Below is a discussion summary from the Feb. 8th Teaching Tuesdays, “From the Beginning – Early Black Church Leaders” with Rev. Landon Adams. Join us on Feb. 15th and 22nd as we continue our Teaching Tuesdays series for Black History Month. REGISTER HERE!
Why do you believe in a “white” man’s religion? Christianity is just the slaver’s religion and Black people should not practice it.
You likely are asked this question or given this advice at least once in February. Well, like Black History goes back much farther than the transatlantic slave trade, so does the work of Black Christians. It reaches back much farther than even the radical preacher Nat Turner. In this case, from the beginning.
After Jesus’ death, the disciples continue to spread the Gospel. The early church is growing in size and scope and requires coordination and consistency of what the “church” believes. One of the early challenges, really controversies, facing the Church was Jesus himself. Shocking huh? Who… and maybe more accurately – what, was Jesus exactly?
Today, Christian theology is clear that Jesus is both human and divine. Fully human – Fully God. While this can require a bit of faith to wrap one’s mind around completely, it is the basic building block of Christianity. There were some, however, at the highest levels of Christian leadership, that believed that it was actually impossible to think of Jesus as divine. The argument thought of flesh as too sinful to hold the divine. This logic imagined the proposed thought of God becoming flesh in Jesus to be like a science experiment that would keep failing. The holiness of God would just cause the flesh to explode.
The Nicene Creed of 325 was developed to address this and other matters of the faith. A man named Athanasius served as the Bishop of Alexandria (Egypt) from 328 until his death in 373. His leadership, promotion of the Creed, and defense of its theology helped to secure the integrity of Jesus’ identity as fully human and fully divine. In case you missed it, Egypt is on the continent of Africa. Alexandria was one of the major cities of the ancient world, housing one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, and the largest library in the world. Alexandria was a center of learning, knowledge, and culture. Athanasius was the ancient equivalent of a modern-day pastor of a black urban church in a thriving black community.
Join us on February 15th and 22nd as we continue our Teaching Tuesday series for Black History Month – REGISTER HERE!
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