I am Flemming Hansen who served as a missionary to Tanzania 1986 ‒ 1998 (see details). Reflections om my service led me to further studies, and I earned my Ph.D. in missiology (systematic theology) from Aarhus University, 2005.
The purpose of this site is currently to make my thesis available.
My Ph.D. thesis
The title of my doctoral thesis is »Mission, Church and Tradition in Context: Emic Perspectives on the Encounter and Tension between Traditional Bena Religion and Lutheran Christianity in Ulanga, Tanzania.«
In my introduction I quote the Lutheran bishop Zephania Mgeyekwa of Njombe in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
»The biggest mistake the first Lutheran missionaries made was that they did not take into account that Wabena were very religious people, who were deeply dependent on their old religion. And today we as the African Church make precisely the same mistake.« (Mgeyekwa, 1998)
His statement challenged me.
The real challenge was the words declaring that in practice the mistake was not limited to foreign missionaries. The indigenous Lutheran church today makes precisely the same mistake in not considering enough the dependence on the old traditional religion, the bishop argued. These words lifted the theme out of a historical view and context into the present and contemporary Lutheran life and practice in current Tanzania and called for more research. It must indeed be so that, if the African church still makes this mistake, what is still done wrong certainly must be deeply founded in the worldview and identity of the Lutheran Christians. Why is it so, and what is the worldview and identity of Lutheran Christians after all?
My thesis attempts to answer these questions.