Dissertation Projects DMin

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Kenley Hall

Second Advisor

Mzonzima Gwala

Third Advisor

David Penno

Abstract

Problem

The integration of minority groups into the mainstream of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Zimbabwe has been resisted. In the power struggle that ensued, rooted in complex issues of multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism, the church has gone through a schism. Little reflective thought has been given to how this schism may have been avoided and how to address similar issues in the future, as well as seeking to embrace wounded members back into the larger Adventist Church.

The Method

A theological foundation was laid for this project by examining the biblical doctrine of unity in diversity as portrayed in both the Old and New Testament and the writings of Ellen G. White. Documents pertaining to organizational structures that supported racism in the church pre and post independence, and how they impacted on the decision making process by leadership, were examined. Conflict resolution methods were also considered in the context of racial reconciliation. Committee and session minutes that relate to minority integration were also explored. Five questionnaires were distributed: two to current members of the Sabbath Keepers Adventists and three to current members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The purpose of the questionnaires was to gain insights from those who personally went through the schism. Two interviews were also conducted with a current member of the SKA and an individual who has rejoined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The gathered information was analyzed to determine emergent themes. Reflective thought was given to how this schism may have been avoided, how to address similar issues in the future, and how to bring former members back into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This research project will follow the lines of a qualitative paradigm.

Results

While a small group of minorities were integrated into the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the majority left to form their own organization. The reflective study has confirmed that the reason for this schism was a power struggle rooted in the complexities of racism and ethnocentrism. It also revealed the mistakes that were made on both sides that contributed to the ongoing conflict.

Conclusions

Ultimately recommendations were drawn from this reflective study to address similar situations in the future and to reach out the former Seventh-day Adventist and draw them back into the church.

Subject Area

Sabbath Keepers Adventists (Zimbabwe); Seventh-day Adventists--Zimbabwe; Church controversies--Zimbabwe--Seventh-day Adventists; Race relations--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Ethnic relations--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

DOI

https:dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/653

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