“‘Incipient Civilization’ and ‘Nominal’ Christianity?”

Fiona Vernal

in The Farmerfield Mission

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199843404
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950546 | DOI:
“‘Incipient Civilization’ and ‘Nominal’ Christianity?”

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Chapter 5 examines the religious component of Farmerfield’s design to trace how the African residents actually lived as Christians versus the expectations missionaries had of them. Missionaries commended the Christian character of the residents in the early decades of the settlement, while expressing some reservations about evidence of occasional declension in religious piety. Furthermore, as a settlement peopled by African Christians, Farmerfield’s residents stood in stark contrast to other Africans living in the vicinity on white farms. Farmerfield’s residents served as evangelists to fellow Africans thereby fulfilling one of their designated roles as native agents of Christianity. Accusations of nominal Christianity and incipient civilization Methodist missionaries and European missionaries levelled at the settlement in 1884 was not borne out by the missionaries own evidence, and rather served as a pretext for justifying the termination of the mission.

Keywords: Incipient Civilization; Nominal Christianity; native agency; piety; Titus Dubula

Chapter.  12755 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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