Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Tag: christianity

How do we decide whether someone is a Christian?

You may have heard comments about “bounded sets” and “centered sets” in missions conversations. Since introduced by Paul Hiebert in 1978, these terms have been part of many missiological discussions. Frequently, in a somewhat reductionistic way, “bounded sets” are seen as Western and traditional and “centered sets” are seen as more progressive.

Let’s review what we are talking about. Bounded sets are defined by the boundaries used to describe the set. For instance, either conversion or baptism might be the boundary for a bounded set of the category “Christian.” According to this way of categorizing people, in order to be considered a Christian, you would have to have a conversion experience or be baptized. Often the list of characteristics that define a Christian are expanded to include things like: going to church regularly, not drinking alcohol, having assurance of salvation and espousing orthodox theology on all major doctrines.

What do we call ourselves?

What label do we use to identify our religious commitment? What label should a convert adopt? These are common questions in Muslim ministry contexts. Many other ministry contexts also grapple with this issue. An internet search for ‘”Christian” or “Jesus-follower” as a label produced over 2,400,000 results (no, I didn’t read them all!). Should we call ourselves “Christians,” “Jesus-followers,” “Christ-followers,” “Born-again Christians,” or some other label?

The problem with labels is that they carry different meanings in different contexts, even within the same culture. In this post we will discuss the labels “Christian” and “Jesus-follower.” Both of these labels are subject to diverse understandings.

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

John Owen begins his work on the Holy Spirit: “When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. He gave his son and he gave his Spirit. In fact each Person of the Trinity was involved in this great work of salvation. The love, grace and wisdom of the Father planned it; the love, grace and humility of the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled sinners to believe and receive it,” (The Holy Spirit, abridged by R.J.K. Law, Banner of Truth, 1998, p 1)

We continue to look at how our doctrinal statement holds our thinking, emotions and will, and our actions. SEND statement says that we believe “In God the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin, regenerates, indwells, and empowers the believer.

Meditations on the Work of Christ

82857-work2bof2bchristAs we continue in our meditations on the SEND Doctrinal Statement we are taking our second look at the third section:

“We believe in Jesus Christ, God the Son, the world’s only Savior; in His pre-incarnation, virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, burial, and bodily resurrection, and in His personal, visible return to earth;”

In a previous post we looked at  the person of Christ, in this post we will meditate on the work of Christ. How does our belief in Christ’s “sinless life, vicarious death, burial, and bodily resurrection, and in His personal, visible return to earth” hold our thoughts, affections and will, and actions?

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