A response to the question: How do African and Latin perspectives of Exodus influence the church?
Latin and African perspectives both proclaim the Exodus story speaks to all people throughout mankind. Each perspective expresses the unifying character of God bringing people out of oppression to liberation. God’s character and divine power recorded in Scripture is the same God that is alive and active working through us in today. Both African and Latin authors identify the significance of calling out leaders within communities to declare Gods message of salvation. Being conscious to forms of oppression and Gods current desire to deliver salvation for all people from present day forms of slavery and oppression is the focal point of both African and Latin perspectives.
Latin American perspective focuses on God bringing forth individuals whom are conscious to His liberating desire and power to deliver people from oppression. Throughout the Word of God, His character shows partiality towards oppressed people and calls out oppressors and those ignoring the oppressed. God uses His Word and omnipotence to call out His people in unique ways delivering them from oppression.
Through generations of Egyptian slavery the Hebrews plight became normality and they were no longer conscionable to the level of oppression they were suffering, so God through Moses brought revelation to the Hebrew people. The history behind the exodus story reveals how Hebrews of the Mesopotamia region where made conscious of Gods liberating power through the Israelites moving from Egypt into their rural lands, unifying both groups together as one nation preparing them to further receive and transmit Gods blessings.
The African perspective reflects on recognizing an active God living amongst our communities desiring to bring forth justice on behalf of the oppressed. The social context the author writes from is delivering people from social and economic oppression. Past unconsciousness to forms of social and economic oppression resulted from false teachings of a distant salvation by colonialist and missionaries.
Revelation of a current salvation available to Gods people must be spoken amongst African communities to deliver them from oppression. It is vital while reading the Exodus story that we see Gods activity throughout history and apply it to our current contexts. Recognition of His active power locally brings forth the possibility of communities to rise themselves up from current forms of oppression.
During the last three years I have been working as a missionary in South Africa developing scripturally based agriculture and community development curriculum, while teaching under an economic empowerment platform. This piece is an attempt to pull together the power and revelation of the Christ I have experienced, with that of the Latin and African perspectives of Exodus.
The book of Exodus is a story written from a Hebraic perspective that displays Gods power and partiality towards oppressed peoples. As each individual or people read from these Scriptures they should apply this history to their current context. God calls people to be conscious to forms of oppression through His Word and active works through His Spirit. The same God of the exodus story and all of Scripture is the same God within and amongst us today, calling us out to participate in His works.
Ela, Jean-Marc. “An African Reading of Exodus.” In African Cry, 244-54. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1986.
Pixley, Jorge V., and Clodovis Boff. “The Option for the Poor in the Old Testament.” In The Bible, the Church, and the Poor, 215-27. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1989.