Issue 79: African Apostles: Black Evangelists in Africa

The challenges of 19th century African Christianity surrounded a central question of missions: When should the missionary labor be handed over to the convert? North American missionaries brought the Gospel into the heart of Africa and began churches throughout the continent, but they were reluctant to yield power to indigenous leaders when they rose up. Then came men who whose passion and leadership could not be stifled.

Christian History & Biography presents the African Apostles: Resilient, mission-oriented men who overcame the pressure of racial stereotyping to lead an emerging indigenous church. Their prophetic callings and visions triggered an explosion of Gospel ministry across sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Henry Venn’s mission in Africa
  • Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first Anglican bishop in Africa
  • Converting from Islam
  • Second generation African Christians
  • West Africa's Aladura churches

What’s Inside?

  • Bishop Before His Time  Read Now

    Ted Olsen

    Samuel Ajayi Crowther’s consecration as the first African Anglican bishop looked like a great leap forward for the church. But the talented ex-slave collided with the roadblock of racism

  • Anatomy of an Explosion  Read Now

    It’s an indelible image: the white missionary venturing into deepset Africa. But the real story is what happened when African converts relayed the gospel message in their own words.

  • The Prospect Terrified Me  Read Now

    Steven Gertz

    Apolo Kivebulaya, a convert from Islam, bravely preached to witch doctors, hostile chieftains, and Pygmy tribes.

  • A Soul of Fire  Read Now

    Elizabeth Isichei

    William Wade Harris - a Liberian activist - left an unsuccessful local ministry to trail across the Ivory Coast. In 18 months, he baptized 100,000 converts.

  • Pioneer of Self-Euthanizing Missions  Read Now

    Ted Olsen

    To Henry Venn, a mission’s only purpose was to render itself unnecessary.

  • The Brilliant Career of Joseph Kiwanuka  Read Now

    Sarah E. Dahl

    Over the protests of a divided church, the scholarly Ugandan priest became the first African Catholic bishop. Just three years after his death, 12 more Africans would follow in his footsteps.

  • Holy Johnson and the Ethiopian Church  Read Now

    Ted Olsen

    Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God, said the Psalm. Yet racism in the mission churches clouded that vision. James Johnson (1836-1917) offered a solution.

  • African Family Values  Read Now

    Elizabeth Isichei

    Harris was one of several indigenous Christian leaders who took an open approach to polygamy. They cited social conditions and biblical support.

  • A Hunger For Holiness  Read Now

    Mark Shaw

    East Africa’s second generation Christians faced that age-old spiritual problem — dullness of hearts. Simeon Nsibambi’s message of a victorious life sparked a revival that continues today.

  • The People’s Prophet  Read Now

    Steve Rabey

    Simon Kimbangu’s brief but powerful ministry inspired faith in Central Africans and fear in white authorities. Imprisoned for stirring up the Congolese people, Kimbangu became the catalyst for Africa’s largest independent church.

  • Supernatural Faith  Read Now

    Elizabeth Isichei and Robert Schirmer

    Known for their fidelity to prayer and confrontation with the spirits of indigenous religion, West Africa’s Aladura churches grew from the radical faith of a group of visionary leaders.

  • A Transatlantic Alliance  Read Now

    Joan Millard

    Two South Africans changed their country by linking their church with an African American church

  • A Leopard Among the Bannas  Read Now

    Aaron Belz

    Mahay Choramo faced down hardship and violent opposition to the murderous nomads of Ethiopia’s southern frontier.

  • The African Apostles: Did You Know?  Read Now

    Chris Armstrong and Collin Hansen

    The rapidity of Africa’s twentieth-century baptism was stunning. There’s no better place to see the future of the global church.

  • African Apostles: Christian History Timeline  Read Now

    the Editors

    Chronology of Christianity in Africa.

  • Resources: Go Tell It!  Read Now

    Collin Hansen and Chris Armstrong

    Many are telling the continuing story of the African church. Here are some of the best renditions.

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