Newbigin on the Open Secret of Gospel Stewardship

One of the most common metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the relation of the church to the gospel is that of stewardship. The church, and especially those called to any kind of leadership in the church, are servants entrusted with that which is not their property but is the property of their Lord. That which is entrusted is something of infinite worth as compared with the low estate of the servants in whose hands it is placed. They are but mud pots; but that which is entrusted to them is the supreme treasure (II Cor. 4:7). The treasure is nothing less than “the mysteries of God” (I Cor. 4:1), “the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19), “the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and… made known to all nations… to bring about the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:25-26). It is “the mystery of his will… to unite all things in him” (Eph. 1:9-10). It is the open secret of God’s purpose, through Christ, to bring all things to their true end in the glory of the triune God. It is open in that it is announced in the gospel that is preached to all the nations; it is a secret in that it is manifest only to the eyes of faith. It is entrusted to those whom God has given the gift of faith by which the weakness and foolishness of the cross is known as the power and wisdom of God. It is entrusted to them not for themselves but for all the nations. It is Christ in them, the hope of glory.

Lesslie Newbigin. The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (Kindle Locations 2551-2560). Kindle Edition.

Moodie on the Structure of Inequality in Short Term Missions

People, at least Northerners on mission or service trips arriving at far-flung destinations, desire connection. They want to do more than send money or write letters… They want to see, to feel, to experience. They want to act on their concern, their caring. They want to help, but, as McAlister describes, they also want very much to feel. Their desire is precisely to overcome difference and distance. What they want might be described as a yearning for authenticity. But what would reaching those desires actually mean? What would knowing the other consist of? This desire is predicated on the existence of difference. On an us and them, or self and other, binary. To overcome this distance is to obliterate desire, to rub out the reason for taking the trips. In mission and service trips particularly, yearning is inevitably structured on inequality. The hope to fulfill this desire to feel and know exists in direct tension with the need for the distance… These are mostly good things, at least they seem to me to be, even if they do not fix the larger, long-term problems. But as they inevitably reproduce inequality, do they block bigger changes? I do not know. The thing is, the “encounter” demands that the gap between north and south never be filled. The gap is necessary.

Ellen Moodie, “Inequality and Intimacy between Sister Communities in El Salvador and the United States,” Missiology 41 (2), 2013: 146-162.

I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15

Linthicum: Shalom is Our Mission

In the final analysis, we are not called to build bigger or better churches, to prepare disciples or even to win people to Jesus Christ, though these are all important and strategic elements. We as the church are to focus on working for the realization of the shalom community in our political, economic, and religious life together. That mission of proclaiming the vision and doing whatever we can to move this world toward “becoming the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ” is the essence of what we Christians are to be about.

Robert Linthicum, Transforming Power, p. 40

While I agree with most everything Linthicum writes about shalom, I think he’s at risk of breaking the eschatological tension of shalom when he calls it an “achievable” society. He doesn’t define “achievable” but he needs to. Shalom is achievable only as an eschatological reality that we experience as a gift of the Spirit in brief fits and spurts, foretastes that leave us wanting more, until the day of the Lord comes and brings all things to their fulfillment, when God will be all in all. The language of “achievement” also contradicts Linthicum’s previous statement about shalom being a gift of grace. Gifts are not achieved. Yes, we have much work to do, but all our work towards shalom is meaningless apart from the power of the Spirit who is leading all creation on the reconciling way of Christ to be at home in the boundless love of God.

Just Call Me Friend

This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15


At the Last Supper, Christ was telling the disciples those things of greatest importance. It was His final opportunity to communicate the central values of the faith. “No longer do I call you servants,” He said, “for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Finally, Christ said you are not servants. You know the Father’s heart. You know the inside story. You are friends. Perhaps beyond the revolutionary Christian mandate of service is that final revolution, the possibility of being friends. Friends are people who know each other, who care, respect, struggle and are committed through time. Christ’s mandate o~be friends is a revolutionary idea in our serving society. Why friends rather than servants? Perhaps it is because He knew that servants could always become lords but that friends could not. Professional servants may operate on the assumption that “you will be better because I know better,” but friends believe that “we will be better because we share in each others’ lives.” Servants are people who know the mysteries that can control those to whom they give “help.” Friends, on the other hand, are free to give and receive help from each other.

Robert Lupton, Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor, p. 67

What’s that in your hands?

A sermon I’ll be sharing at Pepperell United Methodist Church in Opelika, AL tomorrow morning (8.10.2014).

Exodus 4:1-20

I’m not sure how much y’all keep up with current events, but if you’re like me and you like to stay informed about what’s happening across the globe then you know that the news this week has been grim. There’s violence, injustice, degradation, and just plain brutality nearly everywhere you look. Some of these problems have just recently begun but others have been with us for years, decades in some cases. One website I found listed 11 active “wars” in the world today along with 8 “serious armed conflicts”. Untold thousands – millions even – have lost their lives in this violence. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the massive scale of human suffering occurring every single day; children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, neighbors – their lives filled with pain and sorrow. Along with all this violence, we hear about our brothers and sisters in West Africa facing a public health nightmare – the Ebola virus. I don’t mean to be all negative this morning – there’s a lot of good happening in the world that we don’t hear about. But goodness gracious, the news this week has just been heartbreaking.

These are big problems. But, for the most part, they’re all in distant places – or at least they seem distant. But we’ve got our own big problems closer to home too. In Tuskegee where ARM [Alabama Rural Ministry] is currently expanding its work, the community is struggling. The poverty rate has been over 35% and the unemployment rate over 16% for the past 30 years.

I’m not sure about you but when I hear about these kinds of big problems I tend to feel powerless, overwhelmed, paralyzed. Do you feel that way too? What causes our feelings of powerlessness, our inaction, in the face of big problems near and far? Why don’t we, followers of the risen Lord, do something? Why don’t we become people who make a difference? These are the questions I want us to consider briefly this morning in light of all the bad news in our world this week.

 Thankfully, we know and worship a God who is no stranger to suffering, who doesn’t ignore the big problems. As we turn to the story of Exodus, we find another big problem: God’s people, the Hebrews – millions of them – are brutally oppressed as slaves in Egypt. As you heard in last week’s sermon, when God’s people cried out God heard their groaning, God remembered His covenant, God saw what was happening to them, and God understood their pain (The Message, Exo 2:24-25). But God doesn’t stop there. We know what happens next: God calls out to Moses from the burning bush. God has chosen Moses to be the leader of God’s mission for the redemption and restoration of the Hebrew slave. But right away Moses is not interested: first he doubts himself and then he questions God’s own identity. God is open to Moses’ questions and patient with his doubts. God promises to be with Moses and then reveals His true name, I AM – Yahweh – the one who will redeem God’s people from their suffering and restore them in a good land “flowing with milk and honey.” In the face of massive suffering, God is present and acts to redeem and restore because Yahweh is a saving God who doesn’t ignore the cries of those who suffer. Our text this morning picks up the ongoing dialogue between God and Moses at the burning bush. So, Moses has just received God’s invitation to join God’s work of redemption and restoration for the Hebrew people. How does he respond?

It sounds something like this: but… but… but… (I can hear my mom saying, “No buts about it!”). As we heard in our text from Exodus 4:1-20, Moses is not on board with God’s plans. Three separate times, he tries to avoid God’s invitation. Moses is well-aware of Israel’s suffering; he saw it happening as a young man. He may be aware, but, much like us, he feels powerless to do anything. So let’s look at Moses’ three “buts” and see if they don’t offer us some insight into our own feelings of powerlessness:

  1. In v. 1, we find out that Moses lacks credibility and trustworthiness among his people. He fears they won’t listen to After all, he’s a runaway murderer turned shepherd. Why would they believe him? Don’t we feel the same way sometimes? I think we tend to feel like we need more before folks will listen to us – more money, skill, knowledge, training, degrees, expertise, experience, awards, more prestige, more authority? If only we had more we could make a difference because then people would listen. Like us, Moses is looking for that something more that will guarantee he won’t be ignored.
  2. In v. 10, we discover that Moses can only see his weakness. He’s afraid he’s just not cut out for this kind of work. Moses can’t be a spokesperson – he can barely speak! It’s just not his gift, his talent, his personality; God created him to be a shepherd, not a politician. Do we not make the same excuses? Are we not also blinded by our own weaknesses? We all have our lists of things we’d like to improve, right? Maybe someone who doesn’t have any weaknesses to worry about can solve the world’s problems but that’s not us. We’ve got our own issues. We’re not cut out for this kind of work. Like Moses, we struggle to see beyond our own weaknesses.
  3. Finally, in v. 13 we find Moses trying desperately to convince God that this plan is all wrong: “Please, my Lord, just send someone else!” Wow – at least he’s being honest. Moses is convinced he’s not the person for the job. But there’s a major flaw in his thinking: for some reason he thinks that he alone (or hopefully someone else) has to accomplish God’s work. Aren’t we sometimes paralyzed by this same kind of narrow, individualistic thinking? We think we have to solve the world’s problems alone, that we have to be the heroes and heroines, that the solution depends entirely on us. But no one person can handle that kind of pressure – not Moses, not us. It just leaves us powerless and stuck.

I think we’re a lot like Moses: we know about the pain and suffering, we’ve heard the invitation to join in God’s mission of redemption and restoration, and we just don’t think we’re up to it – we don’t have what it takes, we’re not the right people.

But God disagrees… and ain’t that some good news! Every time Moses says “But… but… but…” God asks him a question. God’s not backing down; He pursues Moses patiently and passionately, wanting Moses to trust Him and His power working in and through Moses’ life. God wants Moses to see that what he already has and who he is are more than enough for God. How does God do it? Let’s look at those 3 questions:

  1. After Moses doubts his own credibility, God asks in v. 2, “What’s that in your hand?” Odd question. Surely God can see for Himself, right? God knows that Moses is a shepherd and every shepherd carries around a shepherd’s rod; a wooden staff for herding sheep and fending off predators. Of course Moses is holding a shepherd’s rod – that’s his job, his vocation, he’s a shepherd. For Moses, this rod is just an everyday tool, a piece of wood that represents his lowly profession. But when it’s used in God’s mission, this piece of wood is transformed into a sign of God’s awesome power to redeem and restore. God will take this marker of Moses’ low social status, his lack of credibility, and transform it into a marker of God’s calling and anointing. All Moses saw was his little ole staff; he had no idea what it would become and how God would use it once he joined God’s mission of redemption and restoration.
  2. After Moses doubts his ability to communicate, God asks a series of questions in v. 11: “Who gives people the ability to speak? Who’s responsible for making them unable to speak or hard of hearing, sighted or blind? Isn’t it I, the Lord?” Yahweh, God the Redeemer, is also God the Creator. The Creator God who fashioned Moses already knows Moses’ weaknesses even more than Moses does! And this Redeemer God is committed to seeing Moses overcome these weaknesses. God promises to help Moses, to be his Teacher and Guide. It turns out that God’s big plan for the restoration and redemption of Israel also includes Moses’ own personal healing. All Moses can see is who he is, but God sees who he will become when he trusts in God’s help and joins God’s work.
  3. Finally, after Moses tells God how he really feels, we see that God gets angry with Moses, but not in the way we might expect. God’s anger doesn’t lead to punishment or abandonment. God’s anger – God’s passion for seeing Moses take up his place in God’s mission – ultimately leads to a relationship of teamwork and shared responsibility between Moses and his brother, Aaron. As Moses pleads with God to just send someone else, I think God detects the overwhelming sense of pressure that Moses is putting on himself. What does God ask? “Moses, have you forgotten who you are? You’re not just a lone shepherd! You’re a brother! And your brother, Aaron, happens to be an excellent speaker! I never meant for you to do this alone, Moses. I’m not looking for a hero.” Moses refuses to look beyond himself, but God asks him a question that reminds Moses of the relationships he has that can help him accomplish God’s work. Moses doesn’t have to take this risk alone. God’s mission of redemption and restoration for Israel will not be accomplished by heroic feats of individual power. God wants a team, a new kind of family.

It seems that all Moses can do in this story is think of excuses. Benjamin Franklin once said that “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Good thing Ben Franklin isn’t God! God doesn’t give up on Moses; God doesn’t give up on us. Maybe this morning you think you don’t have anything to offer God, nothing that can be of any use in God’s mission of redemption and restoration in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama, and the world. I think God may be asking us today, “What’s that in your hand?” All Moses had was a shepherd’s staff and that was enough for God – it wasn’t a sword or ruler’s scepter – just a simple staff. What do you have? A skill? A story? An experience? Maybe just free time and a listening ear? Each one of us here is a unique person that means we ALL have a unique role to play in God’s unfolding drama of redemption and restoration. Will you offer what you have to God?

Maybe all you can see this morning is your weaknesses, your shortcomings, your failures. God knows you – inside and out, backwards and forwards, past, present, and future. And guess what? God still wants you! God will be with you, your Teacher, your Guide. God’s mission of redemption and restoration for all people includes you and your personal healing. Will you trust God to be with you? To help you overcome your fears, your weaknesses, your doubts and to make you whole? Will you join God’s work knowing that you can’t accomplish it with your own strength?

Finally, maybe you’ve forgotten who you are this morning; thinking that you have to solve all of life’s problems on your own. Take a second to think about all the different roles you occupy. For me, I’m a son with a mom and dad, a brother to two other brothers, a husband to my wife, a father to my daughter, a co-worker with other co-workers, a friend among other friends, etc… We all live as members of a larger network of relationships that sustain us and make us who we are. And remember that God is Trinity, a community of three persons – Father, Son, and Spirit. When we join in this Trinitarian God’s mission of redemption and restoration, we’re invited into a deeper fellowship with God, each other and our neighbors. We’re in this together. Are we willing to join hands and be the people whose life together shows the world a different, more loving way?

I love how this text ends. In verse 18, Moses tells his father-in-law Jethro that he needs to return to Egypt to see if his family is still alive. Now, either Moses is too scared to tell Jethro the real reason he’s returning to Egypt or maybe he still just doesn’t believe it. Whatever the case, the important part is that he goes. He may not understand how God is going to use him or how he’ll be changed in the process, but he packs up his things, trusts God, and hits the road for Egypt to face his people’s suffering head on. We don’t have to all be Moses, but I think we can learn something from his faith.

God has called us into His mission of redemption and restoration for all creation – beginning right here in Opelika, in Pepperell village. The kingdom of God is at hand. In the face of all the suffering we see in the world today, God is asking us, “What’s in your hand? Don’t you know that I created you? Do you know who you are?” We may not be able to see the end result, but let’s say yes to God, pack our bags and head towards Egypt anyway. Amen.

[See also, Dr. Al Tizon’s related post of Walter Brueggemann’s prayer “Deliver Us from Amnesia”]

Faith, Works, & International Development

James, one of the first leaders of the early church in Jerusalem, includes a radical claim in his New Testament letter: “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”1 The apostle Paul agreed with James: “the only thing that counts is faith working through love [emphasis added].”2 These early church leaders were simply recalling the words of their Messiah who said that when his followers fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, cared for the sick, and visited the prisoner they were actually serving him. Jesus and the New Testament authors did not invent these views concerning the necessity of making love known through action. It was an essential feature of Old Testament law; one which the prophets had to continually bring to Israel’s attention. Love and justice, peace and well-being, faithfulness to God and faithfulness to neighbor – these have always been inseparable in the story of God. The prophet Micah says it well: “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”3

"Catch God's Dream" Pamorama Jones

“Catch God’s Dream”
Pamorama Jones

At its best, international development is one way the people of God participate in God’s mission to establish shalom on earth. Shalom is the overflowing abundance of God’s presence in a community so that the entire community experiences the wholeness, fullness, and satisfaction of a holistic well-being in complete harmony with its environment. It is a comprehensive reality of peace founded on the active presence of Triune love being worked out in justice. International development seeks to contribute to God’s shalom through activities which increase the standard of living and overall well-being for those living in situations of poverty in hope that all people experience a life which reflects their inestimable value as God’s image bearers.

However, international development has too often been the work of churches from Western, “developed” countries who work with churches and communities in the “developing” world in order to make them look and feel more like Western church and communities. As David Wright notes, the mission agencies of Western churches which perform this work “have uncritically borrowed a politically oriented aid rationale that was born in the immediate post-War years with the Marshall Plan and fine-tuned during the long ideological struggle of the cold war.”4 When mission agencies employ such a politically, economically driven rationale for development work among their international neighbors, they create relationships lacking any real mutuality which “cannot be authentic or constructive” and usually end in “uneasy dependence or frustrated estrangement.”5 Bryant Myers identifies the cause of mission agencies’ uncritical adoption of these development theories as the Enlightenment-born divide between the spiritual and material world which asserts that “religion, faith, and values belong in the spiritual world” and “science, reason, and facts are part of the real world.”6 Mission agencies born in the West tend to separate the work of international development in the “real world” from the work of the church in the “spiritual realm.” This dichotomy facilitates the removal or cheapening of distinctly Christian values, methods, and goals from the manuals of mission agencies so all that remains are the values, methods, and goals of Western economics, politics, and culture. God’s shalom gets replaced by an “international” version of American or European society.

For international development to contribute towards God’s shalom, it must leave behind its dualistic, paternalistic ways. Myers calls development practitioners to break free from the grip of a modernist worldview and begin operating from a “holistic understanding of an integrated spiritual-physical world” in order to practice truly Christian development within a global context.7 In addition, Wright suggests four changes to be made to the “aid relationship” between Western mission agencies and those with whom they work: “we must restore mutuality to the aid relationship, develop and apply contextual standards to the definition of need/aid, moderate the effects of the bureaucratization of aid, and create full webs of meaning in which to situate aid relationships.”8 With these fundamental adjustments, the work of international development can become a vital, life-giving expression of God’s mission to establish shalom in all creation.

1 Jam. 2:17.

2 Gal. 5:6.

3 Mic. 6:8.

4 David W. Wright, “The Pitfalls of the International Aid Rationale: Comparisons Between Missionary Aid and the International Aid Network,” Missiology 22, no. 2 (1994): 187.

5 Wright, 192.

6 Bryant L. Myers, “What Makes Development Christian? Recovering from the Impact of Modernity,” Missiology 26, no. 2 (April 1, 1998): 145.

7 Myers, 149.

8 Wright, 201.


Pope Francis on the Uniqueness of Christianity

hqdefaultIn a letter written in response to the questions of Eugenio Scalfari, atheist and founder of the Italian Newspaper “La Repubblica,” Pope Francis shares what sets Christianity apart from other religions:

Always in the editorial of July 7, you ask me in addition how to understand the originality of the Christian faith in as much as it is founded on the Incarnation of the Son of God, in regard to other faiths that gravitate instead around the absolute transcendence of God.

The originality, I would say, lies precisely in the fact that the faith makes us participate, in Jesus, in the relationship that He has with God who is Abba and, in this light, the relationship that He has with all other men, including enemies, in the sign of love. In other words, Jesus’ offspring, as presented by the Christian faith, is not revealed to mark an insurmountable separation between Jesus and all others: but to tell us that, in Him, we are all called to be children of the one Father and brothers among ourselves. The singularity of Jesus is for communication, not for exclusion.

Christianity is unique because faith in Jesus involves us in the life of God who exists as love, as a triune community. God became human in Jesus (see Pope Francis’ discussion of the Incarnation just prior to this quote in the original article) to reveal the universality of God’s love which extends to all people and all created things. When Pope Francis says “communication,” I think what he means is something like “the creation of community” — not “communication” as in talking or conveying information in one way or another. The Trinity, then, God as community of diversity, of otherness, in perfectly equal, mutual, and reciprocal relations which opens up to include all creation, is what makes Christianity unique.

This section of the letter was the most profound for me, but the entire letter is worth a read.

Newbigin: Evangelism as Overflow

A community of people that, in the midst of all the pain and sorrow and wickedness of the world, is continually praising God is the first obvious result of living by another story than the one the world lives by… and where there is a praising community, there also will be a caring community with love to spare for others. Such a community is the primary hermeneutic [interpretive] lens of the gospel… a congregation that has at its heart a joyful worship of the living God and a constantly renewed sense of the sheer grace and kindness of God will be a congregation from which true love flows out to neighbors, a love that seeks their good regardless of whether they come to church.

Lesslie Newbigin, “Evangelism in the Context of Secularization,” in The Study of Evangelism: Exploring a Missional Practice of the Church

I must say that I agree. The “other story” we live by as followers of Jesus is the one where God becomes a particular person whose Spirit-anointed life, death and resurrection both inaugurates God’s saving reign over all creation and secures our hope in a future where that reign is made perfect and complete. As we come to know this person Jesus, we come to know God’s gracious, loving welcome. Our response to that welcome is simply to welcome others. A community is formed… a community where hope overflows.

Tiyo Soga: How One Man Envisioned a New Nation

Less than a year before his death in 1871, Tiyo Soga – the first indigenous African person ordained by a European church – penned a journal entry which exposed a deep divide in Soga’s indigenous people, the Xhosa of South Africa. On one side of this divide stood the “the old killing party” – those who “say the customs of our Fathers are good enough for us” – while the “liberal party that hails light – improvement, good & orderly [government] from the whiteman” formed the opposing ranks.[1] Soga was intimately familiar with this line of fragmentation among the Xhosa people because it divided his own heart. He was born a Xhosa yet he received a European education in Scotland, along with European church credentials, and married a Scottish woman. When he returned to the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 1857 from his second extended-stay in Scotland, Soga encountered a horrific scene: approximately 400,000 cattle had been slaughtered, an estimated 40,000 Xhosas were dead from starvation, and another 40,000 had fled their land in search of sustenance in the Cape Colony.[2] This tragic event, known by most modern historians as the “Cattle-Killing Movement,” decimated the Xhosa people and broke Soga’s heart. In the fourteen years he spent ministering among the Xhosa, Soga worked in a variety of ways to bring healing to the schism seemingly cemented in place by this tragedy and help the Xhosa people recover and maintain a dignified life in the midst of growing pressure from European settlers and colonists. In this paper, I explore how Tiyo Soga combined his unique identity as a European-educated Xhosa missionary and his literary skill to publish a series of articles in Indaba, a Xhosa-language newspaper, which served as one, primary aspect of his long-term response to the Xhosa crisis. After providing a brief biography of Soga’s life, followed by a more thorough analysis of the Xhosa cattle killing, I will examine Soga’s initial response to the cattle killing and then explore how his Indaba articles envisioned a new Xhosa nation.

A Brief Biography

            Tiyo Soga was born in 1829 to Nosuthu, the chief wife of Old Soga, who was a prominent counselor among the Ngquika Xhosa tribe living on the highly contested eastern frontier of the British Cape Colony in modern-day South Africa. Old Soga was an ardent disciple of Ntsikana – “an authentic African prophet” – who converted to Christianity in 1815 and developed a unique blend of Christianity that critiqued yet remained connected to traditional Xhosa religion and culture.[3] Like Ntsikana, Tiyo’s father was committed to his Xhosa chief and, unlike Ntsikana, fought with them in the frontier wars against the British colonists. While he remained suspicious of European missionaries, in general, Old Soga took an “accommodationist” approach to European settlers and their foreign culture, especially their new agricultural technologies and capitalist economics which he used to further establish his wealth and independence from Xhosa chiefs.[4]  The extent to which Old Soga felt at liberty from the communal pull of Xhosa society is exemplified by his refusal of Tiyo’s circumcision – an essential rite of passage that separated Xhosa men from boys. As a result of his father’s social and cultural location on the borders of Xhosa and settler life, Tiyo was already being set apart from his Xhosa kin at a very young age.

This cultural differentiation continued in Tiyo’s life as he learned basic literacy skills from his older brother and then attended a missionary school at the Tyumie Mission Station, which was headed by Rev. William Chalmers of the Glasgow Missionary Society and the United Presbyterian Church (UPC) of Scotland. When Tiyo was fifteen years old, Chalmers helped him gain entrance into the newly opened Lovedale Seminary, a training center for the Glasgow missionaries and local UPC members. At Lovedale, Tiyo learned English and studied Xhosa, geography, math, Latin, and Greek, but these studies were always secondary to Lovedale’s primary objective of religious education in the Scottish Presbyterian tradition.[5] The relational bonds created by his educational experience at Lovedale are evidenced by Tiyo’s reaction to the outbreak of the “War of the Axe” in early 1846: when the European missionaries fled, he fled with them instead of staying with the Xhosa people. As a result, he ended up in Scotland with William Govan, the former principal of Lovedale, during an extremely formative period of his life when he would receive further education at the Glasgow Free Church Seminary. Tiyo also developed what would become a very influential relationship with Rev. William Anderson of John Street Church, where he would be baptized in May 1848 before returning to the Eastern Cape later that year.[6] When he returned, Tiyo’s education and newfound familiarity with European culture positioned him for membership among a rising class of modern Xhosa elites who were positioned at the intersection between the Xhosa and the colonists.

In the wake of the “War of the Axe”, the Xhosa lands where Tiyo was born and raised were annexed as a separate colony, British Kaffraria, and British magistrates were installed to rule over Xhosa chiefs. Soga began his life in this new, tense environment as the schoolmaster of the Uniondale mission station. He faced severe challenges in this position as the parents of his “red” students – non-Christian Xhosas who followed traditional Xhosa custom – became suspicious of this uncircumcised Xhosa “boy” posing as a man; the school eventually broke up.[7] In a place where the traditional way of life was under severe threat from violent colonial encroachment, Tiyo’s elite, educated status and his lack of traditional markers of identity and authority combined to mark him as strange and untrustworthy in the eyes of those he had hoped to evangelize and “elevate” using the methods of European civilization.

When another frontier war erupted in 1850, Soga fled British Kaffraria and eventually made it to back to Scotland in 1851. On this stay, he would pursue a theological education and training as a missionary at the Divinity Hall of the UPC at Glasgow University. Soga used this time to deepen his existing relationships with Rev. Anderson and the John Street Church while excelling in his studies. After five years, he was ordained in the John Street Church as the first African minister of the UPC. In February of the following year, he married Scottish native Janet Burnside. After a highly successful six month fundraising tour of Scottish churches, Soga left Scotland for the last time in April 1857 to return to British Kaffraria and begin his service as an ordained missionary.[8] After nearly eight years spent under the influence of modern, Western educational institutions on European soil, Soga’s fundraising success testifies to the degree of acceptance and respect he had achieved in European society. Unfortunately, it also provides a stark contrast to the various levels and forms of rejection he struggled against from European settlers and his Xhosa kin throughout his ministry among the Xhosa.

Upon his second return home, Soga was shocked by the devastation among the Xhosa people as a result of the Cattle-Killing Movement which had ended only a few months before his arrival. The land he had come to evangelize was depopulated and many who remained struggled to survive through famine and starvation. In spite of this, Soga did not lose hope and pressed forward to found a new mission station at Umgwali – not far from the Tyumie Mission Station where he lived as a child. Soga faced a wide array of challenges to his ministry including extreme racism and violence from the European settler community, entrenched resistance to his mission of Christianity and civilization from the Xhosa people and their chiefs, and a prolonged personal health battle with tuberculosis. With a strong sense of purpose and determination, Soga paved his own way as an elite Xhosa missionary and built a church at Umgwali while traveling throughout British Kaffraria preaching and teaching among the Xhosa. He kept strong relationships with his missionary friends and served as an adviser to colonial authorities. He broadened the scope of his work through his many literary achievements including his Xhosa-language translation of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, a collection of Xhosa hymns, and several articles in the Xhosa-language publication Indaba in addition to articles in other local newspapers. At Umgwali, Soga resolved to give all of himself in his missionary service as he struggled to faithfully engage the severely threatened and vulnerable Xhosa population with a gospel wrapped in the garments of European civilization.

After ten years of grueling mission work at Umgwali with unimpressive results in terms of the number of converts, Soga was called farther east away from his home territory into Xhosa land that was still just beyond the reach of official British control. He settled in Tutura and founded another mission station where he served for the remaining years of his life. It was here that Soga tried to use the church as a place to “foster unity between the two factions” within the Xhosa tribes created by the Cattle-Killing Movement.[9] In addition, Soga served as an adviser to the Xhosa chief Sarhili which afforded him the opportunity to play a more active role in advocating on behalf of the Xhosa people as British colonists continued to advance into Xhosa territory in the wake of the Cattle-Killing. Soga also began working on an updated translation of the Xhosa Bible. In April 1871, he completed construction on his church at Tutura, but, sadly, succumbed to his protracted battle with tuberculosis and passed away only four months later. Soga struggled to be accepted among the Xhosa people as a modern missionary in the world of the 19th century British Empire, but he remained faithful to his people. In a letter of advice written while close to death to his sons who were away in Scotland for their education, he made himself clear: “take your place in the world as coloured, not as white men; as [Xhosas], not as Englishmen.”[10] Soga was Xhosa, but Xhosa in a distinctly new way.

The Xhosa Cattle-Killing Movement

            According to Adam Ashforth, “explaining the Cattle-Killing is an historian’s nightmare and an hermeneutician’s dream.”[11] Details and eye witness accounts are hard to come by and the story is easily molded to fit the agenda of whoever is telling it. The immediate origins of the movement are found in the vision of a young Xhosa prophetess, Nongqawuse, “in which a ‘new people’ from overseas announced to her that the ancestors were preparing themselves to return to life with new cattle.”[12] When Nongqawuse informed her uncle Mhlakaza, who was already a known prophet, he verified the truth of the prophecy and claimed that the “new people” were ancestral spirits who would rise from the dead along with hordes of cattle and drive out the European settlers if the Xhosa people obeyed their command: cease all forms of witchcraft, kill all their cattle, and burn all their corn crops.[13] Word of the prophecy spread across Xhosaland until it reached Sarhili, the Xhosa king and chief of the Gcaleka tribe, who made a personal journey to confirm the prophecy and returned a firm believer. He began killing his cattle immediately and ordered all Xhosa to comply with the prophetic order.[14]

The Nongqawuse prophecy failed and the Xhosa people were left in ruins.  According to J. B. Peires, author of the most well-known modern historical account of this event, at least 40,000 Xhosa lives were lost along with roughly 400,000 cattle and more than 600,000 acres of land.[15] Nearly 150,000 Xhosa were displaced and thousands found themselves trapped in a legally enforced system of indentured servitude as they sought relief from the British in the Cape Colony.[16] Under the combined weight of the extreme loss of life and property and the subsequent loss of freedom and dignity, the “national, cultural and economic integrity” of the Xhosa people “finally collapsed” and significant number of those who survived had little prospect other than being assimilated into a European-dominated society as the economic underclass.[17]

As Soga identified in his journal, a long-lasting effect of this disaster was the deep divide it caused between those who believed the prophecy and complied with its orders and those who refused. Approximately 85% of Xhosas are thought to have been believers in the prophecy and were known as the amathamba – “the soft ones” – while the unbelievers were called amagogotya – “the hard ones.”[18] Peires’ analysis reveals how the amathamba were largely “a party of the common people” who wanted to show their loyalty and submissiveness to Xhosa society by giving up what little they had to offer for the common good.[19] When the prophecy failed, many of the amathamba who survived would have been in a particularly vulnerable and destitute situation. Alternatively, the amagogotya were primarily composed of “sensible men” who had “benefited from the new opportunities offered by the colonial presence” and who had “broken free from the trammels of the precolonial order.”[20] On average, the amagogotya Xhosa were already wealthy and held positions of authority in the social hierarchy. Old Soga, Tiyo’s father and a prominent counselor to the Ngqika Xhosa chief Sandile, is a representative case.[21] After the prophecy failed, the wealthy and powerful members of the amagogotya party would have amassed even more wealth and power relative to their amathamba kin. Therefore, the failure of the Nongqawuse prophecy introduced new divisions within Xhosa society that tore apart families, chiefdoms, and tribes as believers suffered disproportionately more than non-believers and were far less equipped to respond to colonial pressure in the wake of this tragedy.

Several explanations for the mass slaughter of cattle and crops by the Xhosa have been given. The first theory originated with colonial administrators who claimed that the prophecy was a delusional, “kamikaze-style” plot devised by Xhosa chiefs to drive the peasant people into desperation which would lead to an all-out war against the colony as the Xhosa people did whatever they could to survive.[22] Helen Bradford notes how this theory supported “savage repression” by the Cape Colony in the form of ruthless militias, massive land seizing, coerced cheap labor, and “schadenfreude over ‘enemies’ who starved to death in their tens of thousands.”[23] Peires links the slaughter of cattle with the devastating epidemic of cattle lungsickness which preceded the acceptance of the Nongqawuse prophecy in most Xhosa villages.[24] As this disease encountered the already “exceptionally battered and divided society” of the Xhosa, it combined with millenarian hopes for a new world free of European aggression voiced in the Nongqawuse prophecy which required that all the diseased, “impure” cattle be slaughtered so they would not defile the resurrected cattle of the ancestors.[25]

According to Peires, the millenarian logic of the Nongqawuse prophecy made perfect sense to the Xhosa in light of their Christian and pre-Christian beliefs concerning resurrection and an expected redeemer.[26] However, Bradford insists that the “enthusiasm for cataclysms and resurrection” which precipitated the Nongqawuse era only becomes logical within the context of “a decade of mind-numbing death, destruction and extraordinary phenomena.”[27] She criticizes the work of “respected white scholars” like Peires who utilize very few African-language sources and rely too heavily on state-sanctioned, English-language colonial records.[28] Bradford returns to African-language sources which show that, “as cattle-killers, [Xhosa] pastoralists were outranked by a European plague and war.”[29]

Whether the cattle slaughter and ensuing famine were the result of aggressive European colonists or of delusional Xhosa prophets and peasants or some combination of both, it seems clear, as Shirley Thorpe notes in her analysis, that this tragedy was “a desperate [attempt] to regain hope… when it seemed that all avenues of optimism were being closed.”[30] Beneath the complex mix of cultural, religious, political, geographical, and biological factors which led to cattle killing, this millenarian event can be seen as a “desperate cry for help”: “one ultimate attempt to be heard either by outside spiritual forces which would come to their aid, or by neighbouring fellowmen with whom they were destined to share their future.”[31]

Soga’s Initial Response

            Only one month after his return to British Kaffraria, Soga penned a letter to his trusted Scottish friend and mentor Rev. Anderson dated August 1857 which describes his first impressions of life back in his homeland after the Cattle-Killing. A sizable portion of this letter recounts Tiyo’s candid feelings about the destruction he witnessed among the Xhosa people as a result of the Nongqawuse prophecy and his interpretation of this “most critical period of the [Xhosa] nation.”[32] Soga uses very derogatory language to describe the tragedy: his “poor infatuated countrymen” have fallen prey to “an awful delusion” and are “reaping the fruits of having been the dupes of designing impostors.”[33] This extremely negative language reveals the extent of Soga’s disdain for traditional Xhosa prophets and religion as well as the distance he perceives between himself, as an educated man, and his “delusional” Xhosa peers. Soga places the responsibility for their present suffering entirely in their own hands; they had “believed a lie” and “committed national suicide.”[34] While he is shocked by the magnitude of depopulation due to famine and the inestimably high death toll, Soga’s primary reaction is an overwhelming sense of pity for these people who are lost and dying in the darkness of their customs.

As Soga continues his letter, he expresses a range of emotions about the future of the Xhosa people and his ministry among them. He finds comfort in how “thousands have taken refuge in the Colony” where “even their greatest enemies… have held out a helping hand.”[35] At the same time, he is fearful: “the continued existence of the [Xhosa], as a nation, has become problematical [because]… the present distress is fast dissolving the ties that bound the people to their chiefs,” which is “one of the most prominent features of their national character.”[36] However, his grave concern is tempered by his faith in God’s sovereign power to use even “terrible things” to accomplish God’s purposes. With eyes of faith, Soga looks upon the immense suffering of the Xhosa and can “see the future salvation of my countrymen” as they are forced to become better farmers and their “hardened hearts” are “softened” by their affliction.[37] Finally, his faith leads him to optimism. He is confident of “being flooded by starving men, women, and children” once the mission station is opened and predicts a future influx of Xhosa who will want to return to their land after their period of recovery in the Cape Colony.[38] Once the “present storm of suffering” passes, Soga assures Rev. Anderson that the land will be replenished by “an industrious and peaceable [Xhosa] population.”[39]

As the prior discussion of the Xhosa cattle killing and its aftermath shows, Soga’s sense of comfort in colonialist goodwill and his confidence in the eventual restoration of the Xhosa people to their land were dangerously naive. He was right to be fearful about the future of the Xhosa. Their history as a unified federation of chiefdoms living on ancestral lands according to their unique customs had reached a turning point from which there would be no return. Their “salvation” would not consist in a return to their territory and the expulsion of the Europeans. Rather, it would be found in their ability to adapt to life in an increasingly European society, which would necessarily include an acceptance of Christianity. As a Xhosa person who was concerned about preserving the core aspects of Xhosa society and who was also well trained in the world of European civilization and Christianity, Soga was uniquely equipped to lead the Xhosa through this difficult period of forced evolution. As William Donovan notes in his biography, Soga was “the embodiment of this principle of confidence and belief in the Black race” to “elevate itself” to a place of dignity and equality alongside the Europeans.[40] Soga knew the work ahead of him would be long and arduous, but he resolved to forge a new, hopeful path into the future for the Xhosa using “the gospel alone… [Christian] civilization alone.”[41] The written word was an essential feature of this “Christian civilization” and Soga would use it to spread his message as a way to prepare the Xhosa for transformation into a “civilized” people – which was the only available option he perceived after the devastation of the failed Nongqawuse prophecy.

Soga’s Response to the Xhosa Crisis through Indaba

            Five years after Soga wrote his letter to Rev. Anderson about his pitiable Xhosa kin and their “national suicide,” he published a very different piece of writing: an article titled “A National Newspaper” in the inaugural edition of the news magazine Indaba which was produced at Lovedale Seminary.[42] Between 1862 and 1864, Soga’s eight Indaba articles were a primary contribution towards his goal of using literacy “to create a pan-Xhosa, pan-African vision of Christianity.”[43] The first article, which was actually a letter to the editor, expresses Soga’s three-fold agenda for Indaba: first, it would become a source of fact-based news reports, especially concerning the weather, which would debunk “superstitious” explanations of events; second, it would serve as a secure collection site for hearing and sifting through Xhosa tradition; third, it would be the place where Xhosas could find advice and counsel about how to navigate the tension of  being Xhosa within the new world of European civilization. In his Indaba articles, Soga is not simply a writer; he a reliable news anchor, a mediator of cultural and historical knowledge, and a trusted adviser who “envisions Xhosa culture renewed through literacy” – and not through violent revolt or cattle slaughter.[44]

In his first Indaba article, “A National Newspaper,” Soga’s joy, anticipation, and – most importantly – his hope about the prospects of this literary resource for the Xhosa people are impossible to miss. The first pillar of Soga’s hope is founded upon the paper’s function as a voice of “truth about the affairs of the nation.”[45] In the wake of the Nongqawuse prophecy, Soga is all too aware of how the Xhosa’s love for conversation makes them vulnerable to becoming the “dupes of deceivers under the guise of relating genuine facts.”[46] Indaba would be an “enterprise for banning falsehood”[47] that “offers access to reliable, reassuring information about the future, for people weary and wary of millennial dreaming.”[48] Soga brings this anticipated function of Indaba to life in his 1863 article “Into the European Interior,” which begins by saying “to know by hearsay without seeing does not satisfy fully at all times.”[49] The article then records Soga’s first-hand observations concerning the state of tribes living farther inland who were experiencing drought at a much higher level than the Xhosa living along the coast. As a way of immunizing the Xhosa against “prophetic” explanations of the drought, Soga demythologizes the drought’s causes by making a direct link between extreme deforestation practices and changing weather patterns. His goal is to provide factual evidence that persuades the Xhosa to use their grain wisely so that they are prepared for the coming famine caused by this inland drought. Through this article, Soga uses Indaba to put Xhosa hearts and minds, which he knows “do not like to be startled by unusual phenomena,” at peace.[50]

Soga envisions a second, even more significant and hopeful function for Indaba as a “beautiful vessel for preserving the stories, fables, legends, customs, anecdotes and history of the tribes.”[51] He calls on the “veterans” of the Xhosa tribes to “disgorge all they know. Everything must be imparted to the nation as a whole.”[52] Soga makes his vision very clear to the Xhosa people: “Let us resurrect our ancestral fore-bears [emphasis added]” by bringing “all anecdotes connected with the life of the nation… to this big corn-pit our national newspaper, Indaba.”[53] According to literary scholar Jennifer Wenzel, Soga wanted to “reanimate the buried Xhosa past” in a new way for a new time that was fast approaching:

This exhortation to fill the “national corn-pit” effects an ancestral return different from that promised by Nongqawuse: Tiyo Soga reverses the causal logic of Nongqawuse’s claim six years earlier, that by emptying grain pits, believers would prepare the way for ancestors who would return to fill them. Tiyo Soga directly confronts Nongqawuse’s prophecy and its costs… The singular image of the newspaper as national corn pit reflects Tiyo Soga’s commitment to stewarding (or editing) the Xhosa past through a critical, paradoxical moment: the technology of literacy facilitated such archival impulses, yet the ideology of literacy, as part of a civilizing project, threatened to sweep away the culture constituted in orality.[54]


Soga himself participates in this literary practice of resurrection by contributing two articles that recover and preserve Xhosa culture. In an article titled “The Death of Namba, Son of Maqoma,” Soga provides a highly detailed account of his experience at the homestead of the dying chief Namba. He provides very little commentary in the article; emphasizing how his goal is simply to “tell the story” for all to hear. Soga does chime in to berate “witchdoctors” who fail to diagnose the ailing chief and also to remind his readers of the chief’s respected position in Xhosa society.  In another article, he retells an old Xhosa story called “Gxuluwe and the Bushmen.” The story is set in old times and involves a young Xhosa boy named Gxuluwe who “outwits (and outwaits) a group of aggressive San” tribesmen he meets while roaming through the bush.[55] It was an entertaining story that Soga hoped would “instill in his literate Christian audience an identification with pre-Christian Xhosa history.”[56] In these articles, Soga acts as a cultural and historical mediator who “stewards” Xhosa customs and traditions in a way that would preserve the dignity of the unique Xhosa heritage among a people whose very identity was being challenged and reshaped by its encounter with the unrelenting force of European civilization.

The third and final purpose that Soga identified for Indaba is not stated explicitly in his inaugural letter to the editor, but it becomes apparent through his later contributions which comprise his largest set of material in the paper. In his final four articles, Soga looks critically upon imported European practices and offers his wisdom on how Xhosa people should avoid or interact with these features of European society, but he also turns a critical eye towards Xhosa people who disrespect foundational Xhosa customs which are essential for their identity. Soga was using his cultural knowledge, which he hoped to collect and store in Indaba, to invite “all Xhosa to participate in the conversation about how to evolve for the future.”[57] Soga’s two articles focusing on the potential harm caused by uncritically adopting European ways – “Intoxicating Liquor” and “Loans and Debts” – “turned the civilising project on its back” by cross-examining “the cultural assumptions that underpinned it.”[58] In “Christians and Chiefs” and “Mission People and Red People,” Soga directed his energy towards healing the compound fractures of Xhosa society by arguing that “Christians could be faithful both to God and their ‘heathen’ chiefs” and by “urging [Xhosa “mission people”] to create a spirit of cooperation in their exchanges with non-Christian [“red”] Xhosa.”[59] As he identified “positive and negative qualities to both Xhosa and [European] behaviour and ‘custom’ alike,”[60] Soga used the Xhosa-European integration experienced in his self-identity to serve as an adviser and counselor for the new life among the Europeans he foresaw for the Xhosa people.

When compared to Soga’s attitude towards the Xhosa and his take on their future seen in the letter he wrote to Rev. Anderson upon his return to British Kaffraria in 1857, Soga’s writing for Indaba reveals a remarkable maturation in his approach. While he is still very critical towards the “superstitions” of traditional Xhosa religion, he comes to realize that his criticism must be matched by an equal effort to provide his people with factual data and reports which they could use to make informed decisions. At the same time, he recognizes the inherent value of the unique culture of the people he once called “delusional” and he gave himself to the work of preserving this identity. After five years among the Xhosa, he has personally experienced the deep fissures in their society and desired to work for unity around a common, shared past. Finally, Soga moves past his feelings of pity he expressed for the uncivilized Xhosas and takes up the hard work of compassion and solidarity through his attempts to bridge the gap between himself and his people. In order to work for their reconciliation, he had to re-assert his place, or perhaps create a new place, in the Xhosa community as a Xhosa first and foremost. Through Indaba, Soga uses the power of his pen to compose a song of unity, peace, and hope for a people who were crying out for help in a time of deep division, violent strife, and hopeless despair.


            Tiyo Soga lived during a period of extreme violence in the history of his people. This violence was manifested physically in the form of frontier wars with British colonists, but it was also experienced through the cultural violence of European missionaries whose “good news” was typically a tightly bound mixture of European civilization and the gospel of Jesus Christ. This external violence soon became internalized as the Xhosa people looked to the prophecy of Nongqawuse for hope in the midst of their struggle to retain their land and their way of life. The devastating failure of this prophecy combined with the ensuing efforts of the colonial government to use the Xhosa crisis to their advantage created a hell-scape for the Xhosa people and put their future as a distinct people in serious jeopardy. As a Xhosa person groomed on a mission station and trained as a European missionary in Scotland, Soga was given a privileged position that spared him from experiencing the same level of violence as his Xhosa kin.[61]

When Soga returned home to British Kaffraria to serve his people as a missionary after six years abroad in Scotland, the violent destruction of his people was unavoidable. His initial response was one of genuine shock and disgust at this “national suicide” mixed with a naïve belief that God would use this self-imposed “affliction” to transform the Xhosa into a “peaceable and industrious people.” He felt pity, but, as a result of his privileged status, this pity was felt from a safe distance that allowed him to think of his people more as a broken piece of equipment that required the skill of a well-trained practitioner in European civilization and Christianity to fix. Over the course of five years of mostly unsuccessful ministry, Soga came to realize that his distanced approach would not work. With Indaba, Soga used his education and European credentials – the constituent elements of his privilege – to join God’s work of salvation among the Xhosa people as they moved forward together as new kind of people into what Soga hoped would be a more hopeful future.

In a way similar to Tiyo Soga, I too have left my home to receive education and training that I hope will equip me for God’s service among the people I have left: a rural community in west central Alabama whose population is 75% African-American with a poverty rate of 38%.[62] As a Euro-American person raced as white who was raised in a comfortable, relatively wealthy household, who holds a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a dual-masters degree, I hold – like Tiyo Soga – a relative place of privilege among many of those in my hometown. Tiyo Soga’s life, especially his work of ministry through Indaba, teaches me about the necessity of developing a ministry of compassionate solidarity that dismantles the destructive power of privilege by using the very status symbols that bring privilege to contribute towards the creation of a new community founded on equality, mutuality, and respect.

[1] Tiyo Soga, The Journal and Selected Writings of the Reverend Tiyo Soga, ed. Donovan Williams (Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1983), 42.

[2] J. B. Peires, “The Central Beliefs of the Xhosa Cattle-Killing,” Journal of African History 28, no. 1: 43.

[3] Willem Saayman, Christian Mission in South Africa: Political and Ecumenical (Pretoria: University of South Africa, 1991), 54-56.

[4] M. Gideon Khabela, The Struggle of the Gods (Lovedale, South Africa: Lovedale Press, 1996), 9-11.

[5] Khabela, 14.

[6] Donovan Williams, Umfundisi: A Biography of Tiyo Soga 1829-1871 (Lovedale, South Africa: Lovedale Press, 1978), 12-13.

[7] Ibid., 19.

[8] Williams, 24-26.

[9] Tolly Bradford, Prophetic Identities: Indigenous Missionaries on British Colonial Frontiers, 1850-75, (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012), 138.

[10] John A. Chalmers, Tiyo Soga: A Page of South African Mission Work, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, 1878), 430.

[11] Adam Ashforth, “The Xhosa Cattle Killing and the Politics of Memory,” Sociological Forum 6, no. 3 (September 1991): 581.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Steve Kowit, “The Mass Suicide of the Xhosa.” Skeptic 11, no. 1 (March 2004): 53.

[14] Ibid.

[15] J. B. Peires, The Dead Will Arise: Nongqawuse and the Great Xhosa Cattle-Killing Movement of 1867-7, (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1989), 319.

[16] Kowit, 56.

[17] J. B. Peires, The Dead Will Arise, 321.

[18] J. B. Peires, “’Soft’ Believers and ‘Hard’ Unbelievers in the Xhosa Cattle Killing,” The Journal of African History 27, no. 3 (1986): 443.

[19] Ibid., 460.

[20] Ibid., 460-61.

[21] Ibid., 457.

[22] Kowit, 54.

[23] Helen Bradford, “Akukho Ntaka Inokubhabha Ngephiko Elinye (No Bird Can Fly on One Wing): The ‘Cattle-Killing Delusion’ and Black Intellectuals, c1840-1910.” African Studies 67, no. 2 (August 2008):  209-210.

[24] Peires, “The Central Beliefs of the Xhosa Cattle-Killing,” 63.

[25] Ibid., 45, 63.

[26] Peires, “The Central Beliefs of the Xhosa Cattle-Killing,” 45.

[27] Helen Bradford, 216.

[28] Ibid., 210-211.

[29] Ibid., 217.

[30] Shirley Thorpe, “Religious Response to Stress: The Xhosa Cattle Killing and the Indian Ghost Dance.” Missionalia 12, no. 3 (November 1, 1984): 126.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Chalmers, 137.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid., 138.

[36] Ibid., 139.

[37] Ibid., 140.

[38] Chalmers, 138, 140-141.

[39] Ibid., 141.

[40] Williams, 101-103.

[41] Soga, 39.

[42] William Donovan, ed. Journal and Selected Writings of the Revered Tiyo Soga  (Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1983), 150.

[43] Tolly Bradford, 97.

[44] Jennifer Wenzel, Bulletproof: Afterlives of Anticolonial Prophecy in South Africa and Beyond (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 50.

[45] Soga, 151.

[46] Ibid., 152.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Wenzel, 49.

[49] Soga, 163.

[50] Ibid., 153.

[51] Ibid., 152.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Soga, 153.

[54] Wenzel, 48, 51.

[55] Tolly Bradford, 96.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Tolly Bradford, 142.

[58] Ndletyana, Mcebisi. “Tiyo Soga” in African Intellectuals in 19th and Early 20th Century: South Africa, ed. Mcebisi Ndletyana, 17-30 (Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2008), 26.

[59] Tolly Bradford, 144, 96.

[60] Vivian Bickford-Smith, “African Nationalist or British Loyalist? The Complicated Case of Tiyo Soga,” History Workshop Journal 71, Spring 2011: 88.

[61] While this paper only briefly mentions it, the racism Soga experienced from British settlers and colonists in British Kaffraria should not be ignored or devalued. Even his education, missionary credentials, and his marriage to a Scottish woman were not enough to privilege him above the reach of degrading forms of racism.

[62] Quick Facts, “Sumter County,” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010., (accessed August 1, 2013).

Donovan on the Nature of True Missionary Work

To approach each culture with the respect due to it as the very place wherein resides the possibility of salvation and holiness and grace. To approach the people of any culture or nation, not as individuals, but as community. To plan to stay not one day longer than is necessary in any one place. To give the people nothing, literally nothing, but the unchanging, supracultural, uninterpreted gospel before baptism. To help them expand that gospel into a creed and a way of life after baptism. To enable them to pray as Christians. To leave them the bible towards the day when they can read it and use it as a living letter in their lives. To insist that they themselves be their own future missionaries. To link them with the outside church in unity, and the outside world in charity and justice. To agree with them that baptism is indeed everything; that the reception of baptism is the acceptance of the total responsibility and the full, active sacramental power of the church, the eucharistic community with a mission. To encourage them to trust in the Spirit given at baptism, and to use the powers and gifts and charisms given to the community by the Spirit. And then the final step. The final missionary step as regards the people of any nation or culture, and the most important lesson we will ever teach them – is to leave them.

Vincent Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered