Original Research

Critical Entitlement Theory on post-missionary paternalism in the Church of Christ in Zimbabwe

Gift Masengwe, Bekithemba Dube
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 45, No 1 | a109 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v45i1.109 | © 2021 Gift Masengwe, Bekithemba Dube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 February 2021 | Published: 14 June 2021

About the author(s)

Gift Masengwe, School of Education Studies, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, QwaQwa, South Africa
Bekithemba Dube, School of Education Studies, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, QwaQwa, South Africa

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The dynamic of power troubles are the doing and thinking and that knowledge is always contingent, standing above the abyss, as stated by Prof. J. Jansen in 2009. The issue of entitlement affected the Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (COCZ) at the onset of the third millennium. Leadership vacuum at the departure of missionaries led individuals to assume identities and hierarchies believed to have been interwoven into the polity and governing ideology of the COCZ. This connoted towards power, privilege and position for someone to benefit on church investments. The article suggests use of the critical Entitlement Theory (CET) to assess how contemporary situations at mission stations affect local churches and communities. Black elites who took over have created tensions and contradictions in churches by hiring persons who do not question their actions and words and persons who do not have an appreciation of the production and implementation of the church’s governing laws. Critical Entitlement Theory assumes that ‘the privileged ownership and administration theses’ that date back to white privilege in the colonial church created this problem. This ethnographic study discloses how a new interdisciplinary thinking on equity and justice to local Christians can rise to own and manage mission stations in their local congregations.


Church of Christ in Zimbabwe; mission stations; Critical Entitlement Theory; critical denominational studies; missionary paternalism; African philosophy.


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