The transformation of authoritarian leadership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia.
Ndamanomhata, Paulus Nanghambe.
MetadataShow full item record
The contents of this dissertation is about the authoritarianism presently found in Lutheran churches in general and in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) in particular. In contradiction to the Roman Catholic Church, Luther advocated the participation of the laity in decision-making processes. However, strong offices of authority have been established in ELCIN and excessive powers have been granted constitutionally to the clergy against the laity, with the result that lay leaders are made to believe that the decision-making procedures belong to the higher authorities at all levels of the church. There is a lack of willingness among the higher authorities to motivate lay leaders to take up leadership responsibilities in their presence. The danger of this attitude is that most of the decisions made in the church are initiated by the clergy and are therefore not representative. The leadership style of ELCIN can be described as partially democratic and partially authoritarian. The authoritarian leadership style of ELCIN was not derived from the original Lutheran heritage. This situation is due largely to a combination of the leadership patterns of the Finnish missionaries and the prevailing Owambo traditional culture. Authoritarian attitudes remain an urgent challenge to ELCIN in particular, and to Lutheran churches in general. The formulation of a new concept of leadership in the church must embrace the collective participation of all male adult members of the community in decision-making processes as observed in positive elements of Owambo traditions and Luther's concept of the priesthood of all believers. This dissertation recommends that lay leaders must be allowed to chair decision-making bodies at all levels in the church and that clergy and lay leaders participate equally in these bodies. ELCIN theologians also have to formulate concepts which contextualise church leadership and dissociate it from foreign vessels of culture.