MOSES LECTURES IN MORAVIAN STUDIES
They Brought Their God: How Christian Missions Shaped Caribbean Imaging Of God
Presented by: Dr. Winelle Kirton-Roberts
Thursday, October 11, 2018, 7:30-9:00 pm
Part one: Framing of the “God” image in the Caribbean.
Part two: The Caribbean Christian as Imago Dei.
Between the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland ones finds the Caribbean made up of thirteen independent [GL1] countries and twelve dependent territories. Inhabited for centuries by ingenious populations, the Caribbean was eventually populated with Africans who were imported for the purpose of working on the plantations.
The five (5) European nations that colonized the Caribbean introduced Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity, but they largely ignored the Africans. This was to change with the arrival of the evangelical Protestants in the eighteenth century whose mission was exclusively focused on the Africans. With diverse ideologies and varied methodologies, Christian missionaries introduced a new concept of God to the Caribbean.
By the nineteenth century, the Caribbean was nominally Christian, but each denomination had succeeded in imparting to the Caribbean people its peculiar view of God. The re-evangelizing of the Caribbean began with the arrival of the North America Christian missionaries [GL2] in the late nineteenth century. The gospel proclaimed through the North Americans was dressed in religious and political garb.
In this paper, I will examine the role of Christian missions in framing the Image of God in Caribbean. Also, I will highlight the struggles of the Caribbean Christian to accept himself/herself as the Imago Dei.
[GL1] Not all countries of the Caribbean are independent hence I would not use that designation.
[GL2] Would you really say North America? What of the Moravians and Methodists?
WINELLE KIRTON-ROBERTS, Ph.D., is a native of Barbados. She completed her Ph.D. in History from the University of the West Indies, Barbados. She is an ordained minister in the Moravian Church, Eastern West Indies Province, and has worked in Trinidad, Barbados, and Virgin Islands. Dr. Kirton-Roberts has taught Caribbean Church History and Philosophy, Ethics and Religion and authored the book Created in Their Image: Evangelical Protestantism in Antigua and Barbados 1834-1914.