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Authenticity of Christian conversion in the African context : an investigation on the rationale for the Hehe to convert to Christianity with special reference to the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (1899-1999)

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This thesis contends that Christian conversion in the African context has been authentic because of the translatability of the event of Christ. The event of Christ is defined as the incarnation, the suffering and death on the cross and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Through these events God made the calling of all humanity including Africans, for transformation unto salvation. God is perceived as the originator and the initiator of Christian conversion while human beings and their culture are perceived as the recipients and channels of God's mission. The combination of the concepts of preparation evangelical, the translatability of the event of Christ and the theology of the cross are the basis of the theological deliberations of this thesis. The thesis contends further that the proclamation of the gospel hence, Christianisation moved together with the wave of modernization. Due to the continuity of translation, Christianity strengthened its influence and became the Word of God in the Hehe vernacular. In that way Christianity was naturally indigenised and continually contextualised in the Hehe culture and belief thus being deeply entrenched in their daily life and could be rightly described as renewed Hehe (African) Religion. Therefore, the Hehe accepted Christianity because God appeared in the human (Hehe) nature through Jesus Christ and dwelt in the Hehe community and shared everything with them. God through Jesus Christ participated in the daily suffering. He was humiliated and became vulnerable and weak. Through the translation of the Word God was no longer the ineffable beyond. Through the manifestations of the spiritual gifts God remained among the Hehe; instructing, comforting and reminding them of the benevolent love and the call of God for the universal salvation through which the Church builds its response to God's mission.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2005


Missions--Tanzania--History--20th century., Conversion--Christianity., Theses--Theology., Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. Iringa Diocese--History--20th century.