Beware the ‘Berlin Conference’ Model of the Protocol for Separation

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Berlin Conference and German Historical Criticism

Albert thank you for this article. Most Americans, including African Americans, have never studied the "Scramble for Africa," which is a direct result of the Berlin Conference. Most Americans conflate the notion of European slavery of African people (which began in 1492), with the colonization of Africa, which are two distinct historical time periods, centuries apart. Conversely, many Americans also equate slavery in Africa with only Europeans, and are not aware of the Arab Slave Trade of Africans, which began more than a millennium earlier (ie, Zanj Rebellion).

With that said, the Berlin Conference divided people of the same ethnic group. Yoruba in Nigeria speak English, while Yoruba in Benin speak French. Additionally, German Historical Criticism (circa 19th century) of the Bible seeks to divide Africa in much the same way the Berlin Conference did. German Historical Criticism, which is taught in United Methodist related seminaries, seeks to undermine the teachings of the Catechetical School of Alexandria (circa 3rd century) - which introduced the Christian world to the great African theologian and Bible scholar Athanasius. As a matter of fact, German Historical Criticism seeks to marginalize the teachings of Augustine, another great African theologian and the "father" of Western theology.

Much of how Americans in the 21st century read the Bible, literal and spiritual, was developed in the Catechetical School of Alexandria, as well as in Carthage. Part of decolonizing the Christian faith in Africa is holding a "hermeneutic of suspicion" with the teachings of German Historical Criticism. Africans, and African Americans, should develop a Pan-African theological response not only to the Berlin Conference, but also to German Historical Criticism.

Africans and African Americans should demand that United Methodist seminaries read the 3rd century "Church Fathers" like John Wesley did! 3rd century Church Fathers is code for Alexandrian and Antiochene theologians. In other words, John Wesley read African and Asian theologians. Additionally, John Wesley rejected the Historical Criticism of 17th century philosophers/theologians Erasmus and Baruch Spinoza. African and African Americans should demand the pre-colonial Christianity (pre-Berlin Conference) of John Wesley be taught in United Methodist seminaries as the primary method of biblical and theological interpretation, instead of German Historical Criticism.

The United Methodist Church can never be a "global" denomination based on 19th century Eurocentric biblical and theological interpretation (German Historical Criticism). The Pan African/Pan Asian response to the United Methodist Church should be the adoption of the theology and biblical interpretation of the 3rd century African and Asian theologians that John Wesley read.

odellhorne@gmail.com 22 days ago

Claims above refuted

The bishops of the North Kantanga Conference completely refuted the claims of this author. As well as the erroneous comparisons between the colonialists of the 19th Century in regards to the current church situations. In fact they correctly point out that the progressive attitudes towards the Africans are more in common with the colonial powers. When they including US Bishops such as Wilimon and the leaders of the UM Next who referred to them as children, uneducated, and incapable of making such important decisions.

Carl Benge 18 days ago