Thornton's Conversion To Christianity Analysis

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A fair reading of Thornton provides a clear picture of an unconquered king, voluntarily accepting the message of salvation through Jesus Christ and submitting to the will of God in baptism. Thornton affirms, “Since Kongo converted to Christianity of its own free will, the shape and structure of the Church and its doctrines were determined as much by Kongo as by Europeans.” (pg. 148). This voluntary conversion occurred when the king and his ruling nobles were baptized in 1491.
Thornton asserts that the Capuchin mission was dispatched to Kongo to assist in the development of Christian living, as opposed to concern for the conversion of a nation. He says, “They might denounce Kongo customs as sinful, even superstitious, but not pagan.” (pg. 151). In fact, Thornton provides for an inclusive approach to conversion that accepts pieces of pre-conversion theology alongside more palatable terminology for the Kongo people in the articulation of their faith. Conversion then became a mere identification with the Catholic Church acknowledgement of the supremacy of the Pope, and a simple confession of faith. Again, this must be understood in it’s proper
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While some might question the sincerity of his conversion, given that it was a condition of military aid from Portugal, according to Northrup, “He expressed profound regret that his unfortunate present circumstances cast his religious sincerity in doubt but insisted his desire for conversion was genuine, offering “many sound reasons” in defense of its sincerity” (pg. 26). Northrup goes on to explain that Jeleen “received detailed instruction in the Christian faith,” (pg. 26), which in the Portuguese court and that he, along with six of his closest followers were baptized. When he departed the Portuguese court, he left with priests to assist in the national conversion of his

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