Separation or Partnership in Founding Indigenous Church

Essay by echo123College, UndergraduateA, September 2014

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Eunil Cho (David)

Separation or Partnership in Founding Indigenous Church

Mojola Agbebi and William Blair both agree about the founding of indigenous church leadership. However, Agbebi and Blair appear to approach differently in establishing indigenous church leadership. While Agbebi advocates the native African Church's complete separation from European Christian influences, Blair encourages Korean Church's collective partnership with the American Protestant missionaries. In the writings of Agbebi and Blair, African Church's separation and Korean Church's partnership can be seen in three different areas: (1) leadership formation, (2) religious practices, and (3) the presence of foreign missionaries in the native lands.

Leadership Formation

First of all, in the founding of indigenous church leadership, while Agbebi advocates leadership of purely African natives, Blair promotes collaborative form of leadership of both the Korean Christians and the American missionaries. Agbebi strongly rejects the hierarchy of European Church and claims that there is no significance in such titles like "Bishop, Priest and Deacon."

Instead, Agbebi encourages African natives to build their own native foundation of African indigenous church according to African culture, norms, and spirituality. In particular, Agbebi criticizes Western African Independent Church Union for its "Europeanized African" leadership. This specific example reveals that independent churches in Africa were predominantly led by Europeans and Europeanized Africans at that time. Ultimately, Agbebi argues that a few, committed believers that are "purely African native" must develop African Church leadership that is separated from the European influences. Blair, on the other hand, portrays a collective form of leadership led by both Korean pastors and the American missionaries. One of the first things that the Americans did was to raise Korean pastors by establishing the first Protestant seminary in Korea. In Blair's writing, there are many events that show the cooperation, such as the first Presbytery in Korea,