I had the privilege of teaching a class on the book of James for LivingStone International University today. I was reminded that some of the neglected books of our New Testament are much used and beloved by African Christians. Philip Jenkins notes that James is valuable because of its emphasis upon the transient nature of human existence and the need for practical living, Hebrews because of its tying of the sacrificial system to Christian theology (something the Africans appreciate), Jude because of its call for generational faithfulness, and Revelation because of its picture of faithful survival under hostile political situations.
I also had the privilege of preaching for the LIU chapel, and I used an illustration that hit me this week, a sermon illustration that I have used many times in the past. Earlier this week as we toured the grounds of Uganda Christian University, I noticed the name of one of the buildings, “Bishop Festo Kivengere Hall. Festo Kivengere, an Anglican Bishop in Uganda, was a witness to and in many ways a victim of the barbaric rule of Idi Amin, the horrible Muslim dictator of Uganda in the 1970s. While in exile, Kivengere was asked, “If you were sitting in Idi Amin’s office with a gun in your hand, what would you do?” He responded, “I would give the gun to Amin, saying, ‘This is your weapon; my weapon is love.”
Many things to learn here. By some estimates Africa will be the most Christian continent by 2050, both in percentage and sheer numbers. The possibility of an African pope by then is strong. Christianity has a vitality here that we do not always find in America. I have been greatly blessed by my African brothers and sisters.
Nebraska Christian College