New View Overview ---> New View Main Page, abxn Main Page. About this Page. Contact.
Please feel free to use and share this content, or this link: ""

Rwanda: Revival and Genocide

Antione Rutayisire (Anglican Rwandan Priest) gave the following landmark addresss at the Lausanne Congress in CapeTown. I found it helpful in understanding how, only 60 years after the Rwanda revival, there was genocide.

This address was played during the BBC Radio 4 Service 7 April 2024, which was on the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. [The text below has been transcribed directly from the recording of the service; "??" indicates words I could not transcribe for sure. AB.]

----- The address

In his book, The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen speaks of ministry in a wounded, dislocated world, populated by a rootless generation ministered to by a wounded healer, the minister who must bind his own wounds, in anticipation of the moment when he is going to be needed.

We are all wounded, from different situations, national, family, work places. I myself, I come from a wounded nation, I come from a broken nation, but a nation that is healing. And I grew up wounded, I grew up angry, I grew up full of hatred and bitterness, but the Cross of Jesus Christ has made a difference in my life. And that is what I want to speak about today. [applause]

In 1994, the country of Rwanda where I come from was at 90% Christian. And the country of Rwanda had been given as an example of successful Christianization of a nation. But, in 1994, a genocide happened that took more than a million lives in a hundred days.

And sometimes you wonder what has happened, and what went wrong.

Because in that same country of Rwanda we had ??no-ordinary?? revival that had a great impact in the surrounding nations of Uganda, of Burundi, of Tanzania, of Kenya, and even beyond.

And now we ask the question, "What has gone wrong?"

In Rwanda, our worldview, our spirituality, in general, is experiential. It is always related to personal, family and national life. The Rwandan world is one; there is no dichotomy between the living and the dead. The animal kingdom and the inanimate world, they are all related. And they play a role in our spirituality.

But the kind of presentation that was done in Christianity was a kind of memorization of Scriptures, a kind of catechism based on memory, but not touching issues of daily life. [FMGM?]

The consequence were that many people got baptised and integrated into churches, but every time when they ran into problems, because their old worldview had never been challenged, they fell back on their ethnic worldviews.

The messengers themselves. While they came preaching love, the missionaries were a visible image of the opposite, sometimes using the new converts in acts of violence. Christianity was never seen as a unifying factor, and is often mentioned among the divisive factors in the history of our nation. [AB: But in accounts of the East African revival I have read, the Cross was indeed the unifying factor, equality of missionaries and Africans, etc. Jesus talks of the devil sowing bad seeds among the good. Is that the explanation?]

From the Colonial period, the church in Rwanda worked hand in hand with the political leadership, and this prevented them from taking a critical distance, to raise a prophetic voice when and where it was needed.

But criseses have some positive points. Because the genocide of Rwanda has pushed us to rediscover the message of reconciliation. We have rediscovered the power of preaching "Christ and Him crucified". Because, very often, we preach Christ as our sin-bearer, but we forget that Christ came, not only as our sin-bearer, but also as our pain-bearer. So, when we preach Christ, he takes the sins of the offenders, and he takes the pain of the offended, and He brings us together, and He reconciles us.

And that is the message we need to preach in our countries when they are divided. [applause]

And we need to rediscover a new perspective on our social relationships. Because we are a "Holy nation of God", we are not Hutus or Tutsis or Tua, we are not whites or blacks or yellow or green or whatever we may call it. We are a "holy nation unto God" in Christ Jesus.

We are here to change the world. And the Lord has given us the message. And let reconciliation become a lifestyle, than a programme or a project.

And may the Lord help us to be "ministers of reconciliation".

Thank you.

[AB's comments:


Dr Rutayisire's Address at Haguruka Conference in September 2023

On Youtube: The Holy Spirit, Our Mentor. The 'Revival' address at the Africa Haguruka 2023, given by Dr. Rutayisire (in French and English, with translation).

Main points I heard:

This page, URL= "", is part of the on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology and practice that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome by emailing

Compiled by Andrew Basden as part of his reflections from a Christian perspective. Copyright (c) Andrew Basden to latest date below, but you may use this material for almost any purpose, but subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext in the style of classic HTML.

Created: 7 April 2024 Last updated: