Recently, I have noticed a rise in the sentiments within The Bahamas that Christianity is the white man’s religion.
People often make claims that Christianity was not introduced to our people until slavery. Others even say that Christianity was created by the Europeans, namely the Romans. Therefore, I am writing to rebut these false claims and to maintain that Christianity has always been for everyone regardless of race or nationality.
Early in Christian history, the Gospel was spread to many nations. One of the most popular nations to convert to Christianity was Rome. The non-Christian Roman historian and senator Tacitus wrote of the existence of early Christians in Rome (Annals, AD 116). Tacitus mentioned that “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of [their] procurators, Pontius Pilatus” and that Christianity “broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome”.
However, after Christianity “broke out” in Rome, Christians experienced persecution by the Roman Emperors from Nero until Constantine (who issued the Edict of Milan allowing religious tolerance). It was during the reign of Constantine that the first Western Christian Council was called (AD 325). During this period, there was also record of Christians living in the Persian Empire.
At the Council of Nicaea, one of the earliest heresies in church history was addressed and one of the leaders debating on the side of orthodoxy was Athanasius of Alexandria (Egypt). This is evidence that Christianity had spread to Egypt by the third century. Another important event in the Western Church’s history highlights the multinational nature of Christianity. At the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, a German theologian, debated the Roman Catholic Church on the matter of justification.
Although Luther was a German, he studied at Augustine’s theological school. Augustine was an African theologian from Thagaste, which is modern day Algeria, North Africa.
The nation of Armenia was a Christian nation from around AD 301 and Rome joined them under Emperor Theodosius I (approximately 389 AD). The African Kingdoms of Nubia and Aksum later joined Rome and Armenia as Christian nations, with Aksum (Modern Ethiopia) being the first nation to put the cross on their currency.
Now, editor, that’s only from non-Christian historical records. The Bible itself is a testimony of the multinational view of God. It was written on three different continents (Asia Minor, Africa and Europe), in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), with over 40 human authors from multiple walks of life (most of whom never met each other).
The Bible covers hundreds of various subjects and was written over a period of more than 1,500 years. To date, there are 25,000 copies and fragments of biblical manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and other ancient languages, such as Syriac, Slavic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian, therefore showing its widespread reach long before the Transatlantic slave trade.
The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents containing primary, secondary and tertiary evidence. The writings report historical and supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claims to be divine rather than human in origin.
There is an abundance of evidence in the Bible that show its multinationalism. In the first book of the Bible, we find God making a covenant with the Patriarch of Israel, Abraham. God promised to make him a father of many nations (Genesis 17:4-5), and that all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through his seed (Genesis 22:18).
In the New Testament, we start to see exactly how all the nations will receive this blessing. In the book of Mark, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). In the book of Matthew, Jesus commanded that his disciples make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
Again, in the book of Acts, Jesus commanded his disciples to be witnesses to him “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
For the remainder of the book of Acts, you will see the commands of Jesus starting to be fulfilled. The Gospel message was first preached to the Jews in Jerusalem, and then to the neighboring regions with one of the highlighted conversions being that of the Ethiopian (Nubian) Eunuch who was in fact of color.
In the final book of the Bible, the author is recording a vision he had about the end of time and noted that he beheld “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues,”, in heaven worshiping God (Revelations 7:9-10).
So, based on the abundance of biblical evidence presented, we see the promise to bless all the nations that God made with Abraham was later commanded to be carried out through the disciples of Jesus and will be brought to its fullness in the end of time.
In conclusion, while people claim that Christianity is the “white man’s religion”, there are mountains of evidence that show the contrary, in history, in the Bible’s writings and in the Bible itself.
In the words of Justin Martyr: “If these things seem to you to be reasonable and true, honor them…”
Christianity has and will always be a multinational religion for every race on the earth.
— Sammy Evans Jr.