More Information
ISBN: 9781839730627
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 17
Publication Date: 14/06/2021
Pages: 320
Language: English

Church and Mission in the Context of War

A Descriptive Missiological Study of the Response of the Baptist Church in Central Africa to the War in Eastern Congo between 1990 and 2011


The church in the Democratic Republic of Congo is no stranger to conflict, yet little research has been done on the impact of war in shaping the local church’s understanding of itself and its mission. In this in-depth study, Dr. Eraston Kambale Kighoma traces the survival and theological development of the Baptist Church in Central Africa over a twenty-year period of conflict. Utilizing a combination of descriptive, contextual and integrative approaches, he examines the effect of war on the church’s theology in action, especially its understanding and practice of mission. This study sheds new light on existing theories of missions, while offering specific insight into the church’s missionary task in contexts of conflict. It offers an excellent addition to missiological studies for scholars and practitioners alike.

Author Bios

Eraston Kambale Kighoma

ERASTON KAMBALE KIGHOMA gained his PhD in Theology from the International Leadership University, Nairobi, Kenya (in conjunction with South Africa Theological Seminary, Johannesburg, South Africa). He is the executive director of the Centre for Intercultural Missions and Research and also serves as a coordinator for the DRC with the Lausanne Movement Care of Creation program. Dr. Kighoma teaches on mission and intercultural studies in a variety of seminaries and universities.


This is both a seminal and profound body of work.

Over the past century the evangelical church has become global; in fact, the majority of its adherents (over 65 percent) now live in the Majority World. As the church has grown, we are beginning to see the emergence of a new generation of indigenous missionary leaders who are seeking to wed missiological reflection and praxis in a way that both challenges Western perspectives and brings fresh life to the mission of the global church. Eraston Kighoma is one such leader.

This work has much to commend it, offering deep and challenging insights into the Christian attitude to suffering, war and adversity, as well as highlighting fresh and renewed models of contextual mission. It has been written by someone who has sought to live out these principles in difficult circumstances. The humble reader will therefore be rebuked, enriched and challenged by reading this significant work.

Lindsay Brown, DDiv
Former General Secretary, IFES
Former International Director, Lausanne Movement

Eraston Kighoma has produced a comprehensive study attempting “to develop an understanding of church, mission and ministry in the context of war and the theology that underlies the church’s action.”

Dr. Kighoma has himself lived in a context of war since the early 1990s in the DRC. He has had the courage and the calling to remain in that environment with his family, believing that the gospel could and should make a difference. Through the lives and testimonies of Eraston and many others whom he has discipled, this difference is evidenced through their courage and, at times, deep pain as they have sought to reconcile God’s goodness in the midst of terrible acts of war.

This is a unique and important piece of research and I commend it to everyone seeking to understand the role of intentional discipleship and mission in the context of war.

Malcolm McGregor
Former SIM International Director
Associate Director for Pastoral Care, Scholars Programme, Langham Partnership

Humanity is complex and human tragedy such as war gives us a prism by which we can better understand our lived realities. This is the heart of this work where the author has meticulously examined discipleship in the context of war. He argues that in a time of war and violence, God demonstrates his mission through the local church pastor. Thus, the author rejects the simplistic narrative that the experience of the Christian leader in a time of war and suffering is a story of survival. While recognizing that war is tragic and devastating to humanity, the author identifies a silver lining to bring discipleship to bear in such times of tragedy. The DRC is well known for its great natural resources but the country is also a reservoir of much knowledge that informs and equips scholars, researchers and other leaders in navigating matters of discipleship and leadership in the context of war. I highly recommend this work for scholars and graduate students as well as seasoned researchers and policy makers around the globe.

David Ngaruiya, PhD
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs,
International Leadership University, Nairobi, Kenya

This is a ground-breaking consideration of the response of one Christian community to two decades of war in Eastern Congo. It contains probing analysis and argues convincingly that the experience of war has had a profound influence on Baptist mission, on local theologies and on the church community’s attitude to violence. The nature of that impact is set out in what is a rich multi-dimensional investigation. Although this book is rooted in a particular context, the missiological insights it offers are important for many parts of the world in which violence is the dark background against which Christian witness takes place. I am delighted to commend Eraston Kighoma’s crucial study.

Ian M. Randall, PhD
Research Associate,
Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide
Senior Research Fellow,
International Baptist Theological Study Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Introduction

  1. 1.1 Background
  2. 1.2 Problem Statement
  3. 1.3 Objectives
  4. 1.4 Purpose and Value
  5. 1.5 Limitations and Delimitations
  6. 1.6 Presuppositions
  7. 1.7 Conceptual Framework
  8. 1.8 Design and Methodology
    1. 1.8.1 Research Design
    2. 1.8.2 Population and Sampling
    3. 1.8.3 Data Collection
    4. 1.8.4 Data Analysis
    5. 1.8.5 Validation and Verification
  9. 1.9 Summary
Chapter 2: Church, Mission, and War – Literature Review
  1. 2.1 Introduction
  2. 2.2 Theories and Views on War
    1. 2.2.1 Just War Theory
    2. 2.2.2 Pacifism theory
    3. 2.2.3 Crusade/Holy War
    4. 2.2.4 Nonviolence Theory
    5. 2.2.5 The Church Fathers on War
    6. 2.2.6 Protestant Reformers and War
    7. 2.2.7 Toward a Theory of Church Survival in the Context of War
  3. 2.3 Church Missions and Wars
    1. 2.3.1 Identity Conflicts and the Transmission of the Christian Faith
    2. 2.3.2 Church Growth during Wartime
    3. 2.3.3 African Wars Framework: Ethnic Clashes and Wars in Eastern Congo
    4. 2.3.4 Direct Results of War
  4. 2.4 Views on Migration and Mission
  5. 2.5 War – an Avenue for Church Missions
  6. 2.6 Church Mission: Advocating for Peace, Justice and Harmony
    1. 2.6.1 The Church and War
    2. 2.6.2 War and Social Development
  7. 2.7 Summary and Gaps in Existing Literature
Chapter 3: Church, Mission and War – Biblical Perspectives
  1. 3.1 Introduction
  2. 3.2 Biblical View of Missions
    1. 3.2.1 Missions and War in the Old Testament
    2. 3.2.2 Church Missions in the Gospels
    3. 3.2.3 Church Mission in Pauline Writings
    4. 3.2.4 Conclusion
  3. 3.3 Matthew 5:38–45: Not War but Peace as the Christian Response to War
    1. 3.3.1 Introduction
    2. 3.3.2 Structure
    3. 3.3.3 Context of Matthew 5:38–45
    4. 3.3.4 Historical Background and Authorship
    5. 3.3.5 Retaliation and Nonviolence (5:38–43)
    6. 3.3.6 Love of the Enemy (5:43–45)
    7. 3.3.7 Conclusion and Theological Meaning of Matthew 5:38–45
  4. 3.4 Acts 18:1–4: Power, Identity Conflict and Migration and Missions
    1. 3.4.1 Introduction
    2. 3.4.2 Context of Acts 18:1–4
    3. 3.4.3 Historical Background of Acts 18:1–4
    4. 3.4.4 Analysis and Comment
    5. 3.4.5 Conclusion and Theological Meaning of Acts 18:1–4
  5. 3.5 Hebrews 10:32–34: The Experience of War Provides Guidance for a Suffering Church and Discipleship
    1. 3.5.1 Introduction
    2. 3.5.2 Context of Hebrews 10:32–34
    3. 3.5.3 Historical Background of Hebrews 10
    4. 3.5.4 Christians and Vengeance
    5. 3.5.5 The Value of Church’s Past Experience in Context (Hebrews 10:32–34)
    6. 3.5.6 Church Survival during Hardship
    7. 3.5.7 Conclusion and Theological Meaning of Hebrews 10:32–34
  6. 3.6 Summary
Chapter 4: Historical and Ethnical Context of Eastern Congo from 1990 to 2011
  1. 4.1 Introduction
  2. 4.2 Ethnic Violence and War in Eastern Congo: Root Causes
  3. 4.3 Ethnic Wars in the Early 1990s (1990–1994)
  4. 4.4 Eastern Congo between 1994 and 1996
  5. 4.5 First Congo War/AFDL (1996–1997)
  6. 4.6 The Second Congo War (1998–2003)
  7. 4.7 Transitional Government and Elections (2003–2006)
  8. 4.8 Eastern Congo between 2006 and 28 November 2011
  9. 4.9 Congo War Against Women and Children
  10. 4.10 Eastern Congo and a Mining War
  11. 4.11 Conclusion
Chapter 5: The Nature of Church Missions before and during the War
  1. 5.1 Introduction
  2. 5.2 Demographic Information
    1. 5.2.1 Codes and Usage
  3. 5.3 Nature of Missions before the War
    1. 5.3.1 Oral Witness before the War
    2. 5.3.2 Discipleship before the War
    3. 5.3.3 Involvement in Social Concerns before War
  4. 5.4 The Nature of Missions during the War
    1. 5.4.1 Oral Witness during the War
    2. 5.4.2 Discipleship during the War
    3. 5.4.3 Involvement in Social Concerns during War
  5. 5.5 Summary
Chapter 6: Christian Leaders’ Experiences of Missions before and during the War
  1. 6.1 Introduction
  2. 6.2 Experiences of Christian Leaders Involved in Missions in the Context of War
    1. 6.2.1 Stories of Christian Leaders Involved in Missions during War
    2. 6.2.2 Personal Suffering Related to Missions during War
    3. 6.2.3 Family’s Suffering during the War
    4. 6.2.4 Suffering of Church Members during the War
    5. 6.2.5 Effects of the War on Witnessing, Discipleship and Social Involvement
  3. 6.3 The Effect of the War on the Understanding of Church Missions
    1. 6.3.1 Christian Leaders’ Understanding of Church Missions before the War
    2. 6.3.2 Church Leaders’ Understanding of Church Missions during the War
    3. 6.3.3 Effects of War on Christian Leaders’ Practice of Church Missions
    4. 6.3.4 Participants’ Suggestions for the Improvement of Missions
  4. 6.4 Church Position on War
    1. 6.4.1 Church Position on War before the War
    2. 6.4.2 The Church’s Position on War during the War
  5. 6.5 Summary
    1. 6.5.1 Experience of Church Leaders Involved in Church Missions during the War
    2. 6.5.2 The Effect of the Experience of War on the Understanding of the Church’s Missions
    3. 6.5.3 The Church’s Position on War before and during the War
    4. 6.5.4 Church’s Survival during War from the View of Respondents
    5. 6.5.5 Survival of the Church during War
Chapter 7: Toward an Understanding of Church and Mission in the Context of War
  1. 7.1 Introduction
  2. 7.2 The Experience of Missions in Eastern Congo and the Biblical Perspectives on the Response to Violence and War
    1. 7.2.1 Tensions between the Local Missiologies and Matthew 5:38–45
    2. 7.2.2 Tensions between the Local Missiologies and Acts 18:1–4
    3. 7.2.3 Tensions between the Local Missiologies and Hebrews 10:32–34
  3. 7.3 Missions in Eastern Congo and Contemporary Missiological Models
    1. 7.3.1 David Bosch’s Emerging Model and Kenosis Theology
    2. 7.3.2 Samuel Escobar’s Migration Model
    3. 7.3.3 Stephen Bevans’ Model of Constants in Context
  4. 7.4 Summary
Chapter 8: Conclusion
  1. 8.1 Introduction
  2. 8.2 Summary of Research
    1. 8.2.1 Relationship between the Missions of the CBCA before and during the War in the Period between
    2. 1990 to 2011
    3. 8.2.2 The Effects of the War in Eastern Congo between 1990 and 2011 on the Understanding and Practices of Missions in the CBCA
  3. 8.3 Contribution of the Research to Missions
  4. 8.4 Recommendations for Further Studies
  5. 8.5 Conclusion
Appendix A: Face-To-Face Interview Guide
  1. I. Nature of Missions
  2. II. Experience of Church leaders undertaking church missions during the war
  3. III. How did the experience of war affect the understanding of church missions in Eastern Congo?
  4. IV. What contemporary, contextual mission theory that incorporates experiential, biblical and missiological perspective can be developed based on the experience of the church in Eastern Congo and a biblical model?
  5. V. What else would you like me to know?
Appendix B: Focus Groups Interview Guide

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