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LESSON ARCHIVE 

FROM APRIL 27th/2020- MAY 17th /2020


HOLY TRACK OUTREACH MINISTRIES 
Online class with the medium of zoom conferencing 

REVIEW OF PREVIOUS LESSONS. APRIL 27TH - May/18/2020

1st Week April /27/2020


TOPIC:  

TAKEAWAY FROM AG BARR’S SPEECH AT THE CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS CONVENTION 2020


Interesting points and concerns taken from Attorney General Barr’s speech at the National Religions Broadcasters Convention 2020

The concern about the erosion of Religious Freedom in our society.  
This is important because Religious censorship hinders the spreading of the Gospel ( Many soul are perishing in places where there is no religious freedom such as North Korea, China , Middle East and many communist and socialist countries. The Bible was banned in Russia for long until the walls of communism were broken down by Gorbachev)

The concern that politics is becoming omnipresent over our nation permeating all aspects of our lives. ( Education, Religion, Entertainment, Wardrobe, Freedom of Speech, Family, Human Nature, Food etc)

The falling away of many from the original political philosophy-Liberal Democracy ( Modern day Conservatism in America) that has sustained the Western Civilization for centuries .
The falling away and morphing into American Liberalism also referred as Progressives which is pseudo totalitarian system characterized by anger, violence and religious intolerance.
This must be the concern of all Christians and all peace loving people.

What are the beliefs of these two opposed philosophies?

CONSERVATISM 
1 Original or Classical Liberal Democracy which is today’s American Conservatism stands for Limited government and the freedom of the individual.
It holds that man is a depraved being according to the Augustinian Doctrine of Original Sin and must be Limited in power as a government.
That man cannot be morally perfected even through education.
( Founding Father Charles Winthrop said In a society man must necessarily be controlled either by the power within or the power without, either by his own religious restraint or by the arm of the government, either by the Bible or by the bayonet.)
 Conservatives believe that an omnipresent and omnipotent government will abuse its power to enslave man therefore there must be Limited Government that safeguards man’s inalienable rights such as Religious Freedom, the Pursuit of Life Liberty and Happiness etc

LIBERALISM
2. On the other hand the philosophy of those who have fallen away from the true Liberal Democracy and are now known as Liberals (American Liberalism) or the Progressives, believe in a Big Government whereby the individual freedom must give place to the state . This system holds that man is good and that the State can make him even better . The individual freedom must be sacrificed for the state . The state accomplishes this by the thinking of the few elite, in other words the elites think for the masses and the masses must conform . The elites use propaganda and miseducation to indoctrinate the people and sustain them that way with coercive Groupthink.Those who disagree are seen as enemies and are labeled as bigots, racists, Xenophobic, Homophobic Exclusivist, Intolerant, Narrow Minded etc . They subject their opponents to microscopic partisan scrutiny, exposure, blackmail, violence, vitriol, etc
They therefore advocate for Big Government which is all powerful and all present in encroachment of the people’s liberty and natural rights. The big government becomes the “Almighty Father” to the people providing for the masses to create dependency and in return the dependents support them in power by their votes.
The propaganda machine not only indoctrinate their followers and sustain them in groupthink.
The strategy of this machine conscientiously adopt diabolical philosophies such as ‘Rules For Radicals’ by Saul Alinsky ( a book that is dedicated to Lucifer) that teaches unethical deliberate resistance.
This propaganda machine also adopts the psychological tactics of falsely accusing opponents for the very thing that they are guilty of. It also believe in the tactics of one telling lies so consistently and repeatedly that one begins to believe it.

To the Left or these liberals , the Western Civilization is the problem and the heart of it is Christianity. To destroy the Western Civilization, Christianity must be wiped out, hence the hatred of Christianity.
This must be a concern to all Christians and people who want peace and liberty.

This brings us to the study of Augustinian Christianity and how it influenced Western Civilization.

2ND WEEK MAY / 4/2020

(Text Bk) Power of ideas. Chapter 5 

Philosophers of the Hellenistic and Christian Era 

Augustine’s philosophy on some fundamental issues about the nature and conditions of man was not only a radical antithesis to the contemporary thought but it dominated it and filled the whole world by means of Christianity.
As said before Augustine disagreed with the then conventional wisdom that man is good and by his capacity and virtues within him can accomplish wealth and power.
By this thought, the people of that era esteemed one’s wealth as a token of nobility and virtuosity. It was therefore the conventional wisdom for people to display their wealth and possessions for such acknowledgment.

King Hezekiah in the Bible showed the messengers from Babylon all his wealth—
2 Kings 20:13 (KJV)
And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and [all] the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them.


The Chapter starts with a quote from Augustine citing the importance of philosophy: 

Though Philosophers disagree on the nature of things and the mode of investigating truth, and the good to which all our actions ought to tend, yet on these three great general questions, all their intellectual energy is spent. —Augustine 

The Key points of discussions : 

Understanding the immediate era prior to Augustine 


1.Exercise: Reframe the Augustine’s quote in your own words to explain it.

2. Alexander the Great (357 BC -323 BC):
Founded the Greek Empire and established HELLENISM.
THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY: Conquest of Medo - Persian Empire and Establishment of Greek Empire 331 BC Dan 2 : 32c , 39b, 
   
Alexander respected science and other people’s cultures. He therefore did not destroy the Jewish Temple and their culture. This example was followed by his generals and future rulers with the exception of few who took over after his death.- (Antiochus Of the Seleucid Empire forced Jews to worship their idols. He also polluted the Temple)
This also led to a cultural syncretism through Hellenization. Hellenization means the influences of the Greek culture throughout the Empire 

3. HELLENISTIC AGE: 331 BC -168 BC
 The Hellenistic Age began about 331 BC and its effect continued even after the Roman Empire conquered it about 168 BC. Rome was then a Republic and it became an Empire by 27 BC.

4 IMPORTANT EVENTS OF THE HELLENISTIC AGE 

The Greek Language became the most popular language all over the Western World. Over a million of Jews migrated to live in Alexandria and majority spoke more Greek than Hebrew.
  Note that here we see the reversal of the confusion of Babel as God purposefully dispersed them into different languages causing them to misunderstand one another in order to destroy their diabolical agenda from their unity. Gen. 11:5-9
Having revealed His truth by Special Revelation (the Bible ) to the Jews that would eventually lead them to the great the light - Jesus ( Matt 4:15-16) , God began to unite the world into one language or few languages - thus undoing Babel for the access of the Bible .
The Bible was translated first into the Greek language for the dispersion of the scriptures .( about 200 BC -50 BC
This Translation is called THE SEPTUAGINT - Septuagint means 70 

THE GREEK LANGUAGE:
The Greek language - ( Koine Greek at that time) became the most widely spoken language and the Septuagint (LXX), was the very first translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was Koine Greek. This LXX became the accepted text of the Old Testament in the Christian church and it served as the basis for the Canon.

3RD WEEK MAY/11/2020

THE HISTORY OF THE SEPTUAGINT: 

According to legend, the ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty over Egypt Ptolemy II in Alexandria of Egypt was asked by Demetrius to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek.
The King sent delegates to the high priest Eleazar in Israel asking for translator scribes and a copy of the Jewish Bible .
Eleazar also sent him 72 scribes and a copy of the Bible as requested.
Ptelomy II placed them in a small island near Alexandria in Egypt- Africa. called (. ). He separated them in different rooms, none knowing what the other was doing. Each was privately asked to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek and in 70 days they all finished. In comparison all miraculously were the same; signifying that God was with them.

The Septuagint was the Bible that Jesus and the apostles used or quoted most.


HELLENISTIC AGE AND THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY.

 (1) THE COMING OF THE GREEK EMPIRE Dan 2: 39b
(2) ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION Dan 11 : 28-32
 (3) THE MACCABBEE REVOLT: Dan 11-32-33
The Maccabbee family led a revolt against the Seleucid empire during the reign of Antiochus IV who desecrated the temple and forced the Jews to worship the Greek idols.
   
HANUKAH A SYMBOL OF CHRISTMAS :  

HANUKA also called The Feast of Dedication or the Feast of Lights is the Jewish celebration of rededication of the Temple, following the victory over the Seluicid Empire and their Ruler — Antiochus II who had polluted it and forced many Jews to bow to idols.

The oil for the candle lights that survived the pollution was only one vessel. The oil is used to light the 7 candlesticks—the Menorah and one would last for a day. Miraculously it lasted for the entire 8 days needed for the making of new oil.
( Reflections: Jesus warned in the parable of ten virgins about the consequence of not having extra oil for their lamps.
Thank God the faith of the Maccabees Family defied even death to preserve oil for the lamp of the Temple representing the Presence of God or the Word or the Light. We must endure afflictions to the end. Matt 25:1-13, Matt 10:22, Rev 2:26
 
Significance of Feast of Lights: The Light represents God. The Light came at the darkest period of the life of the people —By allegory, Christ is the Light of the world coming at a time of doom and gloomy darkness. The feast was 25th Dec when the winter solitice longer night was just about to recede.
The Miraculous victory of the Maccabee family with 7000 troops defeating 60,000 soldiers of the Seleucid Empire.
The Jews cleaned up the desecrated Temple and rededicated it to God on Dec 25 165 BC.  



THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN HANUKKAH AND CHRISTMAS:

HANUKAH AS A PRECURSOR TO CHRISTMAS 
                           

HANUKKAH
Immediate background: Inter-Testamental period.( this is the 400 yrs between Malachi—Matthew where God had stopped communicating with Israel through the prophets. Hosea 5: 15 ) .
No prophet, Spiritual darkness, Persecution under foreign rule-the Seleucid Empire. Temple is polluted be Antiochus IV :Dan 11: 25-32.

CHRISTMAS:
Immediate background: Inter-Testamental period. No prophet . Oppression under foreign rule. Rome, Spiritual darkness. Hope for light was dim. (Is.9:1) 

HANUKKAH
Mattathias, Jewish Priest inspires hope by initiating and leading resistance against the a Seleucid Empire to stem the darkest era of time amid the pollution of the temple and forced idol worship: 167BC

CHRISTMAS:
Prophet John the Baptist appears , inspiring hope for the coming light and baptising people in resistance against darkness (repentance) to bring them into the light.

HANUKKAH
God Chose the Family of Mattathias Maccabee to execute His plan of bringing light to the a dark world.

CHRISTMAS:
God choses the Family of Mary ( this Family includes Elizabeth , John the Baptist and Joseph) to bring the Light of the World-Jesus into the dark world.

HANUKKAH
By Miraculous means the Light for the Temple was restored. 

CHRISTMAS:
By Miraculous means Light of the world was born.

HANUKKAH:
Temple restored with the light and dedicated .25th Dec 165 BC.

CHRISTMAS:
Christmas celebrates on 25th December 
( CURIOUSLY SPEAKING, THE ATHEISTIC COMMUNIST RULE OF RUSSIA THAT BANNED THE BIBLE, COLLAPSED AND  GAVE IN TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 
ON 25TH OF DECEMBER.—-  IS THIS COINCIDENCE)

HANUKKAH:
Temple restored with lights -The Menorah. 
Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Lights

CHRISTMAS:
Christmas celebrates with lights at home and in the streets.

HANUKKAH:
Joyful Celebration with exchange of gifts.

CHRISTMAS:
Joyful Celebration with exchange

 HELLENISTIC AND ROMAN INFLUENCE ON AFRICA


AFRICA BECOMES HOME FOR ANCIENT CENTER FOR THEOLOGY , PHILOSOPHY, CHRISTIAN CAPITAL, AND GREEK EMIPRE CAPITAL- ALEXANDRIA , THE SEPTUAGINT, THE NEW TESTAMENT.

Alexandria is in Egypt - Africa and was the Capital of the Greek Empire. It was where the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible was done. - The Septuagint ( LXX) This is the Bible Jesus and the Apostles quoted from.

Africa was the birth place of Christian Theology : The Alexandrian school of Philosophical Theology also known as the Catechetical School Of Alexandria was Founded by Apostle Mark, 

Africa produced or influenced many founding fathers of the church; Theologians, Philosophers, and Apologists such as 
Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Cyprian, Lactantius, Optatus of Milevi, Augustine
 Athenagoras , Pantaenus , Clement Of Alexandria Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Heraclas, Dionysius "the Great", and Didymus 



   AFRICAN FATHERS - NOT ONLY GAVE BIRTH TO WESTERN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY BUT ALSO PIONEERED CHRISTIAN  PHILOSOPHY WHICH HAS INFLUENCED WESTERN CIVILIZATION OVER TWO THOUSAND YEARS.

THE ALEXANDRIAN SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY 
(ALSO CALLED THE CATECHETICAL SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA IS THE OLDEST CATECHETICAL SCHOOL IN THE WORLD
Founded by St Mark of the Gospel

The scope of this school was not limited to theological subjects. It included theology, Christian philosophy and the Bible; science, mathematics and Greek & Roman literature, logic and the arts were also taught. -Wikipedia .


The School became the oldest center for sacred sciences in the history of Christianity. In it, the first system of Christian theology was formed and the allegorical method of biblical exegesis was devised. In this context, Dom. D. Rees states, "The most renowned intellectual institution in the early Christian world was undoubtedly the Catechetical School (Didascaleion) of Alexandria, and its primary concern was the study of the Bible.   Wikipedia 

   Relation between Philosophy and Revealed Religion 
◎ Then Alexandrian School became notable when philosophy entered.
◎ The first philosopher who became the dean was Pantaenus . Contrary to what many thought, revealed religion and philosophy, also represented as Faith and Reason are not enemies but complimentary friends.
◎ Philosophy is used to serve the interests of religion : 
(a) It train the mind to think and reason accurately, ( Logic + Epistemology + Metaphysics )and thus prepare the mind for the higher study of theology

(b) by supplying proofs , illustrations and metaphysical answers to many truths common to the two sciences.

 (c) by unfolding and throwing into scientific shape the truths of Revelation.


4th WEEK MAY/18/2020

IS THE BIBLE OR CHRISTIANITY A WHITE MAN’S RELIGION?

MANY BLACK PEOPLE HAVE REJECTED CHRISTIANITY AND THE BIBLE ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT IS THE INVENTION OF THE WHITE MAN TO CONTROL AND RULE OVER BLACKS. THIS IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH 
NOT ONLY WAS THE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY DEVELOPED BY AFRICAN FATHERS IN NORTH AFRICA BUT THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON ALSO: MOREOVER THE FIRST TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE HEBREW BIBLE WAS DONE IN AFRICA.


SOME PROMINENT AFRICAN FATHERS:

(1).  ST MARK :   (Born  5:AD in Cyrene- Libya :   Died 68 AD in Alexandria-Egypt as a martyr.  Rope hanged to neck and dragged to death.  
Author of The Gospel Of Mark 
Founder Of the Church Of Alexandria, The Catechetical School Of Alexandria.   
First Bishop of the church of Alexandria 

(2).  APOLLOS :  Born in Alexandria-Egypt Of Jewish descendants. Birthday unknown.    Eloquent and persuasive debater. Acts 18:24

(3).  Simon of Cyrene:   Born in Cyrene- Libya   Father Of Alexander and Rufus who all became missionaries. Mk 15:21
Simon helped Jesus carry the cross. Mk 15:21

(4) Pope Justus Of Alexandria (. Died in 129 AD ) : Born in Egypt-Africa   
 Appointed by St Mark as the first Dean Of the Catechetical school of Alexandria.
He was the 6th Pope and Patriach Of Alexandria.



(5) Augustine : (Latin language ) 254 - 430 AD, Bishop of Hippo, 
Born in Thagaste- Algeria -Africa, Philosopher, Apologist, Theologian  
His theology and philosophy influenced the development of the Western Church and Western philosophy, and indirectly all of Western Christianity and Western Civilization : Notable Books: City Of God, Confessions, On Christian Doctrine,
IDEAS THAT INFLUENCED CHRISTIANITY AND WESTERN CIVILIZATION: Original Sin, Free will, Just war, Beginning of Time, Trinity, The problem of Evil, Faith and Reason, Philosophy , Filioque , etc


(6) Athanasius : 298 - 373 AD Born in Alexandria -Egypt -Africa : Theologian , Apologists, Arch Bishop of Alexandria Named Father Of orthodoxy, One of the 4 Doctors of the Church. Defended Trinitarianism , Deity of Christ against Arianism 
The first to Identity the 27 books of the New Testament Canon that are still in use today. 


(7)  Tertullian : 155 AD -220 AD Born in Carthage - Tunisia , Africa referred as Father Of Latin Christianity, Founder Of Western Theology, Author, Theologian, Apologist, Polemist-Notable ideas: Hypostasis, Ousia, Sacrament, Traducianism , Consubstantiality, Persona .First to use the term Trinity , Fought against Gnosticism 

(8) Origen Of Alexandria: 184-253 AD , Born in Alexandria-Egypt-Africa, Philosopher, Theologian, Apologist,  
Prolific writer - The First Principles , Textual criticism, Biblical exegesis and Biblical hermeneutics, Homiletics. 
Named the greatest genius of the early church , Inventor of the Polyglot Bible- Hexapla. 
 Founded the Christian School of Caesarea, where he taught Logic, Cosmology, Natural history, and Theology



(9) Cyprian: ( Latin language ) 200 -258 AD. Born in Carthage- Tunisia -Africa. Martyr , Bishop of Carthage. Fought against Novatianism, Orator, Author, Encourager during the Plague Of Cyprian 249- 262 AD, that used to kill 5000 a day in Roman. The plague brought about shortage of manpower in Roman Empire 


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CONTINUATION 

(10) Marcus Minucius Felix. (Latin language ). (Circa 150-160 AD ) Born in Algeria-Africa: Apologist. Author of Octavious- Apology for the Christian God against Pagan gods

(11)  Lactantius (Latin language ) (240 AD - 320 AD Apologist Author, Advisor to First Christian Roman Emperor — Constantine I guiding his religious policy as it developed, and a tutor to his son Crispus. - Wikipedia
He wrote for the intellectual elite , comparative religion apologetics- Christianity vs Pagan religions of the Empire.
Philosophical Apologetics—. Christian Philosophy vs Hellenistic philosophers. 
Bk. — Divinae Institutiones ("Divine Institutes") was excellent in systematic presentation of Christian thought.- Wikipedia 


(12)  Optatus Of Milevi: Born in Mila- Algeria-Africa. Bishop of Mileve , Polemicist against Donatism 


(13) Pope Heraclas Of Alexandria (Gk language ) Born in Egypt. 13th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, reigning 232-24
 First Patriarch of Alexandria to be referred to as "Pope" 
Head of the Catechetical school of Alexandria after Origen 

(14) Pope Dionysius Of Alexandria. ( Gk language ) Born in Egypt- Africa 
14th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria from 28 December 248 until his death on 22 March 264. 


(15) Didymus the Blind Of Alexandria (Circa 310- 398 AD) African. Student of Origen, Blind at the age of four. Prayed not for his physical sight but for illumination of his heart. Dean of the Theological school of Alexandria. Polemicist and Apologist, Taught other blind people how to read.
c. 313 – 398) was a Christian theologian in the Church of Alexandria, where he taught for about half a century. 


Didymus studied with ardor, and his vigils were long and frequent, not for reading but for listening, that he might gain by hearing what others obtained by seeing. When the reader fell asleep for weariness, Didymus did not repose, but as it were chewed the cud (says Rufinus) of what he had heard, until he seemed to have inscribed it on the pages of his mind. Thus in a short time he amassed a vast knowledge of grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, arithmetic, and geometry, and a perfect familiarity with Holy Scripture. He was early placed at the head of the famous catechetical school of Alexandria, over which he presided for about half a century. St. Athanasius highly esteemed him. The orator Libanius wrote to an official in Egypt: "You cannot surely be ignorant of Didymus, unless you are ignorant of the great city wherein he has been night and day pouring out his learning for the good of others. He is similarly extolled by his contemporaries and by the historians of the following century, Rufinus was six years his pupil. Palladius visited him four times in ten years (probably 388-398). Jerome came to him for a month in order to have his doubts resolved with regard to difficult passages of Scripture-   
  - Catholic Encyclopedia 






WEEKS OF MAY 18 to JUNE 15 


PART TWO

WHAT EVIDENCE JUSTIFIES THE CLAIM THAT AFRICA WAS THE WELLSPRING OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS :


“African intellectual history has no need to be defensive or self-effacing. We are learning that Africa taught Europe before Europe was prepared to teach Africa. Europe has slept for many centuries without being fully aware of its vital intellectual sources in Africa.”...... Thomas Oden—How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind



Why this topic and what relevance has it ?



Afro-Centricism has even been misconstrued by many to represent anti-Christianity. To such minds being anti Christian is a criterion for authenticity. In revenge for slavery they will even write novels to promote such narratives.

They would bend over backwards to embrace Egyptological myths, Traditional African idol worship, and reverence of their artifacts or claim Islam as African.


I believe setting the historical record straight will help liberate many minds and warn the inquiring and adventurous young minds to stay away from such pitfalls.


DISAMBUGATION OF ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY AND ORIGIN OF DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY AND SCHOLARSHIP.

These two concepts need not be confused.   Here I would not expect one to mistake one for the other. So I find it important to distinguish between the two.     



ORIGIN AND EARLY BEGINNINGS OF CHRISTIANITY:  

Some say Christianity branched from Judaism to imply that it strayed away from the biblical truth.

I stand with pastor Derek to disagree with such claim.

Christianity is veiled in the Old Testament and was hinted in the early stages of Genesis; Gen 3:15

It was the Omniscient God’s plan from the beginning: 1Pe 1:18-21

If any one strayed, it is Judaism. It is Judaism that stumbled. Isaiah 8:13-15


Isaiah 8:13-15 (KJV)

13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.



1 Peter 1:18-21 (KJV) 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.


The seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 refers to Jesus the Messiah - the Christ.

The followers of Christ are called the Christians, hence Christianity. 


From Genesis to Matthew is the outworks of THE LORD unfolding His plan in preparation of the world for the first coming of the Christ. In that divine economy, world history or secular history is subservient to sacred history and is controlled by it and not the other way around .


Israel is the nation God used to bring the Messiah - Jesus the Christ. 

Jesus began His ministry in Israel (Judah). There He chose His 12 disciples and gained many followers who were latter to be called for the first time Christians  in Antioch .


Acts 11:26 (KJV)

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY 

The dispersion of the Gospel by the apostles and other Christians into the world created a body of Christians not united with a well defined doctrine. The Apostles struggled to address some of the Heresies in their time . Example is such as ‘Docetism’ ( A Gnostics doctrine which denies that Christ came in the flesh) was addressed by John in 1Jn 4:1-3.


1 John 4:1-3 (KJV) 1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.


The Gospel did not land in a vacuum nor in the cultural mind of a ‘tabula rasa’ but rather a hostility of philosophies, doctrines and beliefs. It also faced the danger of negative syncretism.

Some philosophies were so close to Christianity that one of such could superficially pass as a Christian. According to P Manly Hall, Hermetic philosophy, Gnostic Philosophy and Neoplatonism were very close to Christianity. It was necessary for the Christians to distinguish their doctrine from the rest with a clearly defined doctrine. This task was done mostly in Africa. Africa was the birthplace of Christian scholarship that supplied the theological doctrinal definitions of Christian orthodoxy and its adjacent philosophical, ecclesiological, academic and monastic patterns that have not only been the buttress of Christianity but also a light for the Western Civilization.



 EVIDENCE THAT JUSTIFIES THE CLAIM THAT AFRICA WAS THE MOTHER OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY 


(Recommendations. Most of the material here is from the book “HOW AFRICA SHAPED THE CHRISTIAN MIND” by Thomas C Oden, and The Complete Works of the Church Fathers by Phillip Schaff .)


 

THE CHRISTIAN CANON WAS DEVELOPED IN AFRICA 


Africa possesses the quintessential relevance to Christianity, the syncretism of Jerusalem and Athens. The city of Alexandria Of Egypt was the Capital Of the Greek Empire. The Jewish population there was large and many spoke Greek more than Hebrew. Because of its status as a metropolis for commerce and administration in the Hellenistic world Alexandria became also the center of western intellectual learning where philosophy guarded the wisdom and belief of many .

One can allegorically say that Greek Philosophy then served as the lesser light like the moon leading men out of the dark night into the day while Jerusalem served as the larger light like the sun leading to special revelation. We can contemplate Day and Night complementing each other.

Similarly the Christian Philosophers saw philosophy as the schoolmaster that brought one to Christ.


“Clement compares it to a wild olive tree, which can

be ennobled by faith; Origen compared it to the jewels, which the Israelites took with them out of Egypt, and turned into ornaments for their sanctuary, though they also wrought them

into the golden calf. Philosophy is not necessarily an enemy to the truth, but may, and should be its handmaid, and neutralize the attacks against it. The elements of truth in the heathen philosophy they attributed partly to the secret operation of the Logos in the world of reason, partly to acquaintance with the writings of Moses and the prophets.” ....History of the Christian Church -Phillip Schaff.



The Alexandrian Philosophical School Of Theology a masterpiece of St Mark the Evangelist comes face to face with the Special Revelation the Bible. Here philosophy is used to define and to show the justification of special revelation.   

Justin Martyr a once secular philosopher, when he discovered the doctrine and teachings of the prophets , remarked that their philosophy is better than the secular philosophy.


THE TWO MAJOR TRANSLATIONS ; THE SEPTUAGINT AND THE VULGATE THAT PROVIDED BASIS FOR OTHER TRANSLATIONS FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD WERE DONE OR SOURCED FROM AFRICA .


Without the Bible there would be no Christianity as we know it. The Scripture initially was only the Old Testament and was in Hebrew. To make it available to a large part of the world it would need a widely spoken language. The Lord in light of Sacred History chose a language for a larger empire 

than the preceding Medo-Persian and Babylonian empires as revealed in the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. ( A statue used to illustrate a prophetic eschatological events from the 7the Century BC to the second coming of Christ.) 

  The larger empires was the Greek Empire and the language is the Greek Language which was dispersed throughout the Greek Empire 

( Dan 2: 39b) by means of Hellenism. The Greek Empire covered Western Europe and stretched as far into Asia as India.

The Bible then which was the Old Testament in Hebrew was first Translated into Greek in Africa under the order of King Ptolemy II Of Egypt 

The city was Alexandria in Egypt. ( legend says it was in a small island on the tip of Alexandria called Pharos Island which now holds the lighthouse of Alexandria)

This translation is the Septuagint (LXX) 300-200BCE



THE VULGATE


The Latin Vulgate took its sources from Africa 

The Translation into Latin was made by Jerome from the available books and texts that were from Africa.



THEOLOGY 



ORTHODOXY AND HERETICAL DISPUTES


Africa was the crucible where orthodoxy was developed. It was where the dross was purged from the silver and the bread was refined from the leaven. The relentless drive for truth and its preservation took its toll even on some of the finest faithful. Some as martyrs and others as heretics. Some were excommunicated and others censored. It was here that Christianity distinguished herself from Gnosticism, Montanism, Donatism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Manicheanism , Neoplatonism, Sabellanianism, and many more. The desire for God was stronger than the panting of the deer for water.

The drive for truth was an apathetic judge. One could be a hero in defense of one doctrine and be deemed a heretic on another doctrine .

The outcome of such crucible was the Canon and the Essential Christian Doctrine as we have today.


The Christian Canon 


As explained above The African Church Father Athanasius (296–373AD) Bishop Of Alexandria was chief in the development of the New Testament Canon as we have it today. He canonically defined the books that are accepted by the Church as orthodox and in use today in his 39th FESTAL letter sent to the church at large on Jan 7 /367 AD

He named all the Old Testament books and then the New Testament books distinguishing them from the apocrypha :



“There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament. 5. Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.” ...



and concluded thus


“These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, 'You err, not knowing the Scriptures.' And He reproved the Jews, saying, 'Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me [ Matthew 22:29; John 5:39 ].' 7. But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read; nor is there in any place a mention of apocryphal writings. But they are an invention of heretics, who write them when they choose, bestowing upon them their approbation, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as ancient writings, they may find occasion to lead astray the simple”

  .... Festival Letter 39. Athanasius.... The Complete works of the Church Fathers 



 CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE 

AFRICAN SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDED PHILOSOPHICAL AND EXEGESIS POWER IN THE DEFINITIONS AND DEFENSE OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE 

The Alexandrian philosophical School of theology was

primarily established by the Bishop of the church of Alexandria-St Mark 


The scholarship power of this school helped build the foundation of Christian Theology before it spread to Europe and Asia. A Line of intellectual minds such as Pantaenus, Clement, Origen, Didymus using the Greek Language and many more from the Latin African Fathers such as Augustine and Tertullian among whom were native Africans or resident professors provided doctrinal and theological definitions, seminal patterns of exegesis, rhetoric, education and apologetics that would sustain the church on a solid foundation against internal and external forces.


It was the battlefield against Pellagianism, Arianism, Modalism, Sabellenianism. Gnosticsm-Doscetism, Donatism, and the theological definitions of the Original Sin, Trinity, and subjects and disciplines like Exegesis, Education and Monastery 




THE UNIVERSITY:

The Library Of Alexandria was the largest library in the world in its time. The libraries of future universities of Europe were built after that of Alexandria. 



“ Before the Middle Ages, Greek scholars carefully collected and inventoried books and other written materials in the Library of Alexandria, which truly made it a sort of precursor to all modern libraries. In fact, the Library of Alexandria proved to be one of the greatest institutions created in the ancient world because it influenced the minds of countless people in profound ways for centuries. The Library not only inspired the imaginations of artists but gave birth to new research methods, which proved to provide the basis for many considered common-place today. The Library of Alexandria was one of the few libraries in the ancient Greek world, which helped ensure that mathematicians, scientists and other scholars from across the Mediterranean traveled to Egypt to study there, and it was so impressive in its size and influence that it left an indelible mark on the world that still reverberates today.” — Charles River Editors Author Of The Library of Alexandria: The History and Legacy of the Ancient World’s Most Famous Library , Kindle Edition


Universities such as Oxford of England, Padua of Italy Paris of France, Salamanca of Spain owe thei heritage to the Alexandrian Library.

The greatness of the Alexandria and its Library and its legacy is not by random or coincidence.

It is the dictates of divine sacred history for the purpose of the gospel and ultimately in continuum with Gods program for the salvation of man.  

We see the prophetic fulfillment of the Greek Empire according to Dan.2:39b 

The choice of geographical location of the city for its convenience as a seaport that serves Europe and Asia to as far as India made it a metropolis for the Greek Empire. It was a great center for trade and thus attracted people from all professions.


ALEXANDRIA ATTRACTED Sailors, Merchants, SCHOLARS, SCIENTISTS, PHILOSOPHERS, MATHEMATICIANS, ARTISTS, & HISTORIANS. Many migrated there and a lot were born there: Archimedes, Heroin, Euclid, 

 The concentration of many great minds enriched North Africa as an Intellectual center for the world. It is therefore not a surprise or and overstretch to state Africa was the host nation for the development and dissemination of Christian Philosophy and Theology.




 


ECUMENICAL STRUCTURE:  

Europe and Asia and even the First Council of Jerusalem around 45AD followed the archetype from Africa even .  


 


FESTAL LETTERS

The church at large relied on the Egyptian church for calendar and vestal dates



http://www.ntcanon.org/Athanasius.shtml


In view of the reputation of Alexandrian scholars who were devoted to astronomical calculations, it is not surprising that other parts of Christendom should eventually come to rely on the Egyptian Church for information concerning the date of Easter, made available to the Western Church through the bishop of Rome, and to the Syrian Church through the bishop of Antioch.