My colleagues-missiologists also support me))
Thank you for your essay. I must admit that I agree with most of what you write. Unfortunately, it can be much worse. Worldview questions are very important in this. I am amazed at the fragmented and unchristian worldview I continue to find among evangelicals in Ukraine. There doesn’t seem to be much attempt, or any, to address these questions. What we believe will determine our practice (orthodoxy leads to orthpraxis). When we have poorly formulated theology and worldview, the quality of our actions will follow. The way my Baptist acquaintances here relate to money and to operating illegal business says to me a great deal about the state of their theology.
George de Vuyst
I very much enjoyed reading the article on missions (and I looked at several others as well). I think that, mission mistakes might have played a role in slowing church growth, but the real reason is the «success» of Soviet secularization. Curiosity, nostalgia, a wish to desovietize motivated many after 1991. Now we are left we the secular Soviet masses. It seems to me that the real legacy of the Soviet Union in terms of religion is that it produced believing, but non-practicing individualists who are suspicious of almost all forms of collective activity. This goes for believers attending churches and pastors attending leadership seminars. QUite strange and worthy of much more reflection. I will now happily follow your blog.
Prof. Catherine Wanner
I have spent 45 years in cross cultural mission leadership. I am not a scholar, to my sorrow, I have been more of an activist than a thoughtful reflector. My theological formation is Reformed and I find that “always reforming” is the way to vitality.
It seems that we are all looking for some magical balance point between extremes is not helpful. I find in the Bible in life, paradox often expresses our human reality. Tradition and innovation, works and faith, structure and freedom, one could go on and on with these kind of paradoxes. Today we see playing itself out across the world the paradox of the church wanting to meet real existential needs of real people and the fact that God’s revelation is quite concrete and definitive. The need to be both relevant and God centered is another of those creative tensions.
Today seems to be a time of holy deconstruction for the Church, a time of clearing away many of our accumulated cultural accoutrements. I think that in this process it is essential encourage those who are wrestling with desire to make the message of grace understandable and relevant to men and women to need to hear and understand it. It is also essential to hold on to the Biblical revelation we have received as our foundation.
We talk a lot about paradigms, but there is a sense that there must be a collective “ah-ha” for a new world defining reality to be recognized and accepted. I think that today much of the church is in a parenthesis time between paradigms. We have a strong sense that the old one is not working, that they don’t really fit reality either Biblical or human, yet the new paradigm has not emerged quite yet. We are as a community in the gestation period and the baby is not yet ready to be born.
In many ways the way forward is being prepared by men like yourselves who are wrestling with these issues and putting out ideas of what the new reality might look like, yet for you the uncomfortable part of this reality is that you have no real control over what will or will not be recognized and accepted by the broader body. You can be obedient to your calling, but the Holy Spirit who call you is the one who will determine its ultimate impact. The role of truth teller or prophet is most uncomfortable in the Bible as in real life.
Let me encourage you to continue in the struggle with these vary real issues and may our Lord’s blessing be mightily on you as you struggle with the very real issues of living out the Gospel so that the world can truly see Jesus.
Paul McKaughan, Ambassador at Large, The Mission Exchange (Formerly EFMA)