As we finish celebrating Black History Month, we hope it is not the end of perpetual celebrations of the many accomplishments and four-hundred-year legacy of African Americans to the enduring experiment we call the United States of America. Nowhere does the importance of the African American influence to the larger national narrative show itself than in the Black Church. This story is profoundly retold by Dr. Henry Gates, Jr, in his book and the recent PBS documentary The Black Church:This is Our Story, This is Our Song. Of course, scholars, like our very own BST Church History professor, Dr. Ronald Burris, remind us that the very shape of Christianity was developed in and spread throughout parts of Africa long before Western and colonial Christianity came to dominate much of the known world. Indeed, some of the enslaved Africans brought to America’s shores could trace their religious roots to a Christian faith that preceded their colonial enslavers.

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As we come to the close of Black History month and the first full week of Lent, we turn our attention to the Church in North Africa and to the writings of BST’s Dr. Ronald Burris, Professor of Church History. Over the past decade Dr. Burris has written two books on Christianity in North Africa. In the first, Where is the Church: Martyrdom, Persecution, and Baptism in North Africa from the Second to the Fifth Century, Burris tracks the political power shifts between Rome and Carthage and notes how Christianity was able to capture, if not conquer, the inhabitants of the Roman Empire and its conquerors, the Germanic tribes of Europe. . . . Not by the sword, but with an unshakable faith in their God, even in the face of death; and nowhere perhaps was this unshakable faith more fiercely demonstrated than in North Africa. (6)

Are you interested in a representative from BST preaching or presenting at your church?

REV. Dr. James Brenneman, President
Rev. Dr. LeAnn Flesher, VP of Academics & Professor
Rev. Sam Fielder, Executive Assistant to the President

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