God Glorified by Africa

In recent days, derogatory comments have allegedly been made in the highest corridors of power of the United States about Haiti and the continent of Africa. As a counterpoint, consider a volume by a 19th century American Presbyterian minister who thought of Africa as a place of great potential to glorify God. Africa, Cortland Van Rensselaer (1808-1860) says, has an important place in God's providential plan. The millions of souls there are precious in God's sight. "The Religion of the Reformation is Africa's hope." Therefore, he concludes, "Where, and how, can a Christian minister of your race, do more than by preaching the cross of Christ to the millions of Africa?" We have, he adds, the promises of God to undergird our efforts at preaching the gospel to the continent of Africa: "Prophecy declares the things that shall be: 'The whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.' Every land shall become Immanuel's; and in holy union with tribes and people of every tongue, 'Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God.'" Africa is precious in the sight of God, according to Van Rensselaer, and thus, ought to be the object of our prayers and our labors for the extension of the kingdom of Christ on earth both for the good of Africa and the glory of God.