“Praise be to God for this work—as overdue as it is timely. Kudos to Samuel Yonas Deressa and Sarah Hinlicky Wilson for their research and diligence, for making this narrative of heroic faith available and accessible. Lutherans and other Christians in the Global North, where churches seem to be thinning and aging, need this model of boldness from the Global South. Gudina did not pursue martyrdom. Tsehay did not seek to be tortured. But neither did either of them recoil from their confession of the gospel in the face of terror. And the Holy Spirit bears witness, adding multitudinously to those who are saved in Ethiopia. Yes, Tertullian’s timeless maxim comes alive: the blood of martyrs is indeed the seed of the church.”
This book opens a window into the lives and extraordinary witness of a Christian couple whose faithful life of service has earned them the moniker of Ethiopia’s Bonhoeffer. Part One introduces the reader to the extant writings of Gudina Tumsa. Part Two is a highly personal account of Gudina and Tsehay’s life, witness, and sufferings. The collection concludes with an essay by Samuel Yonas Deressa on the impact of Gudina’s vision. Gudina lives on in the many Ethiopian Christians who continue to be inspired by his life and witness.
- Publisher Fortress Press
- ISBN 9781506418483
- Format Paperback
- Dimensions 6 x 9
- Pages 298
- Publication Date June 15, 2017
Forward by Darrell Jodock
Introduction by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson
Part One: Gudina Tumsa’s Theological Writings
1. Stewardship of the Gospel
2. Address to the Norwegian Missionary Society
3. Report on Church Growth in Ethiopia
4. On the Interrelation between Proclamation of the Gospel and Human Development
5. Report at the Ethiopia Consultation
6. Serving the Whole Man
7. Pastoral Letter
9. The Moratorium Debate and the ECMY
11. The Responsibility of the ECMY towards Ecumenical Harmony
12. The Role of a Christian in a Given Society
Part Two: Tsehay Tolessa’s Story
Preface by Lensa Gudina
In the Fiery Furnace by Tsehay Tolessa as told to Aud Saeveras
Conclusion: The Reception and Expression of Gudina Tusma’s Legacy in Ethiopia, Africa, and Beyond (Samuel Yonas Deressa)
Appendix: “The Church and Ideologies” by Baro Tumsa
Lutherans and other Christians in the Global North, where churches seem to be thinning and aging, need this model of boldness from the Global South.
Every pastor, lay leader, student of theology, and congregational librarian will want to be exposed to the historical drama played out in these pages.
“At long last this amazing story is being told. Thanks to Samuel Yonas Deressa and Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, we now have a single volume that encompasses the story of a family who endured horrific persecution to give life and vitality to the Ethiopian church and to its partners worldwide. Every pastor, lay leader, student of theology, and congregational librarian will want to be exposed to the historical drama played out in these pages. They will discover why the church in the Global South continues to grow at such a phenomenal rate. They will also discover, in the lives of these two Oromo leaders, the spiritual and intellectual substance that carried and energized the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus during a time of persecution. This volume is a gift to the whole church. To be in the company of Tsehay Tolessa, Gudina Tumsa, and their family has been for me a profound blessing.”
Their story is a model of what it means to heed Christ’s call: ‘Take up your cross and follow me.’
“This book is the compelling story of Gudina Tumsa—Ethiopian pastor, theologian, and martyr—and his beloved wife, Tsehay Tolessa. Both of these remarkable people bore witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ under the persecution of the brutal Communist regime that ruled Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, their story is told here through Gudina’s own theological writings and, for the first time in English, the personal testimony of Tsehay. Their story, though largely unknown to the Western church, speaks of the power of faith, the cost of discipleship, and the extraordinary grace of God in the midst of unspeakable suffering. Their story is a model of what it means to heed Christ’s call: ‘Take up your cross and follow me.’”
This book is a masterfully written account of one of the most important and indomitable power couples who ever lived in Oromo.
“This couple’s life has inspired people of all identities and religions. For them, Christianity wasn’t only an epistemological source of eternity but also a basis for the civic and sacrosanct duty to oppose the political tyranny of the Derg. This book takes stock of the couple’s lives in brisk and elegant prose to examine their unswerving ideas of liberation theology, social consciousness, and revolutionary experience that they left behind for this generation. Anyone interested in understanding the temporal and spatial interface between the spiritual and secular quests for religious freedom, political justice, and civil liberties in Oromo and beyond must know who Tsehay and Gudina are. This book is a masterfully written account of one of the most important and indomitable power couples who ever lived in Oromo.”
Gudina’s theological writings and Tsehay’s poignant memoir will surely induce you to watch and pray more eagerly for the comings and goings of the gospel shower in your part of the world.
“Martin Luther once remarked that the gospel is like a passing shower of rain that the Holy Spirit in judgment and mercy continually relocates around the globe that people might seize it opportunistically and trust it confidently as their own good news. Ethiopia’s Tsehay Tolessa and Gudina Tumsa did just that. Deressa and Wilson have made this Lutheran couple’s saga accessible to a much larger share of the seventy million plus Lutherans globally, though Gudina and Tsehay’s witness is surely not for Lutherans alone. On account of their Christian faith, Gudina, the ‘Ethiopian Bonhoeffer’ and the general secretary of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, was murdered by the Communist Ethiopian government, which then imprisoned and tortured Tsehay for ten years. Gudina’s theological writings and Tsehay’s poignant memoir will surely induce you to watch and pray more eagerly for the comings and goings of the gospel shower in your part of the world.”
Here, readers are invited to see Gudina’s vision and understand the power of the gospel today for Christians in a suffering world.
“The words, teaching, and life of Gudina Tumsa reach out to us from his grave. His strong confessional stance was inextricably linked to the gospel message of love and justice. His theology was holistic in the best sense of the word, calling for unity in the midst of a church divided, for justice in the midst of social and economic inequities. Now Deressa and Wilson have gathered his writings and the story of both Gudina and his wife, Tsehay Tolessa, into one book for Americans to read and cherish. Here, readers are invited to see Gudina’s vision and understand the power of the gospel today for Christians in a suffering world.”