Healing Communities – Contextualizing Responses to Witch Accusations: Published in the IBMR

2015-01-cover IBMR

By Steven D. H. Rasmussen with Hannah Rasmussen

Published in the January 2015 edition of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research

 

Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse. . . . My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

—Hosea 4:4, 6

When I returned to the church I had attended for a decade in Tanzania, I preached on witchcraft. I knew that Deborah, the woman sitting next to me, had ministered as a pastor’s wife for forty-nine years. I did not know she was suspected of being a witch.

Just two months earlier outside Deborah’s home, a crowd of young men with clubs, machetes, and stones surrounded her, shouting, “We have come to finish you and your witchcraft!

A young neighbor woman, Ellen, crawled in the dust toward her, begging, “Stop strangling me!”

Deborah raised her hand to God and said, “If I am a witch, may I die.”

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