Jesus hasn’t saved us. This was the title of an article that was posted on a friends Facebook timeline. As I mentioned in a previous post, I found the article interesting. The author of the article tells the story of two young black woman named Michelle Yaa and Verona Spence-Adofo. These two women have both left traditional Christianity for religions traditionally associated with Africa.
Why Did They Convert?
Some of the reasons given for their conversion away from Christianity were:
- Michelle was raised in a 7thday Adventist Church, but didn’t receive answers to her questions
- Michelle began hearing voices that she associated with her ancestors.
- Verona wanted to shake off “Old Colonial Beliefs”
If you’re like me, you noticed something missing from this list. No where did the word “truth” show up. In all their reasons for moving away from Christianity, truth was never mentioned as a factor in their decision.
The Most Important Question
Like many today, I suspect the author of the article didn’t even think to ask about the truth of the religions these ladies were converting to. The jist of the article is that religion connects to you to your roots. Religion is a means to obtain personal satisfaction. On their view, you should follow the religion that can do the most for you personally.
One quote from the article in particular caught my attention. “We need to stop building churches and start building institutions- Jesus hasn’t done it in over 400 years. He hasn’t saved us”.
That’s an interesting quote that needs some unpacking. What exactly does that mean? Jesus hasn’t saved us. I’m assuming that they are talking about the plight of African Americans. Jesus didn’t rescue them from slavery prior to 1865. Jesus hasn’t helped them be seen as equals in American society. The conclusion therefore is that Jesus isn’t working out for the black community. It’s time to try something new.
Thinking Things Through
But if that’s what they’re expecting out of Christianity, then they have an incomplete view of the faith. Jesus made it quite clear that he did not come to rescue us from the world’s problems. He came to rescue us from eternal damnation.
Most of the great heroes of Christianity were not rescued from their trials and afflictions. The African American community is not alone in this. Early Christians were sent to their deaths by the thousands under the on and off again persecutions of the Roman Empire. Christianity has never been about being comfortable in this life. This life prepares us for our eternal destiny. We may or may not be comfortable in the here and now.
Not only that, but it was largely Christians that advocated for the end of the slave trade in both Europe and the Americas. Famous Christians like William Wilberforce and John Brown were at the forefront of these efforts.
How Far Do We Take This?
There’s one other problem with this point of view that I would like to point out. If the complaint is that Christianity hasn’t saved the Black community, then I think this creates a problem with returning to native African religions. Using their own logic then, native African religions didn’t STOP them from being taken as slaves. I think this points out the false dichotomy of the issue.
To be clear, I don’t think Africans were taken as slaves as a result of their worshiping other gods. I think they were put into slavery due to the sinful desires of others to obtain free labor. I’m guessing the author and ladies mentioned in the article would balk at the idea that traditional African religions didn’t stop blacks from becoming slaves. And they should. It simply doesn’t follow that you can determine the truth of a religion by what happens to its adherents.
But if they want to say that African religions don’t have anything to do with being taken as a slave, then Christianity can’t be faulted for not removing them from slavery. A better test of a religion is what it actually teaches, and if those teachings align with reality. In other words, does the world described by a certain belief system match the world we see around us.
As I mentioned in my last post, jude3project.com has some excellent resources for the African American community that might be struggling with some of these very same questions. Take a look at their site and check out all of the great resources they have.
Have you ever been challenged with a similar objection? How did you respond?
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