The missing link : indigenous agents in the development of the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Church of Tanzania (ELCT) 1899-1999.
Traditionally, the history of Christianity has been written from a white, missionary perspective and in many ways it has portrayed them as the heroes of Africa. Such information has neglected the hard work of their African counterparts, many of who interpreted and organized evangelistic meetings among the indigenous people. Its history has primarily reflected the opinions and interests of Western missionaries. The white missionaries' information relied almost exclusively on written sources. The missing link: Indigenous agents in the development of the Iringa diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (1899-1999), tries to recover the silenced voices of the Christian people particularly the men and women who played a crucial role in the development of the church in the Iringa diocese. The study has attempted to give an historic account of the recovering of the African perspective and counterbalance a presentation dominated by a missionary perspective and bringing to a fore all the actors by drawing attention to the role and importance of the African agents in the development of the church. In this study, oral history methodology has been used in analyzing and interpreting the history of the Iringa diocese from an African perspective, while at the same time bringing into focus the indigenous actors: teachers, evangelists, women and youth. There would have been a serious gap in Christian knowledge if such information were not available. The study has established that from the inception of the planting of the Lutheran church in the Iringa diocese in 1899 both the missionaries, Tanzanian clergy, and agents worked with determination for the church to take roots. From that time, the church gradually expanded by way of increase in the number of stations and converts. What cannot be ignored is the fact the indigenous agents were instrumental in the planting and consolidation of the gains of the Lutheran church in the Iringa diocese in Tanzania. The determination, with which the "fathers" saw to injecting Christianity in Tanzania, has been continued by the generations after them. From the foregoing, the point that Africans have always heard the gospel principally from other Africans in Africa should not be belabored.