Monthly Archives: February 2011

‘In Quest of the Father of Mission Studies’

This is an article by Andrew F. Walls in ‘International Bulletin of Missionary Research’… I am blown away by the ideas herein. Many years ago, in a missions class at Liberty taught by my second missions mentor, Larry Haag, I learned the word contextualization. In this article, Walls certainly does give us great fodder for how we must understand our culture in order to contextualize the Gospel into our culture.  Some sample from that article are…

What was God doing in the Greek world over all those centuries when he was preparing Israel for the coming of the Christ?This is not Paul’s question; for Paul, the Jewish missionary,the astonishing revelation was that the Gentiles were to havesuch a significant place in God’s salvation; it was the present andfuture, rather than the past, that gripped him.” But Justin and hiscontemporaries have to deal with the past. The Greek worldviewand its intellectual foundations were too comprehensive to beignored; they had to be converted. And so the second-century generation of convert apologists develop principles for the cri­tique of this Hellenic inheritance. Justin, still wearing the philosopher’s short cloak that was the contemporary equivalentof the academic gown, introduced the Christian-and especiallythe prophetic-Scriptures into Greek intellectual discourse as asourcebook of comparable, even superior, antiquity to that of theGreek literary tradition. All the time he is wrestling with theconvert’s question-how to turn an existing way of thought andlife toward Christ, how to critique the heritage, affirming, deny­ing, discriminating. (P.100)

Origen was the first, says Gregory, to incline him to philosophize-by his wordscertainly, but also by his actions. Christian theology was anno­tated, as it were, by Greek writers-“So that we were taught tocollate with all our powers all the writings of the ancients,whether philosophers or poets, rejecting nothing because we hadnot the necessary discrimination.” They should not, in fact, rejectout of hand any school of philosophy or any body of learning,Greek or barbarian, but bring them into critical relationship withthe body of Christian theology until they form a commentary onit, not a substitute for it. (p.102)

For Plato, as for the young Justin, the end of the philosophic questwas the vision of God. For Origen, the philosophic quest is thepreparation for the Christian life. In this and many other respectshe is most Greek when he is most Christian, and most Christianwhen he is most Greek. (p.102)

Still more striking is a passage in his letter to Gregory Thaumaturgus, where he connects the construction of the taber­nacle in the wilderness with the spoiling of the Egyptians. Thegold cherubim that indicated the holy presence were made fromEgyptian gold as were the pot that held the manna and the othervessels used in worship; and the curtains of the tabernacle weremade from Egyptian cloth. Materials that were being misused inthe heathen world were thus used, thanks to the wisdom of God,for the worship and glorification of God. The work to which heurges Gregory is to put Greek learning to the same sacred use. (p.104)

Egyptian gold and Greekmaterials are to be used for the glorification of God, but it isnecessary to watch out lest idols be manufactured in the process.For this reason Origen urged on Christians, learned and un­learned, the duty of discrimination and sought to provide themwith tools for the purpose. (p. 104)

There isno merit in unreflective attachment to opinions. For Origen, onlythe Word, the Logos, deserved unconditional attachment. (p.104)

Walls, Andrew, “In Quest of the Father of Mission Studies” (IBMR, vol. 23, #3, July, 1999).

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as white as snow

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Prayer Update

1. Joanna gets stitches out and walking cast Friday, please continue to pray for fast healing.

2. The doctoral committee which is considering my entry into the doctor of ministry program meets tomorrow at 730 am, please pray God will guide them to the decision He wants made.

Thanks!

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God in Bosnia

On this cold grey winter day I sat and was absorbed by and absorbed this book of hope. I was struck by the way in which Manuel takes stories of horror of the recent war in the Balkans, especially in Bosnia, and used the words and stories of individuals whose hope is in God to show us that there is “hope in the ashes.” Manual integrates his own personal story into this series of stories. His struggles, his fears about himself – which, the honest reader must claim as his own – and ultimately, his surrender, to Jesus. As I read, I was touched as one who, a few years later traveled to many of these same places, and heard many similar stories. Indeed, for all troubled hearts and war-torn places, God is the “hope in the ashes.”

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calling, studying and God’s will: a prayer request

As we travel this journey, our calling changes, as did mine two years ago. God moves us about in His Kingdom in amazing ways.

Not long ago I was urged to enter a program to do further professional study toward a doctor of ministry degree. In consultation with those who know me and provide me with counsel, I was urged to pursue this possibility. The study toward this degree and the collaboration with others in the same program (who also work in the field of global outreach) will clearly be a furthering of my work as a leader of Christian Educators Outreach. I am enthusiastic about this possibility but am keeping in mind that “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

A committee, who will decide whether or not to allow me in, will meet later this week. So, I ask you to pray that this committee will hear from God and do His will.

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more reading about leadership

“The Bible is much more concerned about who a leader is than what a leader does.” (p. 15)

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