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Showing posts from March, 2014

Issues Facing Missions Today 12: Who’s Christianity? What Church? Which Mission?

Issues Facing Missions Today 12: Who’s Christianity?  What Church?  Which Mission? 
What follows is a simple post, but one that needs to be stated repeatedly.  When assessing missions—who is doing what, and what should be done—we simply have to ask hard questions.  We have to ask, ‘Who’s Christianity?  What Church?  Which Mission?’  Failure to do so might easily lead to support and involvement in what is actually not Christian (even if some good things are done), enabling what is actually not the Church, and planning what is not helpful in Christian missions.
This concern regularly shows up in the use of statistics in missions and ministry.  Statistics are potentially and often are misleading because categories are confused and data is misinterpreted.  One needs to define such terms as ‘Christianity,’ ‘Church,’ and ‘mission’ before reporting statistics on the Church and missions, and one must engage in detailed assessment of statistics rather than reach quick conclusions based on suc…

Issues Facing Missions Today 11: Three Suggestions for Local Church Mission Programmes

Issues Facing Missions Today 11: Three Suggestions for Local Church Mission Programmes
In this blog post, I want to offer three suggestions for local churches as they think about their mission programmes.  These are by no means exhaustive, and I intend to offer more suggestions at a later time.  My three suggestions are that the local church needs a (1) ‘world mission’ perspective, a (2) ‘Gospel’ perspective, and a (3) ‘missionary’ perspective.
1. The local church needs a ‘world mission’ perspective.  That is, missions should not be reduced to the doing of ministry, such that it might just as well be done around the block rather than overseas.  A world perspective ties the local church into the long and deep missional narrative of Scripture: there is One God who wants all people to be saved.  Luke, e.g., repeatedly uses Isaiah 49.6 in his two volume work of Luke and Acts in reference to the disciples/church’s ministry.  It says,
"It is too light a thing that you [God’s Servant] sho…

Issues Facing Missions Today 10: The Seminary and the Loss of Mission

Issues Facing Missions Today 10: The Seminary and the Loss of Mission
Introduction
The issue of the vibrancy of western ‘missions’—missiology and mission practice—in our day is a topic I took up in my first article in this series on ‘Issues Facing Missions Today.’  That blog posting has received about 1,000 hits and daily receives more still.  So it seems appropriate to revisit the issue from time to time.  To be sure, my first post was a sweeping statement in defense of the claim that the Church in the west is losing mission today--more needs to be said.
For those who found this interesting, engaging, or frustrating, perhaps two references will help.  One is an online video reflection on my post on ‘The Loss of Mission’ by Dr. Jon Shuler of the North American Mission Society (http://www.cross.tv/108095).  The other resource is an article some may already have read:
Dana L. Robert, ‘Forty Years of North American Missiology: A Brief Review,’ International Bulletin of Missionary Research