Without making little of the past year, we can still rejoice in God’s loving purposes. Even when the world ground to a halt God’s plans were not frustrated. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we were able to address the loss that it brought about. And, at the same time, The Gospel Coalition Africa was also able to serve the African Church with many other relevant articles. Below are our most read articles of 2020.
Our 12 Most-Read Articles in 2020
Indeed, listing the 12 most read articles from 2020 below is evidence of God’s faithfulness, promises, and greater purposes.
The Truth Behind Generational Curses
Isaac Makashinyi, Zambia
Many Africans live in a world steeped in occult beliefs and practices that include generational curses. Yet we must remember that God’s power is superior.
“Many Africans live in a world steeped in occult beliefs and practices that include generational curses. The belief is held that ancestral spirits influence everyday life leaving individuals and families convinced that whatever misfortune they experience is from an evil man or spirit. Then, when help is sought, it invariably identifies misfortunes suspected of arising from a curse. Anything seen as hereditary seems to conclude that a generational curse is the cause…” [read article here]
Why I Can’t Believe in ‘Spirit Husbands’ and ‘Spirit Wives’
Conrad Mbewe, Zambia
Many in Africa believe “Spirit Husbands” or “Spirit Wives” ruin their marriages or lead them to sin. But Conrad Mbewe has 4 strong criticisms of this teaching.
“There are some things that are just unbelievable when you first hear about them. But a greater shock comes upon discovering that almost everyone believes that those things are true. I recently experienced this kind of shock. For it was the first time I heard about the concept of ‘spirit husbands’ and ‘spirit wives.’ These are sometimes called ‘night husbands’ and ‘night wives.’ Pick your poison…” [read article here]
Witchcraft, Spiritual Powers and New Life in Christ Jesus
Inocêncio Varine, Moçambique
A better understanding of the cosmic struggle of satanic influence known as “witchcraft” is important for all Christians who live in Africa
“Some say witchcraft is an African magic, an African spirit, or demonic powers dominant on the African continent. But the Apostle Paul speaks of it as satanic powers that are dominant in the present world. In the light of the transforming power of the Gospel we must consider the revelation of God about himself, the world we live in and the powers of darkness at work in the world. A better understanding of this cosmic struggle of satanic influence known as “witchcraft” is an important consideration for all who call themselves Christian and live throughout Africa…” [read article here]
Jerusalema – The Dance, The Meaning, The Theology
Nkosi Mlambo, South Africa
Adapted from an old gospel hymn, Jerusalema by Master KG has stormed the internet. Why? Because there’s more to it than an uplifting tune and fun dance…
“Over the past few months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a song called Jerusalema produced by South African DJ Master KG has trended like wildfire on social media. Fellow Africans from Angola danced to it in a video, which is now known as #JerusalemaDance. Later it resulted in a #JerusalemaDanceChallenge on TikTok…” [read article here]
Loving My Neighbour in The Midst of COVID-19
Sara Couves, South Africa
For the sake of others, we need to take COVID-19 seriously. Whatever it takes and whatever sacrifices, we need to love our neighbour right now.
“For the sake of others. Pause. Read the reports. Look at the figures. Look at the graphs. Even look at hospital reports. Read the World Health Organisation reports. Read the testimonies of doctors and patients who are in or have been in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Then consider all this prayerfully, objectively and intelligently. For the sake of others and loving your neighbour.
I keep hearing… “I will be fine” or “I will self-isolate” (in homes with access to food, soap and running water) or “it only affects the elderly or immunocompromised” or “it isn’t that bad”. Please think about this… what if you are not “fine”? What if you are one of the fit, healthy ‘normal’ people who get sick? Very sick… ” [read article here]
The History of Christianity in Africa // Africa Study Bible
Africa Study Bible
The story of Christianity in Africa, begun in a quiet corner of Alexandria, Egypt in the first century, is now a global movement changing the world.
“Africa is one of the most dynamic centres of Christianity in the world. Africa has a significant share of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians. It has about 30 percent of the world’s evangelicals, 20 percent of the world’s Pentecostals and charismatics, and about 15 percent of the world’s Roman Catholics. In addition, Africa has significant Orthodox groups such as the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria…” [read article here]
The Curse of Ham: Getting It Horribly Wrong
Stephen Le Feuvre, South Africa
Belief in the Curse of Ham has fuelled oppression of black African nations for centuries. This grace-reducing misapplication of scripture is horribly wrong.
“At age sixteen I was first told of the curse of Ham. A man a little older than me fleetingly tried to persuade me to join a right-wing militant organisation. His starting point was to try and persuade me from scripture that black African people were a cursed race descended from Noah’s son, Ham…” [read article here]
To Western Missionaries: From An African Pastor
Chopo Mwanza, Zambia
Cross-cultural ministry is both an opportunity and a challenge. Here are 5 thoughts for Western missionaries looking to engage with the African church today.
“A few months ago, I was engaged in a conversation with an American pastor, who is slowly becoming a dear friend. His church has sent and supports missions in Europe, South America and Africa. Upon hearing that I am an African, he wanted to hear my thoughts about missions in Africa. He asked what his church should know about the state of the church on our continent. What started as a one on one conversation ended up drawing in a large group of other African Christians. This prompted me to put my thoughts for western missionaries into writing, for the sake of clarity…” [read article here]
An Apology From Your Prosperity Preacher
Eddie Ssemakula, Uganda
Ever wondered what an honest prosperity preacher would say if they came to terms with the biblical reality of COVID-19? Here is an imagined apology.
“It’s been interesting to see how everyone responds to COVID-19, from WhatsApp conspiracists to self-proclaimed experts. Opinions abound. With them, ignorance. But the people who I desire to hear something from, more than anyone else, are those in the health and wealth movement. Prosperity preachers. Ministers renowned for making inflated claims about this earthly life with promises of material blessing and positive confessions. What will they say? I’ve wondered what an honest prosperity preacher would say when they come to terms with the biblical reality slapping all of us in the face in 2020. But no one has, yet. So below is an imagined apology for ignoring what the Bible teaches and our present reality reveals…” [read article here]
Christ, COVID-19 and The Christian
Daniel Gachuki, Kenya
The world is in great panic. All are affected and some infected by COVID-19. In times like these, how should Christians think? What truths should we recall?
“The world is in great panic. Economies are stalling. The statistics are shocking. The reports are disheartening. We are all affected. Some are infected. These are indeed perilous times. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic around the clock. They are doing as much as is humanly possible. But in times like these, how should Christians think? What important truths should we recall to mind? We must remember at least three things… [read article here]
Do Africa’s Self-Styled Prophets Fear COVID-19?
Babatomiwa Moses Owojaiye, Nigeria
COVID-19 has had some surprising effects on society. One of these is in the actions of self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ in Africa. They have never been so quiet.
“COVID-19 continues to deal unprecedented blows to our collective human existence, revealing our fragility. Even religion is not exempt from its complications. For the effects of the pandemic on religious activities have been monumental. Some of these effects have also revealed some surprises in 2020. One such surprise has been the activities of self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ in Africa. They have never been so quiet…” [read article here]
Why Deliverance Ministries Fail to Deliver
Eddie Ssemakula, Uganda
In churches across Africa ‘deliverance’ services are popular and prolific. But this practice not only preys on the fearful – it denies the Gospel itself.
“If you’ve strolled beyond your own compound in Africa, you will notice church signposts that feature weekly programs on them. Most notable among these are: overnight services – typically on Fridays – weekly Bible studies and the so called “deliverance service.” In my experience, the last of these – deliverance services – is the most prominent fixture in the majority of churches. In this article I will argue that deliverance services are one of the most misleading and dangerous teachings making its way around our continent…” [read article here]
God’s Faithfulness in 2020 and Forever
In Perelandra, C. S. Lewis writes, “God can make good use of all that happens. But the loss is real.” 2020 has brought about much loss, hardship, death, and despair. Only, as Lewis reminds us, God can make good use of all that happens. In fact, his point is really just an exposition of Paul’s promise in Romans 8:28. God works in all things for the good of those who love him. He who calls us is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Don’t miss these great multi-part article series … #AfricanApologetics and a variety of articles from the Africa Study Bible.