Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Robert Trent Vinson
On June 30th, 1971, the two largest Lutheran churches in Namibia, representing approximately 60% of the country's population, broke a silence that had lasted for over 50 years. In an open letter to the South African Prime Minister John Vorster, Bishop Auala of the Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango Church (ELCRN) and Moderator Gowaseb of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) unequivocally rejected South Africa's continued occupation of Namibia and the government's severe human rights abuses. The Open Letter signified a seismic shift in church policy, and marked the replacement of the "Two Kingdoms" doctrine with a new theology of liberation. Churches had remained one of the government's last reliable pillars of support in Namibia; when the two largest Christian bodies publicly declared their opposition, the South African government had nothing left to lean on. Inspired by the Open Letter and its bold declaration of opposition to apartheid, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) became deeply invested in Namibia and its independence struggle. Through publicity, monetary support, and legal assistance, the LWF developed into one of Namibia's greatest international allies.
Arnold, Katherine Caufield, "The Transformation of the Lutheran Church in Namibia" (2009). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 251.
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