African ‘Reverse Missionaries’ Have Come to Save Souls Among the Heathens of Britain

African Christians in Britain

African Mission Church in York

Africa’s Reverse Missionaries are Bringing Christianity Back to the United Kingdom

“[Nigerian Rueben Ekeme Inwe of York, England] is what some scholars would call a ‘reverse missionary,’ evangelists from former mission fields in Africa, Asia, and Latin America who believe their calling is to revitalize Christianity in the countries that first brought the religion to them. It’s a phenomenon that marks a shift in Christianity’s cultural center from the West to the so-called global South. By 2025, at least 50% of the world’s Christians will be in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia; in 1950, an estimated 80% of the world’s Christians were in Western countries.”

“The idea of the reverse mission has been around for a while. In 1880, a West African preacher named Edward Blyden predicted that one day Africa would be the ‘the spiritual conservatory of the world.’ In the early 1900s, Daniel Ekarte, a sailor from Nigeria, started a church in the slums of Liverpool for both Africans and white British. Around the same time, a Ghanaian businessman, Kwame Brem-Wilson, also founded a pentecostal Sumner Road Chapel in Peckham, London and helped spread Pentecostalism in the UK.
“In the 1970s, as former colonies adjusted to newfound independence, religious leaders from Africa, Asia, and South America began calling for a moratorium on Western missionaries to give local churches a chance to ‘stand on their own feet.’ The International Congress on World Evangelization, held in Lausanne Switzerland, declared in 1974, ‘A new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing.'”

“Since then, the growth of Christianity in the developing world, migration, and the explosion of diaspora churches have given the idea new currency. Today, the largest Christian church in Europe was started by a Nigerian pastor, Sunday Adelaja, who first went to the Soviet Union and Belarus in the 1980s to study journalism. In the US, the Catholic church has been recruiting African priests for years.”

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