I mentioned yesterday that Simon Cozens is someone who is willing to confront issues. In his latest blog post he takes an excellent look at one of the key themes in much modern missionary writing: Unreached People Groups. It’s a hard hitting paper, but one that everyone interested in mission should read.
People group theory does not take God’s character seriously
There is a fundamental clash between the manager of the American enterprise and the God of the Christian Bible. The American manager is interested in achieving goals as quickly and efficiently as possible; God is not.
Even at the birth of mission, when his disciples are ready (or we would expect them to be ready) to head off into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth, the message from Jesus was not go, but wait: “And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Forty years to deliver a chosen people from Egypt; four thousand years (at least) between Fall and Redemptor; forty days to kick off world mission.
These things do not suggest to me a God who is interested in finishing “the task”, or indeed any task, as quickly as possible. As Koyama puts it, God moves at three miles an hour because walking pace is the pace of love. Efficiency, hurry and haste do not effectively communicate love, and so a vision of mission centered around haste cannot be carried out according to the character of our God.
By the way, if you want to take issue with what Simon says, it would be best to do so in the comments on his blog, rather than here. There is no guarantee that he will read anything posted here and won’t be able to respond.