The Church

EM Africa loves the Church and is privileged and honoured, not only to work with the Church, but also to be part of the Church. 

Over the years in active ministry we came to understand that the mind of the Church in Africa is in essence divided into two worlds; a spiritual world which is sacred and a physical world which is secular. This dualistic mindset resulted in a dualistic lifestyle. It started approximately 150 years ago when the ideas of secularism started to impact Europe and North America. It was during this time that the Church could strongly have held the biblical worldview. But instead of defending this worldview against secularism, the turn-of-the-century Church made a tragic mistake. Instead of defending the Biblical worldview, Christians reacted to the secular worldview by accepting a divided worldview. In ancient Greek thought, the world was divided into the spiritual and the material world. In this thought the spiritual is good, and the physical is bad. The spiritual is sacred, and the physical is secular. The Church at the turn of the century was interested in theology, ethics and missions, but not in reason, business and politics. Those things were labelled secular and not a concern to the Church. Secular things must be dealt with by secular means. Unfortunately, as this divided worldview was taught in Bible schools and seminaries, it established the nature of much of the Church, and it reformulated the concept of the Great Commission.

The church has been in Africa for nearly two thousand years and has experienced tremendous growth over the last two centuries. This growth holds incredible potential for the healing of Africa. Yet, all too often, the church is disengaged from the crying needs of the community—focusing exclusively on spiritual concerns. Despite Christians being a majority in many African communities, poverty, disease, conflict and environmental degradation abound. The church is often seen as irrelevant by non-believing community members.

It’s clear that a dichotomy exists within the Church in Africa; a separation between the sacred and the secular.