Bible & Mission Observations

Bible and Mission Links 32

A Bible in any language, translation into German, everlasting missionaries, the British Church today and two takes on a Latin phrase. Some of the latest blog offerings.

This post doesn’t have many links, but there are a couple of really great ones (not that I’m biased) and the others aren’t bad!

Screenshot 2016-02-18 18.41.58As a Bible translator, I’m forever being asked whether I can find someone a copy of the Bible in some language that I’ve never heard of. In truth, I know very little beyond the small corner of Francophone Africa where I worked. But the answer is now to hand. If you go to Find Bible, you can enter the name of any language and find out about the translation that’s been done. You can probably also download the text for a smart phone. I think this is really cool. I’ll let you guess which language example this one is.

Another new website I wanted to mention is the brand new Global Connections’ Blog. I’ve been quite involved in helping get this off the ground, though I’m unlikely to do much writing for it (churning out five posts a week, here is tiring enough). The idea is to get mission practitioners and leaders to contribute their thoughts. The first post is by my boss, Martin and is well worth a read and there is more good stuff to come, so you might want to sign up to receive the emails.

Maybe in light of this we need to rethink our terminology. To quote one mission leader who said to me recently: ‘I get very twitchy at the number of agencies talking about come and join us in our mission – getting very proprietary about mission. It is actually God’s mission. We need to address this issue when we talk about selection and how recruitment is going? Are we recruiting people to our agency or to the work of the kingdom?’

Coincidently, Glen Scrivener has picked up on the same theme, and some of the same authors, though he addresses a different question. I loved this line:

If you want to appear hip among a gathering of pipe-smoking, microbrew-drinking theologians, drop missio Dei into conversation. It guarantees instant credibility.

There is more to this rather long post than this quip. It is a thoughtful (and lengthy) look at the place of proclamation and works of service in mission. I’ll come back to this in the next week or so, but in the end I’m not convinced by Glen’s argument, mainly because I think he is asking the wrong question. We distinguish between proclamation and works of service and because we make the distinction, we have to talk about which is primary. I’m just not convinced that the distinction is a valid one in the first place. It seems to have for more to do with the Enlightenment than it does with Scripture. As I say, I’ll return to this soon. That being said, I’d still strongly suggest that you follow up Glen’s paper.

Other Matters

Paul wonders whatever happened to the idea that missionaries are supposed to work themselves out of a job. Another Paul (Schlehlein) asks whether a belief in God’s Sovereignty kills missionary zeal (the answer is “no, it doesn’t”) and  the Verge Network provide us with 5 myths about the Great Commission (and a bit of dodgy Greek). I’m not sure why the Lausanne Movement produced a list of bibliographic resources linked to the Cape Town Commitment; it can’t just have been to make me very happy and help my studies.

I’ll finish off with a couple of letters:

Martin Luther wrote a wonderfully eloquent and far from politically correct defence of his translation, which – appropriately enough – is reproduced in German with an English translation. It is amazing to see just how forward looking Luther was in his translation style. It’s enough to make me want to learn German. This short defence of natural language translation is superb:

We do not have to ask the literal Latin how we are to speak German, as these donkeys do. Rather we must ask the mother in the home, the children on the street, the common man in the marketplace. We must be guided by their language, by the way they speak, and do our translating accordingly. Then they will understand it and recognize that we are speaking German to them.

Rather more up to date, is a letter from Simon Ponsonby to the British Church:

If we want spiritual renewal, if we want the Church to break out in blossom, rather than be a trivial memory, we need to put back the cross. No one is saved outside of the gospel, but no one is outside the gospel’s power to save. So let us return to the gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected. Let us hold firmly to it and hold it out to the world. What are we waiting for?

He hits the nail right on the head.


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