People of Color in Church History

I have been teaching college level Church History for quite some time and one of my complaints with typical curriculum and literature in the West is that it doesn’t give enough attention to the historical movements of the gospel of Jesus in early centuries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. This is particularly troubling in urban contexts like Los Angeles where I pastor as there are many cults that target minority communities with two common extremes, namely telling folks that Christianity is the “white man’s” religion as a means to dismiss its truth claims, or an equally mindless assertion is to colonize the faith from its semitic origins to erase genuine Middle Eastern Jewish history with claims that Jews today are not the Jews of biblical history but are a part of some European conspiracy theory. In any case, the devil certainly loves ignorance and conspiracies that get good people walking away from church and the gospel of Jesus, which is deeply concerning to me as a pastor and teacher. Additionally, since I get asked a lot about good books to read on this topic I figured it was time to put together a short list of must-reads for Christ-followers in urban contexts who want to combat these myths with true history and sound doctrine. Further, beyond apologetic purposes these books will enrich any genuine reader in the faith with the rich history of Christ’s church that is unfortunately in most books lacking in this ethno-geography. So here goes… Blessings on your studies….


- Pastor Matt, PhD, DMin, MTh, MA




Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died


Vince Bantu, A Multitude of All Peoples: Engaging Ancient Christianity's Global Identity


Wendy Elgersma Helleman and Musa A. B. Gaiya, Early Christianity: A Textbook for African Students


Thomas C. Oden, How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity


Thomas C. Oden, The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition


Timothy Yates, The Expansion of Christianity


David L. Eastman, Early North African Christianity


Elizabeth Isichei, A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present


Craig S. Keener and Glenn Usry, Defending Black Faith


Eric Mason, ed. Urban Apologetics: Restoring Black Dignity with the Gospel


Craig S. Keener and Glenn Usry, Black Man's Religion


J. Patout Burns Jr. and Robin M. Jensen, Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of Its Practices and Beliefs


Vince L. Bantu, Gospel Haymanot: A Constructive Theology and Critical Reflection on African and Diasporic Christianity


John Hunt, ed. Essential Writings of the American Black Church


There’s more… but this is a good start. Enjoy!