Dr. Thom Oden’s research shows how Africans spread the Gospel widely during the early centuries of the church. African Church fathers like Athanasius, Augustine, Tertullian, and Origen left a great legacy of teaching and evangelism. The present-day Ethiopian church traces its origin to the Ethiopian Eunuch, whom Philip led to Christ. Acts chapter 8 shows how Philip had such love for people that he shared the Gospel widely—to Jews, Samaritans, and Ethiopians. He obeyed the Holy Spirit and traveled 50 miles to meet with the Ethiopian eunuch. Riding along in the eunuch’s chariot, Philip explained the Good News, and this Ethiopian became the first Gentile to accept Christ—before Cornelius did. The eunuch then took the Good News back home, where the Gospel message spread. According to their tradition, this eunuch’s witness had such an impact that it led to the founding of the Ethiopian church. Even though Islam wiped out much of the church in North Africa during the 8th century, it did not erase the Ethiopian church; it was so firmly rooted. God used Philip and this Ethiopian in remarkable ways to fulfill His purpose. Today, God still looks for people who yield to Him fully. It gives our Lord great joy when we use our God-given abilities to benefit others.
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