Liberia: Book Launch – THE HISTORY OF PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH
Rev. Samuel Reeves Delves into How Baptists Birthed Led, and Influenced the Growth of Christianity in Liberia in New Book to be Launched Today
MONROVIA – Clothed in an untold story of historical reflection joined with current challenges, the very good Reverend Dr. Samuel Bloomfield Reeves Jr. reveals a powerful story of hope and freedom. Hope to dare to be free, and freedom dazzling with the faith of the faithful, in his book entitled, “How Baptists Birthed, Led and Influenced the Growth of Christianity in Liberia: The History of Providence Baptist Church.” Small in size but solid in substance, this book documents that the very religious institution that Dr. Reeves pastors, the Providence Baptist Church, contains both seal and mark in its location and existence. This is symbolic and substantial in so many ways.
The book will be launched today at 5 pm, Ministerial Complex.
Dr. Reeves describes how this sealing took place two hundred years ago in four simple but profound chapters. With eloquence and execution, his storytelling plot rivets with still more breathtaking breakthroughs as we come to think of a movement that launched national maturity and moral progress.
Secondly, the author painstakingly shows that the impact of the mark of this seal is still alive today. The people of Liberia, whose blood and sweat, and tears and smiles, survived the torture and terror of several civil wars, wounded, and traumatized in their struggles for human flourishing, are living today with the paradox of Christian ethics tied to the economic, social, and cultural forces of their experiment, to build a bright and prosperous nation.
Thirdly, rarely is there in the birthing of a nation, DNA traces of faith and freedom caught up in the twinning of country and church. Blacks from Virginia in the U.S., recognizing that the virgin birth of Jesus is empowering, both to save from sin and to serve the greater good, departed the U.S. with a liberating mandate. They founded the Republic of Liberia at a time in history when the enslavement of African people was the bedrock of European and American capital formation and economic boom. The subtext of this book captures the ideals and difficulties of homecoming. It is one that is riddled with rising tensions and classism, as indigenous Africans residing in their homeland encountered free slaves returning to the motherland with foreign ideas of what ownership of land and the development of the country meant. This clash of civilizations abounded but not without deep pain. The zest of the righteous met headlong with the quest of naive people to maintain their livelihoods and dignity. This resulted in a long road of friendships and fights between free American slaves and homegrown African people, attacked by the weaponry of slavery.
Fourthly, Dr. Reeves’ thesis holds the book intact. Providence Baptist Church is the embodiment of a liberating Christianity that not only gave birth to a nation. Its meaning, energy, rituals, and services have served to sustain Liberia’s pro-democratic values. How so? At its core, religious founders did not slice the spiritual freedom from the right to be prosperous. They merged the sacred and the secular to build the institutions necessary for the thriving of the nation. Their antislavery stance showed up in the creation of schools, churches, hospitals, and various empowering associations. These institutions planted the seed of sovereignty deeply into the psyche of a people whose collective interest is felt in the pride of their Republic.
Finally, on the brink of celebrating two hundred years, Dr. Reeves’ pen is loud and penetrating. He calls for a renewed church in advancing the cause of justice for the poor and the least while adjusting the engine of statecraft to push Liberia into the digital world.
The core of this book implies that the church must always serve as a corrective to keep the nation and its civic energies in line with the founding fathers’ commitment to a people-centered politics, the freedom that expands physical wellness, and nation-building that honors individual values without sacrificing collective wellbeing. This book is a treasure trove of wisdom and insights, and it opens up a path to social consciousness and spiritual awakening where none is left behind. Every Liberian and African living at home and abroad should read this book and live by its philosophy.