Thomas Oden conveys passion for historical accuracy and spiritual justice in his book How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity. “Ordinary African Christian believers deserve to have a much more accessible way of understanding early African Christianity: its faith, courage, tenacity and remarkable intellectual strength. Oden’s intent is not to prove Africa’s role in the beginnings of Christianity (however he presents plenty of evidence), but to challenge African scholars to seek truth, discover their contributions, and write and defend the “conciliar tradition of the African church”.
The undercurrent of Oden’s writings highlight a history of bias, racism and oppression towards Africa and their contributions to early Christianity. “The generalization took hold that wherever there might have been any modest African influences, they are likely to be viewed as inferior and backward in relation to the unfolding positive developments of reason in history that flowed from Europe”.. “If good ideas appeared in Africa, they must be attributed to Europeans” Oden also explores the “heartbreaking African history of martyrdom” “African blood on African soil”.  He tells of centuries of persecution of Africans – by the Romans, Arabs, colonial powers, jihadis, Nigeria and Somalia – and further questions the concept of orthodoxy which “has nothing to do with truth but only with power” which is simply a “powerful majority that has manipulated its way into durable power”.
I have never acclimated to our disturbing Christian history (violence, slavery, persecution, oppression, etc.) and I can’t help but bridge an analogy to the present racial tensions in the United States. I would venture to say that mainstream Christians have spent centuries perpetuating our faith as “the White man’s religion”. “The Christian faith occupies a complicated, often racialized place in the history of Blacks all over the globe because of how it was abused by White colonists and slave traders to subjugate Blacks.” Because Oden courageously exposed the truth of our Christian heritage, and we’ve digested his writings, we are now responsible to challenge and educate the “establishment”. Who is the establishment? Our schools of theology, our churches, historians, scholars, theologians, students and fellow Christians. Biblically, our directive to expose truth is clear: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3:19 (NIV) Therefore, it is each of our duties to raise these disparities in our understanding of Christianity – as much as it is our responsibility as Christians to denounce racism and advocate for historical accuracy to our own Christian story in the United States.
If you have never been oppressed, it may be challenging to recognize the significance of an altered truth (history). However, that is a function of privilege – to have a safe and comfortable historical reality that feels very connected to whom you are.
My prayer is that Africa will seek the truth, and teach the truth. The willingness to receive the truth will be on us.
 Oden, Thomas C. How africa shaped the christian mind: rediscovering the african seedbed of western christianity. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2010. ebook location64
 Oden, How africa shaped
 Oden, How africa shaped, ebook location975
 Oden, How africa shaped, ebook location 975
 Lincoln, Charles Eric., and Lawrence H. Mamiya. The Black church in the African American experience. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.