The East African Movement (The Balokole Movement)

The East African Movement (The Balokole Movement)

  • The East African revival movement is part of the (18th evangelical awakening that took place in Europe
  • The revival movement is a means by which the gospel of Christ has been spread rapidly and radically and has entered people’s hearts deeply and most people have accepted it then ever before.
  • The East African revival movement mainly originated from the Anglican church of Uganda and the members of these movements are locally known as “Balokole” which means the saved people who received salivation from Jesus Christ.
  • Many, who claim this, prefer to be known simply as “Abolugand,” meaning brethren and sisters. The term ’balokole’ has remained widely accepted as a convenient designation for the movement and is used far beyond Buganda. 
  • Similarly, the luganda chorus ‘Tukutendereze Yesu’- we praise you Jesus, has become the theme song of the revivalists throughout East Africa.
  • Thus, although the first large scale Revival occurred at Gahini- Rwanda at the end of 1933, the seed of this Revival must be traced in Buganda.
  • The CMS mission hospital at Gahini,  was out post of the Anglican diocese of  Uganda with religious influence og the Uganda church.
  • Most of the hospital staff at Gahini, and most leaders of the awakening were  Baganda from Uganda.
  • It is believed that East African revival movement originated from Buganda especially from the spiritual expenses that simeoni Nsibambi went through.
  • Nsibambi left his job, sold his motorcycle and started a life of personal evangelism on the streets of Kampala and in people’s homes with a lot of abuses and mockery.
  • The revival movement spread to various countries like Rwanda, Tanganyika, Sudan and Kenya and it was strong among the Anglicans and the Presbyterians.

Reasons for The Emergency Of Revival Movement In East Africa

  • The missionary work of two English men i.e.Stanley smith and Leonard sharp who worked as doctors at Rwanda mission hospital led to the emergency of Revival movement i.e. they caused deep religious conviction among the people.
  • The early influence of the committed men who had leadership abilities such as PastorRobert Kayanja also attracted many people into the Balokole movement.
  • The social problems especially famine at that time in Rwanda also favored the movement. This is because the suffering people were given food by the saved which attracted them to join the movement.
  • The Balokole movement had deep concern, love, respect and care for one another which made most people to join it.
  • The big population in Rwanda especially at Gahini, Uganda, areas of kigezi and Mbarara made it easy for the revivalists to convince people to join them.
  • The movement fought social evils and problems in the country e.g. the sick were given medical care, immorality was condemned etc and this gave people confidence to join in big numbers.
  • The search for the Holy Spirit and eternal life which could be got through prayers and fasting also led to the raise of the revival movement.
  • The movement emerged due to the boring warship in the mission churches where worship was not so much different from mourning.
  • The movement came up to condemn some African traditional practices like polygamy which was still being practiced by some African Christians.
  • Lack of moral discipline and Christians of that time characterized by theft, disobedience and mistrust also led to the emergence of the revival movement.
  • The too much materialism that existed in the church especially among church leaders and some Christians led to the raise of the revival movement to end it.
  • Biblical teachings that if one confence with one’s mouth that Jesus is the lord and believes in his heart that God raised him from death, he will be saved also led to the raise of this movement.
  • The world war with its negative effects in East Africa threatened the future of Christianity hence caring of the revival movement to strengthen Christianity.
  • The annual meetings at kamosi in Kenya from 1926 and the ten years convention of kabale from 1935 strengthened the revival movement the more.
  • There was a lot of rigidity during worship in mission churches which led to the coming of the revival movement to remove such rigidities.
  • The need to fight and eliminate African belief in the small gods which was too much further led the coming up of the revival movement.
  • The presence of miracles in the revival churches such as healing of the sick the lame made many people to join these churches in great numbers.
  • The provision of social services such as education to the people of East Africa by the revivalists so much strengthened the Balokole movement.
Characteristics of the Revival Movement
  • The balokole are strictly committed to their church and this is proved by their regular attendance to Sunday worship.
  • The movement strictly calls for baptism of adults through immersion and it calls upon people to change their hearts after baptism.
  • The movement emphasizes monogamy as the idle form of marriage so as to make married partners share equal love and respect.
  • They call for church marriage as the only acceptable form of marriage where the couple can enjoy gift of sex and other benefits.
  • The movement advocates for genuine and open confession of sin by the brethren or Christian during worship.
  • There is high respect of the blood of Jesus poured on the cross. They believe that it’s this blood that washed man’s sin.
  • During fellowship, the movement calls for open testimony of what the lord has done in the lives of Christians
  • The balokole movement calls for social concern and care for one another. They seriously encourage bearing of one another burdens as a way of bring more people to Christianity.
  • It emphasizes moral up rightness in the lives of the Christians in matters regarding dressing, drinking, and sexual relationship. etc.
  • There is emotional worship in this movement i.e. Christians involve the heart, soul and body to the extent of crying during worship.
  • The movement boasts the status of women in the church by giving them responsible positions in church and makes them testify, preach and pray as men do.
  • The movement discourages politics in church so as to allow the H.s to come and to avoid divisions in the church.
  • The Balokole call for smartness of the believers during worship i.e. the church leaders and their subjects are expected to dress decently to avoid stumbling others.
  • The movement condemns some traditional practices like taking local beer, alcohol, using traditional medicine and it calls for the use or western medicine and depending on prayer.
  • The saved community respects the Bible as a source of all Christian doctrines. They believe that the Bible contains all solutions to all problems in the society.
  • There is strict emphasizes on Bible study in this movement in order to make people understand the Biblical scriptures.
  • The Balokole movement is characterized by performance of miracles in the church. A number of people have been healed of their sickness in the churches

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