Missionary dilemmas in times of persecution : Case Ethiopia
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNorsk tidsskrift for misjonsvitenskap. 2012, 66 (3/4), 213-226.
Under the Communist regime in Ethiopia 1974-1991, the Evangelical churches were subject to severe persecution, with more than 3000 church buildings closed and pastors imprisoned, tortured and killed. In this situation a group of missionaries was asked by the leadership of the Lutheran church to pass on information to the Lutheran World Federation. This was a politically charged request and therefore a risky undertaking. At the same time the harassment of the churches were serious breaches of human rights. The article explores the dilemmas of conscience of the missionaries and how the dilemmas were solved. At the same time the article sheds light on dilemmas of missions and churches, locally and internationally in relation to brutal dictatorships. It also shows how a church is forced from a position of critical engagement in society to submission and silence.