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Ethiopian church grew despite communism

ICC Note

Ethiopia was a communist country from 1974-91 during which evangelicals grew in number in the midst of persecution.

By Matt Vande Bunte

Saturday, November 10, 2007 (The Grand Rapids Press) — So what’s behind the boom of Christianity in the global south? Communism.

At least, that’s the case in Ethiopia , said Tibebe Eshete, a visiting professor at Calvin College who is writing a book on the evangelical explosion in his homeland.

“The church had to go underground,” Eshete said about a revolutionary period of religious persecution. “When people face a hostile environment to their religious commitment, people will go out of their way to keep it. It really creates an energy in you that wasn’t there.”


“The revolution united evangelicals,” said Eshete, now a lay leader in an Ethiopian church in Grand Rapids . “Persecution made the church very strong and aggressive.”

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