The Two Princes of Calabar [Chapter 5] Sparknotes

Chapter 5: “A Very Blessed Time”

  • The RJs were interested in learning about the Christian God.
  • For a period of time, there was debate as to whether or not baptism freed a slave. Almost always it was ruled that it did not.
  • ARRJ “implied that his faith in Christianity began in Virginia. When he described his suffering at the hands of John Thompson he wrote, ‘I Hop[e] almight[y] great God he observe me from all great Danger so did.’ The ‘great God’ he called upon could have been Abasi, the high god of the Efik, through the fact that he wrote this passage to Charles Wesley strongly suggests that he referred to the Christian God.”
  • “Early missionaries found the Efik to be remarkably inclusive in their worship…”
  • The Efik believed that their God ruled over their land, but that the Christian God ruled everything else.
  • The Efik traders wanted to adhere to English cultures
  • “Methodism attracted African and African American converts in British North America and in England, and the Robin Johns’ experience can be compared with that of other Africans in the eighteenth century…Methodists sought ‘a collective, emancipating sense of divine power’.”
  • “…slaves found in Christianity a language of protest, liberation, and reform, and they appropriated it, melded it with traditional African beliefs, and created their own rich, synthetic religious systems.”
  • The slaves “found a sense of release and spiritual empowerment…’the liberated self–sanctified and redeemed.’ The Robin Johns prayed that ‘God will make we have strength and Knowledge to serve him.'”
  • They used Christian faith to endear themselves
  • Conversion was an act of defiance
  • Bristol was the “cradle of English Methodism”
  • The Robin Johns grew close to the families of John and Charles Wesley, and to Elizabeth Johnson, a woman who was excommunicated by her family because of her faith.
  • Were the RJs religious trophies?
  • Bottom line, John and Charles loved slaves, and detested the slave trade. It is probable that they expressed this to the RJs, who were traders themselves, but they were able to successfully convert and carry on relationships with them anyway.
  • Many different evangelists used the story of the RJs.

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