Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent. According to Sunday M., a scholar in the field of anthropology, Africa is the home to more than 3,000 various ethnic groups, with the sound of over 2,a hundred completely different languages echoing across the continent (Moulton, 2017). The people groups of Africa apply a diverse vary of religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and the standard religions specific to their ethnic teams.
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This essay will subsequently be focussing particularly on the African Traditional Religion with regard to Christianity in Africa.
The goal is to debate and reply the next questions. What does the African Traditional Religion (ATR) entail? How then does one explain the Gospel to a follower of ATR? Is it attainable for African Christians to practice each ATR and Christianity simultaneously? Should ATR be separated from Christianity?
This diverse religion (ATR) may be thought to be ‘traditional’, because it ultimately finds its roots in Africa, and still exists right now primarily through the sharing of it, through word of mouth, over generations.
As talked about previously in the introduction, when serious about the African Traditional Religion, it is vital to take into consideration the dimensions of Africa, with its multitude of cultures, beliefs, and people teams – which, may I add in agreement with Idowu, have all skilled no less than some extent of racial, social and spiritual influences from Western powers and one another alike (1991, p. 103). Therefore, with this remark in thoughts, we can establish that when referring to the ATR, this essay isn’t discussing one uniform religion which spans across the continent, but rather a diverse faith, which looks slightly totally different to every individual folks group and/or tribe across Africa, but shares widespread and common major beliefs.
This shared thread applies to how ATR practicing people view god (note – this ‘god’ doesn’t refer to the God of the Bible). An accurate term coined by E. Bolaji Idowu, to explain the ATR beliefs, is “diffused monotheism”. This term describes a perception in a sole god with which different powers (good and evil) coexist beneath. This idea of subtle monotheism, nonetheless, establishes many religious dangers which may presumably pose a threat to the welfare of ATR believers. Therefore, they tend to treat the nice divine power as a means of safety and salvation from hostile religious forces and to improve their private wellbeing (Arnett & Arnett, 2017). It is evident that there is an accepted idea of god’s character throughout Africa – god is seen as a living, creating, supreme deity (Olowola, 1993, pp. 12-13). The ATR believers see their god as omniscient (knowing all things), omnipresent (always current, everywhere) and all-powerful (all-powerful) – these traits are similar (note – the use of the word ‘similar’, and not the ‘same’) to the features Christians affiliate with the true triune God of the Bible – this is supported by Colossians 1:15-18, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all issues had been created: issues in heaven and on earth, seen and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities all things have been created by way of him and for him. He is earlier than all issues, and in him all issues maintain collectively. And he’s the top of the body, the church he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might need the supremacy.”
Having checked out what the ATR belief-system entails, the remark that can be made is that an ATR particular person can be extra open to interact in spiritual conversations. Therefore, if one is making an attempt to share the Gospel with someone who identifies with ATR, there are completely different avenues one might take. Firstly, since ATR believers place plenty of emphasis of their personal wellbeing and safety, it could presumably be sensible to focus on how God offers for our deepest and most desperate want, which is our salvation from sin. By opening this avenue, one might dive further into the nature of sin and the seriousness of it, as it is a full rebellion in opposition to God, which has been handed on from generation to era. ATR believers are not overseas to the concept of sacrifices being made to put an finish to curses, due to this fact, it can be useful to level out how Jesus Christ is the last word sacrifice, who rescues us utterly from the stranglehold of the curse of sin. When sharing the Gospel to a member of ATR, it is of the essence, to emphasise grace above own works. In the African Traditional Religion, we see that there is an concept of following and performing certain rituals to have the ability to gain favour amongst the spiritual beings, subsequently, one must rather present that it’s solely out of God’s nice love for us, by His sovereign grace, that He despatched His excellent and Holy Son to save lots of us from our sins – there is nothing we can do to qualify or rescue ourselves. Looking on the ATR worldview compared with the Biblical worldview, there are evident similarities. The ATR follower holds beliefs in god, divine powers, miracles, and god’s intervention in the world. When sharing the Gospel, we need not persuade them of these items. But quite introduce them to Christ, by way of whose Spirit there shall be an entire transformation in their mind-set. A whole renewal of the mind, rooted firmly in Christ as we’re inspired to stay in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be remodeled by the renewal of your thoughts, that by testing you might discern what’s the will of God, what is good and acceptable and excellent.
Now, to deal with the problem of whether or not African Christians can apply each ATR and Christianity simultaneously? Although many African Christians could also be tempted to follow their elders in the ATR, with sentiments corresponding to there being varied avenues to reach the Supreme Being, via ancestors, divinities and spirits – ultimately we are advised very clearly in Scripture (the Bible) – that there isn’t a different way to strategy God, but through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 helps this, “Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life nobody comes to the Father however by way of Me”. Therefore, any type of worship, irrespective of whether or not it is found to be organised and/or conventional, should first be looked at by way of the lens of the Word of God (the Bible) and specifically through Jesus Christ. And subsequently, because the ATR beliefs don’t acknowledge Jesus Christ as our solely true saviour, and this being the very foundation of Christianity, African Christians can not practice both ATR and Christianity simultaneously.
Therefore, as religions, sure, Christianity and ATR might have commonalities, but cannot be thought to be the same. Hence, for this reason this essay is of the notion that Christianity and ATR ought to be seen as separate religions. However, should African Christians and adherents of ATR be separated? No, African Christians ought to study the normal worship, to be higher geared up to bear witness to non-Christians.
In conclusion, this essay has subsequently focussed specifically on the African Traditional Religion with regard to Christianity in Africa. Achieving the aim of discussing and answering the following questions. What African Traditional Religion (ATR) entails – specifically looking at their idea of god and the nature of the ATR perception system. How one is to elucidate the Gospel to a follower of ATR – by telling them extra about Jesus Christ and the way He is the only excellent sacrifice who can rescue us from the curse of sin. Discussing why it is not potential for African Christians to follow both ATR and Christianity concurrently – since Jesus Christ is the only method via which we can enter a private relationship with the residing and true God, and therefore this means that ATR (which contains the worship of many gods) cannot be practiced simultaneously with Christianity. Should ATR be separated from Christianity – as separate religions, yes, they should be separated. This essay has efficiently completed an intensive discussion on the African Traditional Religion.