How Africa Shaped Christianity
To my generation, the stories of the white missionaries going into an uncivilized world of Africa to share Jesus have always been the truth told; and the only book the white slave owners allowed their black slaves to read was the Bible has always been the truth told. Those truths led some Black Americans not to believe the Bible was inspired by God but a tool to control the slaves. Dr. Thomas C. Oden thesis “Africa Shaped the Christian Mind,” though not directly addressed, challenges those truths. Could it convert those individuals that those truths may be traditional stories and encourage them to seek the truths of the kingdom? Before I expressed my views on this thesis, I wanted to learn something about the author. He is a white male and a Methodist theologian. One author referred to him as “one of the most consequential evangelical scholars and theologians of our time.”  In reading about him, I found him to be a respected scholar.
Oden shares many thoughts, support, theories and points on the effects of Africa on Christianity. He wanted African scholars to do their research to bring forth the truth of Africa’s seed in Christianity. He defined seven ways on how African Christianity informed the Western and World Christianity. They are:
1) the Western Concept of the University,
2) Christian Exegesis of Scripture;
3) Early Christian doctrine (Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Athanasius, Augustine),
4) modeling conciliar patterns for ecumenical decision-making,
5) birth and development of monasticism,
6) Christian Neoplatonism, and
7) the development of rhetorical and dialectical finesse. 
Oden felt that the above were essential in the transfer of intellectuals from Africa to Europe. He supports his theory saying the Canon and the first Christian psychology were written in Africa. He further states “Africa had a major hand in crafting the basic Latin and Greek views of sin and grace, creation and providence, atonement, eschatology, baptism and the life of prayer.” (Kindle, location 475) Book reviewer Bryan states in his reviews that “Oden’s support for his thesis was an outline for an argument. It raises Oden’s point that African Christianity is ancient and predominant theological processes of early Christianity were not to Africa but from Africa.”  It is a pilot light to ignite other scholars to begin research on the effect of Africa’s seeding Christianity. There’s a wealth of information here that should be addressed further.
As an African American preacher, his comments on the black preachers promoting to the African American congregation that their life and ancestors struggles and oppression is similar to the Hebrew slaves (Exodus). Okay maybe not in those exact words, he referenced it as ‘African Exegesis.’ Many African American Christians relate the African slaves in American to the struggles of the Hebrew slaves. One could say the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, relating to the freedom of American slaves was similar to God freeing of the Hebrew slaves from Pharaoh. God prepared the Promised Land for the people and punished Moses by not allowing him to enter. In his speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr used a similar expression in his speech, ‘I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, which we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!’
My thoughts: This theory that Africa is important in the development of Christianity may be considered blasphemy for some Evangelical Christians in our current climate. Is it truth or tradition according to the African exegesis that the freedom paths of the African slaves are similar to the Hebrew slaves? Are the American slaves Promise Land a world of turmoil?
 George, Thomas, Reversed Thunder: A Tribute to Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016), Christian Today, accessed June 1, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december-web-only/reversed-thunder-tribute-to-thomas-c-oden-1931-2016.html.
 Horrell, J. Scott, Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan-Mar 2010 vol.167 no. 1 issue, accessed June 2017, http://www.dts.edu/reviews/thomas-c-oden-how-africa-shaped-the-christian-mind.
 Oden, Thomas J., Book Review of ‘How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the Africa Seedbed of Western Christianity,’ African Journal of Evangelical Theology 27.1 2008, accessed June 1, 2017, https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ajet/27-1_077.pdf.
 King, Jr., Martin Luther, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, American Rhetoric, accessed June 1, 2017, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm.