When Panam Percy Paul sang, When Jesus came o, he landed in Isreal, but there was trouble, God sent Him to Africa , he was singing what about a mystery that has just been uncovered.A recent paper published in Antiquity international team of archaeologists in Antiquity confirms that archaeologists have discovered a massive ancient church in Ethiopia’s former Kingdom of Aksum, and used radiocarbon dating to confirm that it was built sometime in the fourth century. This means somewhere from the year 301 to the year 400.
Christianity got to England in the year 597. We’re in the year 2019.
If you already understand how radiocarbon dating works, or maybe you don’t care for a simplified knowledge of how this amazing technique enables us to know for sure when things were built, you can skip the next paragraph and read the rest of the story.
Radiocarbon dating takes advantage of the fact that some materials are radioactive. This means that from the moment they are exposed during building processes, some parts of them begin to basically vanish by transforming into waves that are not too different from heat or light. But this happens at a very slow rate. So slow, that thousands of years later scientists can basically check the amount left and estimate how long it took it to drop to that level.According to the Smithsonian magazine (The Smithsonian is one of the world’s most reputable historical organisations),
“The excavators’ biggest discovery was a massive building 60 feet long and 40 feet wide resembling the ancient Roman style of a basilica.
Developed by the Romans for administrative purposes, the basilica was adopted by Christians at the time of Constantine for their places of worship. Within and near the Aksumite ruins, the archaeologists also found a diverse array of goods….They also uncovered a stone pendant carved with a cross and incised with the ancient Ethiopic word “venerable,” as well as incense burners. Near the eastern basilica wall, the team came across an inscription asking “for Christ [to be] favorable to us.”One thing looks obvious-that church building (what with it being a basilica and all) was a megachurch, especially by those days’ standards.
Now, it takes a while for a markedly different minority population to grow to the point where they can afford or justify the building of a structure like that, even by today’s standards. And to the point where they are in connection with the Christian architectural trends thousands of miles away. Implication? They were not a mushroom or recent congregation.
The first Ethiopian -Aksumite- convert would have become one anytime over the preceding one or two centuries. That is, anytime up to the time of the apostles.This is groundbreaking. Partly because, despite Christian Scripture itself clearly stating that the first recorded high-ranking Ethiopian official to be Christianised was personally baptised by Philip the Evangelist in the lifetime of ALL the apostles, Western and other historians have apparently yet curiously not been too pleased that it should be so.
The preferred narrative had always been that Africans were the heathen ones needing civilisation by the Caucasian. This was sometimes obliquely captured in the repugnant phrase, in certain fields, of “the white man’s burden”.The English Heritage organization relates the common, official and generally accepted story of the conversion of England,
“Who was Saint Augustine? In the late 6th century, a man was sent from Rome to England to bring Christianity to the Anglo-Saxons. He would ultimately become the first Archbishop of Canterbury, establish one of medieval England’s most important abbeys, and kickstart the country’s conversion to Christianity.”As we did with Ethiopia, we must accept that native traders and other travelers must have had, or were known to have had minor histories with Christianity before then. But if we count these, then we must count the likes of the Ethiopian Eunuch too.Either way, Christian civilization got to Africa before it got to Britain.