Thematisation and definition of terms in keeping with the Eusebian-Mashonaland link

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »



In this chapter, our envisaged approach is to analyse documents which outline some historical details that could help us trace the spread of imperial Anglicanism from South Africa to Mashonaland after 1890. We have already seen that imperial Anglicanism is understood in our investigation as British Christianity that followed the footsteps of British imperialism to the various parts of the world. This Christianity was not intended to transform the lives of people they encountered in the foreign lands, but to support the colonial work of the British. We have three main objectives to achieve in terms of making our narratives and arguments cogent. They can be stated as follows:
The first aim is to ensure that we get an insight into the background of the current Diocese of Mashonaland; where the Anglican missionary project, here involved, started and to understand how it can be traced against the background of a country that had indigenous people who knew nothing about missionary Christianity or any related versions of this faith. Bearing in mind that we would like to use the theology of empire as our lens to understand the narratives we encounter in the documents consulted, we shall constantly be highlighting points to this effect.
Secondly, our aim is to make some observations about the sources of funding and related sponsorships that make it imperative for us to speak of an imperial Anglicanism. In this connection, one major question becomes urgent. Could it be argued successfully that what we prefer to call imperial Anglicanism was attracted more to those who were rich and powerful than to the disposed and powerless and indigenous people who lived in the country long before it was called Rhodesia? In addition, can the provision of resources by settlers to the missionaries in this connection be seen more in terms of making sure that the Church became subservient to the state than just as a gesture of goodwill? When we hear of Anglican missionary work in Mashonaland getting some sponsorship from colonial agents, can it still be a misinterpretation of history to associate the coloniser and the missionary? By attempting to answer such questions, we may be able to describe the nature of Church-state relations that obtained in Mashonaland as well as the related controversial issues using the theme of the theology of empire as our criterion of adequacy.
Therefore, using a document analysis as our main method, we intend to make sure that the argument and narratives that are underpinned by the Church-state partnership are sustainable within the Rhodesian Anglican Church context.

 The development of the Diocese of Mashonaland

There are important developments that preceded the establishment of the Diocese of Mashonaland that are critical to note. We need to go back a little into history before 1890. This is an attempt to appeal to facts that will enable us to make some justifiable generalisations about the nature of Anglicanism as advanced outside the British isles. The following subsections will highlight them as some background information.
Therefore we are going to make brief incursions into the beginning of the 18th century of our common era (CE) in order to be able to appreciate the background information critical to the origin of the current Diocese of Mashonaland as a product of both British colonial and Christian expansion many years later. Important in this regard are issues such as funding, the nationality of manpower and the assumed Christian imperatives that became urgent during the latter part of the nineteenth century in Southern Africa. Our challenge is to account for the existence of an English Church in a particular African context from the point of view of the theology of empire. How Mashonaland became part of England from an ecclesiastical and historical perspective is a development that must continue to attract the attention of critical scholarship within the framework of Church history in this part of Southern Africa. This is because a lack of enlightenment, in this case, could lead to such distortions that could make the whole Anglican project a mere charade or something that was not enlightening in terms of how the indigenous Christians and the United Kingdom could be said to have some genuine links.

 English organisations and societies

According to Stephen Neill, the name Thomas Bray (1656-1730) deserves special mention if we are to say something about the genesis of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (S.P.G.).301 This society played a pivotal role in the spread of Anglicanism throughout the world from the beginning of its inception and has continued to do so, to this day, although with some slight changes to its original name.302
Rowan Strong creates a more vivid picture for us of what the atmosphere was like when imperial Anglicanism began to be more assertive in terms of missionary work in the colonies. One episode tells us how an interested audience attended a service in London just to be updated on what was happening in the colonial fields. Strong makes certain observations with regard to this particular event:
The setting, in one of Sir Christopher Wren’s new churches built after the Great Fire of London, epitomised in wood and stones the resurgent Anglicanism that had developed since the restoration of the Church of England in 1660.303
The resurgence being referenced had been about English Christianity at home, but here we are faced with its new version that had to take the reality of the colonies seriously. This is important to us since we could understand this new development in the name of missions as one that could one day be forced to accept the spirit of colonialism without much resolute questioning. What makes our reading of this narrative, in London, interesting is the following state of affairs as presented by Strong, Wren’s church that day was alive with dignitaries of church and state seated before the preacher on an occasion that expressed the Church of England’s new mission to the English colonies overseas that the Church had too long neglected.304
Church and state officials were in attendance perhaps to affirm the partnership that was envisaged in these overseas colonies. However, we still need to go back a little just to get our bearings on this narrative correct.
The facts are as follows: King William III of England was approached by Bray in April 1701 to grant permission for “the formation of a Body Politic and Corporate for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.”305 We are told that “on 16 June 1701, a Charter was issued to Dr Bray and his associates.”306 Earlier on 8 March 1699, Bray had been instrumental in the formation of the Society of the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K), which was a voluntary organisation and not a corporate body.307 The aim of the S.P.C.K. was “to publish and circulate books and Bibles” and also provide missionaries, who, in turn, could “found and direct schools” within British colonies.308 As a corporate and “chartered society,” the S.P.G. got its “support and authorisation from both Church and State”.309 There were two major terms of reference for this chartered Society:
Firstly, to cater for the spiritual needs of British citizens living in colonies overseas by way of providing “orthodox clergy.”310
Secondly, and as an act of charity, the Society was to promote the conversion of natives in the colonised lands from “Barbarism and Idolatry” to Christianity.311 We notice here that the idea of evangelising the colonised. That God’s work could comfortably be done against the background of colonisation could be seen as a development that has extremely serious implications in our context. How the Anglican Church would be able to achieve the two objectives with the impartiality we could envisage in the spirit of Christianity, is an urgent focus in our context.
It is clear, therefore, that British imperial and colonial incursions created interests among English Christians that engendered the missionary project with which we are concerned. How such a Christian missionary project would distance itself from the negative connotations of colonialism makes for an interesting reading of historical narratives in this connection. It is in this partnership of coloniser and missionary that concerns for the development of the theology of empire in this context emerge.
While Neill indicates to us, in the foregoing connection, that the second aim of the S.P.G. had to do with the conversion of natives, Rowan Strong in his own work, seems to imply that there was some amount of vagueness in this regard, as he refers to “other provision” for “spreading the gospel to these English territories.”312 Perhaps what could be assumed with some amount of certitude is the fact that the Anglican Church work under the auspices of the S.P.G. would have, as its primary role, the spiritual welfare of the English colonists but against the background of some qualifications. This becomes clear from Strong’s narrative when he notes that:
Notwithstanding a focus on white settlers, one of the most obvious ingredients of the Anglican perspective of the SPG, right from its inception, was to see the empire as the opening up of territories of missionary opportunity, an opportunity required to be taken up by the society as a consequence of gospel imperatives.313
The idea of preaching to a subdued people is in our context a very challenging undertaking. The challenge here was whether the Anglican Church could be in a position to reconcile conflicting values. This is because colonialism fell more in the politico-economic sphere of the British interests and was not always achieved peacefully among people, who were, in turn, not aggressive. On the other hand, missionary work had to depend on the gospel imperatives, and the problem is how these could be seen accommodating the aggressiveness and violence that often propelled colonial mechanisms.
However, that missionary work was being premised on “gospel imperatives” would imply engaging people who would view others from the point of view of the Christian God rather than from the point of view of their own cultural prejudices or socio-economic and political advantages.
Strong further observes that “colonies,” in this eighteenth-century period, was a term confined to “North America and the West Indies”.314 What is strange in this connection is that no sooner were the British missionaries faced with indigenous people in the Americas, than they forgot the gospel imperatives. The available information favours the view that Anglican missionaries began to worry about distinctions rather than about what the Christian God could do.315 Accordingly, Strong observes that:
In this discourse, the identity of Gentile =Native American was set in the starkest contrast to that of Christian = English, not for any reasons of racial or ontological difference but on the basis of a theological distinction between Christian and non‐Christian. Indigenous Americans were radically other than the English because they were not Christian.316
We should prepare ourselves for more attitudes of this nature that will continue to be referenced, but it gives us a taste of what missionaries often ended up doing over and against the gospel imperatives that could be envisaged. We are worried that sustainable highlights on this missionary deficiency in terms of favouring colonialism may not have attracted the kind of attention the theology of empire may require in order to boost its appeal.
We refer to the above points because our context in which the Diocese of Mashonaland developed was a British colonial development, a century later, this time in Southern Africa, but championed by the same theologico-political and economic zeal as well as human resources: almost similar to the North American context. We must bear in mind that our main contention is on the impact of the theology of empire in the early Church and the subsequent emergence of imperial Anglicanism in the eighteenth century and beyond. How do we get the Diocese of Mashonaland to be part of this long discourse that puts the theology of empire in the spotlight? Why do historians of the Anglican Church in Mashonaland not investigate the deficiencies of missionaries in detail to highlight the influence of colonialism on Christianity in this context?

READ  Prakken and Sartor’s dialogical model of legal reasoning

CHAPTER 1.The Theology of Empire discourse and its challenges 
1.0. Anglican Church in Mashonaland and historiography
1.1. Biblical imperatives and contextual African historiographies
1.2. The theology of empire narratives in this work
1.3. The theology of empire within the fourth century setting
1.4. Defining the parameters of this investigation
1.5. The archetypal recipe for the theology of empire in Mashonaland
1.6. Sources on the Diocese of Mashonaland’s theology of empire
1.7. Preliminary insights into the Mashonaland Anglican context
1.8. Aim and Objectives of this investigation
1.9. Conclusion
CHAPTER 2. Thematisation and definition of terms in keeping with the Eusebian-Mashonaland link
2.0. The term Anglicanism and its historical application
2.1. The ‘Ecclesia Anglicana’ concept and its development
2.2. English Church in the eyes of Rome before the breakaway
2.3. English Church after the breakaway from Rome
2.4. Evaluation of the issue of being Anglican
2.5. Alienation, violence and the theology of empire
2.6. Military force and conversion
2.7. The theology of empire also known as imperial theology
2.8. Summary of critical issues in this chapter
2.9. Conclusion
CHAPTER 3. Historical origins of a missionary Anglican Church in Mashonaland 
3.0. Introduction
3.1. The development of the Diocese of Mashonaland
3.2. English organisations and societies
3.3. The S.P.G. and Rev. W. Greenstock
3.4. The S.P.G and Knight-Bruce
3.5. Knight-Bruce and the BSAC
3.6. Missionary neutrality in Mashonaland
3.7. Simplified narratives of the Mashonaland context
3.8. Knight-Bruce’s convictions about the indigenous people’s status
3.9. Chanaiwa’s list of conspirators
3.9.0. The moral status of the Matabele war
3.10. A Mashonaland historian’s theology of empire
3.11. Church ideals and colonial values in Mashonaland
3.12. Some critical observations in this chapter
3.13. Conclusion
CHAPTER 4. Concretisation of the theology of empire within the Anglican Church in Mashonaland under Knight-Bruce 
4.0. Introduction
4.1. Affirming Anglicanism in Mashonaland
4.2. The problem of missionary independency
4.3. Accounting for Knight-Bruce’s prophetic leadership
4.4. The Land controversy
4.5. The Constantinean God in Mashonaland
4.6.0. Handling the missionary-coloniser narratives
4.7.0. Knight-Bruce’s views about the Mashona
4.8. Differences between Van der Kemp and Knight-Bruce
4.9. Illustration of the theology of empire as propagandistic
4.10. Christian civilisation in Mashonaland as confusing
4.11. Indictments on missionary methods
4.12. Challenges against pro-colonial lies in Mashonaland
4.13. Bernard Mizeki and the theology of empire in Mashonaland
4.14. An attempt at affirming the true understanding of martyrdom
4.15. Some critical remarks about this chapter
4.16. Conclusion
CHAPTER 5 From Gaul to Beaven and the legacy of the theology of empire in Mashonaland (1895- 1925)
5.0. Introduction
5.1. William Thomas Gaul, the second Bishop of Mashonaland
5.2. White atheists in Mashonaland and their status
5.3. Frederick Courtney Selous’ theology of empire
5.4. An Anglican Synod and discriminatory practices
5.5. The short-lived episcopate of Edmund Nathaniel Powell
5.6. Frederic Hick Beaven
5.7. Forced labour and Anglican missionaries
5.8. Beaven and the oppressors
5.9. Prospects for indigenous people’s under Beaven
5.10. Problems in narrating the History of the Diocese of Mashonaland
5.11. Arthur Shearly Cripps and the Mashonaland context
5.12. The nature of the Anglican Church in Mashonaland
5.13. Being white in Mashonaland
5.14. Missionaries and the protection of indigenous people
5.15. Canon Samuel Mhlanga within the theology of empire discourse
5.16. The Eusebian model in a Mashonaland Anglican mould
5.17. Challenge from the first century Church
5.18. T.D. Barnes’ critical views on Eusebius’ approach
5.19. Critical Remarks
5.20. Conclusion
CHAPTER 6. The theology of empire within Francis Paget’s long episcopate
6.0. Introducing Bishop Paget
6.1. Bishop Francis Paget’s leadership in Mashonaland
6.2. The problem of racial supremacy within Paget’s church
6.3. Bishop Paget and the issue of manpower
6.4. Paget’s allegiance to British dominance in Mashonaland
6.5. More evidence of Church-state conspiracy
6.6. Archbishop Paget’s allegiance to the Queen of England
6.7. The African political consciousness
6.8. Critical remarks
6.9. Conclusion
CHAPTER 7. From Cecil Alderson’s episcopate to Paul Burrough’s (1957- 1979) 
7.0. Introduction
7.1. Aim and methods for this chapter
7.2. Old problems but new challenges
7.3. Cecil Alderson’s ambiguity
7.4. Church and State in Alderson’s context
7.5. Alderson’s challenge from Skelton
7.6. Compromised prophecy in Mashonaland
7.7. A prayer for Mashonaland
7.8. Eulogy for Alderson
7.9. E.D.K. Wood’s reflections
7.11. Fr Arthur Lewis’ theology of empire
7.12. The programme to combat racism
7.13. John Da Costa’s appeal to the international community
7.14. The end of Burrough
7.15. Evaluation of this chapter
7.16. Conclusion
CHAPTER 8 General conclusion 
List of Sources

Related Posts