Looking For An Ancient African Religion? Try Christianity.

It’s ironic that as I crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge to attend an urban apologetics conference in Philadelphia I encountered the very religious pluralism that makes conferences such as these a necessity. As my weathered SUV pulled up to the stoplight, I could see the Marcus Garvey–inspired Pan-African flag pirouetting in the wind, and I could hear the amplified, yet muffled, sound of a man’s raspy voice through a bullhorn. He, along with a group of other young men and women, stood on the median with their faces contorted like clenched fists yelling, “Black Power, Black Power,” while others bellowed, “the black man is God!” at passing pedestrians and vehicles.

At the next intersection, a well-groomed man in a fitted black suit, with a tightly-knotted black bow tie, walked up and down the dividing line of the highway selling bean pies and handing out Nation of Islam literature, an entrepreneurial practice that has existed since the early 1930s.

Finally, after parking and inserting some quarters into the meter, a voice behind me yelled: “As-Salaam-Alaikum” (which means “peace be unto you”). I turned around and an older Muslim man with a dyed, carrot-color beard beckoned me over to his table to see his merchandise. “Are you interested in buying some of these organic, scented body oils, beloved? I have ‘Black Coconut,’ ‘China Musk,’ and ‘Arabian Sandalwood.’” After listening to his sales pitch, I bought two scented oils for $10 before heading into the conference.

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Ernest Cleo Grant, II

Ernest Cleo Grant, II (@ernestcleogrant) is the Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship Church of Camden, a graduate of Reformed Seminary (D.C.), and is currently completing his Doctorate of Education from Stockton University. He and his wife Sarah have been married for almost a decade and have two children( Amaela and Chancellor). He's an avid reader, a community advocate, and has bylines in The Witness, Christianity Today, The Star-Ledger, Desiring God, and other publications

One comment

  • Hello Pastor,

    I found your article on Christianity Today. It was very heart felt and well written, but misinformed. Christianity is a African religion? really? the Christianity of today, and especially the Christianity practiced by African Americans and most Africans is not ‘African Christianity’. The Christianities that sprang up in Africa like Donatism, Arianism, etc, were condemned as heresies by Rome. If you practice the Christianity that sprang from the Council of Nicea, a council called by the Roman Emperor Constantine, a European, then you do not practice any African religion.

    Does it not bother you that you practice the Christianity of the Confederate States of America? of the plantation owner, the slave master, of the KKK ?? Well it bothers a lot of young African Americans, and all your apologetics is just missing the mark.

    My apologies if I’ve caused you any offence, but you know what they say, the truth hurts sometimes.

    Like

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