How African Churches Shaped Purity and Reformation in the Global Church Movement

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Against popular beliefs, the African church, the Ethiopian church specifically was one of the undefiled churches of the 16 century that shaped reformation in Europe and other parts of the world.

As it is hard for Africans to themselves at heart of Christianity from the days of Adam, through the patriarchs to the prophets and the priests, overwhelming evidence often suggests that Christianity was never imported to Africa but rather that Africa has always been an integral part of the global church.

Historical records confirm that Luther marveled at how the churches of Armenia, Ethiopia, and India had avoided the (catholic) private masses that developed in the West since Gregory the Great’s time.

It was reported that Luther affirmed that before there was a “pope,” there were the bishops of Ethiopia, Syria, Antioch, and Rome – Orthodox branches that were a link back to a purer, more apostolic era.

The church of Ethiopia, especially, was mentioned among early modern Christians. Some scholars have noted that Luther mentions Ethiopia at least 85 times in his written works.

Luther believed that the Church of Ethiopia had more fidelity to the Christian tradition and the Church in Europe needed to be reformed in the direction of the Church of Ethiopia. To Luther, “Ethiopia” symbolized the church, and one of the most valued legacies that the Reformers identified within the Ethiopian church was its insistence on maintaining the Bible in the common language. Possibly for Luther, the Church of Ethiopia was proof that his reform of the Church in Europe had both a biblical and a historical basis.

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