I’ve asked Karl Dahlfred to answer a few follow-up questions I had stemming from his book, Theology Drives Methodology: Conversion in the Theology of Charles Finney and John Nevin. I reviewed the book last month (Part 1, Part 2). What do you think about his answers? How might this apply to your ministry context? 1. You claim that many today who use Finney’s methods may not hold to his theology. You want these people to consider what their methods may… Read more

Why do we like sports and why does it matter for missions? This is a more sensitive topic that some might think. After all, watching an athletic championship game with others could be compared to a worship experience. Vast amount of discussion, money, and time are spent in gathering millions to join in common celebration. Sports fanatics memorize statistics better than many Christians memorize Scripture. Fans seek “union” with the their champion, such that when they win, “we win.” When… Read more

Check out the January edition of Global Missiology, which includes my article titled, “We Compromise the Gospel When We Settle for Truth: How “Right” Interpretations Lead to “Wrong” Contextualization.” The article attempts to lay a foundation for a method of contextualization. It argues for a particular relationship between culture and Bible whereby we can and should use culture as a means of interpreting Scripture. Many people are wary of culture’s influence on theology, fearing a syncretism that would compromise the authority… Read more

Someone left a comment on the previous post about Hudson Taylor and the state on contextualization and cultural adaptation among missionaries today. I know multiple people have similar questions. I think some people might be interested to join the conversation. Ethan’s Question: “Wondering about your point regarding classical Chinese literature… What kind of competence level are you advocating? Should missionaries set aside time to develop this competence (much like many do to work on language competence)?” Here’s my reply: The… Read more

This post interacts with the second part of a blog series posted by Global China Center, entitled “Respecting Chinese Culture: The Example of Hudson Taylor.” Dr. G. Wright Doyle looks at how Hudson Taylor responded to the political circumstances that confronted him and his fellow CIM missionaries. In short, England had won victory in the Opium Wars, forcing the Chinese to open up trade harbors and grant foreigners rights that fostered greater resentment among locals. While there is not exactly… Read more

The Global China Center ran a two-part series entitled “Respecting Chinese Culture: The Example of Hudson Taylor.” Since Hudson Taylor is an iconic missionary figure not only in China but throughout the Protestant world, I thought it worth a look at their comments. In the essays, D. G. Wright Doyle defends Taylor against the charge of some modern “liberal” scholars like Timothy Richard who claim Taylor was not as respectful of Chinese culture as some make him out to be…. Read more

I just got word that Karl Dahlfred’s book Theology Drives Methodology, which I reviewed recently, is FREE ON KINDLE until midnight on Dec 25th. To see my thoughts on it, CLICK HERE. I’ll be posting an interview with him in a few weeks. If you read it before then, you may appreciate his answers a little more or be able to pose to him some constructive reply questions. Until then, Merry Christmas! Read more

Here are some good reminders that what missions is not about. The gospel concerns politics inasmuch as it concerns social power, but that is not the same as equating the gospel and democracy. After all, there will be no democracy in the kingdom of God. Chinese Democracy is Not the Goal Do you really want a democratic China? Read more

In a previous post, I summarized Karl Dahlfred’s Theology Drives Methodology: Conversion in the Theology of Charles Finney and John Nevin, highlighting a number of its key insights and questions. The book contrasted the theology and methods of two men, Charles Finney and John Nevin, who represent two ends of a spectrum. Finney characterizes the Arminian, revivalistic tradition. Nevin represents a Calvinistic, church-based approach to evangelism. In this post, I consider the potential ways that each view may get synthesized… Read more

I recently saw a Tweet by someone asking whether secondary doctrines were nonessential or non-important. It got me to thinking. Certainly these “secondary” issues distract us from our mission. However, it dawned on me that there may be an inherent problem with the way we pose this very commonly asked question. First of all, let’s be clear. So-called “secondary” doctrines are important precisely because God himself has revealed them in his word. We must not functionally slice up Scripture like… Read more

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