The Restoration (Stone-Campbell) Movement in Africa: Its Beginning and Development

The Restoration (Stone-Campbell) Movement in Africa: Its Beginning and Development

Rev. Bosela Eale is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Systematic Theology and Theological Ethics of the University of South Africa.  He is an ordained pastor of the Community of the Disciples of Christ in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Before going to South Africa to pursue his doctoral degree, he served as Regional Minister of the Kinshasa district based in the capital of the country.  He is also author of a chapter in Chalice Introduction to Disciples Theology, edited by Peter Goodwin Heltzel.

I. Introduction

The Restoration Movement, also known historically as the “Stone-Campbell Movement”, is a Christian reform movement that arose in the United States of America during the Second Awakening in the late 18th century and early 19th century. The leading figures of the movement are Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell. Three modern North American religious groups trace their heritage back to the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. These are the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, the Church of Christ (a capella) in the United States and the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ also in the United States. Associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are the Churches of Christ in Australia, the Associated Churches of Christ (New Zealand), the United Reformed Church (UK) and others.

Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and others abandoned their formal denominations with hopes of establishing a church based solely on the Christianity taught in the New Testament. With their belief in Jesus as the only model and the Bible as the only sacred book, they endeavored to re-establish Christ’s church as it had been in the first century. The Restorationists believed that different organized denominations had constructed rules and practices that did not explicitly come from the Bible. Their goal was for everyone to abandon their denominational prerogatives and become united as one church under God’s rule.

Of particular importance to them was the recognition of the New Testament pattern of church with respect to the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the rejection of unbiblical names, creeds and ecclesiastical traditions.  All of these matters had contributed to divisions among the churches, whereas unity was the key principle of the Restoration Movement.

The Restoration Movement in Africa did not have the same impact in Central Africa, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, as it did in the USA and Canada.  What is more, the Restoration movement had a significant but again different impact in Southern Africa, in countries such as South Africa (which served as the hub of the movement), Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia. The only branch of the Restoration Movement among others that operated and had an impact in the Congolese nations is the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through its mission board and, more recently, through Global Ministries, while on the other hand the Churches of Christ is the branch of the movement that strongly impacted Southern Africa.  Hence the Restoration movement in Africa reflects the particular approaches of the different branches of the American movement.

II. The Restoration Movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire)

The Disciples of Christ mission in Africa started in the early 1880s when the Disciples of Christ in the United States and Canada, realizing that they had had no share in carrying the Gospel to that part of the world, developed a great concern for Africa. The Disciples of Christ in USA and Canada had sent missionaries to India, Japan, China and Jamaica, but Africa was left in her dark night. In his book “Fifty Years in Congo”, Herbert Smith, commenting on the challenge facing the mission in Africa, quotes Alexander Campbell when he writes, “Has Africa, debated, degraded, and downtrodden at home and abroad, no part nor portion in our Christian humanity and sympathies?”[1] On May 19, 1884, after the Executive Committee of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society passed a resolution to establish a mission in Africa as soon as possible, S.M. Jefferson was appointed as a missionary to the Congo. Upon arrival in England on his way to Congo, he interviewed Henry M. Stanley, the British explorer, and the other people about the cost of establishing a mission station in Africa. Since the cost they suggested was too high, the board of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society called him back to America.

The growing concern to have Disciples missionaries in the Congo soon outweighed the cost.  On January 1, 1897, two men were appointed as missionaries to the Congo, Ellsworth E. Farris and Dr. Harry N. Biddle. The two men reached Congo on May 27, 1897, and were directed to Bolenge, a mission site belonging to the American Baptist Missionary Society but ceded to the Foreign Christian Missionary Society. They opened Bolenge as the first missionary station of the Disciples in Congo on April 17, 1899.

Dr. Harry N. Biddle’s deteriorating health forced him to take an emergency leave from the Congo.  During the sea voyage back to the United States, he died upon landing at Palmas, Grand Canary Island, and was buried there. After the death of Dr. Biddle, Dr. and Mrs. Royal J. Dye were appointed for immediate service in the Congo. The Disciples of Christ missionary work was concentrated in Equator province, especially in the Southern part of that province of the Congo.

II.1. The State of the Restoration Tradition in the DRC

The purpose of the work of the Disciples of Christ in Congo Mission (DCCM) was not a “Restoration Movement” but rather evangelization with the intention of making a national church established on three principles of autonomy: the church would be self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating. The Disciples of Christ in Congo is not narrowly defined according to the “Restoration tradition” but is ecumenically oriented, as demonstrated by its membership in many ecumenical organizations.

From the project’s outset in 1899, the Congolese people shared with American missionaries in the responsibility of local church governance. The work of the Disciples of Christ in Congo Mission was focused in three main areas: evangelization, education and health care. Since its inception the DCCM was committed to building churches, schools, and hospitals.  But the word that can be used to best characterize the work in Congo is growth. People in the region proved very open and receptive to the Gospel. There were no other churches in the area before the missionaries arrived.  Apart from the Catholic Church, the Disciples of Christ in America was the first Christian denomination to evangelize this part of Congo (Southern Equator). That is why the understanding of the Restoration tradition found in the Congo differs from that found in other places which had already been evangelized.

Churches were planted and membership grew.  The core doctrine was the unity of the body of Christ. From the opening of the first missionary station in April 17, 1899 up to now, the Disciples of Christ in Congo never experienced a split in the church. The task for missionaries in the Congo was to help the people of Congo find through Christ the redemptive love of God for their lives. This brings about new life. It was also an opportunity for the missionaries to share with the Congolese some of their experiences as they sought to know God’s will for their own lives.

In 1982 there was a group of native Disciples of Christ in Congo who attempted to create the “Reformed Disciples of Christ Church” but without success. The group was called back to the unity of the church. The issue that led to this division was not about doctrine but rather sharing of power. The church in the Congo has never experienced controversies in the area of theology and doctrine. In the General Assemblies, the church voted motions in unison against issues such as polygamy, drunkenness, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, etc.

II.2. The Disciples of Christ in the DRC and the Ecumenical Movement

The involvement of the Disciples of Christ in Congo in seeking Christian unity interdenominationally has continued to mature. Since early 1920s, the Disciples of Christ in Congo has taken part in ecumenical organizations in the Congo such as UMH (Union Mission House), the hostel formed by some missions at Kinshasa, the Book Shop and Printing Press known as Centre d’Edition et de Diffusion (CEDI), the Protestant University of Congo, the Evangelical Medical Institute at Kimpese and the Church of Christ in Congo, which is the Protestant structure that acts as an umbrella for sixty five protestant denominations. The Disciples of Christ in Congo was present in that ecumenical organization from its inception and during its development, and played a key role in its leadership. Exemplifying this is the case of Bishop Jean Bokeleale, who led the Church of Christ in Congo as president for more than two decades. The Disciples of Christ Church in Congo is named locally as ECC-10-Communaute des Disciples du Christ au Congo. Number ten stands for the tenth Community in the list of sixty five denominations that belong to the Church of Christ in Congo.

The Disciples of Christ in Congo is a member of several ecumenical organizations internationally. The Church cooperates ecumenically with the following organizations: Global Ministries; the Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council, which includes the churches of Australia, New Zealand, United Reformed Church of U.K., the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands; the All Africa Conference of Churches; the World Council of Churches, with membership dating from the 1960s when the church became autonomous; and others. Individual members sometimes attend the World Convention of Churches of Christ. In the late 1970s, the Disciples of Christ in Congo joined the United Evangelical Mission, an ecumenical body of 33 churches on three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) whose headquarters is located in Wuppertal, Germany. This shows how the Disciples of Christ in Congo is welcoming of and cooperative with other Restorationists and even the non-Restorationists Christians.

II.3. Restoration Churches in Central Africa in Comparison to Restoration Churches in USA and Canada

As stated earlier, the Disciples of Christ in Congo is the only central African Church rooted in the Stone-Campbell movement.  Unlike some of the Stone-Campbell churches in America and elsewhere, its vision in the Congo was much more focused on evangelization than restoration. In a sense we may say that comparisons are beside the point, since each church addresses by the guidance of the Holy Spirit the problems and challenges of its own society. Instead, the relation is one of partnership with the Common Global Ministries Board of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada and the United Church of Christ. The Disciples of Christ in Congo does not have any contact with any independent American missionaries or any other churches of the Stone-Campbell movement. It is also important to notice that the church in Congo is apostolic by its own reflection and inspiration from the Bible.

Later in 1980s, native Congolese Disciples from the Democratic Republic of the Congo started mission work in the Republic of Congo and planted Disciples churches. Since then, the Disciples in the Republic of Congo has become a denomination. They are also in partnership with the Common Global Ministries Board of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada and the United Church of Christ in the USA.  The Disciples of Christ in the two Congolese nations share the same core doctrine and beliefs.

II.4. The Roles of Women in the Faith Community

Women within the Disciples of Christ in Congo play a key role in the life of the church. They are very active and the first to respond promptly wherever there is a need in the church. Women run programs such as literacy, fund raising, bible study, choir etc. They are also involved in educational program such as family planning and HIV/AIDS, where they work to create awareness in local congregations and among the youth. In relation to the HIV/AIDS, women are especially committed to the program, knowing that it is women who are most vulnerable to the pandemic. Since the church broke silence on the pandemic, women have been the ones to speak out on this issue.

The church in the Congo gives opportunities to women in the ministry. This is why women are appointed as elders and as ministers who provide leadership to local congregations. Nowadays, there are a great number of Disciples women ordained as ministers in the Congo’s church. This marks a certain contrast with other church members of the restoration movement.  Indeed, this form of “Restorationism” relates only historically to the ideas of Alexander Campbell and others.

Lay woman like Mama Beyeke who gave all her life to the church, played a key role in the growth of the church in Congo through her song ministry. With the choir “Mama Beyeke,” named after her name, Mama Beyeke travelled to all missionary stations that became now posts or districts to ministers through to people through songs. Not only she ministered to people in Congo but she also had an opportunity to minister to the Disciples in the States as well.

The Disciples of Christ in Congo has an impact in Congolese society through education, medical ministries, changing lives through evangelization etc. Through the Bolenge Christian Institute, the Disciples of Christ in Congo has trained many people who are today in leadership positions in different spheres of the Congolese society. Through the Protestant University of Congo, many young Congolese nationals are receiving a high quality education and being useful to society. The church has been involved in justice and human rights efforts to help those in need. This work has been handled by the Church of Christ in Congo, which in fact is the symbol of the unity among different protestant denominations.  Within the Church of Christ in Congo, people experience a fellowship of unity amid the diversity of churches.

III. Restoration Movement and Churches of Christ in South Africa

When the Restoration Movement was introduced in South Africa, many white South Africans viewed the Movement as a version of the American dream that intended to conquer the world through religion. This is why many distanced themselves from the Movement but with willingness to be part of Church of Christ. Some white South Africans tried to suppress the Restoration history and only spoke of the New Testament Church which in fact incarnated restoration ideas.

Later on, South Africa became a very fertile ground for the American Restoration Movement.  The Movement came to see other churches as having fallen from grace and needing to be restored by the preaching of the pure New Testament Gospel as it was in the early church. During the period of 1652 to 1900, there was no restoration movement in South Africa. But the period was characterized by the introduction of the influence of the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Lutherans and even The Jewish Community. South Africa was seen as a polyglot, multi-denominational society with little chance for any cohesion and with a desperate need of Christian unity among the denominations.[2]

During the middle of the twentieth century, the American missionaries of the Churches of Christ arrived in South Africa with a particular mission of restoring a divided and apostate Christendom to the New Testament Church (also named the First Century Church).  These missionaries sought to expose how the origin, history, and development of Denominationalism in such a way that people chose a church of their convenience. 

In 1901, a group of white people in Johannesburg gathered together at Linden Avenue to form a congregation that would be first lasting work of the Movement. The congregation was known as the Linden Avenue Church. Some of the earlier members of the congregation were gold miners who succeeded in bringing the gospel to some of the Black African workers at the mines. The Linden Avenue congregation continued its ministry until 1989 when the remaining congregation disbanded and the building was sold.

It is recorded that by 1917, indigenous work was springing up among Africans who studied the New Testament and became convinced that the earlier church was an appropriate pattern for new congregations and church organization. During the same period of time, Thomas Bambesi Kalane, an African educated in the United States, was introduced to the Stone-Campbell Movement by W.H. Book, who was the minister of the Tabernacle Church, known today as First Christian in Columbus, Indiana.  Thomas applied for service in South Africa under the Foreign Christian Missionary Society but was turned down. W.H. Book and his congregation were able to raise the support to send Thomas to South Africa following the end of the First World War. Thomas was successful in establishing a congregation in Kimberly as well as several outposts and mission stations. His ministry was interrupted by controversy and was cut short by his death in prison in August 1924.

Since the South African government demanded that the new church have white/European oversight in order to receive funds from overseas, Mr. and Mrs. O.E. Payne were appointed from the United States to be the first missionaries to have the oversight of the work. Mr. Payne’s ministry in Africa did not last long; he died in Africa. Late in 1925, Charles Buttz Titus, formerly a missionary in China, arrived in South Africa to supervise the mission work. Titus believed that the establishment of a Bible Training School would be the best way of advancing mission work. Not only did Titus establish the Bible Training School, but he also established a Conference of Churches of Christ in South Africa and opened new mission stations. T.D. Mathibe, a South African native from the United States, joined Titus in 1925 and became part of the mission until 1967.  Mr. Titus returned to the United States and was succeeded by Alex B. Classen, who by 1932 had moved on to Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) because of the deteriorating conditions of the mission. At that time, Simon Sibenya, a convert of Thomas Kalane, took the leadership of the mission. He was appointed by the conference as general evangelist, charged with visiting and strengthening the churches. He kept the Bible School opened but faced great difficulty. His death in 1941 was a severe blow for the mission.

The period comprising 1930 until the Second World War was a period of discouragement for this segment of the Movement in South Africa. Much of the financial aid from the Churches in the United States was stopped as a result of the Great Depression and the Second World War, resulting in missionaries leaving South Africa. After the war, American missionaries started to re-enter South Africa, but securing a proper visa became an issue. Basil Holt, after a long stay in the United States, returned to his home land under the auspice of the United Christian Missionary Society and served as the U.C.M.S’ Administrative Field Secretary in South Africa until 1969, the year he retired from the ministry. He was succeeded by Percy Webber, who led the Disciples churches during the process in which Disciples congregations were integrated into the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (U.C.C.S.A.) in September 1972. The U.C.C.S.A. is the union of British-founded Congregationalists, American-founded Congregationalists and the Disciples of Christ South Africa. The Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada continues their historical relationship with the U.C.C.S.A. by providing financial support and by sending Overseas Ministries personnel.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s several missionaries’ families from the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ began mission work in South Africa. These missionaries’ families contributed a lot to the growth of South African congregations. Part of their method involved using a radio program from Mozambique to broadcast their restoration lessons to South Africa. This gave an advantage to the missionaries on the ground when they started their work, especially in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

III.1. State of Restoration Movement in South Africa

The American restoration or Stone-Campbell Movement encountered its first falling out over the establishment of the Missionary Society. Although not all agreed, the Missionary Society was formed with Alexander Campbell as its president, despite his earlier objection to the idea on the grounds that it was not biblical. In the early 1900s the Missionary Society sent missionaries to South Africa to start churches in Brakpan, Boksburg and even Benoni under the name of the Christian Church, and later the change of the name caused the split.[3]

After the split of the Restoration Movement in 1906, the Churches of Christ resolved in the early 1950s to send their own missionaries to the field. Since the Churches of Christ did not agree with the idea of Missionary Societies, the First Church planted by the Missionary Society in Benoni changed its affiliation to “Christian Churches” so as to be under the Restoration wing, which supported Missionary Societies. This change of name caused a lot of confusion in the renamed Christian Church.

These two churches of the Restoration Movement reopened the old wounds from America, not only attacking each other but even causing some people to fall away from the grace of God. Both churches laid claim to the mission to restore the church of Jesus Christ. The result for the ongoing debates and attacks on each other was a loss of members on the side of Christian Church for the benefit of Churches of Christ in Benoni. Many believers in the church were hurt and most of them finally left the church, while the Christian Church’s preacher died shortly after this unfortunate experience. The Benoni church exists up to now. Since its start in 1956, the Benoni Congregation produced mixed results, depending on one’s view of the church of Jesus Christ. The congregation was considered by some to be the pillar of truth and strength in the Churches of Christ, not only in South Africa but in the whole Africa.

The Restoration Movement in South Africa flourished in its early days. Today in South Africa, the Restoration Movement is seen as a much divided religious group. It is also important to note that apartheid played a key role in dividing churches within the Restoration Movement.

Another fact to be underlined regarding the division that racked the Restoration Movement in South Africa was that, in their quest to restore the New Testament Church, the Restoration Movement resorted to attacking all denominations, including churches which had broken away from the Restoration Churches, such as the Christian Churches and the Disciples of Christ.

III.2. The Restoration Movement in South Africa and the Ecumenical Movement

The body of Christ in South Africa, represented by the South African Council of Churches, struggled with the ethical conflict between apartheid and the gospel of Christ; different churches, religious groups and even political parties were involved in consultation. Churches of Christ espousing the American Restoration Movement, however, did not participate either directly or indirectly. They believed that religion and politics do not mix, and furthermore they avoided interaction with denominationalism which they believed went against the principles of this conservative wing of the Restoration Movement.

The Churches of Christ do not agree to fellowship with other churches or any other organizations. They believe that there is false teaching in other churches; nor can they fellowship with unbiblical organizations. They accuse the South Africa Council of Churches of spreading false teachings.  They argue that, biblically speaking, S.A.C.C. is a false organization because it promotes union and unity not based on the doctrine of Christ. As quoted by Mbewe, Mr. Horne, a teacher of women in the Churches of Christ, comments on the ecumenical issue:

I think we are afraid of being lumped together with other religious groups as denominations. Our exclusiveness is at work here as well. Also, I think we are afraid our joining the SACC will be misunderstood as our agreeing with them on all their issues which, in most cases, are not consonant with the New Testament scriptures. But it is also true that we can hardly unite Christendom without the scriptural authority. Denominationalism has betrayed Christ but so has unity which is not on his Word.[4]

The Christian Church, also part of the Restoration Movement in South Africa, held a different opinion about the South Africa Council of Churches, which was then called the Christian Council of South Africa. Thomson, one of the Disciples of Christ preachers, argues that interdenominationally, Disciples of Christ churches are affiliated with the Christian Council of South Africa, the Christian Education Movement of South Africa, and the South African Institute of Race Relations.  The Christian Church in South Africa followed the spirit of Stone in seeking unity by first avoiding controversies and refusing to be drawn into unnecessary debates. The Disciples of Christ works with every church or Christian organization in advancing the cause of Christianity but only hesitantly addresses doctrinal issues.

The Churches of Christ in South Africa are not part of any ecumenical organization, neither within the country nor in the international sphere.  As one may observe, opinion was divided in the Restoration Movement of South Africa with regard to ecumenism. One wing is for the ecumenical movement, while the other wing is against it.

In South Africa, the Movement has experienced schisms among the body of believers and also within the different streams represented by missionaries from the United States. The a cappella Churches of Christ have at least four discernable streams within their particular fellowship; most of these congregations do not cooperate with each other.  Another stream split off in the late 1920s following the evangelistic crusade by Jesse Kellems.  It was said that the resulting faction was very liberal and that it had emerged from the Disciples of Christ.  It lasted about twenty years before their properties were turned over to denominational churches. It was also reported that several ministers broke away from the South Africa Church of Christ Mission sponsored by the American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. These splits have formed the Church of Christ 33 A.D.; the Church of Christ 30 A.D.; The Bantu Church of Christ; the Transkei Church of Christ; the Church of Christ Qha and possibly others. Several of the last mentioned congregations cooperate with one another and share with the a cappella congregations in the All Africa Missionary Conference.

III.3. The Restoration Movement in South Africa Compared to that of the United States of America

The first and foremost message of the Restoration Movement in South Africa dealt with the restoration of the church of Christ as it was in the first century. The message included an exposé of the origin, history and development of Denominationalism. It is up to the hearers to make their minds in joining the movement or not. The same emphasis can be found within the Restoration Movement in the United States. In South Africa, one wing of the Restoration Movement was dominant, this is Churches of Christ.

The Restoration Movement in South Africa is much divided in comparison to that of America. Divisions created a hostile environment among churches within the movement and this tarnished the image of Christianity. The Restoration message was later tailored to force a choice between denominations and the Churches of Christ. This was particular to South Africa, for it was not at all the method used by pioneers of the Restoration Movement in the United States. Indeed, the message of the Restoration Movement in South Africa was that unless you are members of the Churches of Christ, you will surely go to hell since there are no such names as Baptist or Presbyterian or Methodist or again Zionist in the New Testament.

III.4. Women’s Roles in the Faith Community

As we said earlier, the Churches of Christ are the pillar of the movement in South Africa. In all Churches of Christ, women are not allowed to preach or to lead worship or singing.  They are even prohibited from saying prayers in public. And not only in public, women are also prohibited from leading prayers at home if a man is present in the gathering. Further, the Churches of Christ recognize a kind of gathering called a “business meetings” where men discuss the welfare of the church, and which women are prevented from attending.

Women are not allowed to teach men the word of God, either at home or anywhere. Women’s role in the faith community is really limited.  Women clearly have been given a second-class status.

III.5. The Restoration Movement’s Impact in South African Society

The Restoration Movement of America passed on the tradition of founding Bible schools and colleges to the South African Restoration Movement. Schools had a tremendous impact in the lives of people who received the opportunity to be able to read, write and even get degrees.

Southern Africa Bible College had a large impact not only in South Africa but also in all surrounding countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi. The school was made possible by the support of the overseeing congregations of Garland Road Church of Christ at Dallas, Memorial Church of Christ and others in the United States.

IV. Conclusion

As one may observe, the Restoration Movement in Africa does exhibit a single pattern. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the movement’s focus was not to restore but to evangelize with the aim of planting indigenous, self-governed, and autonomous churches. Here the church is apostolic through its own inspiration and experience. No theological issues were dictated from the Disciples of Christ in the United States and Canada, but the basic doctrinal elements such baptism by immersion and a weekly Lord’s Supper on Sundays was observed. The mission leaders did not raise controversial theological issues. This may be due to the vision of the wing of the Movement that chose Congo as its mission field.

The movement in Southern African also has its distinguishing marks. Even though the Disciples of Christ were there, the leading wing was that of Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches. They enjoyed great success in planting many churches throughout South Africa and its surroundings, but exclusiveness was the key point. The initial vision was to restore the church of Christ according to the New Testament pattern, but what resulted was the planting of new churches under the Restoration Movement. Their practices generally follow those of the Restoration Movement in the United States, except for the excessive divisions in the body of Christ through many splits.

Sadly, much of the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa has been lost because of the failure to record the names and deeds of faithful African people, who went to villages and cities alongside American missionaries to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the African natives. Names such as Longomo Stefano, Mark Njoji, who is believed to be the first Disciples from Congo to go to the States for the translation of the New Testament into Lomongo/Lonkundo, Mbowina, Bokomboji, etc., and who worked alongside missionaries in Congo, should not be forgotten. The African leadership of the church in Congo, namely Elonda, Boyaka, Mpombo, Ngili, Iwewe and actually Bonanga and Mputu who are giving a new guidance to the church in Congo, with the vision of the church in relation to the Disciples of Christ in the States and Canada shifting from “Mission to Partnership” should also not be forsaken. It is time for the new generation of Disciples in Congo to write the history of the church.


  • Abao, J. 1964. The Restoration of the New Testament Church. Boksburg: Sentinel.
  • Smith, H. Fifty Years in Congo. 1949. The United Christian Society: Indianapolis.
  • Hofmeyer, J and Pillay, J. 1994. A History of Christianity in South Africa. Pretoria: Unisa.
  • Mbewe, Z.K. 2005. A Study of the Restoration Movement With Special Emphasis on the Church of Christ in South Africa, Dissertation, UNISA.

For further reading see:

  • Forster, Blowers, Dunnavant, and Williams. 2004. Mission in Africa. In The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement . Grand Rapids: Michigan; Cambridge: UK; Wm. B. Eerdman.
  • Nottingham, William J., Origin and Legacy of the Common Global Ministries Board: A History of World Mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United  States and Canada. In Discipliana, Vol. 58, no. 3, 1998, pp. 80-96, cf. pp. 91-92.
  • Warren, W.R. Survey of Service. 1928. Christian Board of Publication: St. Louis, Mo. Chapter XXVIII, “Africa,” pp. 486-514.

[1] Herbert Smith. Fifty Years in Congo. p.3.
[2] Hofmeyer & Pillay. Perspectives on Church History, p. 233.
[3] Abao, The restoration of the New Testament Church, p. 100.
[4] Mbewe, A Study of the Ecclesiology of the Restoration Movement with Special Emphasis in South Africa (1959-1995), p. 135.