The impact of persecution (1950-1974) upon the Igreja Evangelical Congregacional in Angola : a church-historical study
Augusto, Asaf Cassule Noé
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This study examines the historical development of the congregational church in Angola under the persecution of the Portuguese colonial regime during the late colonial period of 1950-1975. The underlying thesis is that the suffering, injustices and human loss of the congregational church actually fostered her development in various parts of Angola. In order to demonstrate this development of the congregational church in Angola, the study examines the historical disadvantages that the ABCFM and Ovimbundu in central Angola suffered under the Portuguese colonial power. The research commences with a historical description and analysis of the arrival of the ABCFM in central Angola, with an emphasis on the tensions between Protestant missions and Portuguese colonial authorities/traders in central Angola. The friction was mainly provoked by the fact the ABCFM mission strategy was inclined to focus on education as a way to plant churches. This, the Portuguese colonial powers and traders viewed as a threat to the lucrative business of human carnage and forced labour. In spite of the tension that existed between the colonial powers and the ABCFM missionaries, many Ovimbundu came to embrace the Protestant faith and were willing to pay a heavy price for their convictions. Another aspect of this study is the Angolan revolution, especially the indirect influence of Protestant missionaries on the revolution. As a result of their indirect role, the Portuguese colonial power arrested various ecclesiastical leaders and expelled Protestant missionaries. This caused a loss of local Protestant leaders as well as missionary support. Yet, in the midst of all the suffering, persecution, injustice and subhuman treatment in prisons and resettlements camps, the church grew in various part of Angola. This development, however, was not devoid of faults. A biblical and critical analysis demonstrates that there were instances when the church compromised her witness.
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