The Resurrection and Missions (Part 1–What Does It Mean?)

I think evangelicals in general tend to have a low view of the resurrection. That sounds like an overstatement, but this is what I mean. Typically, evangelicals see the resurrection mainly as having more to do with apologetics than theology. The resurrection acts as a “proof” that Jesus is divine. If they are more precise, they might even say it proves Jesus is King (cf. Acts 2:24–26; 13:30–39). While these conclusion are be true enough, this is not the primary… Read more

Seeking Lasting Reproducibility by Interpreting Scripture with Humility

Biblically speaking, how should we understand “reproducibility?” Or, stated in another way, what is it we seek to reproduce in our training? In the previous posts, I considered possible reasons why missionaries so strongly emphasize “reproducibility.” I argued that there are serious problems with this trend. In this post, I propose an alternative way of thinking about reproducibility. At one level, I agree that we want to teach ideas and methods in a simple way, if possible. However, we do not… Read more

The Negative Consequences of Emphasizing "Reproducibility" in Missions

As I said in a previous post, a number of influences lie behind much of the modern missionary zeal for reproducible methods. For many, it is the idol of speed. Others struggle to believe they are doing God’s will unless it can be measured with a number. Highly simplified tools facilitate the use of categories than can have a number attached to it (i.e. # of cycles, days, etc.). A person once told me that using non-reproducible methods gives the… Read more

Is "Reproducibility" a Necessity of Insufficient Training?

In the last post, I suggested that “reproducibility” can subtly disguise a common idol—time. The modern missionary zeal for reproducible methods may be more about speed than reproducing faithful Christ followers Perhaps there are other more subtle reasons why people treat reproducibility as the measuring stick for missionary methods. Frankly, it may simply be because the many missionaries themselves don’t understand so much of the Bible; they themselves need simple formulaic methods or else it would be over their heads…. Read more

Reproducibility: Idol or Necessity in Modern Missions?

Contemporary missions literature places a high value on reproducibility.The acceptability of a methodology is judged in large part by how reproducible it is. Even if a method is biblical, contemporary missionaries are increasing demanding that it be easily reproduced by local believers. The idea is that a new or uneducated believer could leave our training and reproduce what they were taught to others. Among recent books, Steve Smith’s T4T (WIGTake, 2011) may be the most forceful in emphasizing this point…. Read more

Are Missionaries Ashamed of the Language of Paul's Gospel?

I teach Romans in Chinese. It’s painful sometimes. Don’t misunderstand me. I love Romans. Much of my PhD research focused on this book. Why then can it be hard to teach? The most prominent translation in China, the HeHeBen (和合本), literally deletes an overwhelmingly large number of the logical words Paul put in the original text. People are sensitive to interpretations and translations that add to the original text; however, I have heard little to no complaints by people about… Read more

The Virtue of Education in the East and West

David Brook’s latest NY Times editorial, called The Learning Virtues, explores how Asians and Westerners view education differently. Here is an excerpt— The simplest way to summarize her [the researcher’s] findings is that Westerners tend to define learning cognitively while Asians tend to define it morally. Westerners tend to see learning as something people do in order to understand and master the external world. Asians tend to see learning as an arduous process they undertake in order to cultivate virtues… Read more

Contrasting the Childhood of Chinese and Western Kids

Here is funny little something comparing how Chinese kids grow up versus how an Western, American child. You don’t have to know Chinese to get the contrast. The Chinese children are on the left. The Western kid is on the right. The ages are bolded in the middle of the graph. Oh, the blogs that could be written on this comic alone. Read more

Legalism is an Honor Shame Problem

Legalism is an honor shame problem. Why? Consider what Brene Brown says in her incisive article “Want to Be Happy? Stop Trying to be Perfect.” Continue reading Read more

the future of the global church is open

The future of the global church is Open from Distant Shores Media on Vimeo. What do you think about this? Read more

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