Collection 401 Oral History Interview with Karl G. Dortzbach
Scope and Contents
Oral history interviews with Karl G. Dortzbach in which he describes his childhood and youth, influence of his family, education at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary, and missionary experience in Ethiopia (short term with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church) and in Kenya. Subjects covered include missiology, conversion, raising children on the mission field, marital relationships on the mission field, church life in a Nairobi congregation, proliferation of parachurch groups and need for church planting women's role in missions his wife's kidnapping in Ethiopia, furloughs, language in missionary work training Kenyan church leaders, intercultural communication, conflict among missionaries on the mission field, personal spiritual development, experience of an integrated congregation during his youth, his wife Debbie, evaluation of short term missions, theological educa- tion, call to ministry, church planting in Chicago and Nairobi, congregation in Nairobi among Kikuyu, contextualization, comparison of African and American churches, and the impact of Urbana '70. The time period covered by the interviews is 1949-1988.
Karl Dortzbach was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on September 27, 1988 at Dortzbach's residence in Decatur, Georgia and on April 21, 1989 and at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.
- Created: 1988-1989
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.
Full Name: Karl Gray Dortzbach
Birth Date: September 12, 1949, in Bellefontaine, Ohio
Parents: Elmer M. Dortzbach, Orthodox Presbyterian minister (Wheaton '46) and Marjorie Norton Dortzbach (at Wheaton one year)
Siblings: Two sisters (one older, one younger) Marital Status: Married to Deborah Mull on August 27, 1971
Children: Joshua (1974), Hannah (1976), Jesse (1980)
Conversion: Public profession of faith at age twelve
Call to Ministry: During senior year of high school
1967-1969 Wheaton College
1969-1971 Georgia State University
1971-1973 Westminster Theological Seminary
(intervening short-term mission internship in Ethiopia)
1974-1975 Westminster Theological Seminary, DMin
1973-1974 Internship as short-term missionary teacher in Ghinda, Ethiopia, with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)
1974-1976 Speaking about kidnaping experience
1976-1979 Organizing pastor of Hope OPC in Mundelein, Illinois
1977 Ordained as an evangelist by the OPC
1980- Joined World Presbyterian Mission, mission arm of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPC was later merged into Presbyterian Church in America or PCA, whose mission arm was called Mission to the World)
1981-1982 Church planting assignment in Nairobi
1982-1983 Assigned to establish Bible school in rural area in Kenya
1984-1988 Planting indigenous congregation (African Evangelical Presbyterian Church) in Nairobi
Other Significant Information:
Wife kidnaped and held twenty-six days by Eritrean Liberation Front in Ethiopia in 1974. Later co-authored Kidnapped with wife Debbie.
7.00 Audio Tapes
Language of Materials
Accruals and Additions
The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Karl Dortzbach in September 1988 and April 1989.
Accession: 88-111, 89-40
March 10, 1997
Paul A. Ericksen
- Baptista, Bob.
- Baptista, Martha.
- Children of clergy.
- Children of clergy. -- United States.
- Children of missionaries -- Education.
- Children of missionaries.
- Christian education -- Kenya.
- Christian education.
- Christian life.
- Christianity and culture -- Kenya.
- Christianity and culture -- United States.
- Christianity and culture.
- Church development, New -- Kenya.
- Church development, New.
- College students -- United States
- College students -- United States -- Religious life.
- College students.
- Covenants -- Christianity.
- Dortzbach, Debbie.
- Dortzbach, Elmer.
- Dortzbach, Karl.
- Eritrea (Ethiopia)
- Eritrea (Ethiopia) -- History
- Eritrea (Ethiopia) -- History -- Revolution, 1962-1991
- Ethiopia -- History
- Ethiopia -- History -- Revolution, 1974.
- Ethiopia -- Religion.
- Ethiopia -- Social life and customs.
- Evangelicalism -- Kenya.
- Evangelistic work -- Kenya.
- Evangelistic work.
- Indigenous church administration
- Indigenous church administration -- Kenya.
- Kidnapping -- Ethiopia
- Kidnapping -- Ethiopia -- Case studies.
- Kikuyu (African people)
- Language in missionary work.
- Lay missionaries.
- Missionaries -- Training of.
- Missionaries -- Appointment, call, and election.
- Missionaries -- Leaves and furloughs.
- Missionaries' spouses.
- Missions -- Educational work.
- Missions -- Congresses -- United States.
- Missions -- Congresses.
- Missions -- Ethiopia.
- Missions -- Interdenominational cooperation.
- Missions -- International cooperation.
- Missions -- Kenya.
- Missions -- Rural work.
- Missions -- Study and teaching.
- Missions, Medical -- Kenya.
- Missions, Medical.
- Nairobi (Kenya)
- Nairobi (Kenya) -- Religion.
- Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
- Presbyterian Church in America -- Missions.
- Presbyterian Church in America.
- Religious institutions -- Kenya.
- Religious institutions.
- Theological seminaries -- United States.
- Theological seminaries.
- Wheaton College (Ill.)
- Wheaton College (Ill.) -- Alumni.
- Wheaton College (Ill.) -- Employees.
- Wheaton College (Ill.) -- Religious life and customs.
- Wheaton College (Ill.) -- Social life and customs.
- Women missionaries.
- Collection 401 Oral History Interview with Karl G. Dortzbach
- Paul Ericksen
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
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- Language of description note