Friday, June 29, 2007

Apologetic Mission in Asian Context

The Mission Training School started this Monday, and it is keeping me busy for a while. I am also working on the our library which in my opinion has good books in it courteousy of our Chin Pastor who studied at Myanmar Institute of Christian Theology. I would say his collection maybe small, but there are impressive titles in it. I also added some of the books given to me by a friend who moved out from here 4 years ago mostly books on pastoral care and counseling and very old, may I add.

As I was trying to record the books and catalog them, I noticed the initial issue of journal on missions and evangelism with a title Missio Dei published by Myanmar Institute of Theology. There are lots of good articles on it, and I may post some of it here.

One of the papers is written by Augurlion. He is a lecturer of Church History at Myanmar Institute of Theology. With the coming of many missionary agencies trying to win people to Christianity here in the Mekong Region, and I would say up to this point the missionary movements have not been very successful, his article makes us think to go back to the old method of evangelism and that is what he called Apologetic Mission.

I will post his paper here little by little, because people have a tendency to skip long post. So in the next days, I will be posting from this journal hoping to get some reactions and conversations. Here is the first part:

A number of mission strategies and mission models have developed in the course of Christian history as Christianity encounters the changing contexts of the world. However, no matter whatever strategy is used the objective is to win converts or to Christianize. This objective comes from the understanding that evangelism is to make converts for Christianity. Evangelism or Christianization was successful in the West, especially, before the rise of secularism. However, its success was and is very limited in . Moreover, Christianity has faced with the counter-acts of the non-Christians in . There are theological and moral attacks on Christianity from other religions. Therefore, in such a pluralistic , Christianity should think of its mission in defensive terms rather than aggressive terms.

One of the traditional aspects of Christian mission is "proclamation" or "to make known". In fact, it was an important task of the Church in pre-modern period because in that period the names, "Jesus" and "Christianity," were foreign to many parts of the world. But they are no longer foreign to the world in post­modern period. Also in post-modern , Christianity and Jesus are no longer the new names to be proclaimed. Most Asian people have become familiar with what Christianity is. The problem for Christianity in Asia today is not "it is the unknown," but "it is misconceived or attacked." Therefore, there are more for the Asian churches to defend than to claim or conquer. To response to this challenge Apologetic mission may be a suitable model of the churches in Asia.

[1] ' The word "Evangelism" is misleading. It was and is often identified as the verbal proclamation of the gospej. But it is also defined as consisting of both preaching and social action. See John R. W. Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (Illinois, Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1975), 15-28, for the definition of "Evangelism" and its relationship to social action.

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