Sunday, November 30, 2008

Engaging Youth: Theology of Missions

Before I dive into either of my case studies I stated in the introduction, I first need to share a piece of knowledge that is foundational to understanding my further thoughts. If you have a issue in later posts, it might come down to a disagreement on this basic theory, so understand this is the current framework I am working in.

At the end of this summer I had the opportunity to attend a one week intensive school of theology hosted by Good Shepherd (and friends). Rick McKinley laid out Leslie Newbigins theology of missions (enough name dropping). I strongly believe this is the single best nugget in understanding of how the Gospel is to be effectively proclaimed to all peoples in all times and in all places.

You can get the basics from the following bulleted points and the (sweet) graphic (I scrounged from a google image search):
  • The Gospel goes into the Culture and speaks through windows of redemption specific to that culture (Good News) as well as windows of opposition (things that clash).
  • This contextualized Gospel forms the Church.
  • The Church needs to go back to the Gospel before going back to other cultures.
  • The Gospel to be proclaimed is a tightrope between culture and church
  • One one side: This is why religious people anger Jesus. You become sectarian, on the side of the church, separated from the people
  • On the other: You are being absorbed by culture, and you are just like them. Not distinction. You are not an ambassador to anything. You become syncristic
  • Falling off either side are sin, how do we live on the tightrope/vertical axis (Takes discernment - which unfortunately we don't teach... ever. We teach black and white)
There you have it. I believe a strong theology of missions is necessary and is relevant not only to your average missionary in Africa, but to many people (read: every single confessing Christian).

I started this series in the midst of finals ramping up (not smart), so I am taking it slow and easy. Check back in the next week or so.

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