This work is about the early history of a faith mission seeking to establish its missionary work in central Kenya. It is also an exploration of the early beginnings of the Africa Inland Church in Kikuyuland, now part of AIC Kenya. The work exposes both AIM missionaries and the Africans in their constant winnowing away of inessentials in order to retain a core religious belief and practice that was vital in upholding what each had come to hold as of spiritual value. At the center of the work, in one of the chapters, is a story of a jointly created anxiety about education which was as much Kikuyu as Western and which taught, therefore, that Africans and Western Missionaries were equidistant to education; that would teach them to read the Bible. The realizations made in creating the story at the beginning of Missionary work in colonial Kenya, brought both origin and conclusion of an immensely complex but valid process in which arguments, theological debates, agonized doubts, revitalized flames of belief and unrelenting determination divided both the missionaries and the indigenous adherents in such a manner that one cannot adequately and accurately build an argument on opposing sides; Kikuyu people and the missionaries.
In any case both the AIM missionaries and early Kikuyu Christians were committed to the joint effort of building the African Christianity. The research uses mission, religio-historical, social religious and oral sources to reconstruct a rich historiography of the foundation of African Christianity. The book will be a solid contribution to the growing field of comparative mission history in Africa. The work as a commendable source adds new data and raises new and necessary questions about Christianity in Kenya; exploring Kikuyu Christianity through careful and systematic collection of original missionary writings and oral materials.
This work grew out of my ThD. Dissertation presented to the Philipps University Marburg and appears here with minor revisions. I am greatly indebted to the many persons and institutions that have helped me in the preparation of this work. I am especially indebted to my doctoral supervisors, Prof. Dr. Christoph Elsas and Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Richebächer, especially Prof. Elsas whose kindness, insightful supervision and untiring support maintained my commitment through periods of tough times. I am similarly grateful to Prof. Dr. Johannes Reimer, Prof. Dr. Heinrich Balz, Dr. Steven O’Malley for their support and constructive criticisms.
The staff of Billy Graham Archives Center, Kenya National Archives, and various libraries and archives made available the material that I required. I would like to thank you all for your support.
During my field research in Kenya, I was greatly assisted by pastors, evangelists, missionaries and ordinary local Christians in locating some other important sources and informants. This help and generosity of my informants, whose names are indicated at the bibliography has been very much appreciated. Others like Scott Collins who catered for my research trip to Wheaton College-BGC and Asbury Seminary Archives, I thank you very much for your support. You all added inestimable value to my work and are highly appreciated.
Finally, I am also greatly indebted to my wife, Ulrike, and our two kids, GraceAnn and Phil Leon, without whose patience this book would not have been completed. Thank you for your love and support.
Though many people have contributed immensely to the completion of this work, any misrepresentation, misinterpretation, or other errors of omission are entirely mine, and if any, I apologize.
Dr. James Karanja