• It almost definitely came when the Ethiopian public servant returned home (Acts 8:26-40). Thus, Christianity began in Africa before it came to Europe (or any other Continent). Irenaeus of Lyons (famous Church leader) wrote in 180 AD that a “Simon Backos” preached “the coming in the flesh of God” in his homeland of Ethiopia. Eusebius (famous Church historian) and Origen (famous Church leader), both based in Northern Africa, wrote of Christian preaching occurring in Ethiopia in the 3rd and 4th centuries. In 330AD, King Ezana of Ethiopia declared Christianity the official religion of the country — which probably meant that by then it was widespread throughout Ethiopia and long-established. When the Portuguese arrived in Ethiopia in 1493 they found it full of church buildings! European Colonists did not establish Christianity in Africa; Christianity is not a ‘white man’s religion’ in Africa.
  • Then there is Egypt, where Jesus and his family fled for refuge when Jesus was an infant (Matthew 2:13-21). So, Egypt was the first country outside of Israel that the Messiah went to. Eusebius wrote that John Mark (the Gospel author) came to Alexandria as early at 43AD. Alexandria became a stronghold of Christianity in the first century.
  • Numerous early Church leaders were Africans: Origen was from Alexandria and may have been a Copt; Tertullian (born c.150AD) and Cyprian (210- 258AD) were both from Carthage (modern-day Tunisia). Cyprian was a Berber and Tertullian may have been. The Berbers are a people group native to North Africa. Augustine (354-430AD) was from Hippo Regis (now Annaba, Algeria). So, none of them were ‘white’.
  • Other notable early theologians who lived in Africa included Athanasius (c.296-373AD; a theological giant, without whom true understanding of the Trinity may have disappeared) and Clement of Alexandria (c.150—215AD; a leading early Christian scholar after the Apostles had died). There were many theologians and scholars that contributed to the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds who were African or lived in Africa. Our theology today is partially shaped by Africans.
  • A point of all this is that, “Christianity was not a religion brought by the white man to Africa …. Christianity is a religion of the world. And Africans were some of its earliest worshippers and theologians. We need to celebrate this history and help people understand that the gospel is for everyone— whatever their culture or background …” (from https:// africa.thegospelcoalition.org/article/african-christianity-thrived-long-before- white-men-arrived