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10 years ago @ Esler.org - Pioneers Statement on ... · 0 replies · +1 points


I think what you are looking for is a denunciation or condemnation of C5/IM strategies. I was not a part of the team that drafted the statement, but my sense is that the leadership team wanted to be positive and not negative in the statement.

What the statement (including the one you note on worldview) does embrace is that we are not to "leave" people in their non-Christian worldview. Leaving people in the non-Christian worldview is what one of our staff have called an "Insider-for-life" approach. The "Insider-for-life" thinking is at the core of the C5/IM view. It holds that a person can stay in their non-Christian world and be a follower of Jesus (they tend avoid the "Christan" label).

I would commend to you the recently published "A Closer Look" resource from the Pioneers' website. It can be found here: http://www.cartpioneers.org/a-closer-look-forum-o... and it will show in greater detail the dialogue that has been taking place on the topic at Pioneers.

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Pioneers Statement on ... · 0 replies · +1 points


Thanks for replying. It's nice to know that somebody out there is reading this blog. Sometimes I wonder!

One of the difficulties in this debate is the shifting definitions that are being used to describe contextualization. I am aware of a search for new terminology that is seemingly always ongoing. I can appreciate the fact that within academia theories need to be modified and that, as we learn new things, we must adopt new paradigms and terminology. First, it became a no-no to use the C-Scale to describe IM strategies. Now we shouldn't use "IM." It is frustrating the conversation. I have a suspicion that the terminology is fading in part because it (IM) is unpopular in some church circles and there is a need to keep the issue in transition.

Simply because a phenomenon exists does not, of course, validate. You can check out the use of tongues by very aberrant cult groups for an example of this. Whenever humanity is the topic you can find just about anything. So, arguments about it "just happening" everywhere are not convincing to me if the goal is to suggest a model of ministry.

I understand wayward Catholicism having worked in Croatia and Bosnia where there are practices that would make many Catholics shudder. One example could be the mariology that surrounds Medjugorje. However, the polemic that I am hearing from those who wish to promote IM ideas is that 1) Christians throughout history have had terrible theology yet we regard them as Christians and so it follows that 2) Muslims with terrible theology (i.e. non-Trinitarian views) can also be regarded as a part of the Kingdom. Well, I can't agree with either point 1 or point 2 in that argument. It's also a "lowest common denominator" approach. I think we have to be asking ourselves: what's the end game? Is it a church made up of cultural Christians? No... Is it a church made of "followers" who don't embrace historic Christian theology? No.... What is it? I think we know, but we are so eager to see movements happen that our missiological practice is preceding our theology.

I have not had the chance to read gospodin Vulf's book yet (too much reading in my PhD work right now!). I am hoping that the "cover" material is intended to be provocative because the statement "A person can be both a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian" needs many, many qualifiers. I trust he expands on them in the text. I hope I can get to the book.

I personally don't consider myself anti-contextualization. As I note above, I like the fact that the Pioneers' statement doesn't contain a do/don't list so that contextualization can be employed. At the same time, I believe that Islam and Christianity are incompatible theologically. It's true that they embrace some similar things. However, they are self-evidently contradictory of each other in many other ways. "Their book" may be a good starting point, but "our book" needs to be the ending point. That pretty much sums up my view of IM strategy: it is, at best, a transitory phase of the church as it emerges.

Thanks for the comment. I think a robust conversation serves us all.

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Egypt in Turmoil · 0 replies · +1 points

This was a topic of discussion among Arab leaders. One Western missionary in particular made sure that this was discussed at a dinner I was at one evening. They understand that the stakes are high, and the church in the Arab world may be standing at the brink of real growth, similar to the Javanese movement documented by Willis, or perhaps similar to upheavals that resulted in great persecution.

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Mission Inc. · 0 replies · +1 points

I have a few crazy ideas.

I think you run the risk of the "Great Abstraction." This is the term I used for the idea that all we do is missions. It's the sign on the door that reads "YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE MISSION FIELD" which is, I am sorry to say, rather dumb. It's the idea that we are all missionaries because we are Christians. I would challenge you, before you write your article, to define what you mean by "missionary."

If you want to say that the "three kinds of Christian" talk is crazy, that's fine with me. However, if you further obfuscate the definition of missions, then I might write a testy reply!

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Leadership Lessons fro... · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks for the comment! After watching the Vikings fall apart for the past few weeks I am not sure how good the post was! I really do believe the main point but perhaps the illustration is the wrong one.

Who knows, though. There are still enough games left in the NFL season for the hapless Vikes to do something right.

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Americans Are Not Fit ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I get it. Not much to comment on after reading that!

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Chinese Church · 0 replies · +1 points

Uh, actually, Ghost, those are the five largest church buildings, which is a different than looking at the largest churches from a "people" standpoint.

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Wimpy Men · 0 replies · +1 points

That is one of the nicer things about house church - we have all generations together.

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Wimpy Men · 0 replies · +1 points

Great story on Townsend!

- Ted

11 years ago @ Esler.org - Wimpy Men · 0 replies · +1 points


Thanks for the comment - you and Donovan were making a similar point. You are correct, in noting that "Creators and Cultivators" are similar to what I suggest. I do think, though, that the idea of RISK is what jazzes men most.

- Ted