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Freedom's Distant Shores

American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa

R. Drew Smith, Editor

Publication Year: 2006

This volume examines relations between U.S. Protestants and Africa since the end of colonial rule. It draws attention to shifting ecclesiastical and socio-political priorities, especially the decreased momentum of social justice advocacy and the growing missionary influence of churches emphasizing spiritual revival and personal prosperity. The book provides a thought-provoking assessment of U.S. Protestant involvements with Africa, and it proposes forms of engagement that build upon ecclesiastical dynamism within American and African contexts.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Front Matter

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

Although this project was initiated a few years ago, fortunately most of the writing and editing for this volume took place while I was in South Africa earlier this year as a visiting professor at the University of Pretoria. Being in South Africa at that time was like locating at a major intersection where ecclesiastical and social forces from across Africa and from places further...

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Introduction American Religious Outreach to Contemporary Africa

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pp. 1-8

A volume focusing on western ecclesiastical involvements in the contemporary affairs of developing nations could seem anachronistic if one accepts the presumed obsolescence of foreign missions as a point of contact between these two worlds. In 1964, an eminent missiologist declared that “the age of...

Part I Churches and Democratic Rights in Africa

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Chapter 1 Shifting Perspectives on Africa in Mainline Protestant Social Thought

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pp. 11-36

“Among the many journals of opinion published in the United States is one of comparatively short years and small circulation, having a title that suggests a parochial concern relevant only to the very devout.”1 So began an article on the December 1, 1966 financial page of the Rockland Record, a...

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Chapter 2 Rev. James H. Robinson and American Support for African Democracy and Nation-Building, 1950s–1970s

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pp. 37-52

A half century before the current American-led effort to promote democratization around the world, the words and deeds of Rev. Dr. James H. Robinson, Charismatic African-American Presbyterian minister and founder of Operation Crossroads Africa, captured the central components of today’s ideological...

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Chapter 3 Martin Luther King, Jr., a “Coalition of Conscience,” and Freedom in South Africa

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pp. 53-82

Martin Luther King Jr. often highlighted the need for “a real coalition of conscience” 1 in the crusade for equal rights and social justice. Here he had in mind the creation of “a grand alliance of labor, civil rights forces, and intellectual and religious leaders,” a movement rooted in “spiritual and moral...

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Chapter 4 A Transatlantic Comparison of a Black Theology of Liberation

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pp. 83-110

Two of the most egregious social systems in the twentieth century have been racial segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. This essay compares and contrasts the almost simultaneous rise of black theology of liberation on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in their attempts to combat...

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Chapter 5 Quaker Women in Kenya and Human Rights Issues

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pp. 111-130

Quakers traditionally have proclaimed a strong testimony of gender equality. From the time of their origins in seventeenth-century England, women of the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) have enjoyed full equality in ministry with Quaker men, something quite unusual three and a...

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Chapter 6 Mennonites and Peace-Building in Angola

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pp. 131-140

Since the founding of the Anabaptist movement in Zurich in the sixteenth century, Anabaptists have been strongly associated with pacifism and peacemaking— including the Mennonite tradition, which will be the primary focus of this essay. Denny J. Weaver, for example, states that Anabaptists have...

Part II Revivalistic Churches, Ecclesiastical Expansion, and Ethical Challenges

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Chapter 7 American Evangelists and Church-State Dilemmas in Multiple African Contexts

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pp. 143-154

In 1985 Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the “Moral Majority,” visited South Africa, where he met with South African President P. W. Botha and other government officials and pro-government community leaders. Although his visit occurred at a time when anti-apartheid activism was at its height and reports...

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Chapter 8 American Pentecostalism and the Growth of Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements in Nigeria

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pp. 155-168

In a leading article on the new phase of African Christianity, Paul Gifford has argued that the doctrinal emphasis on prosperity within the emerging Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in Africa derived its doctrinal and ideological roots from the North American Pentecostal churches and organizations1...

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Chapter 9U.S. Evangelicals, Racial Politics, and Social Transition in Contemporary South Africa

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pp. 169-188

Evangelical Christians from the United States have strongly influenced South African ecclesiastical and social affairs for over a hundred years. Pentecostal missionaries from the United States arrived in South Africa in the first few years of the twentieth century, and many more would follow in the period...

Part III Considering the Future: American and African Perspectives

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Chapter 10 The Changing Nature of Christianity and the Challenge of U.S.-Africa Mission Partnerships

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pp. 131-208

The growth in mission, postmodernity, ethnic, and postcolonial studies within academia, as well as numerous ecclesiastical dialogues and exchanges related to contemporary existential and mission praxis, afford opportunities for churches in Africa and the United States to articulate the need for more...

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Chapter 11 Contemporary Public Theology in the United States and South Africa

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pp. 209-222

The famous South African journalist Allister Sparks argues that the dawning of democracy and freedom within South Africa has contributed to improved living conditions among South Africans. He describes the achievements of...

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pp. 223-226

The volume speaks to important cultural, ideological, organizational, and historical dimensions of contemporary U.S. Protestant involvements with Africa. What serves as a common subtext from chapter to chapter is the degree of emphasis American Protestants placed on social policy in their...


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pp. 227-270

About the Contributors

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pp. 271-274


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pp. 275-285

E-ISBN-13: 9781602581098
E-ISBN-10: 1602581096
Print-ISBN-13: 9781932792379
Print-ISBN-10: 1932792376

Page Count: 325
Publication Year: 2006

Edition: 1st