The Church on the Dungeon

Reading on slavery and a visit to the slave Castle may produce the same emotions but the intensity of these emotions differ, trust me. My recent visit to the Elmina castle in Cape Coast produced mixed feelings. It is the year of return in Ghana and my tour group comprised of many black Americans from the diaspora. From their facial expressions, comments made, questions asked, and the tears shed during the tour, one can know the emotions without being told. It was a journey of reconnecting to our past, guilt, strength to fight for Justice and a shaken faith.

The Elmina castle, built by the Portuguese in 1482 purposely for trade in goods became a castle for captives, a castle where human beings were reduced to commodities.

I can still remember how my lungs ached for air when the tour guide locked us in one of the dungeons to experience it for ourselves. I could barely see the person standing next to me and the stench emanating from the cells made me feel my forefathers left just the previous night. They slept and lived on the floor of cells drenched in their own faeces, vomit and saliva. Women had no access to water even during their menstruation. These are cells connected with a door of no return which sealed their fate of enslavement. On top of where all these were going on is a church where the Europeans worshiped. THE CHURCH on the DUNGEON! Heaven and hell separated by centimeters of sedimentary rocks.

It got me thinking. Your missions are different, they came to trade and you came to spread the gospel. But how can you be a missionary and be living at a place where your fellow neighbours whom you were taught to love as yourselves are being kept in captive? You may argue if a foreigner comes to your country the first place he would like to go is his embassy for information. Why didn’t they leave after seeing the atrocities being committed. The Missionaries were facing hostile conditions from the Africans, so the only safe place was the castles. But there were many prophets in the Bible who got persecuted for the propagation of the gospel and yet did not use the hostile conditions as an excuse. They did not live there forever. But after how many years? If you would live among them why couldn’t you do anything to end slavery? I asked.Then he answered, ask yourself whether there are Christians in war-torn countries. Some Missionaries were against the practice for example John Wesley. What about the ones who used Christianity to justify slavery? They felt slavery was a necessary evil to spread Christianity. they backed their tales with quotation such as 1Corinthians 7:21, 1Peter 2:18, 1Timothy 6:1, Colossians 4:1 etc. . .

After seeing these scriptures which do not condemn slavery then I came across those that do not condone it either. Deuteronomy 23:15, Deuteronomy 24:7 Ephesians 6:9 etc.

On this journey from the dungeon to the church I found out about  a man, John Newton, a slave trader who later changed and became an Anglican priest. Now when I sing “Amazing Grace How sweet the sound that saved a wretched like me, I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see”, I feel John Newton wrote this hymn for a deeper expression of his transformation. I’m consoled with the fact that he influenced William Wilberforce in the fight to abolish slave trade. I’m also grateful for the industrial revolution which focused on technology rather than slave labour.

We still have people preaching one thing and doing another. There are also those who misquote the Bible to justify their ugly deeds. We must be vigilant and study the Bible for ourselves. Ask all the questions and look for your answers. Ignorance can shake your faith. You can visit  https://truselph.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/questioning-the-unquestionable/ for a catalyst to your interest in researching the Bible.
Let’s learn to focus more on the word rather than those who preach the word. Not all those who come in God’s name are truly for God.
Thanks for reading, I will be excited to know your thoughts on The CHURCH on the DUNGEON.

Stay safe, Bridget Delali.

Comments

  1. Judith Nuertey

    Christianity indeed was a tool for slavery. The whites did not only see themselves as superior with the Bible as backing, but also that the slavery of blacks was in fulfilment of the Curse of Canaan, saying that blacks are the descendants of Ham. This of course doesn’t mean the Bible agreed with this, they just misinterpreted and misrepresented it to help facilitate their cause.
    Sad thing is now our own also use the Bible wrongly to aid their own greediness.

    1. readerstellnotales

      It’s very sad, we need to know when people are misinterpreting the word and not allowed ourselves to drown in their deception. Thanks so much for reading.

  2. Abu bonsra Joseph

    Thanks for this because I never knew there was even a church there. Anyway there a lot of doctrines nowadays and it has cause a lot of people to misinterpret the Bible but let’s always use scriptures to interpret scriptures not with human experiences or whatever.

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  3. Noble

    It’s really sad-a church on a dungeon. May the light we’ve now received make us different.
    Great write up Bridget.

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  4. Kenkafui

    This is very disheartening, my heart is heavy. No wonder we have many fake pastors today misleading and indoctrinating the ignorant. But can we blame the whites solely? No, the greed of some of our people led them to these. Hmm

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  5. Jeremyh Akpakli

    Great piece 👌.. I really love the conclusion, because lately individuals focus more on the preacher than what’s being preached.. thanks for the great history too..keep up the good work .

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