Archive for the ‘Mission’ Category.

Has Evangelicalism Lost its Soul?

Recently, Scot McKnight writing in Jesus Creed, a prominent blog for ‘progressive’ evangelicals posted a lament, “The Scandal/Loss of the Evangelical Soul.” He begins with a standard definition of evangelicalism taken from David Debbington with the following pillars: (1) the authority of the Bible, (2) the centrality of the cross, (3) the necessity of personal conversion, and (4) Christian action in evangelism and social work.

McKnight identifies four disturbing signs pointing to the crumbling of evangelicalism: (1) The Bible Diminished, (2) Mission Work Has Become Social Work, (3) Where are the Pastors? And (4) Atonement Confusion.

The consequences are distressing: Continue reading ‘Has Evangelicalism Lost its Soul?’ »

Going Public with Lesslie Newbigin: Public Theology and Social Engagement in an Islamic Context

Thesis: Regarding both the commonality and the crucial difference in the way Christianity and Islam approach public doctrine and the ordering of society – “The issue of public doctrine cannot be evaded…Muslims and Christians share a common belief that life is not to be understood or managed without reference to God…Christianity and Islam have differing beliefs about how God rules in human affairs. The heart of the difference is in the fact of the cross. The Prophet rode into Mecca to conquer; Jesus rode into Jerusalem to die. The crux lies there. And that means that Christians cannot use coercion in the struggle between two different ultimate faiths. But struggle there must be. The field is the whole of our public doctrine.

That is to say, while Christianity and Islam agree on the theistic foundation for public morals, they disagree on how public morals should be exemplified and regulated, especially in a plural society. In particular, contemporary Christianity gives priority to embodying moral ideals rather than imposing moral rules and regulations backed by punitive measures. The basis for this Christian approach rests on the understanding that the church’s exemplary moral life best represents how the gospel redeems culture. Continue reading ‘Going Public with Lesslie Newbigin: Public Theology and Social Engagement in an Islamic Context’ »

Forced Conversion: Sarawak’s Christians Will not Keep Quiet, BUT…

Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have been complaining about  surreptitious conversion of Christian natives for twenty over years, but to no avail. Islamic proselytizing and conversion of Christians have become more flagrant than ever. Perhaps, the authorities perceive that many Christian natives, especially those in the rural areas, will not go beyond complaining (or groaning) as poverty renders them vulnerable to inducement that accompanies conversion to Islam. Indeed, some natives may not mind their children converting to Islam when they marry a Muslim as this would open opportunities for social mobility and uplift.

It is a matter of great urgency that pastors and community leaders work together to confront and contain Islamic proselytization. This would require:

1) Systematic and comprehensive Christian education to build up the faith of believers, especially Christian parents whose children are targeted when they attend the tadika-taska (Islamic kindergarten-nursery) set up government agencies.
2) Initiatives in economic empowerment that include assisting economic micro-enterprises, organizing economic cooperatives among the Christian villages, and creating SMEs that would provide jobs for the semi-rural Christians.
3) Mobilizing churches and NGOs to hold their wakil-wakil rakyat  accountable for their failure to prevent conversion to Islam through economic inducement.

The Christian natives are literally overwhelmed by Islamic proselytization programs that are funded by vast government resources. Will Peninsular Malaysian Christians readily share resources with their besieged brethren as they face an unprecedented threat to the existence of the East Malaysian church?

Continue reading ‘Forced Conversion: Sarawak’s Christians Will not Keep Quiet, BUT…’ »

Kalimat Allah

Pendahuluan

Ibrani 1:1-3  Setelah pada zaman dahulu Allah berulang kali dan dalam pelbagai cara berbicara kepada nenek moyang kita dengan perantaraan nabi-nabi, maka pada zaman akhir ini Ia telah berbicara kepada kita dengan perantaraan Anak-Nya, yang telah Ia tetapkan sebagai yang berhak menerima segala yang ada…Ia adalah cahaya kemuliaan Allah dan gambar wujud Allah dan menopang segala yang ada dengan firman-Nya yang penuh kekuasaan. Dan setelah Ia selesai mengadakan penyucian dosa, Ia duduk di sebelah kanan Yang Mahabesar, di tempat yang tinggi… Continue reading ‘Kalimat Allah’ »

Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Building a Common Society

Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Building a Common Society

Published in Christianity Today LINK

I wrote this article as a response to Chawkat Moucarry, “A Lifelong Journey with Islam.” LINK You may note the other responses by David W. Shenk, Evelyne A. Reisacher and Sunday Agang. These articles are part of the collaborative project between Christianity Today and The Lausanne Movement, The Global Conversation. Continue reading ‘Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Building a Common Society’ »

Leslie Newbigin’s Theology of Cultural Plurality

THEOLOGY OF CULTURAL PLURALITY

The notes given below reflect the thought of Leslie Newbigin on the subject of Mission and Culture taken from in his writings over time.

DEFINITION OF CULTURE
Hiebert. Culture as “the more or less integrated systems of ideas of ideas, feelings, and values and their associated patterns of behavior and products shared by a group of people who organize and regulate what they think, feel and do.”

Geerts. Culture as “an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.” Interpretation of Culture Basic Books 1973: 89

Newbigin offers just an ordinary dictionary definition. Culture as “the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.”78ctc9
He added – A social product of human initiative, not an unchangeable datum. It comprises the “vast variety of human ways of living” including “all of that which constitutes man’s public life in society.”

Culture as dynamic. Continue reading ‘Leslie Newbigin’s Theology of Cultural Plurality’ »