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August 18, 2005


John W. Morehead

As a new intercultural studies student at seminary currently taking (among other things) a course on history of Christian missions, where might we focus historically for missions insights that will be applicable to our Western cultural situation?

Ryan Bolger

Great question.
No doubt,all mission history is instructive, even when it is done wrong. So you do well to study the history of the people of God crossing cultures as God's servants (on their best days).

In addition to mission history, the Bible holds many insights for the people of God interacting with the nations. Most pointedly, it is in the New Testament era where we see Christ's followers go to other cultures to express the rule of God just as Jesus did in his. So, all of history has lessons for us.

In dealing with pluralism, we can learn much from the early church in their dealings with other religions. However, we cannot completely take this as a guide, as their responses were highly Greek in nature, as this was their particular context. Our response must refuse such leanings. So, although we follow their example, we must hold their formulations loosely. What may of more help is studying the many examples of contextualization in the Two-Thirds world, especially by those who were much less formal and institutional in their approach.

Hope this helps a bit...

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  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


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