Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Too Tainted by Our Own Culture for Successful Socio-Political Involvement

From Pikkert, Protestant Missionaries to the Middle East: Ambassadors of Christ or Culture?, pg. 268: 

As this thesis has shown, the missionary community to the Middle East is too tainted by its own culture to presume to initiate change on social and political issues. Hence its primary task must be to present the person of Jesus Christ in all his winsomeness, even as it trusts the Spirit to draw people to the Saviour. It must then teach and disciple new believers in core Biblical truths, and draw them into a loving fellowship of believers, but will, once again, have to defer to the Spirit with respect to the nitty-gritty application of Christian truth to socio-political and cultural specifics. In other words, the local community of believers, responding to and wrestling with Biblical truths must, ultimately, be entrusted with the job of forging a church-centered New Testament spirituality applicable to their own culture. The missionary can, at best, guide at the level of basic Biblical principles.

Related: Church Planting or Development? Word and Deed in Biblical Balance


Anonymous said...

I have been influenced quite a bit by Pikkert. I actually reviewed this book for SFM when it first came out. As I've learned a lot more about the history of mission I feel he has some blind spots (the Reformed American Arabia mission, for instance) which he does not give enough attention to.

But this is an interesting quote, and thanks for posting it. Overall I agree with it, though from corresponding with him I do not think he would support IM, but perhaps I'm wrong about that. Do you read this as allowing for IM? Just out of curiosity...

Warrick Farah said...

Great question. In the context of this quote he's making a case for the priority of church planting over social action (while embracing the importance of both). So he's not addressing IM. But the overall principle seems to be a discouragement of paternalism for the role of the outsider, and thus related to IM.?
Meaning MBBs and MBCs have the responsibility to work through their own social-religious identity, and not have it imposed on them by outsiders. I wonder if you can ask him to comment? I'm curious too.