LISTEN: Early African States, a New Christian Orientation, and the Middle Passage (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #14 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Since it is hard to separate Black American history and Black Church history I am combining the two because they are so intertwined. As many of you know, the church and religion has played and continues to play a big role in the African American community. Yet, many of us who grew up in the traditional black church do not have an understanding of how our faith evolved under the duress of slavery and discrimination to be and to represent what it does today. The purpose of this broadcast is to provide that background knowledge while also pointing out the dividing line between what is just tradition and true faith in Jesus Christ.

Our Scripture verse for today is 1 Peter 2:9-10 which reads: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Lee June, a professor at Michigan State University and the author of the book, “Yet With A Steady Beat: The Black Church through a Psychological and Biblical Lens.” He said, “Within the Black community and the ‘Black Church’ the person who is a pastor is often more revered for preaching than for pastoring. As noted by Hamilton, preaching is one of the qualities that is most desirable and reinforced. I believe that this overemphasis on preaching has often led many pastors to neglect the ‘shepherding’ and leadership aspects of their roles. An additional widespread belief about preaching is that it is an activity to be geared toward believers and within a church setting. Speaking in contrast to this belief, Douglas in The New Bible Dictionary indicated that preaching in the early church was an activity geared toward nonbelievers.”

Our first topic for today is a continuation of our look at the earliest African states from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin. We are going to look at the Hausa states.

The Afno, or Hausa, people are said to have had seven original states, the best known of which were Kano, Zaria, and Katsina. The Hausa states occupied roughly the area that today is northern Nigeria. Each kingdom retained its identity, with Kano emerging into the limelight for a while, then yielding to Katsina, and so on. There was commerce with the other African states and across the Sahara. Katsina became a center of learning where law and theology were studied and where the language of the people was refined. It was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Islam made noticeable inroads, that the Hausa states began to yield to outside influences…

Our second topic for today is “Christianity: A New Orientation Toward Existence, Part 2” from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier.

There were some misgivings and in some instances strong opposition to acquainting the Negro with the Bible. This fear of teaching the slaves the Bible was tied up with the laws against teaching slaves to read and write. But it was also feared that the slave would find in the Bible the implications of human equality which would incite the Negro to make efforts to free himself. Opposition to teaching the Negro the Bible declined as masters became convinced that sufficient justification for slavery could be found in the New Testament. In fact, some masters became convinced that some of the best slaves—that is, those amenable to control by their white masters—were those who read the Bible…

Our third and final topic for today is from “The Black Church in the U.S.: Its Origin, Growth, Contributions, and Outlook” by William A. Banks

Nearly twenty million Blacks were made captive over the span of nearly 300 years (1517-1840). A more conservative estimate is 14.6 million. They were crammed into ships like sardines into a can and brought across the Atlantic, from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World, in a trip called the Middle Passage. An estimated 12 million landed in Latin America and about 2 million were brought to the United States. Millions died resisting capture or as captives held in Africa waiting to be shipped out. Still others committed suicide. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek in the coffle (land convoy of slaves chained together) were abandoned to die…

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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