New Research in Hawaiian History: Christianity

A conversation with Dr. Ron Williams, Jr. on the Claiming of Christianity in the Hawaiian Kingdom. A provocative look at the Christian Hawaiians and the churches during the times of the Provisional Government. Williams got his Ph.D. in History from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

12 thoughts on “New Research in Hawaiian History: Christianity

  1. This kind of information is so important in mending some of the divides that have formed out of misconceptions in our community. In the process of removing all of these false targets that have been propped up to over time (Mahele, Christianity, etc.), the narrative changes and the pono path is made all the more clear. We are not tribal victims of colonization or the oppression of Western culture, although those elements have played a part. Rather, we are the citizens of an occupied nation. The people of the United States and the rest of the world will wake up to this truth very soon.

    • Mahalo nō. The work is meant to try and complicate these easy binaries and examine commonalities. I appreciate your comments. Ron

      • Yes, dispelling the binaries! I loved that you used that perfectly apt term in your talk. I look forward to reading (and possibly studying) your dissertation in book form as I progress through the UH System. I am currently just a student, but I one day hope to lock arms with you and other professors in pursuit of truth, understanding, and justice for Hawai`i and its people.

  2. “Holding them to their standard” is exactly what I have been doing for the past 20 years!!! I really do appreciate and thank whoever posted it! Iʻm stunned but fully aware of the cloud of witnesses that drive the cause today! I wanna meet DR. Ron Williams.

  3. Mahalo for sharing this. A timely and interesting discussion; and refreshing to see intellectual humility exercised in his research efforts.

    Many generations within my own family deftly reconcile their deep Christian faith with being fully Hawaiian. As was true for our kupuna, these sensibilities reside within in harmony. Our faith and culture allows us to embrace all who share and live aloha and reject all ideas which act against this.

    I hope more learn of our true history concerning Christianity, and take a more balanced view. Intellectual arrogance is as limiting as is religious arrogance.

  4. Mahalo, Dr. Willams Jr. for addressing such a sensitive subject. It is wonderful to see your research supporting the fact that our ancestors were very knowledgeable about things that were new to their existence.

    In assessing our situation, I find myself wanting to ask the church the same questions that our ancestors were asking.
    How can deception, oppression and illegal activities be in line with the teachings of the lord Jesus Christ? Do they not collect tithing?
    Why has the church not become the purveyors of the truth?
    Valid questions, in my opinion.

    Just for clarification, I consider myself to be a practitioner of the Lord Jesus Christ, not a follower. I understand his teachings and apply them to my everyday life and every person I interact with. It can be very hard, however the clear conscience and spiritual guidance is well worth it.
    I think our ancestors could connect with the teachings of Jesus Christ, as he had so much aloha.

    • Aloha mai Tim, mahalo nui for your note. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head. What was “the church?” I argue that, post 1863, the 13 member board in Honolulu was quite distinct from the thousands of native congregants and dozens of native churches throughout the islands. me ke aloha, Ron

      • Thank you for the replies and providing an email. I am sure you will receive many questions as well as praise. Would be wonderful to have someone like yourself discussing your research with the many churches in Hawaii. Just a friendly reminder to the churches as to what transpired. A lot of what you said was news to me.

  5. Aloha Dr. Ron,
    Mahalo nui for your ike, time, & mana that you have put into this study. I sit with such mixed emotions. Elated because some truth has been set free, enlightened with more understanding about Hawaiian culture, and deeply saddened as well as righteously angered more than before with acknowledging the oppression, that once again, occurred among people both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian manipulating Christianity to do it.

    I am a born again Christian, a simple follower of Christ with no claim to denomination (there is not supposed to be any- not biblical teaching 1Corth 1:10-17). After watching your interview I shared it, and emailed it with many of my friends, as well as pastors & elders of our Church Harvest Kumulani Chapel in Kapalua on Maui.

    For sometime I have been in prayer of a bridge or connecting conduit for conversation into cultural awareness to many of our fellowship. I believe this mana’o ~ interview could be a start. If church bodies could assist in accountability of the past & healing of the future somehow with using this new information perhaps we could see a major shift, revitalization, and renewal of Hawaiian culture in many ways. When a person’s ‘uhane is healed they can do great things. When damaged all seems lost and hopeless.

    Are you planning on coming to Maui and speaking any time soon?

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