Bible and Mission Links 23

Resources

One of the most useful sites relating to the Bible and Mission is Rob Bradshaw’s Biblicalstudies.org.uk, where a massive amount of biblical and theological material is available to download. Rob has put a vast amount of time and energy into gathering together this archive and it is well worth taking some time to peruse it. The World Evangelical Alliance also have a huge number of mission related articles, books and such like available for download.

Partnerships

The BBC’s man in Africa, John James has a fascinating observation about the way in which expats can be cut off from the life of the country in which they live. Sadly, much of what he has to say could, in my experience, also be applied to missionaries. In a thoughtful piece, David Westlake examines some of the dangers inherent in (well intentioned) Western interventions in the wider world.

In development work rich, educated, powerful and well-intentioned people make up plans orsolutions for people who have less formal education, money and power. Programmes and projects that might have worked well in one place are implemented in other places without much regard to the different local circumstances. Local “partners” become programme contractors rather than collaborators and learning is adopted rather than adapted. The result is disempowerment and weak ownership even if there are some good outputs. It is not sustainable, does not create local civil society and dis-honours people.

It’s not all doom and gloom – he does have a solution, but you’ll need to read the article to find it.

Bible Translation

The Wycliffe Global Alliance website has a heart-warming story from Guatemala. Again, you’ll need to read the whole article!

Overwhelmed with emotion, José Alberto takes off his hat and buries his face in it as he weeps. The chapeau becomes a handkerchief, of sorts, to absorb his tears.

Jose is recalling one of the darkest periods of his life—when it should have been one of the brightest—as a pastor among the Central Mam people of northwestern Guatemala.

It was a time when his little congregation in the village of Tuijala dismissed him as their pastor—for preaching the truth.

Phil has posted some excellent videos which give the rationale for Bible translation work – go on, watch them.

Mission in the West

Andrew Jones has been musing on the work of a New Zealand missiologist and his contribution to mission in his own context. While David Fitch has produced a list of issues which must be addressed by the Church in its mission to North America.

The gospel. What is the gospel? Is it only justification by faith or does justification fit within a larger framework, the good news that God has made Jesus both Savior and Lord and is ushering in His Kingdom? …

The Scripture as God’s Drama, His Story. How does a high view of the authority of Scriptures translate in a context where science and historiography no longer (and maybe never should have) hold sway as the standards of truth and accuracy? …

The church in Mission. What defines God’s people and how do we organize for mission. …

Salvation and Justice as Related. Again, we are confronted with injustice in our society in situations too numerous and confusing to list here. …

Women In Ministry. Here again is an important issue in our time. But this issue gets polarized with two options that do not seem to get at the heart of what is happening in the New Testament. …

LGBTQ. The alternative sexualities of our society are a dominant issue we are facing culturally and in our churches. But everyone is afraid to talk about it for fear of being branded as extreme by either side of the spectrum. 

It would be interesting to reflect on each of these, but this isn’t the place. However, I’ll restrict myself to the issue of sexuality which has become a major talking point in the UK following an interview in which the well known preacher, Vaughan Roberts admitted to ‘same sex attraction.  Mark Meynell wrote an excellent blog post which addressed the issue very well. A few days later, Mark summarised some of the themes in his blog post for a piece on the Guardian website.

Besides, the real Christian objection is much deeper. We don’t believe desire is a reliable guide in life. Sometimes it leads us to what is true and good. Sometimes it flickers and deceives. Instead, Christianity offers a far more radical proposition: we are not defined by the things we want or own. So we are not defined by our sexuality, social status, wealth, education, looks or even by which newspaper we read. Instead, we are defined by two key things: that we are each created in God’s image, and that in Christ we are redeemed by God’s astonishing love. It is on this foundation that we can surely move beyond a battle of derogatory stereotypes to a real discussion of what it means to be human.

Varia

It wouldn’t be one of my lists of links without a reference to the Beaker Folk who have a series of small ads:

Are you a supernaturally gifted preacher, pastor, children’s worker and administrator? Can you stop time, thus fitting more hours into the week than anyone else? Do you hear “Sabbath” and think “Five hours’ sleep a night is enough for anyone”?  Are you able to raise large amounts of money, apparently effortlessly and without all those fraud charges the last minister had to endure? If so, please contact us for our Parish Profile.  Now we’ve written it, it turns out you’re just the person we’re looking for!

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