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Showing posts from July, 2013

Why Foreign Missions? 20h. The Gospel According to Paul—Word Study 5: Mystērion

Why Foreign Missions? 20h. The Gospel According to Paul—Word Study 5: Mystērion
The term ‘mystērion’ is the fifth term to consider in a discussion of the Gospel.  It has no nuanced meaning as a word, but it does have two contextual uses of interest to a study of the term in relation to the Gospel.  One is the use of the term in Daniel 2, and the other is the use of the term in the Graeco-Roman world.  These uses shed light on the use of the term in the New Testament and, particularly, Paul’s use of the term in reference to the Gospel.
‘Mystery’ in Daniel
The word ‘mystery’ is only found in the Greek Old Testament in Daniel chapter 2.  King Nebuchadnezzar required of his sages not only that they tell the mysterious meaning of his dream to him but also that they tell him what he dreamed in the first place.  What he dreamed, and the meaning of the dream, were truly a mystery.  Yet Daniel was able, by God’s revelation, to tell this mystery.  The king’s dream was about a large statue that w…

Engaging the Bible in Mission Theology: Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP)

Engaging the Bible in Mission Theology Scholarship: Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP)

An essential part of mission theology is an engagement with Scripture.  For years now, those of us who could afford it have used Bible programmes that allow us to search Scripture for words and phrases in a variety of languages, including the original languages.  The top commercial programmes have been BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos.

Just rolled out in its first edition this week is StepBible.  See www.StepBible.org.

This is a simply fantastic development in the world of Biblical literacy.  Now, for free, people around the world will have at their fingertips a large number (and growing) of translations, including critical editions of the Old Testament and New Testament in the original languages.  To get a tour of the site, go to: https://stepweb.atlassian.net/wiki/display/SUG/Quick+overview+using+Screenshots

Congratulations to Dr. David Instone-Brewer and those assisting him in developing th…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 2. Biblical Illiteracy in the Western Church: (b) Problems at the Personal and Community Levels

Issues Facing Missions Today: 2b. Biblical Illiteracy in the Western Church: Problems at the Personal and Community Levels
Introduction:
The Church’s mission to ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Mt. 28.19) entails ‘teaching them all that I [Jesus] have commanded you.’  The charge of Biblical illiteracy in the Church involves a failure of mission.  Whatever is going on in churches today—and I have primarily churches in Western contexts in view in this commentary--the overall result is, generally speaking, Biblical illiteracy.  Having laid this problem first at the feet of theologians who come up with creative ways to deny Biblical authority in the previous post, we need to consider the problem at personal and community levels as well.  I will note five causes for Biblical illiteracy and try to discuss each as briefly as possible—so much more could be, and needs to be, said.
*Biblical Illiteracy and the Challenge of a Post-Christian Culture: The most dramatic change has taken place in West…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 2. Biblical Illiteracy in the Western Church: (a) The Loss of a Concern for Biblical Authority Among Theologians

Issues Facing Missions Today: 2a. Biblical Illiteracy in the Western Church: The Loss of a Concern for Biblical Authority Among Theologians
Introduction
The strangest thing happened on the way to the twenty-first century: the Western Church became Biblically illiterate.  This has a direct and dramatic effect on its mission in the world.
The point being made here is not at all new.  In recent years, I have heard the conversation repeatedly being made in Europe, America, and South Africa.  There may be wonderful exceptions to this all over the world, but one challenge missions faces is a fairly massive element of the Church being biblically illiterate.  How can we possibly go about the mission of the Church if we are Biblically illiterate?
Just how did this state of affairs come about?  Studying ‘cause’ is challenging.  What I present here are analyses that should contribute to a new strategy to re-establish Biblical literacy even if they fail to explain the causes fully.
In this post, …

Issues Facing Missions Today: 1. The Loss of Mission

Issues Facing Missions Today: 1. The Loss of Mission
The greatest challenge to missions in the past forty to fifty years in the west is the loss of mission.  This deserves a book.  I will limit myself to a few examples.
Exhibit A:Denominations have, by and large, lost the vision for mission.  First, loss of numbers: denominations in general have been losing numbers (except for a few), while independent churches have been growing.  Second, loss of fervor: some denominations have lost their missionary fervor, becoming more self-focussed.  Third, loss of purpose: oldline denominations—the ones that have been around a long time and put the word ‘Church’ right in their names because they thought that the word in a big sense actually applied to them—have been losing an understanding of purpose and, with it, a vision for missions.  Why?  At least three reasons.  (a) They have been losing a vision of what the Gospel is.  (b) Embarrassed by complicity in colonial expansion in the 1800s and earl…