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This book chronicles and then interprets the fascinating history of the introduction and expansion of evangelical Christianity in western Ethiopia, and the subsequent birth and development of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Bethel. The story begins in late 1918 with an Ethiopian governor inviting an American missionary physician working in the Sudan to come over and commence medical work. It was a departure from the historical pattern for an Orthodox Christian governor to invite a Protestant missionary into his province. But the advent of the Spanish flu in Ethiopia forced his hand. What precipitated the governor s implausible invitation was not mere convergence of events. In Evangelical Church Bethel, the author asserts that it was part of a divine plan for the people of western Ethiopia.
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Dr. Debela Birri was the director of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Under Dr. Birri's leadership, EGST has a strong legacy of vibrant programs (most notably the internationally recognized Master's program devoted to HIV/AIDS) tailored to meet the needs of the Ethiopian Church. More than 80 graduates completed their studies during his tenure. Dr. Birri received his doctoral degree in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He served the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus in many positions and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Bethel before that.Review:
Dr. Debela has written a book that is at the same time engrossing and challenging. The laborers in God s vineyard who built the Bethel Church come to life in his hands, often in their own words. The author brings to this volume the critical detachment of a scholar but also the empathy of the consummate insider. The result is a book that brings together, history, theology, and anthropology. It is an important book for readers interested in religious encounters, African indigenous religion, cultural change, and the indigenization of Christianity. --Ezekiel Gebissa, Professor of History at Kettering University
This volume is the first scholarly account of the history of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Bethel. This fascinating story is recounted on the basis of extensive mission and ecclesiastical records, oral history, and pertinent secondary works. These sources are examined and interpreted with sensitivity and precision by an Ethiopian church historian and member of the Bethel community who offers his own contextual, experiential, and scholarly perspective. That perspective serves as a balance to the traditionally normative accounts of European and North American missionaries and historians. The author s inclusion of the important contributions of Ethiopian leaders is a particularly significant contribution of this perceptive and informative study. --Kurt K. Hendel, Bernard, Fischer Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation History, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
This history book on Bethel Evangelical Church is the first of its kind to come out in a thoroughly researched manner. No doubt the reader will feel Dr. Debela s great love for his Church and his passion to record what God has done in the lives of those who labored in keeping the light of the Gospel burning during those difficult days. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and its Bethel Synods must be grateful to Dr. Debela for this monumental work. I urge the old and the young to read this book to appreciate the sacrifices paid by our fathers and mothers and the legacy they left behind. Dr. Debela s example must be followed in recording the on-going history of God s Church. --Rev. Iteffa Gobena, AACC Ecumenical Envoy to the African Union
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Book Description Lutheran University Press, 2014. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1932688943