Reasons for the Emergence of Independence

Reasons for the Emergence of Independence

  • They were cultural conflicts between Africans and missionaries which made Africans to break a way to safe guard their cultures.
  • The missionaries disliked to Africanize church leadership which made some Africans to establish their own church.
  • The differences in doctrinal interpretations caused disagreement between missionaries and Africans hence breaking away some Africans.
  • The translation of Bible scriptures into local languages enabled Africans to form their own churches.
  • The coming of the colonialists and their offering of social service especially education and health made some Africans to neglect the mission churches.
  • The use of foreign languages in mission churches such as English, French and Latin Limited African participation in church affairs leading to their breaking away.
  • From 1920’s, some Africans started offering some social service that the missionaries were offering e.g. education health hence making some Africans to break away.
  • Missionary education was condemned by the Philips stokes commission as being theoretical which annoyed the Africans hence breaking away from mission churches.
  • Missionary double standard of acting as Christians and at the same time as imperialists annoyed the Africans hence denouncing the mission churches.
  • Missionary restricted life style, e.g. prayer life, catechism education, worship etc made some Africans form (make) their own churches in order to live a free life.
  • Missionary conflicts among them selves like between Catholics and Protestants made some African doubt their faith hence the formation of African churches.
  • Missionary disregarded women in their churches which made Africans to break away from missionary churches due to gender reasons e.g. Mengo Gospel church in Uganda.
  • Some Africans claimed to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit which gave them morale to form their own churches.
  • Some independent churches came up due to missionary segregation of Africans in church i.e. missionaries offered social services basing on colour and the blacks were usually under looked.
  • The use of Nationalism in African led to the rise of independent churches. Africans wanted to be free from the white domination both in the church and the politics.
  • The influence of PAM/pan Africanism spread by African nationalists in the Diaspora such as WEB Dubois, Marcus Garvey, George pad more etc. also inspired many Africans to break away from missionary churches.
  • The search for unity under the African independent churches organizations and the desire to end denominational division led to the rise of independent churches.


1. Account for the emergence of the independent movement in East Africa.

Importance of Independent Churches

  • Many of them helped to offer social services especially education e.g.the African independent Pentecostal church in Kenya.
  • They helped in the preservation of African cultures from missionary European imperialism. 
  • They brought some Africans into positions of the church leadership which never happened in missionary churches e.g.Mabel Ensor.
  • They helped to reduce racial segregation and strengthening African Nationalism because they condemned European exploitation of blacks.
  • They helped to up lift the status of women because women were promoted to leadership positions in those churches.
  • The made missionaries to start respect African interest in order to continue having Africans in missionary churches.
  • They increased missionary charity works to Africans so as to reduce the rate at which Africans were mininga way from their churches.
  • They tried to respect the rights of the Africans and they acted as avenues through which Africans enjoyed a common voice.
  • They put pressure on the colonialist especially in Kenya to quickly work on African complaints over land, labour and African representation in government.
  • They called upon Africans to maintain African spirit of socialism and social concern for one another as it used to be in A.T.S.

Weakness of Independent Churches

  • They divided up the people along churches because they were very many. I.e. members of one church could not mix freely with members of other churches.
  • Due to their being many, they exposed the Christian doctrine in their misinterpretation hence misguiding the followers.
  • Most of these churches died out when their founders died, therefore they didn’t have strong leadership that could make them survive after the death of their founders.
  • The lacked a strong financial base and therefore they could not help their followers who were in need as the missionary churches were doing.
  • Many of them promoted African cultures like circumcision at the expansion of the Christian gospel.
  • They caused confusion in Christianity because of always conflicting with the missionary churches over doctrine.
  • Most of them were led by ordinary and untrained people which exposed the gospel to false interpretations.
  • Independent church especially Nationalist churches over stressed the spirit of Nationalism at the expense of the gospel and that is why some of them were abolished.
  • Independent church encouraged their members to practice polygamy yet the Bible strictly calls for monogamy.


1. Asses the importance/significance/ Achievements of independent churches in East Africa

Why Many Africans Joined These Churches
  • They were led and run by Africans them selves hence attracting many Africans to join them.
  • They were founded and started by local people which also made very many blacks to join them.
  • There was use of local languages in these churches making more people to be part of them.
  • In these churches, there was respect of African worship practices in form of prayer, music dance and drama hence making many Africans to join them.
  • These churches accepted and respected some of the African initiation rites like circumcision which missionary churches had refused.
  • They also respected the African family practices such as polygamy kept married ones comfortable to join the church and also preserve their marriage.
  • Women were respected in these churches and they were given position of leadership hence attracting more Africans to join.
  • Translation of the scriptures into local languages made it easy for Africans to take on Bible study and understand scriptures.
  • some independent churches offered social service like education to the Africans making them to join in big numbers
  • Independent churches were not stick on the life style of the followers as the missionary churches which also made many people to join them.
  • An umber of independent churches were established in different places giving an opportunity to Africans to join them.
  • Independent churches were rural based and therefore they reached out to rural population where missionaries could not go with Christian gospel.
  • They offered employment opportunities to the Africa converts which attracted many of them to join the churches.
  • Independent churches built schools for the African children which made many Africans to join them.
  • The preachers of independent churches had African based inspirational preaching which inspired many Africans to join.
  • Many Africans joined independent churches because of the nationalistic spirit they used to impact into the Africans


  1. Account for the popularity of independent churches in East Africa.
  2. To what extent did the independent churches contribute to the spread of Christianity in East Africa?

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