Original Research - Special Collection: Christina Landman Festschrift

The Norwegian Pentecostal Mission’s work in Kenya between 1955 and 1984: A historical perspective

Stephen M. Joshua
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5275 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5275 | © 2019 Stephen M. Joshua | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 September 2018 | Published: 30 October 2019

About the author(s)

Stephen M. Joshua, Institute of Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, Pretoria; Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Pwani University, Kilifi, Kenya


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Abstract

This article attempts to reconstruct an early history of the Norwegian Pentecostal Mission’s (NPM) work in Kenya. The Free Pentecostal Church (FPC), known as the Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK) until April 2018, was born out of a 1984 merger between the Swedish Free Mission and the NPM. The Norwegians came earlier in 1955, whereas their Scandinavian counterparts arrived in 1960. The article contests that during the period under review, the first 29 years of NPM’s presence in Kenya, the NPM was characterised by a fast-growing enthusiasm in establishing mission stations and local churches through evangelism and social work activities in education, medical care, orphanages, midwifery and compassionate handouts of commodities to villagers. These would be overtaken by the efforts to merge Swedish and Norwegian interests and establishments into one denomination in 1976 and the move towards nationalising the FPFK by handing over church leadership to the Kenyans by 1997. The article contests that the zeal and successes of the missionaries and local church workers in sowing the seeds of the gospel were checked by cultural and socio-economic setbacks in Kenya’s colonial context as well as the nationalisation process. The increased presence of Norwegian missionaries in Kenya during the 1960s were largely motivated by, among other factors, the channelling of Norwegian government aid monies to foreign development regions through missionary agencies and the imminent independence of the East African state.

Keywords

Pentecostal; History; Scandinavia; Missions; Kenya

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