|P'ent'ay (ጴንጤ) / Wenigēlawī (ወንጌላዊ)
|Orientation||Pentecostal, Lutheran, Baptist, Mennonite-Anabaptist,|
|Polity||Interdenominational Ecumenical Altar and Pulpit Fellowship Cooperative Grouping of Evangelical Christians, Denominations, and Non-Denominational Churches|
|Region||Ethiopia, Eritrea, United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Israel, Kenya, Australia, and other parts of the Ethiopian–Eritrean diaspora|
|Language||Oromo, Amharic, Sidama, Tigrinya, Kunama, Wolaitta, Kambaata, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hebrew, other Languages of Ethiopia, Languages of Eritrea, and languages of the diaspora|
|Separated from||Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches — Alexandrian Rite|
|Missionaries||Mekane Yesus International Missionary Society
SIM - Sudan Interior Mission - Serving in Mission
New Covenant Mission
|Aid organization||Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church Development Commission
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC)
Ethiopian Mulu Wongel Amagnoch Church Development Commission
Meserete Kristos Church Development and Social Service Commission
|Also known as||Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Eritrean Evangelical Church, Ethiopian Evangelicalism, Eritrean Evangelicalism|
P'ent'ay (from Ge'ez: ጴንጤ), also known as Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelicalism, is a term for Evangelical Christians and other Eastern/Oriental-oriented Protestants within Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Ethiopian and Eritrean diaspora abroad. Prominent movements among them have been Pentecostalism, the Baptist tradition, Lutheranism, and the Mennonite-Anabaptist tradition. The denominations and organizations in Ethiopian and Eritrean societies are also collectively known as Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelicalism, the Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelical Church, or Wenigēlawī (from Ge'ez: ወንጌላዊ) which directly translates to “Evangelical.”
Protestantism among Ethiopians and Eritreans is largely the result of North American and European Protestant missionary work among youth who left the Orthodox Tewahedo churches because of theological differences, and later fanned by persecution against them. P'ent'ay Christians schismed from the Orthodox Tewahedo churches, other branches of Christianity, or converted from other religions with the aid of Protestant missionaries to reform Ethiopian Christianity and Eritrean Christianity from what they perceived as doctrinal–theological diversions. Since the creation of P'ent'ay churches and organisations.
The term is originally an Amharic–Tigrinya language term, which was coined in the late 1960s and was used as a pejorative for churches that believed in the Pentecostal experience and spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, used to describe local Protestant Christians who are not members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo churches (collectively known as the Orthodox Tewahedo).
The term P'ent'ay is a shortening of the word "Pentecostal"; however, it is widely used when referring to all Protestant Christians but especially Evangelical Protestants whether they are actually Pentecostal by denomination or not. Some Oriental Orthodox will also apply the term to the small Catholic population of Ethiopia and Eritrea (but this is rare).
The equivalent rendition in many other languages is "Evangelical"; the term Wenigēlawī means "Evangelical" and has been used alongside P'ent'ay. Many of these groups describe their religious practices as culturally Eastern Christian, but Protestant Evangelical by doctrine.
Denominations and HistoryEdit
The major Protestant denominations in Ethiopia and Eritrea and among Ethiopians and Eritreans in the diaspora are a group of indigenous, closely linked (part of the Amharic: አብያተ ክርስቲያናት, romanized: 'Abiate kristianat' – 'ābiyate kirisitīyanati' or community of churches) full communion interdenominational ecumenical group of Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Mennonite denominations (as well as associates from other denominational orientations with similar theology) that share altar and pulpit fellowship.
Denominations, Missionary Societies, and Aid OrganizationsEdit
- The Ethiopian Kale Heywet (Word of Life) Church, a charismatic Evangelical Protestant denomination with Baptist - "Swedish Baptist" and Pentecostal roots with some Mennonite influence); the Baptist portion of the denomination is more related to the Swedish Baptists tradition that originated in the Pietist and Radical Pietist movements. It is associated with the Sudan Interior Mission, an interdenominational organization, and has an Eritrean branch.
- The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus), a Lutheran - "Eastern Lutheran" denomination with some Pentecostal influence and one Presbyterian-leaning synod, with a large Pietistic Lutheran, theologically conservative Confessional Lutheran, and Serving the Whole Person / Holistic Theology (similar to Liberation Theology but with strongly held Theological Conservatism) following. The Eritrean Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is the Eritrean Lutheran branch of this Evangelical Protestant denomination. The Ethiopian Lutheran denomination is the largest non-united Lutheran Christian denomination (see list of Christian denominations by number of members).
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea, a Lutheran denomination which joined the Lutheran World Federation in 1963.
- The Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers' Church, a Pentecostal denomination with Mennonite influence.
- The Meserete Kristos (Christ Foundation) Church, a Mennonite denomination with Pentecostal influence.
Some P'ent'ay / Ethiopian-Eritrean Evangelical Christian denominations—especially the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Lutheran (Eastern Lutheranism) Church for example—have been influenced by the Alexandrian Rite Orthodox Tewahedo churches in cultural traditions and the type of liturgical calendar used, which represents the dominant traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean Christian demographic, but for the most part are very Pentecostal and Evangelical Christian in their worship and theology.
- Ammanuel Baptist Church
- Christian Brethren (Open Brethren)
- Misgana Church of Ethiopia
- Assemblies of God – Pentecostal
- Converge (Baptist denomination) and Baptist General Conference of Canada
- Hiwot Berhan Church (Light of Life Church)
- Emnet Kristos
- Berhane Wongel – Gospel Light
- Ethiopian Addis Kidan Baptist Church — it is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance.
- Evangelical Church of Eritrea
- Lutheran Church of Eritrea
- Middle East General Mission
- Anglicanism with a very limited presence and very little cooperation with other local denominations is represented in Ethiopia and Eritrea by the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and Episcopal Anglican Province of Alexandria; Ethiopia and Eritrea are both part of the Diocese of Egypt, which also includes other countries in the Horn of Africa as well as the North Africa region. There are two Episcopal churches in Ethiopia, one is in Addis Ababa and the other in Gambela, while in Eritrea there are no officially operated congregations at this time.
- Rema Church
- Hallelujah Church
- Faith Mission
- Faith Church of Christ
- Philadelphia Church
- Presbyterian Evangelical Church
- Trinity Fellowship Church
- Dubre Bethel Church
- Church of the Living God
- New Covenant Church
- Non-denominational Evangelical churches with similar theology
- Mekane Yesus International Missionary Society
- SIM - Sudan Interior Mission - Serving in Mission
- New Covenant Mission
- Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church Development Commission
|Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church|
(Baptist - "Swedish Baptist" and Pentecostal with some Mennonite influence)
|Associations||P'ent'ay Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelicalism|
|Headquarters||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (International)
Chicago, Illinois, United States (North America)
|Missionaries||SIM - Sudan Interior Mission|
|Aid organization||Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church Development Commission|
|Information||The Ethiopian Kale Heywet (Word of Life) Church is an evangelical denomination, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church was founded in 1927 in southern Ethiopia by the interdenominational evangelical missionary organization Sudan Interior Mission, and influenced by Dr. Thomas Alexander Lambie (who was personally a United Presbyterian), other American, Canadian, and European missionaries with Mennonite, Pentecostal, Baptist (namely but not exclusively the Converge - Baptist denomination, the Baptist General Conference of Canada, among other Baptist), and other denominational churches cooperating through the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM)
The first missionaries had initially planned a trip into the western part of Ethiopia, but after prayer felt that they were being led to the South Central area. The early missionary work was concentrated among the Welayta, Kambaata and Sidama peoples, which are the three most densely populated awrajas (regions) in Ethiopia. At Dembi Dollo, Lambie worked with an Ethiopian evangelist named Gidada Solon.
The few missionaries who entered the country all had to leave during the country's invasion by the Italians. They left a handful of believers with the translation of portions of scriptures and the Gospel of Mark. What the missionaries returned after the five-year occupation of the country, the handful of believers had become thousands, and the fledgling congregation was very strong. Planting this church in Ethiopia cost the lives of three of the earliest missionaries. Nearly 100 missionaries worked for about ten years before they left the country during the invasion.
Returning missionaries, aside from church planting in unreached areas, provided biblical and theological teachings to the growing church. Since 1974, the Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church Development Commission, a church-related humanitarian aid organization, has had an supported schools in the south and west of the country by providing teacher salaries, books, tables and chairs.
In 2013, it had a reported 7,774 churches and 6.7 million members. In 2020, the Christian denomination had 9 million members, 10,000 churches, nine theological schools and 145 Bible schools.
The denomination has a charismatic confession of faith, based on its Pentecostal and Baptist roots (with some Mennonite influence); the Baptist portion of the denomination is more related to the Pietist and Radical Pietist-descended in origin Swedish Baptists/Scandinavian Baptists (of Canada and the United States) rather than the more well known English Baptists of English Dissenter-descended origin most familiar to a majority of Americans.
|Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus|
|Logo of the EECMY|
|Orientation||Lutheran - "Eastern Lutheran" (with some Pentecostal influence and one Presbyterian-leaning synod)|
|Associations||LWF, WCRC, AACC, WCC, FECCLAHA, ECFE, GCMLF, P'ent'ay Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelicalism|
|Congregations||8,500 + 4000 preaching stations|
|Missionaries||Mekane Yesus International Missionary Society|
|Aid organization||Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC)|
|Information||The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY; also called Mekane Yesus Church) is a Lutheran denomination in Ethiopia. It is the largest individual member church of the Lutheran World Federation. It is a Lutheran denomination with some Pentecostal influence and one Presbyterian-leaning synod, with a large Pietistic Lutheran, theologically conservative Confessional Lutheran, and Serving the Whole Person / Holistic Theology (similar to Liberation Theology but with strongly held Theological Conservatism) following.
With the encouragement of the Lutheran and Presbyterian missionary societies in Ethiopia and the Lutheran World Federation, the Evangelical congregations in several parts of the country met on April 23 and 25, 1958 to deliberate on the draft constitution and establish the EECMY. From these joint efforts the church was instituted as a national church on January 21, 1959, taking its name from the first congregation in Addis Ababa, Mekane Yesus ("Place of Jesus"). EECMY has a motto of "Serving the Whole Person" that was developed in the 1970s. This "holistic ministry" theme has helped it to carry out its ministry in evangelism and development work. One of the leading theologians of the EECMY was Gudina Tumsa (1929–1979), who was general secretary for several years up until his arrest and murder at the hands of the communist government of Ethiopia in 1979.
The church, which was born out of Swedish missionary work amongst others, today through Mekane Yesus International Missionary Society itself has many missionaries in countries all around the world: South Asia, several African countries, the Middle East, and Guyana.
The EECMY was founded on work begun by Northern European missionaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These missionaries concentrated their work in southern Ethiopia, where the Orthodox Christian influence was less profound. The strategy of the missionaries and evangelists to implant a Protestant church in Ethiopia was one of development. At a time when Emperor Haile Selassie was looking to modernize and promote progress in the state, foreign and domestic missions were some of the most productive agents. In fact, Selassie wrote in his autobiography that he only “permitted missions because of their efforts in the field of education and health care”. It was through development that the Evangelical church was able to first establish a presence in the 19th and 20th centuries. In fact, as more people in power in the Orthodox Church began to question the validity of foreign missions in Ethiopian society, and as the identification of the Orthodox Church and the Amharic language as unifying forces within Ethiopia began to grow, many of the people who held high administrative positions owed their education to the mission schools, and were thus reluctant to pass any legislation against them. Thus, while many sociological and religious forces weighed against the Evangelical church and its missions in Ethiopia, the fact that it was effective as an agent of development aided its survival through its burgeoning years.
The Orthodox Church was still favored in the eyes of most as the true Ethiopian religion, as shown in the Imperial Decree on Missions in 1944, which stated that the missions could not engage in religious activities in “Ethiopian Church areas”; however, the decree allowed considerable freedom for missionaries, most of whom were still foreign. The EECMY church was beginning to gain some legitimacy in the eyes of at least a few, but was still seen as a spawn of foreign, colonial activity. This was made evident when the Mekane Yesus church became “legally registered” on February 13, 1969, even though it had been functioning as an independent entity since 1959. In assigning an official name to the Lutheran offshoot, semantics became a key point of contention. The patriarch of the EOC at the time was largely opposed to the word “Ethiopian” being attached to the church’s name, as he claimed it was nothing but an organization, “inspired and led from abroad”. He was also against it being officially registered as a church, claiming that it was merely an organization. After much debate however, the name was established as the “Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus in Ethiopia” (ECMY). It was changed to its current title “Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) in 1978. The Patriarch’s perspective represents the general sentiment among orthodox followers that the Mekane Yesus church was not truly a native church.
While the Orthodox Church had a long history in Ethiopia and had shaped much of the culture of the center, there were still large pockets of cultures unaffected by the church, especially in the peripheral regions where the EECMY experienced most of its growth, such as the south and the west. One of the prominent early Ethiopian evangelists, Onesimos Nesib, was crucial in this spread. He was active in his work in the spreading of the gospel to the marginal regions of the country that were both hard to reach and restricted by the government, and he also was the first person to translate the entire Protestant Bible into the language of the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. This in itself was a huge step for the EECMY.
Because of Nesib's work, the ECMY was able to gain a large constituency outside the Orthodox centers, specifically among the Oromo. The Orthodox Church has always represented the greatest institutional obstacle for the growth of the EECMY, if not actively, then by its mere presence and dominance in the public sphere. The EECMY has seen opposition from Muslims as well. The particularly malicious bent taken towards Evangelical churches during the Derg's socialist revolution of the 1970s, which manifested itself in attacks on EECMY churches by means of arson, arrests, and forced closings, exemplified this place in society. Additionally, the labels of outsider, colonist, enemy, and stranger were all stigmas with which the EECMY lived in the decades leading up to the fighting. The persecution of the church was evident before the socialist revolution, and only increased during the war.
The Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church has been influenced by the Alexandrian Rite Orthodox Tewahedo churches, which represents the dominant traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean Christian demographic, but for the most part are very Pentecostal/Evangelical Protestant in their worship and theology making the Eastern Lutheran.
As a response to this, the church – now left largely to itself as many foreign missionaries were evacuated for safety’s sake – began to develop a rugged theology responding to its suffering, with phrases such as “God is with us” and “Hitherto the Lord has helped us” emphasized in the church’s conferences of the time. One of the EECMY pastors who emerged as a political and religious leader in this trying time was Gudina Tumsa, who has been called “the Dietrich Bonhoeffer of Africa” in the years following his martyrdom in 1979. In 2000, Rev. Bekure Daba was received as the Church's first ordained woman.
The Reformed section of the denomination was founded by the United Presbyterian Church in 1869. Dr. Thomas Lambie, a missionary of the United Presbyterian Church, begun work in the western part of the country. During the Italian occupation, missionaries were forced to leave, but the Bethel Evangelical Church was founded with native believers. It became an independent church in 1947. After World War II, BEC experienced rapid growth. In 1974 it became part of the EECMY, and now it has more than 1,000 000 members. Former BEC presbyteries and synods retain their names. In the western Synod of Gambela, more than 60% of the population are members of the Bethel Evangelical Church.
Gudina Tumsa, Emmanuel Abraham, and Holistic TheologyEdit
See also: Liberation theology § Holistic theology
Gudina Tumsa is in many regards the father of the indigenous theological thought of the EECMY, and especially its Holistic Theology. In fact, a study of his theology and the theology of Emmanuel Abraham (a colleague, contemporary, and friend) comprises a large portion of the EECMY theology. Tumsa studied theology in the United States, and because of this gained a relatively broad understanding of mission and the church. Upon returning to Ethiopia, he "gave his church a decisive push towards independence in theological thought and church practice", criticizing many aspects of Western Christianity. Much of his theology is contained in the letters he wrote to church leaders and the general public, as well as in the addresses he gave at various conferences around the world in the 1960s and 1970s.
The main points of his theology center on a holistic hermeneutic that not only encompasses a broad ontology, but which also applies itself to both the life in this world and in the next. His theology can be portrayed as a type of liberation theology, but cannot be categorized strictly in this class; indeed, it contains a uniquely Ethiopian flavor, “a theology of liberation in the Ethiopian context”, as Tasgara Hirpo describes it. Tumsa describes his own theology as a “holistic theology” (also known as Serving the Whole Person or Serving), writing in a memo to Abraham that “western theology has lost the this-worldly dimension of human existence”; according to him, his holistic theology is merely “an effort in rediscovering total human life” in all its width and breadth. It does not allow the suffering of this world to eclipse the joy of the next – the physical reality to overtake the spiritual – but instead he says that both are in need of redemption, salvation, and liberation. Serving the Whole Person / Holistic Theology has similarities with Liberation Theology but strongly holds to Theological Conservatism.
In this regard, Abraham and Tumsa differ in their approach to state involvement. For several years, Abraham held a position in the government that allowed him significant sway within political circles, all the while remaining faithful to the EECMY, of which he was president for 22 years. He tended toward unity with the central powers rather than ‘rocking the boat,’ even though he saw his people suffering oppression. Tumsa was more willing to part with the central powers in favor of the oppressed people of his church, as evidenced by his omission of Emperor Haile Selassie’s name from the normal intercessions in the Sunday liturgy in the months leading up to the socialist revolution in response to the feudal system that Tumsa saw as an instrument of oppression.
Yet, however divergent their perspectives on church-state relations may appear, there was unity in that they both supported the creation of quasi-public institutions of education, health, and vocational training that the government not only supported, but also maintained when the network of institutions outgrew the administrative capability of the EECMY. They were both dedicated to a church that worked in conjunction with the state for the development of better lives for their countrymen; where they differed was the measure of allegiance they meted out to the government or to the people. Either way, the EECMY took seriously their commission to carry their message into the world.
Ecumenism and Western theological criticismEdit
Tumsa emerged as the leader of the movement to develop a characteristically Ethiopian theology and to share it for the edification not only of the nation, but also of other Christians abroad. He described the goal of the EECMY in relation to its global sister churches as “self-reliance” and “interdependence”. “Independence is a legitimate political aim; it can never be an acceptable theological aim for the church,” Tumsa said in a debate. His life showcased this in that, even as he urged the church to gain an independent theology based on the Ethiopian experience, he was also constantly in conversation with brothers and sisters in other nations, engaging in several multinational theological conferences.
In reference to Western theology, Gudina was both familiar and critical, having been trained at Luther Seminary in Minnesota, which gave him a solid foundation for theologizing in Ethiopia. In contrast to the Holistic Theology that characterized both his perspective and that of the EECMY, Tumsa perceived that there was too great a disconnect between Western theology and ethics, and was said to have promoted a praxis-reflection-praxis ethical model. He thought this provided an interesting alternative to the prevalent church-state separation that he believed characterized the American church. Tumsa wanted Western Christians to reexamine their actions in light of a Holistic theological framework. He urged them to reevaluate their ethical consciousness in light of national and global societal problems.
Finally, Tumsa's perspective on ecumenism theology is brought to light in Tumsa's and Abraham’s 1972 report “On the Interrelation between Proclamation of the Gospel and Human Development.” Among other arguments, they discussed the “simply frightening” reality arising as a result of the rapid growth and “phenomenal expansion” of the Christian Church across Africa in the last few decades. They asserted that not only will this result in an immense shortage of “physical plant” (e.g. church buildings, religious education, literacy programs, etc.) in countries such as Ethiopia who are struggling with so much growth, but it also establishes the “‘center of gravity’ in the Christian world” firmly on the African continent. This puts immense theological responsibility on the “historically young churches” of the world, which are not only dealing with a lack of theological experience and history, but will also have to manage a shortage of resources available to solve these mounting difficulties.
EECMY claimed almost 2.3 million members in 2007, growing to 8.3 million baptized members according to the 2016 statistics. They operate a seminary in Addis Ababa with 150 students. The church also owns several bible colleges, schools, and health care and social facilities in various locations throughout the country. In Addis Ababa they also run a language and cultural orientation school, called MY-LINC, for people who want to learn Ethiopian languages. Most congregations speak local languages, but the International Lutheran Church (Ethiopia) is English-speaking.
Relations with other churchesEdit
The EECMY approved the establishment of a full communion relationship with the North American Lutheran Church at their convocation in August 2011. The EECMY decided to end its partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Church of Sweden, because of their acceptance of same-sex unions and non-celibate homosexual clergy, after a resolution that was approved at the 19th General Assembly in Addis Ababa, on February 11, 2013. The EECMY has also established relationships with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Reformed Church in America, both from the United States.
The EECMY is a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, the All Africa Conference of Churches, the Lutheran Communion in Central and Eastern Africa, and the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
The EECMY, because of its development work, is a member of ACT Development, a global alliance of churches and related agencies committed to working together on development. EECMY is a participant in the Wycliffe Global Alliance and it is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa.
|Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers' Church|
|Orientation||Pentecostal (with some Mennonite influence)|
|Associations||P'ent'ay Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelicalism|
|Headquarters||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|Aid organization||Ethiopian Mulu Wongel Amagnoch Church Development Commission|
|Infromation||The Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers' Church (Mulu Wengel) is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in Ethiopia. The headquarters is in Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers' Church has its origins in a prayer conference held at the University of Addis Ababa in 1966. The church is officially founded in 1967. In 2015, it had 2,143 churches and 4,5 million members.
In 1951, Anna-Liisa and Sanfrid Mattson traveled from Finland (Finnish Pentecostalism) to Ethiopia and established a Pentecostal mission in Addis Ababa, the country's capital. In 1960, a mission was created in Awasa by the Philadelphia Church Mission of the Swedish Pentecostal Movement. Pentecostalism, during the 1960s, attracted many students, and the movement grew enough that the Full Gospel Believers Church (FBGC) was created in 1967. Pentecostal practices eventually affected other Protestant denominations in Ethiopia, particularly the Lutheran church. Finnish and Swedish missionaries began the first Pentecostal initiatives in Ethiopia, largely independent of influence by American practices. In 1967, the Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers Church (Mulu Wengel) was founded. This church was the first independent Pentecostal church of Ethiopia and is still the largest Pentecostal group in Ethiopia; it is generally said to have emerged from Pentecostalism of Scandinavian Baptists - Pietist and Radical Pietist origin.
The denomination has a Pentecostal confession of faith (with some Mennonite influence).
|Meserete Kristos Church|
|Orientation||Mennonite-Anabaptist (with some Pentecostal influence)|
|Associations||P'ent'ay Ethiopian–Eritrean Evangelicalism|
|Headquarters||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|Aid organization||Meserete Kristos Church Development and Social Service Commission|
|Infromation||Meserete Kristos Church (meaning "Christ is the foundation Church", based on I Cor. 3:11) is an Mennonite Anabaptist (P'ent'ay/Protestant) denomination headquartered in Ethiopia. It is a Mennonite Anabaptist denomination with some Pentecostal influence. Its parishioners counted 255,462 baptized members and a worship community of over 471,070 persons as of November 2014. The church has over 756 congregations and 875 church planting centers scattered in all 18 Administrative Regions of Ethiopia. The denomination's growth rate in the last decade stands at 37%. The church is part of the larger Anabaptist body as a member of Mennonite World Conference, an organization which has seen the majority of its recent membership growth outside of Europe and North America. MKC is the largest Anabaptist conference in the world. By comparison, the largest Anabaptist body in the USA is Mennonite Church USA, with 110,000 members.
Meserete Kristos grew out of the work of Eastern Mennonite Missions in the 1950s. Mennonite missions set up hospitals and schools, eventually starting a church as a result of demand. Growth in early years was rather slow, until 1974, when the Derg took power. At the time, 5,000 Meserete Kristos members went into hiding. Small groups started, and meetings and baptisms were held at night. During this time many Mulu Wongel members joined the church, and growth was astronomical. In 1994, after the fall of the Derg, Meserete Kristos members gathered in a stadium to publicly congregate for the first time in twenty years, bringing in a total of 50,000 people. The Eastern Mennonite Missions of the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada also played a role in spreading Mennonite Anabaptism which helped establish the Meserete Kristos Church.
Meserete Kristos CollegeEdit
Since only one out of nearly 7,000 people in Ethiopia has a college education, founding Meserete Kristos College was a necessity to produce new church leaders. However, the need for leaders has far outpaced graduation rates. The college was located in Addis Ababa until January 2007. Since its founding in 1994, the college has produced 262 graduates, and had 110 full-time and 42 part-time students enrolled in the fall of 2006. Construction of a permanent campus in Debre Zeyit is underway. In January 2007, all physical assets were moved to the new campus, and classes began there on February 6. The five-story education building, the first of 11 planned buildings, is half-completed, and currently houses all classrooms, academic offices, library, and language and computer labs. A men's residence was completed in 2010. Negash Kebede was installed as College President on 11 March 2007. Kiros Teka Haddis was installed as President on September 12, 2012. Fall 2014 enrollment at the college was 214 students (183 male, 31 female).
|Ethiopian Addis Kidan Baptist Church|
|Associations||Baptist World Alliance|
|Headquarters||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|Information||The Ethiopian Addis Kidan Baptist Church is a Baptist Christian denomination in Ethiopia. It is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance. The headquarters is in Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian Addis Kidan Baptist Church has its origins in an American mission of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1965. It is officially founded in 1989. According to a denomination census released in 2020, it claimed 147 churches and 42,270 members.
For the most part, Ethiopian and Eritrean Protestants state that their form of Christianity is both the reformation of the current Orthodox Tewahedo churches as well as the restoration of it to the original Ethiopian Christianity. They believe Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity was paganized after the 960s, during the reign of queen Gudit, who destroyed and burned most of the church's possessions and scriptures. They claim those events have led to the gradual paganization of the Oriental Orthodox Churches which they say is now merely dominated by , hearsay and fables. P'ent'ay Christians use the alleged "secularized teaching" of the current Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox churches, the alleged inability of most Orthodox followers to live according to the instructions of the Bible and the deuterocanonical books used by rural priests, as a proof to their belief in the Orthodox Tewahedo teaching is also mainly syncretized. P'ent'ay Christians use the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity prior to the 1960s as their own history, despite lacking historical continuity.
It was only during the early 20th century that American, Canadian, and European missionaries spread Protestantism with Mennonite, Pentecostal, and Baptist (namely but not exclusively the Converge - Baptist denomination, the Baptist General Conference of Canada, among other Baptist) churches through the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) which led to the formation of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church . The partial Baptist influence or origin of the Kale Heywet Church is more related to the Radical Pietist-descended in origin Swedish Baptists (of Canada and the United States) rather than the more well known English Baptists of English Dissenter-descended origin most familiar to a majority of Americans. When the SIM continued its movement after a brief ban during Ethiopia's war with Italy, it is written that the missionaries were taken aback by the fruits of their initial mission. Peter Heyling, a German Lutheran was the first Protestant missionary in Ethiopia, and is regarded[by whom?] as one of the founding fathers of the Lutheran (later to become Eastern Lutheran) denomination Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus alongside Gudina Tumsa, Emmanuel Abraham, Swedish Lutheran Missionaries and Thomas Lambie of the United Presbyterian Church and other Presbyterian missionaries (specifically for the Presbyterian/Reformed section of the Lutheran denomination). Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus has a large with a large Pietistic Lutheran, theologically conservative Confessional Lutheran, and Serving the Whole Person / Holistic Theology (similar to Liberation Theology but with strongly held Theological Conservatism) following. Protestantism has had a presence in Eritrea for over 150 years much of which started when the Swedish Evangelical Mission (SEM) of the Church of Sweden first sent missionaries to preach to the Kunama people in 1866. Between the late-19th and late-20th centuries, the SEM undertook the task of translating the Bible into various Eritrean languages and influenced churches like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea. The Eastern Mennonite Missions of the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada also played a role in spreading Mennonite Anabaptism which helped establish the Meserete Kristos Church. In 1951, Anna-Liisa and Sanfrid Mattson traveled from Finland (Finnish Pentecostalism) to Ethiopia and established a Pentecostal mission in Addis Ababa, the country's capital. In 1960, a mission was created in Awasa by the Philadelphia Church Mission of the Swedish Pentecostal Movement. Pentecostalism, during the 1960s, attracted many students, and the movement grew enough that the Full Gospel Believers Church (FBGC) was created in 1967. Pentecostal practices eventually affected other Protestant denominations in Ethiopia, particularly the Lutheran church. Finnish and Swedish missionaries began the first Pentecostal initiatives in Ethiopia, largely independent of influence by American practices. In 1967, the Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers Church (Mulu Wengel) was founded. This church was the first independent Pentecostal church of Ethiopia and is still the largest Pentecostal group in Ethiopia, it is generally said to have emerged from Pentecostalism of Scandinavian Baptists - Pietist and Radical Pietist origin. The Ethiopian Addis Kidan Baptist Church, another Baptist denomination is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance and has origins in the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention which in turn is of English Dissenter-descended (English) Baptists origin (in the context of Ethiopian, Addis Kidan Baptist is smaller than the Kale Heywet Church which is the other prominent denomination of at least partial Baptist roots with a different history mostly rooted in the Radical Pietist-descended in origin Swedish Baptist tradition. As churches were established, they relied on university students from Ethiopian Orthodox backgrounds to assume leadership roles within the Pentecostal churches. Methodism, Holiness movement, Presbyterianism, and other denominational orientations have had some underlying influence on Ethiopian-Eritrean Evangelicalism.
Protestant Christians still face persecution in rural regions and are assisted by the Voice of the Martyrs; however, there is a growing tolerance between the Ethiopian Orthodox, Muslims and the growing population of P'en'tay Christians in the urban areas of the country. With the dominance of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and the growing Muslim population, the population of P'en'tay Christians was estimated around 16.15 million (19 percent of total population), according to the information released by the U.S. Department of State.
Evangelicals in Ethiopia and Eritrea believe that one is saved by believing in Jesus as Lord and Saviour for the forgiveness of sins. They believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one essence of the Trinity. Like all other Christian groups that accept the canonical gospels, P'ent'ays also believe in being "born again" (dagem meweled), as it is written numerous times in the Gospel of John, and demonstrated by one's baptism in the Holy Spirit as well as water baptism. Speaking in tongues is seen as one of the signs, but not the only sign, of "receiving Christ", which should include a new lifestyle and social behavior.
Although almost all Evangelical Protestant branches in Ethiopia and Eritrea have one or two theological differences or different approaches in the interpretation of the Bible, all of the four major (Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Mennonite denominations) and several other smaller smaller denominations follow beliefs common to born-again Christians. Several denominations, but in particular the four major denominations exchange pastors (megabi) and allow the preachers to serve in different churches when invited under full communion or altar and pulpit fellowship. All of the four main churches and many others also share and listen to various gospel singers, producers, choirs, and have an interdenominational collection of hymns and gospel music (mezmur).