Our heritage is very important in determining our future. Karl Marx once said that people without a heritage are easily led. He certainly talked a lot of people out of their heritage.
There was many years ago a sea captain from Italy who sailed the coast of Africa. Captain Stephen was walking on the beach and discovered a missionary who had been beaten. He discovered that the missionary was Italian and took him aboard his ship to try to help him. The missionary knew he was dying and asked to be brought on the deck. The captain, thinking that he would want to take one last look at the land that had been his, honored his request. The missionary pointed instead across the Atlanta toward America and said, "There is a land of people who need to be saved. Go and tell them about Jesus." Captain Stephen passed this story to his son, and his son passed it his son, and his son passed it one to his son.
The boy whose very name means "Christ Bearer" did that very thing. This boy was Christopher Columbus. This story of Columbus is a good example of how important our heritage is.
Most of our church history books have been written by while men and so have failed to include the rich Christian heritage of black people.
When my people in England knew nothing of Jesus, we find Christianity alive and well in Northern Africa. In fact, some 600 years before Christianity was in England, we find the most extensive library on Christianity located in Alexandria, which was a center of Christian theology and church government. Saint Augustine was the Bishop of Hippo in Africa from 396-430 A.D. Saint Augustine was very active. His letters were powerful and went everywhere. He wrote some 230 letters.
Islam, the religion of the Arabian people, overran North Africa and must of the Christian heritage was lost to our world.
When we see the powerful black preachers of today, such as T.D. Jacks, Carlton Pearson and Myles Monroe, to name a few, we know this heritage is still alive. God has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. He says, whosoever will may come. He didn't leave any of us out. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish but have everlasting life."
We read in Galatians 3:26-29, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
What a rich heritage we can all have through God's grace and our trusting in Jesus Christ as our lord and savior.
A life is a tenable thing to waste. Give your life to Jesus, find out what he wants you to do and do it.
Dean Doyle West
School of Theolog