Pan-Africanism is essentially the promotion of a united African continent for, inter alia, the economic and cultural benefit of those in Africa, and the descendants of those scattered by the transatlantic slave trade. One laudable vision by a noted pan-Africanist was for a United States of Africa.
Pan-Africanism appeared to have its genesis with persons who had witnessed the abolition of slavery, not through mass rebellion, but rather through the prayers and the actions of men and women who claimed to have a personal relationship with God. Two of the leading figures in the development of pan-Africanist thought in the 19th century were Alexander Crummell (1822-1898 ) and Edward Blyden (1832-1912).
Both of these men left their native USA and Virgin Islands respectively and resided in Africa for decades. During their stay, they identified a major threat to the creation of a powerful united African continent as African spiritism and idolatry. These men encouraged Africans and persons of African descent everywhere to reject African spiritism, and pursue a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. African spiritism is essentially the summoning of ancestral spirits to provide guidance.
Why were these early pan-Africanists so insistent that spiritism be rejected? Why not allow a mixture of Christianity and spiritism like in Haiti? It seems that there were three principle scriptural reasons. First, mankind is incapable of summoning ancestral spirits, but are deceived into summoning demons who have no beneficial interest in mankind. Secondly, God Himself explicitly states that: He is the only living God, He will not share His glory with anyone or anything, and any attempt at worshipping Him and anything else is a rejection of Him akin to adultery. Thirdly, God’s response to a nation worshipping Him and others was generally to remove His protection from the land and economy, leaving the land vulnerable to natural hazards, and the economy vulnerable to that nation’s enemies.
African governments generally rejected Crummell’s and Blakes’ warnings. Corrupt political leaders, imperialist minded nations, and greedy trans-national corporations have all taken full advantage of the unprotected state of those African economies. Such countries are characterised today as being: disunited, politically unstable, debt-ridden, exploited, poverty-stricken, and oppressed. However they comprise the most valuable land and mineral resources in the world.
The main African beneficiaries in the countries that have adopted spiritism appear to have been the political leaders, and their family and friends who have amassed millions and in some cases, billions of dollars from alleged corrupt practises. In contrast, the general population of these countries have suffered from: war, terror, genocide, crime, misery, poverty, inflation, illiteracy, hunger, disease, unemployment, famine, drought, floods, disillusionment, and corrupt and incompetent governments that have mortgaged their children’s future with a crippling debt burden.
The political leadership considers anyone willing to speak the truth a threat to their survival, and any dissent is typically met with persecution, merciless torture, and even death. The modern African continental experience is a mirror into which we all can look if we choose as a nation to reject God’s guidance and protection.
If developing countries wish to reject God’s guidance and protection, then it is necessary that legal instruments be first established, to protect their economies from its enemies. The USA has a system to restrict the power and spending desires of its President. Developing countries generally have no such system and are thus vulnerable to politicians driven by power and greed.
We have been fortunate to have generations of Christians who have faithfully worshipped God and have asked Him to bless Barbados. Whether we believe it or not, we are the grateful or ungrateful beneficiaries of their prayers. Our responsible response should be to ensure that our children and grandchildren enjoy similar blessings. However, despite the warnings of the early pan-Africanists, and the apparent consequences, the promotion of African spiritism at some national events is alarming.
If we as a nation wish to reject God’s guidance and protection, then all citizens are advised to brace themselves for the terrible consequences. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.