Divine Law Enforcement and Mission Transculturality: The Finnish Missionary Society and the emerging of the first Church Rules on the Ovambo mission field in South West Africa
This article scrutinises the work of the Finnish Missionary Society as regards the creating of a Church Law in the emerging Ovambo Lutheran Church, in what is today the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia. The work resulted, in 1924, in the church’s first Church Rules. In this endeavour, the Finnish missionaries took as a model the Finnish Church Law of 1869, but also utilised elements from the old Swedish Church Law from 1686. The aim of the missionaries was to create a law that could establish proper foundations for a Lutheran Church of their own preference. In the two last chapters of the article, the issue of transculturality is discussed. It is suggested that the Finnish mission’s undertaking in Namibia was not simply characterised by the imposition of a new religion and new rules, but rather that this work was a fitting example of cultural exchange and transfusion. In this cultural exchange, various hybridised groups and individuals interacted in what would eventually result in a Lutheran church built on different cultural traditions, religious practices, and memories.