Quote on Indigenization of Faith

Quote of Reverand James Johnson (1836-1917). Quoted by Lamin Sanneh in “the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture,” chapter 5. Johnson (aka “Holy Johnson”) was an African assistant Anglican bishop of Western Equatorial Africa during the time of British colonization of the region.


Bishop Samuel Adjai Crowther (1809-1891). Colleague of “Holy Johnson

“Christianity is a Religion intended for and is suitable for every Race and Tribe of people on the face of the Globe. Acceptance of it was never intended by its Founder to denationalize any people and it is indeed its glory that every race of people may profess and practice it and imprint upon it its own native characteristics, giving it a peculiar type among themselves without its losing anything of its virtue. And why should not there be an African Christianity as there has been a European and an Asiatic Christianity?”

Recognizing that God (the God of Abraham) is not Jewish or Arabic or American or any other race– neither in culture nor preference– is difficult for people to accept. Most prefer to think in terms of “Our God” (God with us and not with them) or “Their (foreign) God.” But if we can get beyond our own ethnocentrism, then  the quote above makes sense and we are called to localize our faith… throughout the world.

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