Salvation: How the Gospel Helped end slavery in Ghana, Africa and still saves the people of Ghana today
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AbstractEvangelical missions were the defining factor in the abolition of the slave trade in Ghana, Africa. When the indigenous people became Christians and acted as true Biblical Christians, slavery lost its grip and power. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ stood against slavery among those practicing traditional, animistic religions in Africa in which the predominant driving force for slavery was to provide people for human sacrifices. The Gospel stood against slavery among Muslims who enslaved women and girls as handmaidens and continued to enslave for economic purposes. The Gospel also stood against slavery among Europeans and Americans, many calling themselves Christian, who predominantly bought slaves for agriculture and other economic purposes. Europeans and Americans finally came to the conclusion that enslaving others was wrong, so they abolished the slave trade. However, the slave trade continued in Africa. It continued on large scale until the Gospel took hold of the people. The key was Africans becoming Christians within their own cultural context. Witness from fellow indigenous people was the most important aspect, but an evangelical biblical missionary example was necessary to begin. Sometimes this evangelical missionary was a fellow African or one with African “roots.” God led people from different races and places to minister and share the Gospel to the people of Ghana. The Holy Spirit worked among the missionaries and the local Africans bringing about salvation, healing, and life. Ethnic and racial hostilities are still major problems facing the world today. They could be the biggest issues that we deal with. We cannot underestimate the effects of racism, some of which come out of the slave trade. Nations and families are divided. There are “devastating wars and human suffering on an unimaginable scale, a constant downward spiral of poverty and hopelessness, [and] children cruelly broken in body and warped in heart and mind.” We need to pray and act as true Christians because “whole peoples [are] poisoned by violence and racial hatred and closed to the Gospel as a result . . . [also there are] indifference and resistance by Christians who are intolerant toward those of other backgrounds, ignoring their spiritual and physical needs.” We must seek and act in reconciliation with a Christian foundation because the reconciliation will not last if done differently. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection must be our focal point and helping others know Christ must be our mission and purpose. The focal point and mission are the same that Christ called us to from the beginning. We have some mighty examples of what we as believers in Christ should currently do about racism as we look at the African slave trade and what ended it. Slavery decreased as the spread of the Gospel grew and Africans became followers of Jesus Christ in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This project showed some examples of how the spread of the Gospel did so in Ghana. In addition, “the introduction of Christian missions into central Africa was also closely associated with the fight against slavery, although the early mission of the Protestant Universities Mission established by its example [saw] that slavery was a difficult issue.” It was difficult for this Central African mission located on the banks of Lake Malawi because in the 1860s it offered sanctuary to run-away slaves and was destroyed as a result. A report by a Rev. Macklin who served in the area in 1878 stated that the mission providing an asylum for the fugitive slaves “prepares them for giving ready reception to the free offers of the greater emancipation, salvation by grace through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The people basically came to associate the missions with freedom. The struggle with slavery would continue on there as it does in Africa still today. People truly still need Jesus.
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