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July 31, 2021
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Is it time to re-examine the influence of American evangelicalism on African evangelicals? – The Conversation

The influence of American evangelicalism in African Christianity is quite significant. This significance might be the last huddle keeping African christianity from emerging as truly and effectively African. It sustains the farce of the christian message as a “universal thought” that must be kept pure from other cultural contexts rather than an “open-ended” message that is discoverable in the diverse contexts of the world. In doing so, it renders African Christianity foreign, utopic and so ineffectual in responding decisively to the questions of the African context.

On the day before the 2020 US presidential election, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, the leader of the African Christian Democratic Party in South Africa, tweeted:

Please pray… for President Donald Trump to be re-elected….

It seems bizarre that a black African Christian would support an overt racist who disdains people who come from “shithole countries”.

Meshoe exemplifies a type of political and theological reasoning among African evangelical Christians. He was praying for Trump’s victory because he echoes the views of many African evangelicals in relation to human sexuality, reproductive rights (anti-abortion), nationalism and capitalism. For example, Bishop Mark Kariuki of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya claimed that a Trump victory would be a vote in favour of “good morals”.

According to Harvard researcher Damaris Parsitau, such views are shared by evangelical leaders in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Uganda.

How could this be?

The support of African evangelicals points to a bizarre cocktail of politics, economics and religion on the continent, which could have long-lasting negative consequences.

Source: Trump is out, but US evangelicalism remains alive and well in Africa | The Conversation

Dion Forster is the Associate Professor of Ethics and Head of Department, Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University

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