Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

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Book Review: Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples through Scripture and Doctrine

In his recent book, Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples through Scripture and Doctrine, Kevin Vanhoozer makes the claim that everyone is a disciple of someone else. Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine by [Vanhoozer, Kevin J.]We all follow someone else’s words or stories. The question is whose words, whose stories are we following. We often follow the stories that provide meaning for our culture. The book identifies as a pastor’s guide but has valuable insights for missionaries. Vanhoozer makes use of Charles Taylor’s (the author of A Secular Age) concept of social imaginary. He explains:

A social imaginary is the picture that frames our everyday beliefs and practices, in particular the “ways people imagine their social existence.” The social imaginary is the nest of background assumptions, often implicit, that lead people to feel things as right or wrong, correct or incorrect. It is another name for root metaphor (or root narrative) that shapes a person’s perception of the world, undergirds one’s worldview, and funds one’s plausibility structure. … Social imaginaries, then, are the metaphors and stories by which we live, the images and narratives that indirectly indoctrinate us. Yes, we have all been indoctrinated: filled with doctrine or teaching. The doctrines we hold, be they philosophical, political, or theological, feel right or wrong, plausible or implausible, based largely on how well they accord with the prevailing social imaginary or world picture. – p.8, 9

Timothy and Titus as Models

In  a previous post we looked at how Paul identified himself as a preacher, apostle, and teacher of the gospel in the Pastoral Epistles. I suggested that today’s missionary identifies with Paul as preacher and teacher of the apostolic gospel. We are not apostles but preach and teach the message of the apostles recorded in Scripture. Timothy and Titus likewise were not apostles but served as coworkers with Paul and in the Pastoral Epistles were delegates of Paul. So we share an affinity with Timothy and Titus as ministers under the authority of the apostles.

THE ROLE OF TIMOTHY AND TITUS

In writing about the role of Timothy and Titus, Andreas Köstenberger notes:

Timothy and Titus are often viewed as pastors of local congregations. However, as mentioned, their role is not actually that of permanent, resident pastor of a church. Rather, these men serve as Paul’s apostolic delegates who are temporarily assigned to their present location in order to deal with particular problems that have arisen in their respective churches and require special attention.

Andreas J. Köstenberger, 2017, Commentary on 1-2 Timothy and Titus, p 8

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What should we read to learn best practices in church planting?

The Mission Round Table, Volume 13 #2 (May-August 2018) was titled, “To Make the Word of God Fully Known”: The Bible in Mission and the World. In the editorial Walter McConnell wrote:

As in other matters, the Bible should be our final authority regarding mission and the church. Those of us who strive to be reflective practitioners of mission must make it our aim to base our thinking and work on God’s written Word as we present his living Word to the world so that all may have an opportunity to experience his blessings. To do this we must drench ourselves in God’s Word, saturating our thinking and practice with its message. Mission Round Table, vol.13, #2, p 3.

Bridging the Divide Network

In the October 2017 issue of Missio Nexus’ publication, Anthology, the article “Transforming Perspectives” caught my attention. The article reflects on the five consultations that have taken place since 2011 organized by the Bridging the Divide Network (BtD). This network has brought together people with different perspectives on Insider Movements to increase understanding in a safe environment. The article describes the consultation:

Nearly two hundred scholar-practitioners have been involved at some point, scores of papers have been presented and responded to, and dozens of group discussions have covered a range of topics related to ministry approaches among Muslims.

Anthology October 2017 vol. 5 no. 2, 22.

The Kingdom of God paradigm and Insider Movements

In our ongoing discussion of Insider Movements, we turn now to the question of what implications an understanding of the Kingdom of God might have for insider movements. In chapter 20 of Understanding Insider Movements, Anthony Taylor prefers the “Kingdom of God” paradigm over the “conflict of religions” paradigm. He writes:

An alternative to the ‘conflict of religions’ paradigm is the paradigm of the kingdom of God. This paradigm assumes that what is most important is the quality of one’s relationship to Christ and to a community of believers, and that such communities can have different practices and emphases, whether novel or traditional, foreign or indigenous, as long as they are compatible with the Bible.  (UIM, kindle loc. 4293)

Learning from Mission History

As I look at the missiological landscape more than halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, I join others in noting similarities with the early 20th century. Christopher R. Little writes:

Indeed, the problems the missionary movement generated at the early part of the twentieth century have returned with a vengeance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. … It is a hard fact to face, but the church has failed to learn from history and is therefore repeating it. – Polemic Missiology for the 21st Century: In Memoriam of Roland Allen, Kindle loc. 137

What is the Biblical Support for Insider Movements?

Part 3 of Understanding Insider Movements begins:

Are insider movements biblical? Or are they merely a missiological strategy with scant theological legitimacy, as some critics assert? (Kindle loc. 4234)

This part of UIM contains a dozen biblical and theological studies that advocates of insider movements believe form the biblical foundation for insider movements.

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