's the same as the topic at hand.

It would be like someone arguing the merits of macroevolution and then I compare it to Keynsianism, atheism or any other commonly held fairytale for adults and walk away without providing any supporting data or facts.

Gandolf said...

"If it's invisible, then how do you know it's the form of a teapot? "

What...Havent you noticed the colour of the rain lately?

Repent! ..Repent! JD..The almighty invisible teapot obviously is not happy

Gandolf said...

Humans are humans = Humans must be made in Gods image

Rain looks like tea = there must be a almighty invisible teapot orbiting Mars

Gandolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gandolf said...

Ooh JD, thou of little faith..Both myself and Christ Follower (no longer),will pray for your repentance and speedy conversion .That thou might soon have thy rain clean.

Blessings.

JD Curtis said...

Gandolf,

Are any of your posts "normal" in nature?

Gandolf said...

No..Specially not ones! about the almighty invisible teapot orbiting Mars anyway JD. They usually tend to reach out far more within the "realms" of supernaturalist theory.Known to many folks as "Classic Teapotism"

And so its just i had noticed it seemed you had become a little worried !, and even perplexed !at not yet understanding the "supporting data or facts".So its just my own personal! translation of the devine invisible teapot "theory",thats all.

Why?, are "supernaturalism theorys" usually supposed to sound "normal"?.

JD Curtis said...

Are there 2000 years worth of Teapotism exegesis?

Does archeology support teapotism to the degree that it does the Old and New Testaments?

If the answer to both of these questions is "no", then they arent the same type of systems.

Christ Follower (no longer) said...

Archeology doesn't support the Biblical accounts very well at all. Especially the Old Testament.

But the point was asking Adam to disprove magic is about the same as asking him to disprove an invisible teapot orbiting Mars.

Gandolf said...

"Does archeology support teapotism to the degree that it does the Old and New Testaments?"

No, well its actually still yet a bit of a problem!, with our ability of being able to do much "digging" around Mars ,JD. Unless evolution suddenly takes on a macro evolution rush,and many humans suddenly evolve into space ships .Archeology on Mars is just not a option! at the moment for your average punter, with a great thirst to prove that his/her faith in "teapotism" is actually the "only" rightious path to our salvation.Which is very sad! , but still its just a fact we simply all have to face and try to deal with, for the present moment! anyway.

"Are there 2000 years worth of Teapotism exegesis?"

No JD,like ive just tried to explain a little...To be honest its a relatively "new faith" ."New age" you might say, or better way to be explained might be, its a "born again" ! faith.

Until we get to do these archeology digs on and around Mars ,critical explanation or interpretation of the holy text of the "teapotism faith" will very likely remain a little like its about as rare or even rarer than the baby teeth of the Dodo bird .

Im not so sure if we actually have any baby teeth of the Dodo bird either ? ....But still does that actually disprove the Dodo existed??.

JD Curtis said...

Archeology doesn't support the Biblical accounts very well at all. Especially the Old Testament

Example(s)?

the point was asking Adam to disprove magic is about the same as asking him to disprove an invisible teapot orbiting Mars

Define "magic" and "supernatural" and explain if they are synonyms in the world that you live in.