The Gospel Coalition, which describes itself as “a fellowship of evangelical churches” that promotes “a mission-hearted faith,” is in hot water over its recently launched International Outreach aimed at providing “theological famine relief for the global church.” TGC, as many know, is a network of conservative Reformed churches promoting a strictly Calvinist theology.
Vinoth Ramachandra, Senior Leadership Team member for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), writes from his home in Sri Lanka:
“who decides who is theologically famished and who is not? who selects what “resources” to send the famished? who decides what constitutes ‘equipping’ and who should be doing it? The answer is always the same. A small group of white, well-to-do American or British males. We have experienced such paternalistic, colonial ‘mission’ before- others deciding what is the ‘Good News’ for us, what is ‘sound doctrine’, which authors to read and whom to avoid, etc. They have exported their theological blind-spots and sectarian rivalries, reproducing carbon-copies of themselves in the global South rather than nurturing real leaders. The learning and theological traffic is all one-way.“Perhaps a day spent with leaders like Pope Francis or Desmond Tutu may be more useful for African pastors than all the ‘resources’ from north America.” (emphasis in the original)
As a progressive missional person, who has actually taken some time to interrogate North American theological dominance and white male privilege, I am grateful for Mr. Ramachandra’s strong response and challenge to this latest effort by conservative evangelicals to colonize the theological minds of our brothers and sisters in the Global South.
What do you think? Is “theological famine” even a real thing? And if so, what is the best response?