Whose mission is it anyway; ours or God’s?
Union Theology have posted an updated overview of missiology on their website. It is well worth a read.
If western missionaries still approach mission from the perspective that their way of doing things is the right way or the best way they risk being guilty of a kind of ecclesiastical colonialism. One of Bosch’s main emphasises is that mission will be practiced in partnership. In essence, mission can no longer be thought of as “from the West to the rest” but rather as being “from everywhere to everywhere”.
“But it is tragic if Christians take their beliefs more from fictional novels and even comics and Hollywood movies than from a careful study of the Bible itself and of the solid tradition of Christian faith through the ages of the church. we need to ask whether our beliefs in these matters are shaped by the recent popular “folk Christianity” in our surrounding culture, or by thoughtful understanding of the Bible for ourselves.” Chris Wright, writing about the ‘rapture’ and related ‘end times’ teaching.
I have been following the launch of the Union Theology website with interest over the past couple of weeks and today, I finally had a chance to glance at it. From the quick look that I’ve taken, it seems to be a very worthwhile resource. Those who are students of theology either by profession or interest should bookmark it in their browser. I was a little disappointed, though not surprised to see that there is no section in the resources section devoted to mission. However, I did a quick search…
Mission agencies need to take into account Biblical and theological considerations when they shape their strategies and goals. This is not a case of providing ‘proof texts’ to give a justification for what we are doing, but to consider our activities in the light of the broad message of Scripture. When there is an apparent conflict between a Scriptural position and ‘conventional wisdom’ or accepted ‘best practice’, we must be prepared to be guided by our Scriptural convictions, even though that might be counter-cultural or counter-intuitive.
I heard some amazing stories last week. There was the large South African church which was running social involvement and evangelistic programmes across the country and in other African nations. A small church in Singapore is planting churches and running schools in Cambodia; this may not sound much, but when you learn that the pastor’s wife died for her faith while helping one of these schools it all gets a little more serious. We heard about a West African denomination which is looking to plant churches in every village in their…
Theologically speaking, mission begins with the begetting of the Son and the procession of the Spirit from the Father. It starts with the Trinitarian life of God before it ever involves the creation, let alone the human part of that creation. We have discovered a doctrine of mission and so far, humanity has not even come into the picture.
“… until recent years, systematic theology has at its best tolerated interpretations of Christology from outside the mainstream academic quarters, that is, mostly Euro-American and predominantly male theologians. Toleration has meant paying lip service to the role of “exotic” interpretations of Christ stemming from the soil of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and non-dominant cultures in the Global North. At the same time, these interpretations have been marginalized, put in separate volumes and essays – apart from the “serious” dogmatic and systematic works.” (p.70)