"EX AFRICA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI": Some Random Reflections on Challenges to Christian Mission Arising in Africa in the Twenty-first Century

"EX AFRICA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI": Some Random Reflections on Challenges to Christian Mission... 57 Willem Saayman "EX AFRICA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI": Some Random Reflections on Challenges to Christian Mission Arising in Africa in the Twenty-first Century* Introduction Western peoples, especially Europeans, have always had a fascinating love/hate relationship with Africa.' Africa was (is!?) "The dark continent," the concrete representative of those unknown dark, evil powers which so many white Christians find so fascinatingly abhorrent. Ancient texts from as early as the fifth century CE show that eremitic monks pictured the devil as black (Smith 1984: 145). When the voyages of discovery of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries therefore brought a whole continent peopled with "primitive" dark-colored "heathen" peoples to the attention of "christianized" and thoroughly "civilized" Europe, it was quite understandable that Africa could be presented as the bastion of evil powers which had to be subjected in the name of Christ and civilization. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that many of the first missionaries described African peoples in the most degrading terms as brutal savages with no concept of God, of good and evil. All their social institutions reflected only depravity and brutality, and it was the God-given calling and privilege of western peoples (who were all good, civilized http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Mission Studies Brill

"EX AFRICA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI": Some Random Reflections on Challenges to Christian Mission Arising in Africa in the Twenty-first Century

Mission Studies, Volume 20 (1): 57 – Jan 1, 2003

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2003 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0168-9789
eISSN
1573-3831
D.O.I.
10.1163/157338303X00052
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

57 Willem Saayman "EX AFRICA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI": Some Random Reflections on Challenges to Christian Mission Arising in Africa in the Twenty-first Century* Introduction Western peoples, especially Europeans, have always had a fascinating love/hate relationship with Africa.' Africa was (is!?) "The dark continent," the concrete representative of those unknown dark, evil powers which so many white Christians find so fascinatingly abhorrent. Ancient texts from as early as the fifth century CE show that eremitic monks pictured the devil as black (Smith 1984: 145). When the voyages of discovery of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries therefore brought a whole continent peopled with "primitive" dark-colored "heathen" peoples to the attention of "christianized" and thoroughly "civilized" Europe, it was quite understandable that Africa could be presented as the bastion of evil powers which had to be subjected in the name of Christ and civilization. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that many of the first missionaries described African peoples in the most degrading terms as brutal savages with no concept of God, of good and evil. All their social institutions reflected only depravity and brutality, and it was the God-given calling and privilege of western peoples (who were all good, civilized

Journal

Mission StudiesBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2003

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