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  • Direction: A Mission Theology Which Anticipates the Future
    s program This means that for the ultimate meaning of modern civilization and the destiny of human history you and I are more important than the United Nations What the Church does with the Gospel has greater significance ultimately than the decisions of the Kremlin From the perspective of eternity the mission of the Church is more important than the march of armies or the actions of the world s capitals because it is in the accomplishment of this mission that the divine purpose for human history is accomplished No less than this is our mission Ladd 65 7 As we introduce men and women to the kingdom we seek with them to address the questions of injustice poverty and violence that characterize our world Only as the blessings of the kingdom are experienced is there power to forge a new society and a hope for the world Attempts to define the mission of the church purely in terms of social justice international peace racial integration elimination of poverty or changing economic and political structures in order to eliminate oppression are radical reconceptualizations of the biblical view of God s mission in history Social change must be rooted in the powers of Christ s kingdom Personal salvation and commitment to Christ must go hand in hand with social action As Christians we are called to be responsibly involved in our non Christian societies Social action is a consequence of evangelism a bridge to evangelism and a partner in evangelism Evangelism and church planting need to be regarded as central partners in ministries of relief development and concerns for justice MOTIVATED BY CHRIST S MISSION IN THE WORLD Jesus expressed a clear self consciousness of His personal mission in the world He had come not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many Mark 10 45 He was sent by the Father and desires His followers to share in His mission As the Father sent me so send I you John 20 Jesus urgently sought to complete the task given to Him My meat and drink is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His task John 4 34 Jesus Task Focused on the Kingdom of God From the beginning of Jesus ministry the note of fulfillment was sounded forth In Him the kingdom of God was at hand His rule had come as liberating King He had come to invade Satan s territory He exercised the powers of the kingdom as He preached the gospel as He forgave sins as He cast out demons and as He healed His efforts resulted in the defeat of Satan Luke 10 18 The kingdom became the highest priority for Jesus Through repentance and faith and the movement of the Spirit of God people entered the kingdom of God John 3 Jesus called on His followers to seek first the kingdom of God 8 Matt 6 33 He taught them to pray Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven Matt 6 10 As women and men enter the kingdom of God s Son they enjoy His redemption and forgiveness of their sins Col 1 14 Jesus Task Focused on the Cross and the Resurrection Jesus knew He had come to die His death was central to His mission and to ours He reminded the disciples that a grain cannot bring forth much fruit unless it dies So too if He would be lifted up He would draw all men towards Himself John 12 32 On the cross He became the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world There he dealt definitively with man s alienation from God bringing forgiveness reconciliation and intimate fellowship The crucified Christ dealt definitively with man s enslavement bringing freedom and liberty to all who believe The resurrected Christ has become the life giving Spirit 1 Cor 15 45 On the right hand of God He rules the church and the world having been placed above all principalities and powers Eph 1 10 The restoring power of the crucified Christ and the energizing power of the risen Lord form the twin pillars in the mission of the church in the world God s highest desire for people is that they might know Him that they may form with Him a covenant community in which He will be their God and they will be His people In Christ that became a reality Jesus Christ summed up the completion of His earthly ministry in having given eternal life to men That eternal life consisted in knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He had sent John 17 3 And God has placed in all hearts the desire to know Him and experience Him intimately It is therefore no trivial matter when God exhorts us to glory in knowing Him and understanding Him Jeremiah 9 20 24 There is no greater subject which can entertain our minds and our hearts than God His invitation is a call to the most exhilarating the most energizing the most stimulating the most fulfilling preoccupation in life to the end that we may be transformed into His image and that we may identify with His character and His purposes in the world Our mission is to present Christ as the only way for such knowledge He is the Way the Truth and the Life no man 9 comes to the Father but through Him John 14 6 Jesus Task Focused on the Lost and the Poor Jesus clearly states that He had come to seek and to save the lost Luke 19 10 Jesus viewed the crowds as those who had gone astray They were as sheep without a shepherd Matt 9 35 36 They were distressed and bewildered having lost a sense of direction and purpose They are also described by Him as being helpless they were prostrate because they were weighed down A similar understanding of the human condition is implicit in Jesus invitation Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest Matt 11 28 While Christ probably had in mind the many prescriptions and requirements laid upon the Jews through their legal system all labor and are heavy laden if they seek to find salvation by their own efforts or by their spiritual quests Jesus also focused on the poor In Luke 4 18 our Lord sums up His mission as follows The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind to release the oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord s favor Luke 4 18 19 Responding to John the Baptist s questions about His Messiahship Jesus answers Go back and report to John what you hear and see the blind receive sight the lame walk those who have leprosy are cured the deaf hear the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor Matt 11 4 5 In Matthew 5 3 our Lord speaks of the blessedness of those who are poor in spirit Who are the poor The poor in Jesus language and in the language of the Scriptures of His day are the socially oppressed They are those who suffer from injustice They are those exploited and harassed At the same time the poor are those who recognize their own personal inadequacies and rely solely on God not on man s earthly power They do not answer evil with evil nor oppose injustice with injustice Their hopes lie in the kingdom of God The deepest concern of Jesus was not that of merely redressing their social injustice To them came the gospel of the kingdom Jesus would respond to their hungering and 10 thirsting after righteousness They longed for a deliverer Our Lord is not speaking here only of righteousness which is the gift of God making them right with God but of a kingly justice which the kingdom of God will ultimately bring This justice in Christ is expected by the poor This is why in the most profound sense they are the poor in spirit Christ s care for the poor and the captives the lame and the blind went far beyond what might today be a secular Western agenda of medicine literacy relief and development It directed itself to the hopes of His kingdom the hopes and the blessings of His rule Christ responded to immediate needs and to deepest hopes of a coming righteous and just rule of Christ the King the poor have the gospel preached to them Jesus Call to a Faithful Discipleship Discipleship means being motivated by the love and compassion of Christ being deeply desirous of bringing the joyous news of the gospel of Christ to those estranged from the living God and their being without hope and without God in the world Discipleship means being motivated by obedience When He calls us to serve Him we obey Obedience to Christ calls to a deep and continuous involvement in evangelism church planting and ministries to the unevangelized in the world Discipleship means being motivated to bring honor to our Lord in the world We desire to see the day when every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father Phil 2 11 We are taught to pray Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven To glorify God means to seek His unveiling among men that men might see His love His grace His mercy and His justice so as to find their delight in Him To seek the glory of God is to have a burning desire that men might live with Him in a most intimate fellowship exalting God in every aspect of life Discipleship means longing eagerly for the eschatological inbreaking of the kingdom of God Discipleship means to yearn for a new heavens and a new earth in which only righteousness dwells and to labor for it Scripture teaches us that before Christ comes the gospel must be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations Matt 24 14 11 J Verkuyl suggests that any church which does not eagerly long for the kingdom and for the fulness of the Eden to come into it is no longer a church it has become an exclusive club Churches on every continent must begin to feel the throbbing desire to gather all people under one head Jesus Christ the only rightful owner of human lives Verkuyl 167 Motivated by the Mission of the Spirit The Holy Spirit is the dynamic of the church in its mission But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth Acts 1 8 Pentecost made the church a witnessing church because it brought power to the Great Commission It is the Spirit who enables the church to break away from her preoccupation with self to her mission in the world it is the Spirit who touches the hearts of men and women reminding them that all have a call to missionary service It is the Spirit who was poured out upon all flesh creating churches among all nations In the farewell discourse of our Lord John 14 17 Jesus promised to send the comforter who would be with them to guide to teach to remind them of the things He had said to glorify Him and to convict the world of its sin of unbelief Whenever the Spirit of Truth therefore informs the life of the church in teaching reminding guiding convicting and witnessing the church cannot but be a missionary church The Spirit who indwells the church brings life and empowering for witness The book of Acts is governed by one overriding motif the missionary witness of the church in the power of the Holy Spirit The Spirit as a missionary spirit galvanized the church into action as summed up by Harry Boer in his book Pentecost and Missions One hardly knows where in Acts to look for a distinction between church and missions Restlessly the Spirit drives the church to witness and continually churches rise out of the witness The church is a missionary church She is not a missionary church in the sense that she is very much interested in missions or that she does a great deal for missions In Acts missions is not a hobby of an evangelical section of the church The 12 church as a whole is missionary in all her relationships If the missionary witness of Acts is inseparable from the church it is equally inseparable from the Spirit Boer 161 The overwhelming concern of God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is to bring the alienated world which has strayed from God back to its Creator and Savior God is a missionary God Jesus Christ is a missionary Christ the Holy Spirit is a missionary Spirit the church of Christ is a missionary church To love our God with heart soul and mind and to worship Him means to understand Him in His deepest passion and to participate in His desire and purpose in the world His mission must be our mission The mission of the church is rooted in the character and will of our God While it is true that mission activity is today carried out and needs to be carried out on every continent it is also true that fewer resources are available for the Lord s mission abroad Not everyone can live and serve abroad but everyone is able to be a world Christian as defined by David Bryant World Christians are day to day disciples for whom Christ s global cause has become the integrating overriding priority for all that He is for them Like disciples should they actively investigate all that their Master s Great Commission means Then they act on what they learn Bryant 63 CENTRAL MISSION ISSUES AS WE FACE THE FUTURE The Faith to Complete the Task A hundred years ago the Student Volunteer Movement adopted as its motto Evangelizing the world in this generation Today we have far more resources to evangelize the world than they had In addition to that we have had a tremendous expansion and growth of the church in Third World countries The question is do we have a faith similar to theirs Do we believe that we can complete the task given to us by our Lord when He called on us to disciple all the nations Jesus warned His followers of possible difficulties and conflicts but He added Be of good cheer I have overcome the world John 16 33 He promised them that they would 13 do greater works than He because He was ascending to the place of authority and power at the right hand of God The mission our Lord entrusted to us is not an impossible task The last 200 years have witnessed a marvelous movement of the Spirit of God among the various peoples of the world However there are still three billion people who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ It is estimated that 90 of all church workers in the world are in the West Only 10 of Christian workers minister in the midst of the three billion unevangelized David Barrett points out that Christians have resources to complete the mission given by Christ today The sad fact is that 97 of these resources they spend on themselves their families their home churches and local charities Only 5 of the remainder is channeled into the overseas task of mission Very little is being spent on reaching unevangelized peoples and completing the unfinished task Barrett 10 J Herbert Kane in his book Wanted World Christians calls for a new commitment to our missionary task when he describes a too frequent perspective of our Western churches As long as the Christian church continues to regard world missions as one of the last and least of its responsibilities and devotes only a tiny fraction of its total resources in men and money to the cause of Christ around the world the task will never be completed As it is most of the churches in the Western world are self centered inward looking preaching self denial but all the while practicing self indulgence They are preoccupied with their own problems and concerned almost exclusively for their own growth They are playing at missions Kane 205 The will to follow our Lord in world missions and faith in the spiritual resources He provides to complete the mission is an issue for us today Training for Mission The sense of call for mission the participation in evangelistic outreach in the local churches the biblical and theological opportunities at Bible institutes and colleges Christian art colleges and seminaries make an important contribution towards the training of future missionaries Meanwhile rapid urbanization and the population explosion challenge evangelical churches today to more effective training for mission 14 By the fall of 1987 the Center for Training in Mission Evangelism at Fresno under the leadership of Dr Henry Schmidt will seek to develop a practical conceptual approach in training for urban evangelism and church planting The curriculum provides for studies in cross cultural evangelism mission spirituality and biblical studies for a period of four and a half months In the light of the call of MBM S Board for 100 new missionaries during these five years such training should enable us to field a capable missionary force Internationalization This is the day of developing partnerships in mission on

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  • Direction: Peace, Justice, Evangelism: The Mission of the Church
    the Wheaton Conference held in 1983 Bob Moffit 379 addressed the subject of dichotomization as follows Western Christians understand man s need for growth in physical social and spiritual areas but they have accommodated the influence of the Enlightenment by often separating physical and social development from spiritual Unfortunately this dichotomy is not limited to the church in the West Third World churches have been 22 influenced by Western mission even when a dichotomized perspective thinking is not indigenous Some people in the Third World understand the dangers of dichotomies Miriam Adeney 7 quotes Filipino Dr Magalit who addressed the Urbana Missionary Convention Please do not send us missionaries who insist on a dichotomy between evangelism and social concern In the long term unless our love is demonstrated in practical terms of helping to meet the need for daily bread our gospel of love will sound hollow and unconvincing How have Mennonite Brethren Missions Services performed in prioritizing and dichotomizing Kasdorf 630 researched mission reports and conference resolutions from 1954 to 1984 and found a consistent focus on priority of proclamation over social concern Indeed he found this theme to be prevalent in current promotional literature although he cites p 628 one pamphlet as stating Helping people in physical need has always been stressed by Missions Services as integral to the church s mission to the world If MBM S adhered to the priority of evangelism in mission they were in step with the mainstream of evangelical thought A press release given after the 1982 Grand Rapids Consultation on the Relationship between Evangelism and Social Responsibility stated One issue that has caused misgivings in some evangelicals was a statement in the widely accepted Lausanne Covenant which was adopted by the 4 000 evangelicals who assembled at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization After defining and acknowledging the necessity for evangelism and social outreach the statement said that in the church s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary Some evangelicals feared that if taken in isolation the words could be construed as minimizing social action The consultation in Grand Rapids faced up to the misgivings and heard from participants who voiced them The conclusion was that everyone could endorse the conception of the primacy of evangelism when it was properly defined This group grappled with the problem of dichotomy They recognized that both evangelism and social action were 23 needed in mission outreach They recognized the interrelationships But they could not agree to leave the components as an indivisible whole Western thought is indeed deeply tied to the secular models developed in Greek thought and given impetus by the Enlightenment Although the Wheaton Conference in the following year categorically refuted dualism as heresy in Moffit s 379 80 paper the final statement while emphasizing the integral relationship between evangelism and social responsibility and while recognizing discomfort by some participants with the Lausanne Covenant statement that in the church s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary nevertheless endorsed it

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  • Direction: Centrality Instead of Priority: An Emerging Philosophy of Mennonite Brethren Missions
    on social services as the Resolution on Proclamation of the Gospel and Christian Social Responsibility formulated by the Board of Reference and Counsel Because of its significance the document merits full quotation According to the Scriptures fallen man can be saved from his desperate plight only through faith in Jesus Christ a faith which comes by hearing the gospel John 14 Rom 10 Believers are therefore called to proclaim the gospel by preaching teaching writing testifying confessing etc Matt 10 28 Rom 10 The effects of man s sinful state are also to be observed in man s misery sickness death hunger disaster and violence of many sorts Our Lord s compassion was poured out in ministering to these needs of men as untiringly He healed the lepers the blind the paralytic and the crippled the Gospels The hope of redemption at the resurrection includes the body Rom 8 The significance of ministering to the needs of man in a social economic order of life finds eloquent 31 expression in our Lord s parable of the final judgment Matt 25 Our saving faith is tested on the basis of our deeds of love to men Gal 5 6 We therefore affirm That we recognize Christ s call to His followers to include both proclamation evangelization and social action alleviating human suffering and misery in the world That according to Scripture and the example of our Lord we regard the proclamation of the gospel and social action to be inseparable tasks for the believing community in any location in the world It is understood that sometimes proclamation sometimes social action takes chronological precedence It is also understood that while both are required by our Lord without proclamation men cannot be saved That the statements of priority should be stated according to the scriptural pattern seek first his kingdom and his righteousness Matt 6 This priority seeking first God s rule and His righteousness in our lives and in the world through Christ comprises both proclamation and social action and in Scripture is placed over against man s preoccupation with selfish concerns what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear It was moved seconded and carried to accept the above resolution GCY 1972 8 9 The Search for Wholeness in Buhler 1978 Integration of spiritual and social ministries is biblically sound and theologically significant But during the 1970s a shift in verbal emphasis went a step further The General Secretary declared at the Buhler Convention in 1978 Our Priorities are an expression of what we believe our mission to be We have placed the highest priority on evangelism church planting and on indigenization of the national churches We have not always understood when and how to achieve this Our commitment to leadership development receives support through scholarships for individuals We seek to be true to our commitment of service in our mission by integrating word and deed Our ministries in Bangladesh through the M C C in Nepal 32 through the medical work of The Evangelical Alliance Mission and in Afghanistan under International Assistance Mission are small but firm footholds in building the Church of Jesus Christ Our involvement with Canadian International Development Agency C I D A funds has helped us to strengthen our ministry to people with economic needs INTERPRETING THE PHILOSOPHY What is the most evident in Mennonite Brethren theology and philosophy of mission from 1957 to 1984 is the tension between evangelism and social concern While philosophy theology statements move in one direction the priority statements which shape policy move to separate again what the theology statements joined Reaffirming Priorities It is striking how often the Brethren have felt the need to reaffirm the priority of evangelism as a quick review of the records will show At the 1960 Centennial Convention in Reedley the Conference adopted as part of a longer resolution that in consideration of the great spiritual urgency of our day to complete the assignment of Christ to preach the gospel to every creature Mennonite Brethren Church renew its dedication to the sacred assignment of the world evangelization committed to the Church by our risen and ascending Lord who calls us to finish His work GCY 1960 97 In view of the postwar tendency of institutionalization of foreign mission the Board of Missions expressed concern at the 1963 Convention in Winnipeg that the primacy of direct evangelism be not overshadowed by institutionalism or social and cultural concerns in our brotherhood and mission enterprise important and attractive as they may be GCY 1963 60 When the Board of General Welfare and Public Relations merged with the Board of Missions to form the Board of Missions and Services in Corn Oklahoma in 1966 the Conference issued a special Statement of Principles and affirmed its belief that the proclamation of the Gospel is the primary task of the church 33 In 1969 the language was again made stronger A statement of Conference priorities said In all we do we will be clear in our top priority winning people for Christ and the establishment of His church All other ministries are important but subordinate to this GCY 1969 50 At the Conference in Reedley in 1972 the General Secretary stated that the Mennonite Brethren were free to reaffirm their priorities He then added We will affirm our priority of church planting evangelism In this hour of mission opportunity we will stick close to the Word that teaches that all men are lost and that there is no other name in heaven or earth than Jesus whereby men may be saved GCY 1972 27 In 1975 the Board of Missions Services asked the Conference to endorse as mission priority to evangelize and plant churches GCY 1975 108 In 1978 the Chairman of the Board reiterated the highest priority of evangelism church planting and indigenization of national churches GCY 1978 67 Three years later he focused on telling the good news and on being agents of

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  • Direction: Megatrends in Missions
    by caring for the stranger and the marginal A more fundamental question has to do with peaceful coexistence How can people of such different cultures and religions live together in the same communities The easy answer is to leave one another alone but what then holds them together in one city and nation And what about evangelism To permit it invites conflicts but to reject it is to reject Christ s command to preach the Gospel to all people The greatest danger of pluralism is a relativism that denies the uniqueness of the Gospel Pluralism also provides us with great opportunities In 1970 A D we had to send a missionary to Laos to evangelize the Mien Today many of them live in Fresno Visalia and San Jose a fifteen minute drive from our churches The same is true of many other people who have settled in Canada and the U S The mission fields of the world have come to our doors 41 URBANIZATION The world is rapidly becoming not a global village but a global city We are living in the middle of the greatest exodus the earth has ever seen as people around the world move from fields and villages to exploding urban centers An estimated one billion people will migrate to cities in the 1980 s alone In 1900 A D only 5 5 of the world s population live in cities with populations over 100 000 people By 2000 A D this will have risen to 38 and by 2050 A D to more than 75 In 1900 A D there were no cities with five million inhabitants By 2000 A D there will be 65 of them and 24 of these will have more than ten million More than 430 will have more than one million people in them In the past urbanization characterized the West Today it is occurring most rapidly in the two thirds world see Table 2 Table 2 THE URBAN POPULATION OF THE WORLD in millions 1950 1985 2020 Two thirds World 332 1 256 3 606 Western World 404 757 1 048 N Am USSR Europe Australia New Zealand Mexico City is growing at a rate of 80 000 per month and by the year 2000 A D it will be the largest city in the world with 31 million people in it In 1900 A D nine out of the top ten cities were in the so called Christian West with New York at the top In 2000 A D New York will be the only western city in the top ten and it will be number seven By 2030 A D no western city will be in the top ten cities of the world Seven of them will be in Asia two in Latin America and one Mexico City in North America The settings for most of these cities will be the Hindu Buddhist and Muslim worlds Along with urbanization goes networking The cities of the world are linked to each other by planes ships mail telecommunications telephones computers and satellite communications What happens in one affects the other almost instantly The cities provide us with a great many mission opportunities The people are around us on every side By winning them 42 to Christ in one city we can reach others around the world SECULARIZATION NOMINALIZATION AND THE FUNDAMENTALIST REACTION If one looks at the world scene from a missionary point of view one striking fact is that in great areas of Asia and Africa the church is growing often rapidly while in lands once called Christendom it is declining under the attack of modernity Wherever modernity penetrates it carries with it the acids of modernity that dissolve the most enduring of religious beliefs including those of Christians The spread of modernity is one of the greatest missionary movements of our age In the past decades schools have appeared in the remotest of villages and children around the world are learning a science mathematics and history divorced from a faith in God Universities hospitals and research laboratories have become the status symbols of nationhood As Newbigin points out modernity is both a blessing and a curse for missions It breaks the tight hold traditional religions have upon their people and therefore frees them to convert to Christianity On the other hand in its present form it erodes belief in all religions including Christianity In country after country where the Gospel has taken root Christians have become secularized and nominal by the third and fourth generation Even if Christian missions are totally successful there is a real danger that the world will end not with a living church but with nominal Christianity Modernity as we know it opens the doors for Christian missions but is itself a threat to the Gospel It is not surprising therefore that most major religions have experienced a revival of religious fundamentalism Today fundamentalist movements in Islam Hinduism and Buddhism are resisting the spread of modernity and of Christianity which they see as the bearer of modernity and are seeking to revive old religious ways and draw Christian converts back into their folds Muslim Hindu and Buddhist countries are also closing their doors to Christian missionaries According to one estimate eighty percent of the world s countries will be closed to outside missionaries by the end of this century Christian missions must therefore find other ways to 43 evangelize these lands and prepare young churches in these lands to stand amidst persecution Modernity has so penetrated the world views of Europe and North America that many Christians in the two thirds world are beginning to ask whether the West can be converted Newbigin In the last century the growing materialism of science and the radical critique of metaphysical foundations by western philosophy have created a post Christian culture that is particularly resistant to the Gospel Western Christianity itself has lost its prophetic voice and largely bought into the values and goals of

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  • Direction: Hispanics in California: Myth and Opportunity
    form a new American race and ethnicity Our country is more like a Stew Pot or a Mosaic We are building a new unity that accepts the reality of our diversity Since the Hispanic community as a whole will not soon assimilate if ever the Evangelical community must develop patterns of ministry which are not based on this myth Southern Baptists stated it succinctly when they said that it is the job of the Church to evangelize not Americanize 51 Myth 2 Most Hispanics Are Christians This presupposition is based on the fact that most Hispanics are at least nominally Roman Catholic This places many evangelicals in an uneasy situation Many are seeking closer rapport with Catholics and they are not sure they should be evangelizing people who are at least nominally Catholic The key question is whether Hispanic Catholics have a clear understanding of the Christian gospel It is outside the focus of this paper to deal with such a theological issue Yet it is important to note that traditional Hispanic Catholicism has been very syncretistic Many Hispanic Catholics have only a very limited understanding of the Christian Gospel But there is also a sense in which the question is moot because the great majority of Hispanics in the U S are not practicing Catholics Though most call themselves Catholic that usually means very little in daily life Though there are no hard numbers it is estimated that in the Hispanic community 15 percent are practicing Catholics 5 percent are Protestant of all stripes and 80 percent do not practice any religion The great majority of Hispanics in the United States do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ According to Catholic priest Jose Maria de Lachaga Hispanics in the U S have been alienated from the Catholic Church One of the principle reasons is that traditionally the Catholic Church in the United States has followed a model of assimilation Hispanic Catholicism has not always found acceptance in the American Catholic Church and in some areas the Church has attempted to Americanize Hispanics Lachaga believes that Hispanics in the U S will become largely Protestant if the Catholic church does not change its outreach methods in relationship to them Lachaga 1982 186 187 This combination of circumstances makes it clear that the presentation of the Gospel in the Hispanic community is desperately needed If evangelicals can present a living gospel without the agenda of assimilation many Hispanics will be open and many more people will enter into the Kingdom Myth 3 Hispanics Are a Fairly Homogeneous Group This is one of the most confusing myths in relationship to Hispanics There is a tendency to assume that Hispanics are 52 fairly similar and that if a certain outreach method is working with one group it will also work with others The result of this assumption is that there is often considerable success in some areas and considerable failure in others One of the principle reasons this myth exists is because most ethnic groups in the U S trace their history to one country such as Italian Americans or to one racial group such as Black Americans But Hispanics are very different The great majority of Hispanics speak Spanish and have many cultural similarities But there are also some key differences These include the following Hispanics trace their lineage to 22 different countries including those who have been in the U S for many generations and those from Puerto Rico who are U S citizens by birth The largest groups come from Mexico Puerto Rico and Cuba though there is a growing number of people from Central America Hispanics can also be differentiated by their level of participation in U S society Some have assimilated into U S society and no longer see themselves as distinct or are rapidly moving in that direction At the other end are a significant number of people who participate in American society at only the most minimal levels The majority are somewhere in the middle They are bi cultural maintaining their Hispanicity while at the same time living and working within U S culture Hispanics can also be from almost any racial or ethnic background They are Black Native American Caucasian Mestizo Mulatto or Asian Also though most Hispanics trace their history through Latin America to Spain a significant minority traces its heritage to other countries like Italy Poland Germany Japan or China Recognizing the diversity of the Hispanic community will help to emphasize the need for diverse outreach strategies Methods that work very well in some segments of the population may actually be detrimental in others What is important will be to find the method that works best within a specific context Myth 4 All Hispanics Are Foreigners and See Themselves as That It is true that immigration is an important factor in the Hispanic community in the U S A significant percentage of its 53 growth is due to a constant immigration both legal and illegal It is also true that many Hispanics maintain strong ties to their countries of origin for several generations after migrating to the U S Yet anyone who would work with Hispanics needs to remember that they have a history in the U S and that the majority are U S citizens They are Americans who have a different view of what the U S should be like a view not shared by the majority population But they are not foreigners and do not wish to be treated as such The majority population has chosen to ignore the history of Hispanics in the U S For example in California the original U S state constitution was printed in both Spanish and English Also there was an official Office of the Translator which was not eliminated until the turn of the century Outreach will be enhanced as evangelicals are willing to recognize the past and present contribution that Hispanics have made to the United States It will mean

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  • Direction: Indigenizing the Biblical Message for Zairian Churches
    carried their father s curse through the generations to themselves Is that correct Did God curse Blacks in Genesis 9 25 Is the Bible an excluded book As long as churches remain silent on this issue Christianity will be always conceived as foreign in Zaire particularly and in Africa generally The result of this unfortunate doctrine is harmful not only exegetically but also soteriologically and missiologically I have encountered Zairian Christians able to communicate the Gospel cross culturally but who are convinced that spiritual leadership was not given to them As black African they think that they can never become missionaries The belief that those of a naturally bad ancestral Ham Canaan lineage are damned eternally whereas those good lineage are likely to be drawn into the community of God s people completely veils the Biblical message of salvation by grace This view diametrically opposes the underlying message of grace proclaimed in the Old Testament Yahweh does not seem to have chosen Abraham and created the covenant community on the basis of the obedience of Shem Instead the divine loving kindness chesed leads to the foundation of Israel It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love upon you and chose you for you were the fewest of all peoples but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of bondage from the hand of Pharaoh King of Egypt Deut 7 7a 8a Even Abraham the patriarch was called on the ground of the same principle of God s love and grace Gen 12 15 17 Neither he as an individual or his ancestral background had anything that could attract Yahweh And so also Ezekiel contrasted 60 God s free grace toward the Israelites with their miserable past 16 3 45 Therefore the Biblical affirmation that there exists an eternal blessing or curse upon segments of human beings because of Ham Canaan Shem and Japhet does not seem to have a clear scriptural warrant The traditional exegesis of Genesis 9 25 appears to be an exegesis A more careful exegesis will observe that Genesis 9 is in the genre of a narrative Verses 1 17 establish a covenant with Noah and all his household as a fulfillment of the promise given in Gen 6 18 The covenant is universal 9 13 God s design is to live peacefully with all earth s postdiluvian peoples Gen 9 8ff The curse in 9 25 comes from Noah to Canaan not to Ham or his other three sons Cush Egypt and Put Gen 10 6ff Furthermore our own interpretation must be christocentric The progressive revelation of the Old and New Testament culminates with Christ taking the curse upon himself Galatians 3 13 It is God s intent to bless everyone who believes in Jesus regardless of

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  • Direction: The Uses of Drama
    within ourselves In the process we vicariously learn by going how to go Roethke A drama is like a dream that simultaneously raises thought 65 and emotion in order to bring us new insights Bates 19 And as we enter into the world of the play we invariably sense that the essential struggle does not lie in the world around us our neighborhood the society or the system but in our inner world The dialectical power of a great drama clarifies the struggle and brings it home to its source which is the human heart All of this speaks of the high seriousness of drama To stage a drama is to take a certain risk and to work hard But there is a reason why the written script which is the basis of the dramatic production is called a play To fully enjoy a drama as an audience member one must be willing to play The playwright wants to give pleasure to the audience People do not attend a drama with the attitude of going to work but to be at leisure And we say of the actors They are playing their parts What is the nature and importance of this play Should it be our aim Does it build the body which is the church In drama playing means entering into an imaginative world in which we temporarily free ourselves from the structures of real life And whether purely for pleasure or for both pleasure and some other purpose such as sharing a vision we create a world on stage in which actors imagine themselves to be the people of the play As the restrictions of real life are temporarily lifted people are given the freedom to explore something new or something hidden deep within themselves There is a certain abandonment in play that allows us to leave our everyday serious or inhibited self at the door and to call upon the child within that aspect of personality which allows us to be spontaneous eager carefree and readily in touch with emotion In doing this we may reawaken thoughts and feelings ways of behavior and ways of seeing the world that have lain dormant for a long time In the reawakening we enrich and rediscover ourselves One of the special features of a dramatic production is its intergenerational aspect Many plays call for people of various ages As the octogenarian plays with a child of seven or with a teenager the gaps between the generations are inadvertently bridged A peculiar bonding takes place as people of different statures and ages commit themselves to a task that calls for a certain element of risk commitment and play Another benefit accruing to the church family in all of this is the drama s ability to call forth a wide variety of gifts in the 66 church Even something as short as a one act play may call for a number of imaginative and courageous people to act the parts for technicians

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/1/uses-of-drama.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Translating Liturgy into
    the Law was read to the whole congregation of Israel The Psalms were clearly intended to be an integral part of the corporate worship services in the temple and synagogue and some were even written to be sung or spoken as worshippers struggled along the roads climbing into Jerusalem In those churches which believe that the Scriptures are 73 the very word of God it is very appropriate for the word to be uttered through the loud unison voice of the congregation Just as the jubilant words greeting the birth of Christ were spoken by a multitude of the heavenly host so also the majestic statements of praise to God that are found in Scripture may find their most suitable expression in the combined voices of the whole church Some scriptures are particularly suited for unison reading For example the great doxology found in Ephesians 1 3 10 can serve to unite a congregation in praise and thanksgiving as stirringly as any great hymn of faith and this passage almost cries out to be read by the whole congregation in unison ALL BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO HAS BLESSED US IN CHRIST WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES EVEN AS HE CHOSE US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND BLAMELESS BEFORE HIM HE DESTINED US IN LOVE TO BE HIS SONS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF HIS WILL TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORIOUS GRACE WHICH HE FREELY BESTOWED ON US IN THE BELOVED IN HIM WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR TRESPASSES ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE WHICH HE LAVISHED UPON US FOR HE HAS MADE KNOWN TO US IN ALL WISDOM AND INSIGHT THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE WHICH HE SET FORTH IN CHRIST AS A PLAN FOR THE FULNESS OF TIME TO UNITE ALL THINGS IN HIM THINGS IN HEAVEN AND THINGS ON EARTH 74 This passage from Ephesians clearly demonstrates why it is important that the worship leader carefully prepare for congregational readings The congregation must be assisted to read together effectively Some members of the congregation can read better than others some have better breath control and some can look ahead in the passage better than others As a result the worship leader must give the congregation necessary clues to assist them in their reading For example it is helpful to print the words that the congregation will read TOTALLY IN CAPITAL LETTERS This distinguishes the words that the entire congregation will read from those that will be read some other way This is particularly important when individuals will be reading portions of the scripture interspersed with the verses that the congregation will read The scripture text to be read in unison should be printed in the Order of Worship in a way that carefully indicates how the scriptures are to be read For example the Ephesians passage printed above like many quotations from the Epistles has a very complex sentence structure which can unnecessarily confuse the readers and leave the congregation breathless Wherever possible one line of the printed text should contain the words to be spoken in one breath Where the amount to be spoken in one breath does not fit on one line the following line is indented to indicate that it is still part of the previous breath s worth The congregation after some experience knows how to identify the end of each thought and breath and learns to pause and take a short breath before starting the next line In the Ephesians example there are 28 lines representing 17 thought units The 11 indented lines continue the thoughts of the lines which immediately precede them When a unison reading is complex and lengthy as was the case with the Ephesians passage it is also helpful to break the reading into major sections or stanzas This allows the members of the congregation to pace their reading better catch their breath occasionally and identify when a major thought has been completed When all these simple clues are used consistently the congregation will be able to read together with comparative ease increasing the impact of the reading while simultaneously helping the congregation to understand better what they are reading 75 Some other scriptures are especially suited for responsive reading with designated individuals or groups within the congregation reading alternating sections of the passage This allows one group to catch its breath while the other is reading and also dramatizes those scriptures which use a dialogue approach or style The Call to Worship cited earlier which was adapted from Psalm 24 is a perfect example of this type of dialogue In fact most of the Psalms and other poetic passages are more accurately expressed when read responsively since Hebrew poetry is written using different forms of parallelism which repeats and compares ideas in much the same way that some of our poetry uses the repetition of sounds A notable example of scripture which is well suited for responsive reading is Psalm 136 The Psalm consists of 26 verses each being a statement of praise with a consistent repetitive response Using the first 9 verses as an example we could construct a responsive reading as follows Leader O give thanks to the Lord for he is good ALL FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOR EVER Leader O give thanks to the God of gods ALL FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOR EVER Leader O give thanks to the Lord of Lords ALL FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOR EVER Leader To Him who alone does great wonders ALL FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOR EVER Leader To him who by understanding made the heavens ALL FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOR EVER Leader To him who spread out the earth upon the waters ALL FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOR EVER Leader To him who

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/1/translating-liturgy-into-work-of-people.html (2016-02-16)
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