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CMIN 201 (Sp '15) T14 - The 21st-Century Practice of Global Missions

Adapted T08 (Sp '13) - The State of the Spread of the Gospel
by

Hartmut Scherer

on 19 April 2015

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Transcript of CMIN 201 (Sp '15) T14 - The 21st-Century Practice of Global Missions

The State of the
Spread of the Gospel

Sources
Megatrends adopted from Timothy C. Tennent,
Invitation to World Missions - A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century
(Kregel, 2010), 18-51.
Megatrend #1: The Collapse of Christendom
The Western world can no longer be characterized as a Christian society in either its dominant ethos or in its worldview.
What is Christendom?
Christendom refers to a political and ecclesiastical arrangement that reinforces a special relationship between the church and the state.
State
Church
strengthens the church by promoting Christian domination over the religious and cultural life
gives legitimacy to the state by supporting the political establishment and tacitly granting divine sanction to the actions of the state
Official and unofficial Christendom arrangements have powerfully shaped our understanding of evangelism and missions, over many centuries. With the collapse of Christendom, the structures built on its paradigms are no longer viable.
Example: Indian Christians
We must recognize that the Western world can no longer be characterized as a Christian society.
Tennent observed how Indian Christians develop an understanding quite early about what it means to be part of a small, often misunderstood, Christian community who live out their faith within the larger context of a religious, cultural, and social life dominated by Hinduism.
In short, they understand profoundly how to live counter to the culture and have become accustomed to living as a minority community and daily negotiating its nuances. Indian Christians, especially in North India, do not expect encouragement from the wider governmental and social structures.
Their identity and self-understanding occupies the margins rather than the mainstream of the culture.
India (map); retrieved March 2, 2013 from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/India_Map.gif
India (people); retrieved March 2, 2013 from http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3263/2636354102_b1ed6fbe44.jpg
Megatrend #2: The Changing Face of Global
Christianity

Click on the picture. What do you see?
The
statistical center of gravity
refers to that point on the globe with an equal number of Christians living north, south, east, and west of that point.
After its birth in Asia, Christianity had its most vigorous growth as it moved steadily westward and northward. Beginning in 1900, the statistical center began to shift southward, and in 1970 it began to move eastward for the first time in 1,370 years.
Today, the statistical center of Christianity is located in
Timbuktu!
This means that for the first time since the mid-fourteenth century, the majority of Christians (approximately 67 percent) are now located outside the Western world. The major point to recognize, however, is that never before has the church had so
many dramatic and simultaneous advances into multiple new cultural centers.
Statistical Center of Gravity - Tennent, 35.
People Groups
What is a people group?
People Groups; definitions retrieved March 2, 2013 from http://peoplegroups.org/
Unreached People Groups (snapshot)
Click on the link (and be very patient) for an interactive map:
http://peoplegroups.org/Explore/Default.aspx#topmenu
People Groups (snapshot of a map); retrieved March 2, 2013 from
http://peoplegroups.org/Explore/Default.aspx#topmenu
"An ethno-linguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the various members. For strategic purposes it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance. "
What is an unreached people group?
"A people group is considered
unreached (UPG)
when there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage this people group with church planting. Technically speaking, the percentage of evangelical Christians in this people group is less than 2%."
What are unengaged unreached people groups?
"Unreached people groups are
unengaged (UUPG)
when there is no church planting strategy, consistent with evangelical faith and practice, under way."
Affinity Blocs and People Clusters
Affinity blocs
"All people groups, who either live in a particular region or have similar cultural roots. Peoples are broadly grouped into 16 blocs with affinities based on language, culture, religion, politics. In nearly every Bloc there are widely dissimilar and unrelated linguistic minorities, but often there is one particular culture that is dominant."
All affinity blocs; snapshot and definition retrieved March 2, 2013 from
http://joshuaproject.net/global-affinity-blocs.php
People Clusters
"All people groups, who either live in a particular region or have similar cultural roots. Peoples are broadly grouped into 16 blocs with affinities based on language, culture, religion, politics. In nearly every Bloc there are widely dissimilar and unrelated linguistic minorities, but often there is one particular culture that is dominant."
Sample People Clusters; snapshot and definition retrieved March 2, 2013 from http://joshuaproject.net/definitions.php
Urban Centers
"Globalization has shifted increasingly higher percentages of the world away from agrarian farming and toward urban centers. At the turn of the twentieth century, the top twenty-five most populated cities in the world were in Europe and North America. Today, none are in Europe and only two in North America (Los Angeles and New York)."
Urban Centers adapted from Timothy C. Tennent,
Invitation to World Missions - A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century
(Kregel, 2010), 45-46.
"Today more people live in urban areas than rural areas (55 %), a remarkable statistic given that at the turn of the twentieth century only 16% lived in urban areas."
Implications for missions:
1. Evangelistic and church-planting strategies need to be revised, if they are still
focused on rural areas.
2. "The peoples of the Majority World often live in urban areas characterized by
widespread corruption, poverty, disease, and oppression. Today's missionaries must
have a more nuanced understanding of how to communicate and proclaim the gospel
in a holistic way in order to address the complex challenges of urban life and
experience."
Finishing the Task - 2 Critical Issues
Contextualization
Tite Tiénou describes contextualization within the process of theology. He writes, “Contextualization is the inner dynamic of the theologizing process. It is
not a matter of borrowing already existing forms
or an established theology in order to fit them into various contexts. Rather contextualization is
capturing the meaning of the gospel
in such a way that a given society communicates with God. Therein theology is born.”
Gailyn Van Rheenen, Contextualization and Syncretism; retrieved March 2, 2013 from
http://www.missiology.org/?p=119
Syncretism
"Syncretism occurs when Christian leaders accommodate, either consciously or unconsciously, to the prevailing plausibility structures or worldviews of their culture. Syncretism, then, is the
conscious or unconscious reshaping of Christian plausibility structures, beliefs, and practices through cultural accommodation so that they reflect those of the dominant culture
. Or, stated in other terms, syncretism is the blending of Christian beliefs and practices with those of the dominant culture so that Christianity loses it distinctiveness and speaks with a voice reflective of its culture."
Finishing the Task - A Final Thought
"Prayer helps us understand that if the task is unfinished, it is God's unfinished task, and he is able to accomplish it and able to take care of us on the journey if we follow him."
(Jim Haney, The State of the Spread of the Gospel , in
Discovering the Mission of God
, 318)
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