Contrary to the ravings of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, Matthew Parris writes in the UK Times:
Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
Perris makes some very interesting observations, and indicates that the effects of Christianity that he has witnessed in Africa “… confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.”
Now some may make the argument that Perris is really an agnostic and not a true atheist, but I think that’s beside the point. The reality is that the Gospel does bring change. Some of us have known this all along. The Apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:1 that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” This – besides the fact that the Gospel is true – sets Christianity apart from religious systems like Islam.
Jesus proclaimed (Luke 4), in announcing the beginning of his ministry:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18, 19)
That’s what Christianity’s all about, Charlie Brown.
I have a friend who has done extensive work as an anthropologist in Africa and comes to a far different conclusion than Parris does.
He will be on our show with more details sometime this spring.
But what is truly frightening is the way that Africans have taken to burning children as witches, driving them their homes as young as three and four years old. They are using the Changes that the Gospel Brings to justify such evil. If Parris would acknowledge that he would perhaps change his tune. When I read that article about a month ago, it seemed to me that he was justifying colonialism.
“I don’t need God, because I am civilized. The primitives, yes now, that’s a different story.”