Philippines Missions Association Continues Collaboration with Lausanne International Student Ministry Global Leadership Network & Global Diaspora Network
LAUSANNE ISM GLN OFFICIALLY LINKED WITH WEA MISSION COMMISSION
During the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission’s Global Consultation in Izmir, Turkey in May, 2014, the WEA/MC leadership officially approved the Lausanne International Student Ministries (ISM) Global Leadership Network as a “docked network” of the Mission Commission to be a resource to the MC membership and the broader WEA. (The AMA, along with the Philippines Missions Association, are members of the MC.) Immediately following the acceptance of the LISMGLN, Russ Simons, MC member from Davao City, Phillipines, approached the Lausanne delegation of ISM leaders from South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S., with the idea of offering an ISM training workshop in the Philippines.
PMA CO-CONVENES FIRST LAUSANNE ISM WORKSHOP IN MANILA, 2015
Russ’s invitation for the LISMGLN to serve as an ISM training resource in the Philippines was accepted and he catalyzed the Philippine Missions Association/Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches to promote the free workshop, Developing a Church-based International Student Ministry, that was hosted by Greenhills Christian Fellowship Church in Manila, in March, 2015. Lausanne ISM leaders from several countries and Filipino ISM leaders enriched the day-long seminar that was attended by about 50+ participants from many churches and ministries from Manila and beyond below.
LAUSANNE ISM CONVENES 2ND INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MINISTRY WORKSHOP IN MANILA WITH PHILIPPINE MISSIONS ASSOCIATION
In recent years the number of international students coming to the Philippines has dramatically increased. The country is a good location for many Middle Eastern and Asian students for academic training, especially since the Philippines is an English speaking country. Given this opportunity, the Philippine Missions Association promoted it’s second ISM Seminar that was hosted at Grace Bible Church in Manila, in November, 2016. The facilitators were Leiton Chinn, Lausanne Catalyst for ISM, and Lisa Espineli Chinn, a Filipina missionary from Quezon City to university students in America, and former National ISM Director of InterVarsity USA.
Most of the participants represented about 10 new churches and ministries and eagerly engaged in considering starting or developing an outreach among foreign students in their communities. Delegations from at least two churches left their towns at midnight to arrive at the 8:30 start of the seminar. The leader of one of the two churches, from Baguio City, has since promoted the ISM vision among his denomination’s student workers and leaders in another region. Additionally, the seminar administrator recently reported that, “two young people from the church in Las Pinas who attended the ISM Seminar were sharing that they have applied the things they have learned from the seminar, that church families have adopted international students and continuously pray for them, and the ministry is growing – more and more international students are joining the fellowship”.
AMA MANILA CONVENTION SPAWNS SEMINAR FOR DIASPORA OFW RETURNEES
After the conclusion of a workshop related to cross-cultural re-entry of diaspora peoples given at the AMA Convention in April, 2016, PMA leaders encouraged presenter Lisa Espineli Chinn to consider a consultation on Re-entry of Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW’s). In November, 2016 PMA hosted the event in its office, for leaders concerned about OFW returnees facing re-entry challenges. Lisa Epsineli Chinn is on the Advisory Board of the Lausanne Global Diaspora Network, and the author of several publications on re-entry of international students and other returning sojourners who have lived abroad.
Mr. Leiton Edward Chinn has been mobilizing the church for ISM since 1977, and is the Lausanne Catalyst for International Student Ministries. He is also a member of the World Evangelical Alliance Missions Commission. He was a former President of ACMI.
The latest Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that the most basic need nowadays is WIFI because people want to be connected with family, friends and the world.
My prayer is that we will really be connected to the heart of God in this AMA Triennial Convention and really feel his heartbeat to the lost & dying world.
In the secular world – airline companies (Star Alliance / Sky Team), banking institutions, shipping companies are forming alliances & partnerships to be more competitive in the marketplace. However, the church seems to be very slow to adopt or shall we say talk about it or want to do it, but we are not really very intentional to make sure it will happen.
STATE OF THE WORLD
Let’s begin with the State of the World.
It had been reported that between 150,000 to 180,000 people are coming to Christ everyday. Today’s world population is about 7.29 billion people and growing at a rate of 1.5 million babies weekly. On the other hand about 1.4 million die every month without contact with any kind of Christian, that’s 47,000 everyday!
The world has 17 very large People ‘Affinity Blocs’ which include the entire population of the world.
- It contains 253 large families of Peoples.
- Made up of more than 16,000 People Groups
- With 7,102 languages
- In 238 countries
- Currently 3 billion are unreached peoples
- In 6,900 distinct people groups
Looking at the State of the World Evangelization today: 10% are Dedicated Christians, 20% are Nominal Christians, 28% are Non-Christians within reach & 42% Non-Christians in need of cross-cultural ministry. The Task remaining is great.
Revelations 7:9-10 “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb”. How can we see Matthew 24:14 become a reality?
PARTNERSHIP & COLLABORATION
Welcome to Partnership & Collaboration – “God’s heart for Unity”
The basic reality is that there are many levels of networking and partnering. There is no clear line when you actually move from networking to partnering. And that is ok. Every attempt at collaboration must find its own way forward.
What is clear is that the definitions of networking and partnering cannot be very sharply defined, but the definitions will help us clarify our expectations of each other in a collaborative venture.
Network: a group of people who are linked informally and who communicate with one another to share ideas and information to meet their individual needs. The primary focus is to share information.
Partnership: where there is a close working relationship between individuals and/or organizations, who agree to work together for a specific purpose because they can achieve more together than by themselves. The primary focus is to take joint action.
Consensus-based Partnership: where there is a close working relationship between individuals and/or organizations, who agree to work together for a specific purpose because they can achieve more together than by themselves. Members make an informal covenant to pray, plan and work together, on specific purposes identified and agreed on by Consensus.
Constitutional Partnership: where members enter into a formal relationship with each other and form a new organization in order to work together. All partners are required to sign a contract or agree a constitution. All the work is done under the authority of the new organization.
Strategic Evangelism & Church Planting Partnership: A consensus-based group of agencies, missions, churches and individuals who are committed to PRAY, PLAN and WORK TOGETHER for the planting of a culturally relevant, reproducing church within a specific un-evangelized group.
Various Partnerships in the Philippines & Globally
The growing Philippine Missions Movement & the scattering of the 12-million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) including Filipino Migrants now in at least 210 countries in the world is a unique phenomenon.
The mobilization & training of the Christian OFWs to become tentmakers is a combined effort & collaboration of the various mission agencies & Christian organizations, NGOs and other like-minded institutions in partnership with the various denominations & churches in the country.
In South Asia there are more UPGs than in the rest of the world combined. What does this say about how we make plans in the missions movement in Asia? How do we strategize with our brothers and sisters across Asia to penetrate the darkness with the Light of the Gospel? What role will Asia Missions Association (AMA) play in this scenario?
PROGRESS IN PARTNERING
Let me share some of the significant & current state of collaboration, networking, and partnering happening nowadays.
The good news is that in recent years many churches and missions agencies are working hard to overcome the tendencies to divide and splinter. Instead they find the synergies of partnering that bring exponential results in reaching people for Christ and impacting their societies for good and positive change.
In October of 2015, “Ethne to Ethne” held its Global Gathering of UPG focused people in Hyderabad, India. New collaborative initiatives were initiated. One is the first ever gathering of Indian Mission Network leaders in Nagpur, India in October of this year. This is an effort to intentionally focus on India’s thousands of UPGs, and how to strategize with the Holy Spirit’s power.
Also last year, a global meeting was held in Spain that brought together a large number of partnering facilitators to learn and deepen their understanding of effective collaboration.
Later this year the WEA-Missions Commission will meet in Panama to consider how to collaborate effectively. A strong emphasis will be for the younger leaders of missions movements, who already have the partnering DNA, will join with older leaders to begin a new collaboration between younger and older missions leaders. This will surely bring new thinking and creative ventures in the missions movement to reach the unreached peoples!
Just last month, mission leaders of MANI (Movement for African National Initiatives) from all across the African continent met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the third time in 15 years to assess and accelerate their collaborative national missions initiatives.
This month, some mission leaders of Indian mission agencies are meeting for training on how to lead effective mission partnerships.
So there is great hope that the global church is realizing and finding that it must do better, much better, much, much better at working together, rather than working alone in its mission outreach in order to fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission!
May this movement, in its many varieties, greatly increase so that Jesus’ return will be hastened!
The US Center for World Missions said, that the church has 20 times the resources needed to complete the Task Remaining. We have more than enough money to reach the 3 billion Unreached Peoples. We have more than enough technology to reach the 3 billion. We have more than enough churches to reach the 3 billion. We have more than enough smart missions strategists to expand God’s Kingdom here on earth and fulfill the Great Commission.
On the other hand, what we do not have enough is the body of Christ willing to collaborate as true equals. Humble enough for our own churches & organizations to decrease so that Christ will be proclaimed to the lost & dying world.
With all our statements about the unity of the body, we find it very difficult to cooperate effectively to surmount the challenges facing the missions movement specially to reach the unreached. Our missions strategy should include networking, partnership & collaboration in order to synergize our effort for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
May we be encouraged and inspired to take to heart this challenge to seriously be more focused in partnering, collaborating and synergizing to see Matthew 24:14 become a reality.
Jesus Christ will be proclaimed & exalted!
* This paper was presented at the 12th AMA Triennial Convention in Manila, Philippines from April 18-22, 2016.
Rev. Lalano Badoy Jr. has been serving the Philippine Missions Association(PMA) as the 6th National Director since January 9, 2015.
Every mission, missionary and mission leader should lay emphasis on a continued and consistent effort in their work. Mission work must continue to the next level, whether in the field, leadership or strategy. In each level, the common attitude motivating each one daily should be, “I am here by God’s divine appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.”
So very often, when a missionary leaves the organization, he/she simply drops the work and moves away. Others take away the best practices to the next mission, which suddenly announces a big success although truthfully it is the work of the previous mission.
It is sad to watch mission organizations in Asia get severely disrupted (and sometimes close down) because of the failure to continue the work the previous leader had done. Here’s what happens:
- Sacrificial financial investments get wasted as on when ministry started well come to a halt.
- Mission Boards are lax in the area of rules and regulation and mission policies. Sometimes power struggles and hidden agenda among board members destroy the smooth continuity in the mission.
- The leader’s pre-mature decision to leave the organization creates a vacuum because of improper handing over of responsibilities.
- When a field missionary decides to quit, it severely hampers the initiatives he had begun.
- Larger missions are attracting effective missionaries, and they try to manipulate the missionary with better incentives. But this ends growth on the field.
- The greed of a denomination or missionary movement to acquire the ministry done among a particular untouched people group or unreached field/area/region improperly destroy the continuity.
‘God finishes what He starts!’ Rick Warren.
Missionary work without proper transitioning is often times a disaster. In my experience, I have had the privilege of counselling ministries that felt victimized. On the other hand, I have witnessed missions and its leaders undergoing a smooth, Godly transition as well.
Take for example, the Christian Institute of Management in India, where the new leader writes, “It is indeed a great blessing and honor for me to take over the mantle from Bro. Anbu and carry the rich legacy set by him and team CIM. Bro. Anbu keeps reminding me that our God is a progressive God and His nature is taking us to the next level and encourages me to prayerfully walk His journey, I am blessed.”
The intention here is to focus on operations to support the mission, ministry initiative, effectiveness in work and continued missional leadership development – soul winning & church planting, research & strategy and training & development service – despite every crises. Mission continuity is a critical component in establishing a resilient mission movement with the capacity to resume functions without being carried away by disruptive events like transition, retirement, resignation or spiritual downfall of the mission leader.
Your mission’s continuity plan can be the determining factor of its survival after an interruption. An effective continuity plan will chalk out preventative measures, outline procedures and define strategies. This plan helps reduce the length of the interruption and resume operations as soon as possible. It safeguards the ongoing ministry initiatives, such as soul winning ventures, discipleship processes, holistic mission initiatives, uncompleted training efforts and all the other smooth running projects & programs. In the event of a crisis situation, an Emergency Management program should direct response efforts, prioritizing the safety and welfare of the mission community.
In order to develop an effective mission continuity plan, you must first identify your mission’s critical operations and ministry services. These are the absolute necessities in your mission operations. Depending on your type of mission, the critical areas can include systems, information on each missionary, payroll information and operational structure. Also, ministry donors and fieldwork should be identified as critical areas.
Once you have identified the critical areas of operation, you will need to develop a team. Your mission continuity planning team should represent each of the critical areas within your mission. This carefully selected team will be able to provide pertinent considerations, as applicable to the mission. Collectively, the information will assist you to develop a well-rounded mission continuity plan that addresses every potential area of concern. Although a planning team is ideal for the mission continuity, if you choose to develop the plan by yourself, make sure to look at your mission from every angle so that your plan encompasses every aspect.
Recovery planning lies at the core of your mission continuity plan. This plan-within-a-plan focuses on how your mission will respond immediately before, during and immediately after an interruption. The plan outlines the methods of communication, chain of command, emergency exits and procedures, and other factors that will help to protect your mission assets, staff, field ministry and donors. This plan also includes preventative steps that your mission will take, such as immediate replacement, contingency fund for damage control as well as backing up files, computer systems etc.
Unlike the disaster recovery plan, the mission continuity plan, as a whole, focuses on the long-term strategies that your mission will take to maintain its livelihood after an interruption. It considers the possibilities of operational shifts, fluctuating demand and relocation possibilities. It analyzes risks and outlines procedures that the mission will use to mitigate those risks. Every aspect of mission operations is considered, including the potential financial position after the disaster.
Someone said that in Asia barely 40% of bigger missions and less than 40% of smaller mission initiatives have a continuity plan in place. Although creating a mission continuity plan can be challenging, but it is absolutely necessary for the future of a mission. The mission leadership must seek for free resources and information that can assist your mission to complete a well-designed continuity plan. This plan should include a handy motivational training, which would result with the following attitude:
‘He brought me here. It is in His will I am in this place.’
‘He will keep me here in His love, and gives me grace to behave as His child.’
‘He will try me here in order to make sure that I am fit of His blessing and will teach me the lessons he intends for me to learn.’
‘In His good time, He will lead me higher ground of ministry responsibility with the blessings of my community here – how and when only He knows.’
“I am here by God’s divine appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.”
Dr. Susanta Patra is the former General Secretary of India Missions Association. Susanta received Jesus as his Savior in the year 1970 in a street evangelistic outreach program at Cuttack City. Even though he was disowned by his family, the Lord used him to bring 221 students to Christ through personal evangelism.
Roland Allen advocated the “Spontaneous Expansion of the Church,” the Spirit-directed growth of the Christian faith beyond the control of expatriate missionaries. A century later “Diaspora Missiology” has emerged as a way of promoting God’s work among people living in settings new to them. This study examines continuities and discontinuities between Allen’s vision and what contemporary missiology is noting regarding diaspora peoples. The study also discerns how Allen’s emphases might be instructive for contemporary missiology and mission methods, with respect both to diaspora peoples as well as to related broader areas.
We will look first at diaspora missiology, then move back to Allen before drawing some comparisons and a few lessons.
The Lausanne Cape Town Commitment – Part 2, Section IIC, 5, entitled “Diaspora: Love reaches out to scattered peoples,” lays out an evangelical understanding of ministry among scattered peoples as follows:
People are on the move as never before. Migration is one of the great global realities of our era. It is estimated that 200 million people are living outside their countries of origin, voluntarily or involuntarily. The term ‘diaspora’ is used here to mean people who have relocated from their lands of birth for whatever reason. Some relocate permanently, and others, like three million international students and scholars, temporarily. Vast numbers of people from many religious backgrounds, including Christians, live in diaspora conditions: economic migrants seeking work; internally-displaced peoples because of war or natural disaster; refugees and asylum seekers; victims of ethnic cleansing; people fleeing religious violence and persecution; famine sufferers – whether caused by drought, floods, or war; victims of rural poverty moving to cities. We are convinced that contemporary migrations are within the sovereign missional purpose of God, without ignoring the evil and suffering that can be involved.
A) We encourage Church and mission leaders to recognize and respond to the missional opportunities presented by global migration and diaspora communities, in strategic planning, and in focused training and resourcing of those called to work among them.
B) We encourage Christians in host nations which have immigrant communities and international students and scholars of other religious backgrounds to bear counter-cultural witness to the love of Christ in deed and word, by obeying the extensive biblical commands to love the stranger, defend the cause of the foreigner, visit the prisoner, practise hospitality, build friendships, invite into our homes, and provide help and services.
C) We encourage Christians who are themselves part of diaspora communities to discern the hand of God, even in circumstances they may not have chosen, and to seek whatever opportunities God provides for bearing witness to Christ in their host community and seeking its welfare. Where that host country includes Christian churches, we urge immigrant and indigenous churches together to listen and learn from one another, and to initiate co-operative efforts to reach all sections of their nation with the gospel. 
In other words, Christians should recognize the accelerated migration of peoples in our day and reach out to immigrants; and, Christian immigrants should serve others within and contiguous to their own immigrant communities.
Enoch Wan, coming out of his own migratory experience and a leading evangelical proponent of diaspora missiology, offers the following description:
Diaspora missiology is a different way of conceptualizing Christian mission of the global demographic trend of ‘diaspora’ as part of God’s sovereign design to accomplish His mission. It is
…taking advantage of the current situation of the mass relocation of peoples throughout the world due to war, famine and economic issues. This new missiological approach is a strategic way of ministering to peoples who are providentially relocated to new places and taking advantage of increased receptivity to the Gospel.
Diaspora missiology is … supplementary to traditional missiology….
…. Opportunities to minister to the diaspora bring forth three closely related aspects: missions to the diaspora, missions through the diaspora, and missions by and beyond the diaspora….
First, the church must motivate God’s people to have compassion on the diaspora and minister to their needs, both spiritual and physical…. Then, the church must mobilize diaspora congregations to realize their potential in carrying out the Great Commission to their diaspora kinsmen in host countries and in their motherlands. Finally, the church must equip and empower mature diaspora Christians to take the Gospel across cultures to other ethnic groups in the host society and elsewhere…. 
Like the Lausanne statement, Wan recognizes God’s providential hand in the unprecedented movement of peoples throughout the earth. Wan also stresses “missions to the diaspora, missions through the diaspora, and missions by and beyond the diaspora,” giving explicit attention to the third category of gospel ministry “by and beyond” Christian immigrant communities.
The newness of diaspora missiology, in comparison to traditional missiology (“traditional” in a “modern missions” sense), comes from stressing the central place that migrating peoples have within God’s providential orchestration of Christian missions. To return to Enoch Wan’s construct, this central place in missions of migrating peoples consists of the three-fold missions to the diaspora, missions through the diaspora, and missions by and beyond the diaspora. An accompanying new stress – complementary to traditional modern missions – is on God’s providential orchestration of missions apart from, or at least prior to, Christians’ organized initiatives and programs.
The influence of Roland Allen’s 1912 Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? has been inversely proportional to the influence of Western colonialism. Roland’s criticism of Western missionary control and encouragement of indigenous Christian initiative fell on rocky soil until Western colonial systems imploded after the Second World War. Only then was the ground tilled with the right kind of humility such that Roland’s insights could take root.
Similarly, the development Allen’s understanding of Christian missions needs to be seen against the backdrop of his general life story and historical context. Born in 1868 into an Anglican clergyman’s home, Allen became an ordained deacon and priest, serving in the Diocese of Durham in the early 1890s, Allen’s young 20s. Allen soon applied for missionary service and was eventually accepted by the Church of England’s North China Mission society; he set sail in 1895 and was soon training young boys to become catechists. Vital, no doubt, to Allen’s developing views on indigenous leadership and education was his quick proficiency in Mandarin, including reaching the benchmark “3000-character” level. Learning to live in another people’s language and accompanying world of ideas and relationships breeds recognition of that people’s worth and creative capacities.
Following the 1900 Boxer Rebellion and a furlough in England, Allen and his new wife Mary Beatrice Tarleton left for China in 1902. Allen soon “attempted to apply some of his missionary principles that were contra-traditional missionary paternalism. He helped local believers to elect church councils and take more responsibility for finances, evangelism, and church leadership.” However, within less than a year the Allens had to return to England due to Roland’s declining health; the Allens would never return to China.
Interestingly it was upon regaining his health and engaging in rural vicarage ministry that Allen felt the deep impact of the Apostle Paul’s writings. That led into Allen’s 1912 Missionary Methods, followed in 1913 by his Missionary Principles in which Allen argued that genuine missionary zeal comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit.
After serving as a naval chaplain Allen published in 1917 what he himself believed to be his best work, a small pamphlet entitled Pentecost and the World. One admiring analyst summarizes the main points of this little work in three emphases: “(1) God directs missions through the Holy Spirit, and (2) God provides for missions through the Holy Spirit, and (3) the unity believers have in the Holy Spirit is the only real basis for Christian unity.” This analysis continues: “Here is the central principle of the book: all believers are called to be missionaries because of the gift of the Holy Spirit given to all believers.” In Allen’s own words in the conclusion,
In the preceding chapters I have tried to show that the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the coming of a missionary Spirit; that the Spirit stirred in the hearts of the disciples of Christ a great desire to impart that which they had received; that He revealed to them the need of men for that which He alone could supply; that He enabled them to hand on to others that which they themselves had received; that He led them to reach out farther and farther into the Gentile world, breaking down every barrier of prejudice which might have hindered their witness, or prevented them from receiving into communion men the most remote from them in habits of thought and life.
Those who received the Holy Spirit became witnesses….
The Spirit, the missionary Spirit, was given to all. 
And as the conclusion’s last paragraph resoundingly states,
… if we believe in the Holy Spirit as He is revealed in the Acts, we must be missionaries…. We must embrace the world because Christ embraces the world, and Christ has come to us, and Christ in us embraces the world. Activity world-wide in its direction and intention and hope and object is inevitable for us unless we are ready to deny the Holy Spirit of Christ revealed in the Acts. 
Allen’s central emphasis here on the Holy Spirit as “a missionary Spirit” is unmistakable.
Several other important writings ensued, including Allen’s significant 1919 Educational Principles and Missionary Methods. There Allen emphasized all the more the need for Paul’s apostolic missionary method to be implemented with great cultural distances are involved. Then in 1927 Allen published his particularly significant The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes which Hinder It. Allen pointed to the importance of that book in his preface to the second edition of his Missionary Methods, published in the same year:
In the light of experience gained in the last fifteen years [since 1912, Missionary Methods’ original publication year] I might have enlarged this book, but it did not seem wise to add greatly to its bulk. I have therefore contented myself with making as few corrections and additions as possible, and have carried the argument further in a book, which is now published as a companion volume to this, entitled The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes which Hinder It. In that book I have tried to set forth the secret of an expansion which was a most remarkable characteristic of apostolic churches, and have examined the hindrances which have prevented us from establishing such churches.
If any of my readers desire to pursue the consideration of missionary methods further, I can only refer them to that book.
We will follow Allen’s suggestion and note two important and conjoined points from his 1927 Spontaneous Expansion.
First is central role of the Holy Spirit, not human beings (although human agency is important in facilitating or the “enlargement” of the Spirit’s work), in controlling Christian growth and service:
Spontaneous activity is a movement of the Spirit in the individual and in the Church, and we cannot control the Spirit.
Given spontaneous zeal we can direct it by instruction. Aquila could teach Apollos the way of God more perfectly. But teaching is not control. Teaching can be refused; control cannot be refused, if it is control; teaching leads to enlargement, control to restriction. To attempt to control spontaneous zeal is therefore to attempt to restrict it; and he who restricts a thing is glad of a little but does not welcome much. Thus, many of our missionaries welcome spontaneous zeal, provided there is not too much of it for their restrictions, just as an engineer
laying out the course of a river is glad of some water to fill his channels, but does not want a flood which may sweep away his embankments. Such missionaries pray for the wind of the Spirit but not for a rushing mighty wind. I am writing because I believe in a rushing mighty wind, and desire its presence at all costs to our restrictions.
By spontaneous expansion I mean something which we cannot control. The great things of God are beyond our control. Therein lies a vast hope. Spontaneous expansion could fill the continents with the knowledge of Christ: our control cannot reach as far as that. 
Allen longed for the “rushing mighty wind” of God’s Spirit, the one who alone can control and empower Christian growth.
The second and interrelated noteworthy point is that of recognizing and even facilitating, on the part of expatriate missionaries, indigenous Christians taking the initiative and control in Christian service. This point is perhaps the best known one in Allen’s 1912 Missionary Methods, but it is even more pronounced here in 1927, especially as conjoined with the more explicit emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s control:
Until we learn that not only self-support in a financial sense, but self-support in a spiritual sense, a sense that implies self-government, must begin from the very beginning, we cannot hope to see that wide propagation of the Gospel which alone could penetrate a continent like Africa, or reach the vast populations of India and China, or cover those wide, sparsely-populated areas where communications are difficult, or find an entrance into those countries or districts where the Government is definitely opposed to Christian propaganda. Could we once persuade ourselves that self-extension, self-support and self-government go hand in hand, and are all equally the rights of converts from the very beginning, we might see such an expansion of Christianity throughout the world as now we little dream of.
The illustrate the point, “The Bishop of Lagos, for instance, has told us that in Southern Nigeria the greatest progress of recent years has been due not so much to the direct work of the European missionaries, or of paid African teachers, as to the spontaneous work of untrained and unpaid native Christians. I believe the time is ripe for this advance.” Clearly, at this more mature point in Allen’s understanding (he was almost 60), he explicitly advocated the free work of the Holy Spirit in using the free actions of indigenous Christians apart from expatriate direction and control.
In Allen’s mid-60s he and his wife moved to Nairobi to be closer to their children. Allen would assist in leading worship at St. Mark’s Church, but he eventually stopped doing so when members clearly expected him to continue instead of wanting a more permanent indigenous clergy appointed, as Allen’s clear beliefs preferred. Remarkably he progressed in learning Swahili, so much so that he was able to translate Swahili works into English for publication. Once again, it is noteworthy how indigenous language was important for Allen, and it is equally noteworthy that he thought it important for non-Swahili-speaking English speakers to have access to what was being articulated in Swahili. That reverse-direction of who should instruct whom was in keeping with Allen’s sense, expressed in Missionary Methods, of the “modern Western spirit” being on a par with the Judaizing instincts that Paul faced:
St. Paul’s method is not in harmony with the modern Western spirit. We modern teachers from the West are by nature and by training persons of restless activity and boundless self-confidence. We are accustomed to assume an attitude of superiority towards all Eastern peoples, and to point to our material progress as the justification of our attitude. We are accustomed to do things ourselves for ourselves, to find our own way, to rely upon our own exertions, and we naturally tend to be impatient with others who are less restless and less self-assertive than we are. We are accustomed by long usage to an elaborate system of church organization, and a peculiar code of morality. We cannot imagine any Christianity worthy of the name existing without the elaborate machinery which we have invented. We naturally expect our converts to adopt from us not only essentials but accidentals. We desire to impart not only the Gospel, but the Law and the Customs. With that spirit, St. Paul’s methods do not agree, because they were the natural outcome of quite another spirit, the spirit which preferred persuasion to authority. St. Paul distrusted elaborate systems of religious ceremonial, and grasped fundamental principles with an unhesitating faith in the power of the Holy Ghost to apply them to his hearers and to work out their appropriate external expressions in them. It was inevitable that methods which were the natural outcome of the mind of St. Paul should appear as dangerous to us as they appeared to the Jewish Christians of his own day. 
Allen died in 1947 at the age of 79 and was buried in Nairobi.
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ALLEN AND DIASPORA MISSIOLOGY
This summary of important features of Roland Allen’s missiological understanding points to some clear anticipations of today’s diaspora missiology. Allen’s advocacy of Holy Spirit-controlled “spontaneous expansion” of Christianity apart from expatriate missionary control connects favorably with the recognition that God is at work apart from missionary strategizing as peoples migrate throughout the earth. Both frameworks rest on a basic notion of God’s sovereign control that is more than theological lip-service. Diaspora missiology points to a general providential orchestration of events more explicitly than Allen’s formulations which are geared more specifically to Christian growth, but the basic frameworks of divine versus human (particularly expatriate) control are the same. It bears repeating that Allen insisted on an operative recognition of the Holy Spirit’s work in a way that had actual repercussions on missionary activity, namely to relinquish control and let God work as he will among and through indigenous Christians. That insistence on not trying to control, but instead on recognizing and facilitating, God’s work among others is central to diaspora missiology as well.
Together with that common emphasis is that Christians outside such “spontaneous” work of God nevertheless have meaningful roles to play, namely those involving instruction and equipping.
Another point of continuity that shows how Allen foresaw diaspora missiology is the strong historical sense evident in both. That is, both Allen and diaspora missiologists articulate their analyses and suggestions with a deep awareness of where those analyses and suggestions fit within wider history. To be sure, Allen looked to what was happening in the Apostle Paul’s day as a biblical example to be emulated. At the same time, Allen sensed that what happened in the apostolic age was a historical development in Christianity that was one example of many other similar developments throughout history that needed to be acknowledged as relevant today. Here are Allen’s own words to that effect in Missionary Methods:
St. Paul’s missionary method was not peculiarly St. Paul’s, he was not the only missionary who went about establishing churches in those early days. The method in its broad outlines was followed by his disciples, and they were not all men of exceptional genius. It is indeed universal, and outside the Christian Church has been followed by reformers, religious, political, social, in every age and under most diverse conditions. It is only because he was a supreme example of the spirit, and power with which it can be used, that we can properly call the method St. Paul’s. 
That is, Allen did not see Paul’s missionary methods simply as constituting an apostolic pattern that therefore held unique authority. Rather, for Allen what took place with Paul was “a supreme example” of a universal method of reform and expansion exemplified throughout human history. That historical sense of Allen anticipates the same sort of historical sense that diaspora missiology embodies in its recognition of migrating peoples – a historical phenomenon that has accelerated in contemporary times.
In my view, then, Allen foresaw and anticipated diaspora missiology primarily in these two areas, namely of (1) an active, implication-bearing recognition of God’s work outside of missionary initiative; and, (2) a strong historical sense of similar macro developments throughout human history. Looking back at Allen through the lens of diaspora missiology, one can see how Allen’s instincts and emphases were blazing trails in the same direction. At the same time, Allen’s historical location with the era of Western colonialism understandably prevented him from foreseeing the kind of free movement of peoples that diaspora missiology actively embraces. The political realities of Allen’s day kept him from foreseeing the migration of non-Western people apart from colonial orchestration, i.e., the way that the British, Dutch, and others moved colonial subjects within their imperial domains for accomplishing specific tasks, for example moving Indians to East Africa to manage the development of financial and transportation systems. Throughout Allen’s writings the sense of Christianity’s “spontaneous expansion” is that it takes place among indigenous peoples where they live, not as they migrate to other parts of the world.
As ahead of his times that Roland Allen was, he was still a man of his times in certain ways that are clear. He could thus foresee some of the basic characteristics of diaspora missiology’s spirit and instincts. However, in ways that Allen could not have anticipated, the political and economic realities of today’s post-colonial world enable the actual movements of people upon which diaspora missiology focuses.
What insights can we gain for our own missiological understandings and mission practices from seeing the continuities and discontinues between Roland Allen and diaspora missiology? In my mind there are two main lessons we can take to heart.
First, the historical setting within which such a prophetic voice as Roland Allen understood God’s work in the world should humble us into acknowledging our own limitations due to human finitude. Such historical limitations are not to be disdained but embraced. God is God, and we are not. Seeing broad historical patterns in a way that enables constructive, prophetic insights such as those that Roland Allen had is a vital gift to God’s people and the cause of the gospel. We must always recognize, however, that we see dimly as in a mirror, and that God alone is omniscient and perfect in understanding what is happening in his world.
Second, we should assume a certain missiological passivity, if you will, in acknowledging that I, my church, and my mission organization are not the central, essential agents in God’s mission to redeem his world. That is not to say that we become inactive. Rather, it is to assert that we acknowledge – and behave accordingly as humble co-laborers – that God, not me and my organization, is the central driving force behind fulfilling his mission of world redemption. Vital to constructive mission practice is the capacity to “Be still, and know that I am God,” as the familiar words of Psalm 46:10 exhort the people of God. After all, as that verse continues, God’s firm intention is that “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” God is at work, and we his people privileged to participate with him.
May we have the eyes to see how God is at work and how we most effectively can be his co-laborers, just as Roland Allen and today’s diaspora missiologists exemplify for us.
 Available online at http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/home/diaspora (accessed July 6, 2015).
 Enoch Wan, Diaspora Missiology: Theory, Methodology, and Practice (Institute of Diaspora Studies at Western Seminary, 2011), 315-317.
 I will rely heavily here on J.D. Payne’s “The Legacy of Roland Allen: Part One – His Life,” CMARESOURES.ORG (posted May 13, 2008). Available online at, for example, http://www.cmaresources.org/article/legacy-of-roland-allen-part1_jd-payne (accessed July 6, 2015).
 A heart condition prevented Allen’s acceptance into the Anglican Church’s Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Ibid.
Robert McAnally Adams, “The Spirit of Missions: An essay on Pentecost and the World by Roland Allen,” The Christian Quotation of the Day, August, 2000. Available online at http://www.cqod.com/cqodb006.htm (accessed July 6, 2015).
 Roland Allen, Pentecost and the World (1917), republished in 1960 in David M. Paton, ed., The Ministry of the Spirit (World Dominion Press, 1960), with portions republished again in David Paton and Charles H. Long, eds., The Compulsion of the Spirit: A Roland Allen Reader (Grand Rapids, MI:): William B. Eerdmans, 1983), 91.
 Ibid., 93.
 Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? 2nd (1927) ed. Available online at http://www.gospeltruth.net/miss_methods.htm (Gospel Truth Ministries, 2005; accessed July 6, 2015).
 Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes which Hinder It. Reprint ed. (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1997), 7. Available online at http://www.gospeltruth.net/allen/spon_expanofch.htm (accessed July 6, 2015).
 Ibid., 13.
 Ibid., 28.
 Allen, Missionary Methods. Available online at http://www.gospeltruth.net/miss_methods.htm (accessed July 6, 2015).
Dr. J. Nelson Jennings served as a missionary in Japan 1986-1999, first in church-planting then in theological education at Tokyo Christian University. He taught world mission at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, USA 1999-2011, then served as Associate and Executive Director at the Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut, USA 2011-2015. He has been editor of Missiology: An International Review and of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.
PROLOGUE: THE BROTHERHOOD MUST BE RECOVERED
I, the writer, am a pastor who ministered in Uzbekistan from 1997 to 2004, in Kazakstan from 2005 to 2015 and currently serving as coach for North Korea’s youth with disabilities soccer team. I accompanied the team 4 times to the Asian Para Games, 2 times to the Paralympic Games and World Football Championships.
In August 2012, I noticed Lim Ju Sung, the London Paralympic Games wild card participant’s hand gestures. Back then, I was not familiar with mission to North Korea or interested in the concept of Korea’s re-unification. However, I heard the Spirit’s voice through Lim’s hand gestures and recognized the need to create the North Korean Soccer team for disabilities. In response to God’s calling and in obedience to it, I visited North Korea in December 2012 and started the disability ministry to North Korea.
Since then, I became more familiar with terms like Korean peninsula, 38th parallel line, 38 North and South, along with an analogical understanding that Korea is like a disabled country with its “waist” cut off.
December 3, 2012, the Lord spoke to me with John Chapter 5 in a hotel in Haebang Mountain Hotel in Pyongyang. I felt an overlap of Korea’s divided land with a man who has been an invalid for 38 years in Bethesda. I realized that the Korean peninsula is an invalid, disabled country with no communication due to its cut off “waist”.
Believers simply can’t ignore God’s calling. We consider reunification of the two countries to be an absolute calling by the Lord. However, is reunification truly His calling? Most Korean pastors consider our hope to see North and South Korea as one and undivided, united to be in alignment with God’s calling and act accordingly as one nation. Pastor Hee-gon Eun from the Southern Methodist Church says the following:
“Because we are Koreans and we live in one and only separated nation on earth, even if we try hiding away from the situation, we cannot and should not face the difficulties in achieving the peaceful re-unification of North and South Korea. Moreover, for believers living in South Korea, the mission to North Korea is considered as our inevitable task.”
We all say we dream of the re-unification for North and South Korea despite the future’s vague possibility. The problem is, the more we proclaim for re-unification, the further away we get from achieving it. This is as if a divorced (formerly married) couple is adamant about getting back together though they are separated. The conflict is augmented since the two have different personalities and hold different values, but forcefully tries to get back together. Additionally, the neighbors (USA, China, Japan, and Russia) join in the discussion, complicating the situation. But amidst the complications, President Park’s ‘Re-unification, the Jackpot’ allows the public to reckon as if the possibilities for re-unification is higher than it is.
I believe the issue of re-unification should be tackled in two ways. One is socio-cultural re-unification and the other is the political re-unification. The first is a matter of reconciliation of the brotherhood and the latter deals with the reunification of a single nation. Normally, the latter is referred when discussing about re-unification. While the first prioritizes mutual respect and peaceful co-existence of the two nations, the latter prioritizes the building of one nation. Meanwhile, what kind of political system will be chosen in the future, has been a dire point of contention since establishing a single nation was placed as the foremost priority in the reunification conversation. The possibilities for reunification became more distant due to such desire to decide between democracy and communism in order to settle the two nations under one system. Such view into the issue makes one side to inevitably surrender to another.
For this reason, the North and South Korea are both in a transition stage of reconsidering the process towards re-unification. North Korea’s Low Level of Federation Proposal and South Korea’s The Korean Commonwealth Proposal are some of the examples.
South Korea’s solution, ‘Confederation Korea’ includes a stage when two nations exist with two different political systems and work towards achieving one nation and one political system. This approach is problematic since it dismisses the fact that the South aims for democracy while the North desires to remain a socialist nation. This method will let the two nations suspect antagonistic intention of one another. Before approaching societal-cultural reconciliation, a political rivalry will be formed.
Therefore, one must plead re-unification to be dealt with the former approach first before the latter one. Re-unification can be much achieved through simply recovering the brotherhood. This attitude is a more effective way of achieving re-unification. Let’s stop a war of attrition and strive towards practical approach to re-unification.
Let’s refer back to the main question once again: is the reunification of North and South Korea truly the Lord’s calling? I insist the recovery of brotherhood to align with Biblical calling, though a single national form of re-unification must carry some Biblical evidences.
Take a look at the Old Testament. There was a time when Israel was divided into North and South. In 931 BC, when Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was ruling Israel, the nation split into South Judah and North Israel. This separation lasted for 209 years until Assyria overpowered them in 722 BC. However, there was no king, citizen nor prophet who stepped out to proclaim re-unification. Even though Israel was God’s chosen people, they did not put any effort towards living out God’s calling and thus God stopped their efforts to grow towards re-unification. Rehoboam tried attacking the Northern kingdom with 180,000 soldiers while ten tribes were left. That is when Shemaiah, inspired by God, dissuaded him. The story is written as below in the Bible:
21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.
22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.” So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered. — NIV 1 Kings 12:21-24
Thus, this meant that a bloody war between brothers should not occur. Moreover, the division was God’s decision according to Solomon’s wrongdoing, which served the Lord’s purpose. Rehoboam followed the prophet in obedience to God and retreated. Of course there were some local fights, but no full-scale war between Judah and Israel. There was even an inter-marriage between them.
Then Rezin, the king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem and besieged Ahaz, but they could not overpower him. And Oded, the prophet, rebuked Israel.
“In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah—because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors. 7 Zikri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, second to the king. 8 The men of Israel took captive from their fellow Israelites who were from Judah two hundred thousand wives, sons and daughters. They also took a great deal of plunder, which they carried back to Samaria.
9 But a prophet of the LORD named Oded was there, and he went out to meet the army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, “Because the LORD, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10 And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren’t you also guilty of sins against the LORD your God? 11 Now listen to me! Send back your fellow Israelites you have taken as prisoners, for the LORD’s fierce anger rests on you.”
12 Then some of the leaders in Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those who were arriving from the war. 13 “You must not bring those prisoners here,” they said, “or we will be guilty before the LORD. Do you intend to add to our sin and guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger rests on Israel.”
14 So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and plunder in the presence of the officials and all the assembly. 15 The men designated by name took the prisoners, and from the plunder they clothed all who were naked. They provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm. All those who were weak they put on donkeys. So they took them back to their fellow Israelites at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria. — NIV 2 Chronicles 28:6-15
The Southern and Northern kingdoms were in brotherly relationship. The Lord insisted to let them be reminded of their brotherly bond than to see the nations be re-unified. After the Northern kingdom perished, its leaders were deported to another location where other ethnic groups exist, following Asshur’s colonial policy. The rest of the leaders assimilated to the Kingdom of Judah. Only the poor Israelites remained in Samaria, where other immigrants settled and eventually become a conglomerate of diverse ethnic groups. Southern Judah perishes in 586 BC because Babylon defeated them and some of Judah’s leaders became its captives.
In 538 BC, the captives of Babylon returned through the order of King Cyrus, and built an altar in 515 BC. In 445 BC, they built a Jerusalem rampantly. In this process, the influences in Samaria area requested the return of the closed Judah community to join the church. However, the Judaean community refused and thus created the Samarian religion. The Samarian religion built an altar in Mt. Gerizim and acknowledged only the Law of Moses. The Judean community and Samarian religious power were in a feud and in conflict. The Gospel of John described such relationship vividly. The Judeans hated the Samaritans to the extent that they did not want to pass the road through Samaria in their journey between Galilee and Judea, though it was the shortest route. Jesus broke such notion of taboo, conversed with and converted a Samaritan woman. Jesus moreover proposed “the Spirit and the truth” that substantiates the Jerusalem altar and the altar at Mt. Gerizim.
Samaria became the Lord’s third commanded location for mission according to the Book of Acts: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (NIV Acts 1:8). Samaria became a part of the Church through Philip’s evangelism. Ultimately it was Jesus and the early Christian Church that initiated the reconciliation between Judeans and Samaritans.
God’s main concern in the ancient history of Israel was not to insist on a re-unified oneness of the two forces through the current political systems, but was on restoring the psychological division within the brotherhood. Ezekiel’s vision is often talked about in discussion regarding the re-unification of Korea. Ezekiel was one of the prophets in the Babylonian captive regions. God promised Ezekiel that the two kingdoms will become one through a vision. “The word of the LORD came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
18 “When your people ask you, ‘Wouldn’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ 20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on 21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” (NIV Ezekiel 37: 15-22). This is surely a vision that foresees re-unification that completes one ethnicity under one system.
However, the emphasis of this vision is not on the re-unification itself but on the restoration of Israel. It could be considered a calling for re-unification if this vision appeared during the mitotic period of the North and South, but since it appeared 150 years after the northern kingdom perished, the emphasis relies more heavily on the means of restoration than re-unification. The division of the nation must have dispersed the power and caused an embarrassing scandal in front of other nations. A nation that restores again must dream of rebuilding a strong power that won’t fall, just like from the Davidic period.
It is not an ultimate solution for an ethnic group to achieve a unified one nation. The Bible is concerned with striving toward a brotherly reconciliation than a systematic re-unification. The Scripture teaches that the ethnic division and discriminations must be resolved and reconciled. Jesus did so as well. Ephesians 2:14-16 sites, “or he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” Jesus broke the moral and psychological wall between the immigrants and Judeans, yet did not contribute in making them into a single nation under same politics. Even though our bodies are tied in with a national and ethnic identity, within God’s presence, our souls transcend such border between nations. From North Korean to African brothers, we are all one in Christ.
The kind of re-unification that the Bible testifies and prioritizes is the restoration of brotherhood, and it may be considered a perpetual division. The political-societal re-unification, the Bible does not testify about, is also a decision that can’t only be made by the people’s will. If re-unification happens, it would be the gift from the Lord. People can only do their best in resolving the mistrust among them and act on brotherly love during the process. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16). Re-unification that prioritizes the restoration of brotherly love contributes efficiently to what re-unification truly means, apart from the resistance and the ideals that the re-unification theory follows to prioritize on building one nation. Through pressing on the recovery of brotherhood of two nations, let us come closest to the means of true re-unification.
The East and West Germany’s re-unification is a good example. The Basic Treaty (Grundlagenvertrag) that was set in 1972 became a foundation for the East and West’s exchange in communication. Building on this foundation, in 1976, the East and West Germany accomplished Abkommen über Post- und Fernmeldewesen. From here on, other exchanges came alive. Western Germany forwarded towards ostpolitik without even mentioning the word “re-unification” in its vocabulary. Chancellor Brandt accepted one ethnicity and two nations system. He pushed forward to pondering the dignity of the men and one’s inner life while believing that re-unification will eventually happen in the far away future. From 1972 to 1989, West Germany supported East Germany for 53.5 billion US dollars until re-unification was achieved. For civilians, 38.5 billion US dollars was spent. Within a span of 1 year, in 1987, 1.5 million West Germans visited East Germany, sent over 75 million letters and 24 million packages to East Germany while 95 million letters and 9 million packages were delivered to West Germany. During these years, more than 70% of East Germans were watching West German television. The East-West Germany’s ostpolitik focused on restoring the brotherhood, a policy that concentrated on humanitarianism, recovering human rights, and normalizing relations. Re-unification came easier after the brotherhood was restored.
THE TASK OF RE-UNIFICATION THEOLOGY
1. Overcoming Ideological Segregation of the Korean Church
The Korean church is more concerned with ideological argument than putting its effort to recovering the brotherhood of the two nations. The following is a statement from the Prayer Meeting for North Koreans and North Korean defectors.
“The North Korean government is like a pseudo-religion… When I was asked by a North Korean defector “How do you go sightseeing when fellow citizens are dying out of poverty?,”, I responded, “Then what else should I do.” Then he said, “we should invade the North. So we can turn our guns towards their back,” We must not help the North Korean government but help fellow North Korean people. It’s hard to understand how this happens when anyone with a common sense would know this. Fighting against communism is like fighting Satan, the antichrist. We must pray for all the pro-communism anti-Americans and Kim Jung Eun to be destroyed.
Such perspective of Pastor Kim is the normal perspective among most conservative Christians. Senior leaders and members of CCK (Christian Council of Korea) make up this congregation. They distinguish the North Korean government apart from North Korean people. They define the North Korean government as something to be destroyed and that they are evil, while believing the North Korean people need their help. However, it is wrong to distinguish and consider the people apart from their government. North Korea is inwardly intrinsic with self-reliance ideology while proclaiming an anti-American sense outwardly. Even if it were to study the people separate from the government, it is impossible to do so when the people are thoroughly restricted by the political system. If we were to continue holding onto this skewed view of North Korea, re-unification will only occur through absorption unification or through a war.
It is also problematic to consider the North Korean government as a “never changing group of evil.” North Korea is changing. There is a Christian organization called Christian Federation of North Korea, with over 12,000 Christian believer members, two official Christian churches and 520 house churches present in the nation. Though the information is difficult to be verified, a North Korean missions organization, Opendoors, states that there are 540 underground churches and around 500,000 believers in North Korea. Government-patronized or not, it is true that North Korea is changing its attitude towards religions. North Korea’s self-reliance ideology is a step behind Marxism-Leninism’s aggressive materialist’s criticism and it is evolving towards accepting the positive sides of religions. Persecution of religion does still exist, and it will be impossible for open communication if we were to define the government as evil. There is a story in Luke 15 with a very important message that Christ even repeats it three times in different metaphors. The story is about how to treat the neighbors, whether to see them as evil or lost ones. Eventually it is the Father’s heart to find the lost. Throughout time, people change, governments change and ideologies change. The Korean church must be more flexible in its attitude towards the North Korean government.
Recently, some member pastors of North Korea’s Christian Federation of North Korea who attended a meeting with 34 church leaders over the world gathered together in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss about the peaceful reconciliation between North and South Korea.
The truth is, the Korean church’s anti-North Korean understanding developed a long time ago. The root of South Korean Christianity is grounded in anti-communism. The majority of North Korean Christianity comes from North Korea’s West-North forces (Pyungan-do, Hwanghae-do). Before the liberation, Presbyterians ruled about third fourths of the entire Chosun Christians. Among the Presbyterians, 60% were ruled by the West-North forces. Pyongyang was so called “the Jerusalem of Asia.” Right after the liberation, the conflict with communism and land reform problems led around 70-80 thousand Christians (opinion of former Director of Department of Re-unification, ROK) to cross over to South Korea. This is about 25-40% of the entire number of North Korean Christians, 200 thousand, at the time. They were anti-communists who were persecuted under the Communist regime. The Korean War initiated their convictions even more. On June 15, 1953, the Prayer Meeting for Re-unification hosted by NCCK in Busan, gathered over 10 thousand Christian believers. The following statement is from that occasion:
“The South Korean government and South Koreans must come to an agreement and go against the armistice at Panmunjeom. Korea’s reunification must not occur through a soft-line policy with communism but by defeating communism. Communism is evil, never able to repent.”
In looking through history, it is easier to understand the recent conservative Christians’ anti-North Korea, anti-communism prayer meeting happenings and North Korea Human-rights prayer meetings. Reconciliation between brothers cannot be settled if we start revisiting the wrongdoings that the others did in the past. It is not just the others who did wrong, but we also did something wrong. It is about time we move forward. We move from what happened in the past and leave them as history for the future generations to come. Perhaps it is our hope that the younger generations who did not experience the June 25 war will stand in authority and initiate re-unification, since it is difficult for those hurting from the war to try reconciling because the wounds of the past have not been healed yet.
Separation and ideological confrontation does not simply end. The problem relies on the fact that the Church forgets about God’s words because of ideology. Which side you take is considered to be more relevant than considering justice and ethics. Unjust actions are acceptable and forgiven as long as they were done from the same side. The ethical insensibility caused by the separation is one of the main reasons why the church cannot build its own strength to reform. Biblical moral values such as love and forgiveness are crippled in front of ideological confrontation.
The Korean church must go back to our Father’s Words. We must read not only the story of Elijah and Baal on Mount Carmel, but also the command to love our enemies written in the Sermon on the Mount. 34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” —NIV John 13:34-35.
The Lord’s command that the Korean church today must follow is to love their neighbors. Who would be able to consulate and recover the torn spirit if but by the Korean church? The church should spearhead to restore brotherhood than spearheading the conservative power. In so doing, the church must be ready to sacrifice anything. Christians’ aim should not be to compete with the political system or to build a single-race nation. The aim is to restore the brotherhood and rebuild the North Korean church.
Therefore, first and foremost, we must reconstruct our understanding of reunification through the Bible and second, we must overcome the Korean church’s outlook on reunification and return to the Word of God.
2. Separation Between Religion and Politics
Faith and politics within the Korean church has been muddled up. This is evident in looking at the Sunday pulpit. There is no caution in judging what is inappropriate from appropriate statements regarding faith from that of a political statement. A minister’s personal thoughts should not be proclaimed along God’s words when standing on the holy pulpit to engage in issues that brings different opinions among church members. The dignity and honor of the pulpit is declining because of such confusion in between statements.
This applies to the liberals too. In 1988, NCCK made a historical declaration called “The Declaration of Korean Churches for the National Unification and Peace.” It was a historically crucial declaration since it was the very first organized unification declaration by the Korean church and also it was made when the unification discussion on government level was exclusively being discussed. The declaration made a substantial influence in the societal climate, but it also received criticisms from the conservative side because it mentioned the withdrawal of the U.S. Armed Forces from the Korean peninsula. For the church to refer to a politically controversial issue in the declaration was a questionable notion. The church may proclaim statements for national reconciliation according to biblical principles, but it is not the Church’s concern to mention a specific, politically-motivated actions. The question with the withdrawal of the U.S. Armed Forces is a political problem that should be judged based on Korea’s real situation and its solution is not written on the Bible. Controversial and political issues must not be publicly declared under the name of the church.
Spreading faith and politics and imposing one’s personal political perspective through the name of faith had been happening over time in history. The principle of separation of church and state is a primary example. The separation of government and religion hampered the Christian students in the 80’s. Christian students at the time considered what would Jesus do in their shoes under dictatorship: protesting against the political oppression against military’s tear gas that overwhelmed university campuses. The seniors in the church persuaded these young Christians quoting Romans 13, grounded in the principle of separation of church and state and saying how politics and faith is divided, and must obey the authority in all times. To them, they believed it was God’s will for the people to obey even the military dictatorship. Young Christians became skeptical towards the church for this reason and left Christianity to engage in political movements.
In the 2000s, the opposite of the activities done in the 1980s happened. Those who used to dissuade us in engaging with political movements are now on the streets protesting. They criticize the government on Sunday pulpits and host prayer meetings in front of the Seoul city hall to admonish the current situation. Do these actions go against the principle of separation of the church and state that believes in obedience to all authorities?
Ultimately, it is evitable that they were misquoting the Word only to make arguments with their personal ideas. In the past, they referred to Romans 13 for they were on the side of the government. But now, they are against the current government and act as to defend the conservative force to fight for Truth and against the darkness by using concepts like “darkness,” “confusion,” “economics,” and “left-leaning.” The Bible does not speak of such issues, but these are merely personal opinions.
Political hues must be separated from religion. Believers should remain purely as believers. Putting efforts to join politics and religion together is a liberal-Christians’ task. The liberal Christians also face the same issue. In fact, the politically engaged civilians in the 70s-80s in Korea were liberal Christians. The Church was the only legally-safe place where liberal Christians were able to lead the pro-democracy and human rights movements under the oppressive dictatorship. However, as the social movements such as students and labor movements and civil movements started developing, the stance of liberal Christianity became unclear since those movements developed. It was difficult to consider as neither Christian campaign nor social movement and therefore, lost its leadership status.
Campaigns develop when it does its job. Each campaign has its own property and context of influence, such as labor, through-labor campaigns and environment, through-environment campaigns. The society takes a step forward only when each factors of the society takes ownership in fighting its good fight. Christian campaign is founded in the context of Christianity. Without the context of religion, it cannot be defined as a Christian campaign. For Christianity, the Bible is the text and the church is the site. The methodology is exemplified by Jesus Christ. A campaign that dismisses the foundation of the Church and its traditions can’t hold influence. For this reason, the liberal Christianity must grapple with God’s words in a deeper level and try accepting that the church is its site.
3. Realistic Methodology and Presentation of Alternative
In modern society, it is difficult to separate the property of influence that religion has, to that of politics. Participation is a political action and so is silence an act of politics. Any action carries a political meaning. However, the goal that faith carries is different from what the world of politics asks for. The goal of the church is to build God’s kingdom. Biblical values and logic work in God’s kingdom. Building a nation of love and peace, justice and people’s equality, protection of human rights , order of creation, provisions of hope and salvation— this is the kind of nation we strive to build. For this reason we may band together with other social groups.
However, the church does not prioritize the actualization of God’s kingdom on earth as its number one priority. For the Church, their first aim is to live according to His kingdom’s calling. Slavery and patriarchy existed during the Apostle Paul’s lifetime. However, Paul never mentioned about issues like reformation in the system. Yet Paul introduced the slave Onesimus to his fellow brother in Christ Philemon and so was breaking slavery within the Church.
16 “no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” —NIV Philemon 1:16-18
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. —NIV Galatians 3:28
Slavery and discrimination of gender cannot be found from the biblical reference from above. Like this, the world starts changing when the church first and foremost start living out the values according to His kingdom’s law. The change in system happens when people who follow his Kingdom value increase its influence in the society.
Jesus Christ is the believers’ model for understanding how to tackle societal problems. Jesus refused to follow ‘an eye for an eye’ ideology. If anyone slaps one cheek, turn to them the other cheek also, was Jesus’ way of handling difficult relationships. Jesus said to love the enemy and pray for those who persecute you. While the world tries ruling by reigning in power, faith calls one to serve and to be humble in front of the cross. Believers recognize evil as evil. However, believers do not have the right to stop evil with evil. Jesus taught us to fight evil with kindness and love. The church must accept anyone, even murderers, if only they repent because Jesus accepted us, the worst sinners of sinners.
Societal injustice must be confronted and changed. However, the way God eliminates injustice is different from Caesar’s way. While Caesar followed the principle of “eye for an eye”, God’s way is through self-sacrifice and forgiveness. While Caesar pinpointed one’s wrongdoing, God bore one’s wrongdoings and died on the cross Himself. Injustice cannot be resolved through hatred but through love and peace.
The biblical theology of reunification should not only suggests ways of doing certain movements, but should teach a theology that the church can follow to achieve re-unification and restoration. Although the church tended to be overtly political in their past actions, there must be suggestions and realistic plans that could restore brotherhood to create a united spirit especially for the believers.
PRESENTATION OF ALTERNATIVE ON RE-UNIFICATION THEOLOGY
1. Practice the Theology of Joseph
The important attitudes we need to have in restoring the brotherhood are forgiveness and acceptance. Joseph from the Bible can be considered in thinking what real forgiveness means. The favored son from 12 brothers, Joseph’s dramatic life story takes up quite a big portion, more than any other characters in comparison, from the book of Genesis.
God calls Abraham and says,
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.” – NIV Genesis 12:2-3.
Nevertheless, towards the end of his life, Abraham only possessed Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre to set a funeral for his wife, Sarah (Gen 23). God’s kingdom started out with one person in Canaan through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Lord kept them from flourishing. It was God’s plan to allow Joseph to suffer and get sold out to Egypt. God’s plan was all for the people to be saved from famine.
God chose Joseph for his chosen people, the Israelites. If Joseph didn’t exist, Jacob’s family could have left the land of Canaan during the famine. God sent Joseph to Egypt first so later Jacob’s family can stay in Canaan, at Egypt’s Goshen. And Joseph’s tragedy was a part of God’s plan to keep Israel’s bloodline.
It is worth studying the life of Joseph in discussing re-unification theology. It is not because of his high position in Egypt nor his visions, but because of Joseph’s forgiving spirit. Brothers threw him to the pit, got him sold as a slave to Egypt, went to prison under false accusations, fellow prisoners forgetting the ways he helped them, and so on. Joseph went through struggles and experienced unfortunate events one after another. After all, these were all done because of God’s sovereign plan to make Joseph possess a forgiving heart.
Joseph could have put Potiphar’s wife and the chief baker under punishment once he gained power. He also could have asked his brothers to pay him apology. However, Joseph didn’t. In fact Joseph spoke to his brothers kindly,
“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance .8So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”—NIV Genesis 45:5-8
In order to love our enemies, we must forgive them out of love. Hannah Arendt wrote, “Hannah Arendt finds in it the healing powers which enable to liberate from the plight of the “irreducible“ past. Because forgiveness is not only an ability to live together in the present without getting caught up in the past, but also is an act of breaking the chains of hatred and human malice. Therefore, forgiveness is a reconciling act of Christian burdens and living under the wounds of war and division. That is nothing but the missional act of proclaiming at the center of the divided world and evangelizing the gospel of the cross of Christ.” Likewise, we need the spirit of Joseph — a spirit of forgiveness out of love.
2. Five Ways to Actively Prepare for Re-unification
In summary, the goal for re-unification should be to restore brotherhood between the two nations, it is to give love and forgiveness to one another. The approach used for re-unification, from the very start, since the separation of the two nations, aims for reunifying the two into one nation. This approach has caused more conflict and confusion.
The Bible prioritizes re-unification that restores brotherhood through love and forgiveness first and foremost. Likewise, the re-unification theology should suggest realistic methods and ways for true re-unification that will improve the relational aspects of the North and South by re-establishing a better understanding of re-unification, denounce the Korean church’s “anti-North Korean ideologies”, and differentiate what’s politics from religion. Here are five ways to actively prepare to participate for a true reunification.
1) Prayer and Fasting for Re-unification
Let us have a Prayer and fasting every first day of the month for re-unification. It is an exaggeration to say we should think of those hungry while fasting, though as we fast and experience poverty in glimpses of one or two meals, or even a full day fasting, we will grow our hearts to yearn for those who are hungry in North Korea every month. “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” —NIV Isaiah 58:6
2) Worship Service for Re-unification
Amidst the modernized services these days, we desperately need to worship God through services that specifically cry out to our Emmanuel for re-unification. More than anything, the Korean diaspora churches all across the globe should encourage us to set a time and date to pray about re-unification so we can have a united spirit to ask God’s presence to reign over the olden days’ Jerusalem of Asia, Pyongyang.
3) Reading the North Korean Version of the Bible
While language difference between the North and South Korea is creating more barriers between the two nations, reading the Bible, just a chapter of Psalms for example, out loud in North Korean language would contribute towards true re-unification. Let’s practice meditating upon God’s words in North Korean language. Let’s kindle and bring fire on re-unification. “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” —NIV Luke 12:49
4) Piggy Bank for Re-unification
Like how South Koreans overcame the IMF crisis through the “gathering of gold movement,” we must support re-unification by saving pennies in our coin banks. This small effort will help to strengthen the health of Korea.
5) Re-unification Troops
We need to prepare towards re-unification by nurturing and growing people with strong faith, who are ready to work for His kingdom once re-unification happens. People who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the re-unification call, and people whom God sees as precious as pearls in this world.
People who practices the five ways towards re-unification listed above are qualified to be members of the Re-unification Troops.
People who say, “Re-unification is coming,” are the prophets for re-unification. People who say, “Let’s pray for re-unification,” are testifiers for re-unification.
We need prophets, testifiers and strategists for re-unification today. We need an anointed Re-unification Troops from God’s kingdom. To win the race, we need to practice. If we truly long to be re-unified, we must practice re-unification. Many Korean organizations which wanted to have a Gospel-centered re-unified Korea should do bigger tasks and aim for bigger goals. Let us hope for God’s presence to reign and prove Korea to be a nation God calls for missions. The disabled in North Korea, who had personal and first-hand experience of restored brotherhood, are the first seeds who received God’s love and blessings from their South Korean and Christian brothers around the world, and in return these seeds will be planted in the North Korean land to show God’s love in North Korea.
CONCLUSION: THE DISABLED LEADING THE DISABLED NATION!
Spending time with the North Korean disabled soccer team is indeed the Lord’s calling. I sought much about what the Bible says on re-unification, and through allegorical interpretation of the Bible, I put efforts into understanding the meaning of the 38th parallel line in the Old Testament and New Testament.
After Exodus, through the covenant with God, the people received God’s law and lived 38 years in the wilderness around Mount Sinai. When the people reached Kadesh Barnea before entering Canaan, they send out 12 explorers to look out for God’s promised land for 40 days. God made an extreme decision following such mistrustful act by the people. Only Joshua, Caleb and the children of Enoch, who testified their faith to God through solely trusting in His providence, are able to enter into the land of Canaan.
The rest of the 10 explorers thought they need to act beyond following and believing God’s promise. As if to punish their lack of faith, they spent 38 years in Kadesh Barnea out in the wilderness. It was solely because of those 10 men who didn’t fully trusted God that led the entire people to suffer.
In John 5, a disabled was living in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda. When Jesus comes by and asked, “do you want to get well?” the sick does not answer by saying “yes,” but says “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” To such unbelieving patient, Jesus says, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
The 38th parallel line between South and North Korea: Korea —the separated nation, a disabled nation with its waist paralyzed. I hope and pray that the 38th parallel line no longer hardens and settles the separation. Above all things, humanism is the antichrist in these final days, because the believers toil more than ever to show righteousness. In August 2014, Pope Francis visited South Korea. The Pope was present but Jesus wasn’t. In this day and age, we need troops from God’s kingdom. We need people who are able to carry the cross to follow Jesus and act in brotherly love. The five ways of participating in reunification are fasting, worship, reading the North Korean Bible, saving for reunification and nurturing God’s kingdom-minded people. If the cross illustrates a plus sign (Jesus’ cross), the act for brotherly love resembles a multiplication sign (my cross). Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Like how Wooyoung Chung of Hyundai walked across the ceasefire line with 1001 cows in August, 1998, I want to cross the boarder with people on wheelchairs and people using white canes holding hands together, to establish a no longer disabled, but a healed nation. In 2015, the 70th year since the separation of the two nations, will be the first year towards a peaceful Korea. I envision walking through the boarder with 70 disabled children from Seoul to Pyongyang in God’s grace. So I pray to practice re-unification with hope.
Such my heart for re-unification of Korea started out with establishing North Korean deaf football team in October, 2013. Until one nation Korea hosts the Olympics in both Seoul and Pyongyang together, I will persevere in Joseph’s spirit and in act of love.
I envision a one-nation Korea through the Olympics. Asian countries have hosted the Olympics every 20 years period, such as Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Seoul Olympics in 1988 and Beijing Olympics in 2008. I hope for the Seoul-Pyongyang Olympics in 2032. As I ponder upon my prayer and hope, I look upon the Gospel-centered re-unified Korea and plant the seed of North Korea together with the marginalized disabled in South and North Korea. I am dreaming that Korea, the disabled nation, to be a priest nation serving all other nations.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” —John 12:24.
 The Veritas, June 23, 2014.
 Jeong Soo Park “Biblical Reunification Theology”, Theology and Mission, No. 41 (Buchon: Seoul Theological University, 2012). 237-238. requote)
Rev. Minkyo Lee the President of the Global Blessing and missionary of GP International, specialized in the disabled. He served as the Pastor of Uzbekistan Church for the Deaf from 1997 to 2004. He also was the Head Coach for the Deaf Soccer Team of Kazakhstan from 2005 to 2015.
Edward Ayub formerly known as Mohammed Ayub was born in a Wahhabi Muslim family and trained as a practicing Muslim. He heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ during his university life in 1982 from a Muslim convert whom Ayub and his friends persecuted. But God has called and changed him in 1984. Since then he has been doing Christian ministries through evangelism and building churches, teaching, writing, giving and equipping leadership. He has earned a Masters of Divinity from the Philippines. Rev. Ayub is known as the motivator in giving birth to some Christian ministries. He has translated and authored more than 29 titles in Bengali. He and his wife gave their greatest contribution in giving birth to a Reformed denomination called Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He believes and is engaged in visible church planting among the Muslims characterizing exclusivity, specialization and uniformity. He wants to see 100 churches to be planted through PCB, 10 visible established sites in different regions of the country, a Center for equipping church planters for the Muslims, a library of 20,000+ books, a self-reliant church planting work, and transforming the rural areas through church planting toward changing his nation. He runs a study center offering one-year long residential training in comparative religion. His outstanding effort and pursuit against insider movement have proven him as a true lover of God’s Word. His wife Jostna has been a great inspirer and their 23 year- old son Utthan is now serving the Bangladesh Navy.
BANGLADESH’ SITUATION & CONSEQUENCES
The history of Catholicism has been for 400 years while for Protestants, for more than 200 years, but still we are ashamed to claim less than 1% Christians. Bangladesh has become one of the experimental grounds for IM. The IMers chose the right place because of the economy. Anyone can experiment anything here. Most of the IM leaders are the product of Christian churches. They were baptized into Christian church, became once Christian – they were proud of their identity, then some missionaries came to detach them from the church in the issue of cultural difference. A wall has been built, enmity has started to grow and finally separation was a reality. The once Christians from Islam are now Insiders – without work, with comfortable life, no Christian identity, no challenge – so they prefer the new lifestyle than the Christian one. Many repented back to Islam in front of the Muslim leaders and arranged feasts that they returned to Islam – they have been accepted again by the Muslims but suspiciously. Now Muslims are telling them to make their identity clear – whether believers of Islam or Christianity.
This presentation is made from the experience in dealing with the IMs (Insider Movement members). I consider myself privileged to be one of the most vulnerable person attacked by the IMs. I know personally some of the IMers and I have interviewed them. Many of them were not happy with the IM leadership due to doctrine and practices, many of them were not happy for the leadership so they came to me and shared their inside stories. I have visited them when they invited me and spent time with them. Many of them have been interviewed and videoed.
We have so far done two documentaries – first one is Unheralded of 15 minutes and the next one Half Devil and Half Child of 90 minutes. You could find IMs giving their interviews.
Because of these activities, I have been attacked – IM tried to damage my character, there were slanderous mails distributed, criticisms without giving me the chance to defend myself, accused of murder and attacking IMers, they tried to stop our fundings and became successful in charging us. We have investigated the charges and videoed the people in the place they mentioned but found they were false. I had to go to the court to prove my honor and got favor from the court. The agent of the IM surrendered and confessed with written apology. Missionaries in Bangladesh went to my home to threaten me, some of them met with our supporters to discontinue our support. I have been warned by some local well-wishers to be careful when I am alone and they advised me not to move alone because of possible attack. There were other international bodies and organizations who went to Bangladesh to interview me and the others involved, they could not find any truth but have been challenged by the nationals to stop IM. Unfortunately some of these groups’ report were in favor of IM because they have been sent by the IM leadership.
I was invited to the Potomac Presbytery to talk against IM and the overture was approved for the General Assembly of PCA. A study committee was formed to deal with the issue of the translation of the New Testament. The new translation has been rejected after two years of study thru the committee report. Then the whole issue of the IM was brought into the floor and the study committee worked for two more years. After lots of struggle finally the resolution was made that PCA would not support the IM ministries.
In 2012, with 8 Americans, we were attacked by the Muslims backed by the IM and ex-IMERYS. The news have become nationwide issue and the government have found many offenders who were with the IM. Money has been distributed to plot such attack.
EXISTING MISSIOLOGICAL APPROACH ON COMMON GROUNDS
Report on Insider Movement
There is one person who IM claimed had more than 700,000 followers in the Southern part of Bangladesh. His mission was verified twice and was found false. I was personally present in one group interview and had experience life threats for my presence. Another group claimed that their population of believers are twenty times more than all Protestants in Bangladesh. There are 500,000 Protestants so if this figure is multiplied by 20, their numbers would be over 1 million. I know another one who claimed that in a small district of Bangladesh, he had baptized 86,000 believers, etc.
When the first publication of the Gospel of Mark was published omitting “the Son of God”, and “Father” from the translation, the whole Christian community opposed but the IM did not respect their reaction and did not stop. Then they have published the first four Gospels plus Acts. After this translation, Christian leaders were upset and I have heard one leader saying he will sue them by selling all he had. Bangladesh Bible Society has issued a legal notice. One national association has convened a meeting and invited the people engaged with these translations, but they did not come to give their views.
Organizations in Hiding
You could not imagine which organizations are behind these scholarship research. Now many of those are open secret and struggling. My friends with IM say that they cannot give the exact figure, location and any information of their believers because of security. So how can you believe what is going on underground? No foreigners are invited into the spots so they depend on the nationals report only.
Mission Organization has become the pilot of the church
One serious move of the present mission work is that the mission is not from the church anymore and by the church, but the mission organizations and para-church organizations are guiding and teaching mission to the church. The church believes them and gives – because they think that mission people are expert on this. They understand mission better since they live in the field and experience the field better than the church. I strongly recommend that every sending church should ask clear accountability from their missionaries what they are believing, and what they are practicing. The church needs to check the product not the salesmen.
IS THERE ANY COMMONALITY WITH ISLAM?
The Bible and Quran
The issue is the inspiration – is Quran the inspired word of Allah? What is the response of an IM to the Quran? How does he view the Quran? Does he believe the Bible as the sole, authentic, inerrant, inspired Word of God and they add the Quran too with the Bible?
I have few national Bengali friends among the IM who recommend to new believers not to keep the Bible but spent more time in reading the Quran. They believe that the verses in the Quran can not only lead to salvation but can give salvation.
Yahweh and Allah
In Islam Allah is monotheist – from polytheism – Abraham to Ismael and on the Islamic history, Mecca has become the center of polytheism. The Yahweh of the Bible is One and Only true God. Islam does not believe in triune God – the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Believing in Trinity is unforgiveable sin in Islam. So how a Christian evangelist say to a Muslim that your Allah and my God is the same one? In Islam, the Holy Spirit is sometimes known as the power of Allah and sometimes equated to the Angel Gabriel.
Jesus the Lord and Jesus the Prophet
Islam respects and in fact instructed to view Jesus as one of the most respectful prophet. But is that enough in Christian faith? Is he a prophet only?
Sin and Salvation
The teaching of the origin of sin and transmission of sin is not found in Islam. Islam never talks about the sins of the prophets so the original sin of Adam has become so light that in Islam sin is always a shallow area to discuss and to deal with. So salvation is by faith and works in Islam but in Christian faith salvation is only by faith alone and the faith is on the cross which Islam clearly rejects.
The Church and the Mosque
In IM, you may hear the name of Jesus mosque, Messianic mosque, and others. There was one video circulated that all the devotees coming out from Friday prayer were Christians according to the narrator. We have identified the mosque which is still a mosque of the Muslims. I am ashamed to say this, how Christians around the world have been deceived for money.
The concept of church and mosque never matches. Jesus said that He had come to build His church. He died for His church, and the church is His bride – are these compatible to the concept of a mosque where people go for daily prayers five times a day?
The picture of heaven in Islam is horrible and even worse than the world’s vices – of whores, wine, virgins, and other worldly vices are available whenever you want. The Bible picture of heaven is relationship with God – “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” [Rev. 21: 3-4].
What is about marriage and divorce? Do these match with Christian practice? What we see in Islam are the external changes and washing which does not deal with the inner self. In Islam the inside is undegenerated so no Christian transformation is happening that we should expect from a Muslim the quality of ethics like Christianity have. Read Matthew 5-7 and we will see that it is contrary to Islamic ethics.
There are Muslims like me coming to Jesus Christ because of the ethical standard of Christianity. I love the excellence of Christian ethics.
Biblical View of Suffering
IM advocates avoiding persecution and the survival of believers, are important as IM technique. But on the other hand, they claim that they are going to the mosque as Paul went to synagogue and they want to convert the whole mosque into church someday. Going to mosque and preach like Paul is terrifying to Christians in Bangladesh. In our seminars on IM, almost all Christians are concerned that because of the IM, these visible Christians would be attacked and destroyed because the conclusion of Islam is that IM is a conspiracy of Christian world. And in the meantime some of the churches have been attached.
Suffering cannot be avoided – I strongly recommend IM to read Matt 5: 11-12; Acts 5: 41-42; Rom 8: 16-17; Heb 11 [vs 38]; 1 Pe 4: 12-19.
WHERE IS ISLAM IN JUDAISM VS CHRISTIANITY?
God in the Old and the New Testaments is the same one. Even after that, the Jewish belief about God is different than Christians because they did not understand the God of the Bible. They have seen God and personally experienced Him, but they did not believe the true God. They created their God from their own imagination. They have never talked of the Holy Spirit as God which is in the New Testament; they denied the deity of Jesus in their prideful understanding of monotheism.
God in Judaism and Islam is almost the same. If IM follows monotheism which neglects the Trinity, they follow what Judaism is teaching and not Christianity.
In Islam, salvation is by faith and works. So there is no assurance of salvation. In Judaism too they emphasized the Law. So Islam and IM are close in the view of salvation. Furthermore, IM is more unclear on their understanding of salvation because they never make this clear like Islam does. Islam is clear even though they are wrong, but IM does not make clear what is their exact view of salvation. They say about faith in Jesus in their hearts but never talks about it outwardly.
In Islam, the Messiah is the one who cleans. To the Jews, the Messiah is the political one. What is the stand of IM regarding the Messiah? Still there is no clear answer to this. They even replaced the Son with the word Messiah to please the Muslims and not to offend them.
The church is a covenant community throughout the Bible. God always has chosen His covenant community from the peoples of the earth. They have been holy or set apart for God’s special purpose. IM does not teach this but they want to include this teachings inside Islam as a sect.
Negative Issue of Islam
The followers coming from the negative view of Islam, the Quran or the life of Muhammad would not survive. Because their base of faith is the negative issues of Islam not the positive hope of Christianity. On the other hand criticizing Islam is risky but when we evangelize the positive hope of salvation to a Muslim, they surely are coming to Christ wanting to be baptized.
Reporting – The IM’s do not believe the report on the number of souls won for Christ and the exciting activities happening in the supporting churches. IM started to challenge the Christian church that the way of the church would not convert many Muslims to Christian faith. Of course this is true that there is no agenda even at any Christian church to reach the Muslims. So IM is taking the role of winning souls for Christ, claiming the highest number of souls of Muslims won for Christ.
Life-Style of IMers – carrying dual identity
To missionaries and outside supporting countries, they are believers of Jesus, but to local Christians, they are followers of Isa and to Muslims they are true Muslims.
Divisions Between Christians
The Christian church has been divided in this issue. Even there are many fractions among the Insiders and with this Christianity has become weakened even with a small minority.
Relationship with the Muslims
Muslims have some honesty so to make up with everyone’s identity clear. They appreciate Christians for their clear identity.
Harmful for Christians
Christian churches have lost many converts from their real faith to IM faith. Not only that, now IMers are criticizing the Christian church. Muslims are confused – since there is no group yet recognized as Isais, Messianic Muslims, true Muslims, or Quranic Muslims, etc. So who are these people?
DECISION TO MAKE
Back to the Bible
Christian missiologists are crossing the limit often. Many are losing their connection with the Bible. Their own research and ideas become equal or even higher than the Bible.
Re-read the Christian History
If there is truth in history, there is also false. History gives us both sides of the story. This is seen from the creation. God and His counterpart the Devil are always working against one another. But the true history of Christianity is of blood shedding by which Christianity has been strengthened in history in different parts of the world in the midst of state persecution. Where our next future generation would be if we are not faithful to the true history of Christianity?
Interpretation of the Bible
There are lots of approaches in interpreting the Bible. Which is the best one? I cannot guarantee. Scholars differ in this. But we must try to become Bible students rather than teachers of the Bible. We often teach the Bible to our students. We are teachers of the Bible because we teach the Bible, we teach Jesus-God. Much of the knowledge from our extensive readings influence the interpretation of the Bible. We lose the originality of the Bible meaning of we become confusing teachers.
Some of the texts commonly misinterpreted and used by the IM are: Matt 18: 19-20; 1 Cor 9:22; Phil 1: 12-18; Acts 21: 17-26; 2 Kings 5: 17-19. They take these verses out of the whole context in the same way they use the verses from the Quran without the context.
Norms of Biblical Contextualization
[Adopt a Biblical missiological approach]
Contextualization is not a post-modern term we use. God from His creation has been contextualizing to communicate His message to different generations, peoples, nations and cultures. Rather than our effort to discover or invent contextualization from our own world, we must read the Bible to learn on how God works in the cultures. There is nothing new to us, the history in the Bible itself is repeating in its consistencies.
So determine the principles to limit the extent of contextualization – how far you are permitted to go. One missiologist says that some modern missiologists are going too far. He wants to mean that they are crossing his own limit because he has been one of the greatest missiologists for experimenting and giving birth to the present concepts and principles of contextualization in Bangladesh as a testing ground. Now the problem is that these missiologists are not in position to return to the truth.
No Dialogue between IM and the Evangelicals
The so called dialogue was useless. My friends once attended this so called dialogue. They informed us that the goal of such dialogue is to pray for each other and allow the other groups to do their own works in their organizations. There is no real reconciliation unless there is a call for a total change. The appeal for such dialogue comes mainly from the IMers so that they might be more accepted and appreciated. They are not ready to change their ways or accept others’ suggestions.
Passive or Active NO?
Should the loving readers of the Bible keep silent or say something against heresies? I myself have been convicted again and again to write, speak, lecture, propagate and organize meetings because I was pushed by the Bible to speak the truth. One of the teachers once asked me, why should I talk about such things? It seemed to them that my teachings about the Bible hindered them to work their own ways. So they asked me to stop preaching and speaking about the truth, but I did not agree and I have lost all my support from them, a renowned mission organization. They have disconnected all relationship with our denomination without even giving an explanation.
Verify the Report & Keep the Resource-Generating Churches Informed
Whatever story you get from the field, verify. Some have done several times – and found a mess. But even their final report was not so appealing to the evangelicals. They wanted to make adjustments with the false stories. Christians should be black and white. Not only this, we must inform the supporting churches about the falsehood practiced and claimed using their money. Many churches and leaders in the world are innocently contributing their huge resources to wrong and unethical ministries.
No Hate to the IM But Love
My personal agenda is to pray for change to happen among the IMers, not hating them. Accept the heretical ones with Christian love. What should you do with the gay and lesbian in your church? Some are not doing anything but accepting them, and approving them. There are now gay and lesbian pastors in the pulpit. How are we going to deal with those? These issues are more complex and critical than IMs. If you accept gays, you have no problem to accept IMs. We are now in the zone of worst situation.
My direct experience says that backsliding, compromising in faith and heresies have been the result of lack of discipline. How is discipleship possible if there is no Bible study, but only more on reading the Quran and praying in the mosques? PCB has prepared its own discipleship curriculum of 40 lessons to cover the whole one year – each lesson is taught once a week. The curriculum covers four major areas – Islam, the Bible, Christian Doctrine and Ethics.
I do not know where the money comes from but the amount is usually huge. The whole of IM operates because of money. If money is cut down, the IM operations will slow down and it will eventually die slowly if big supporters cut down their budget for IM.
SOME COMMON REACTIONS FROM THE SO-CALLED PEACE-LOVING AND LIBERAL EVANGELICALS TO IM MEMBERS AND THEIR ACTIVITIES
I do not support this IM approach but I want to leave the matter to God so that He might deal with them according to His ways. The best example I may give from the Book of Acts is the role of Gamaliel.
I support IM for some minimal period of time after conversion due to persecution but this should not be for a long–term.
Dealing with IM is creating divisions among Christians
There could be a dialogue between IMers and non-IMers with brotherly love.
To approach the IM must be initiated by the nationals and not by foreigners so we can respect the locals. However, the IM missiologists are from the West. They started to hatch the egg of IM in Asia and Africa.
IMers are the secret believers in the country. They are believers like Gamaliel and Joseph during Jesus’ time. There are at least some results through IM approach – God can use the movement by any means.
I am not critical of the IM approach so I do not speak against it. I do not want to destroy my friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
AS RESPONSE TO IM, PCB’S ROLE IN MISSION AMONG THE MUSLIMS
PCB is not critiquing the IM approach just to give criticism or discourage it. But what PCB wants is for IM to follow the Biblical and historical model of church planting. What someone thinks is impossible for the IM, PCB wants to prove them that it will be possible. By this time, PCB will consider success if the following marks are accomplished:
Visibility – The church must be visible in its existence through worship, evangelism, identification, and as a community. How long a church could be underground? I have found no answer. My conviction is that it is better to suffer for few years rather than compromise for many years .
Reformed – PCB’s theological strength is in its Reformed stand – PCB owes it to the history of reformation in the middle ages and thereafter. I am not encouraging you to become reformed but I am inviting you to share what our mission has been doing.
Rural – More than 80% of the population live in rural areas. There are more than 80,000 villages. We plant churches in rural areas where relationship bond among relatives is strong. Our nation is overly populated especially in rural areas where houses are built closely, so if anything happens at one place this immediately affects the bigger areas. But our role is to destroy that bond, otherwise Christianity would not be able to achieve anything. We try to apply the teaching of Jesus written in Matthew 10.
Exclusive – PCB works only among the Muslims, one particular group which is a challenge to world mission. Islam in some countries is a major religious group. In some countries Islam is the state religion and there are Islamic states too where other religions are not tolerated. In Bangladesh the Muslims are more than 87% of the population, and 10% are Hindus. But PCB works only among the Muslims to minimize the cultural differences and adjusts to some of the problems regarding Islam.
Specialized – Through the Center for Religious Studies, PCB builds its own frontline workers by offering one-year Diploma course in Comparative Religion. Here students learn Islam and Christianity systematically so that they may face the challenge from Islam and give an answer from the Bible to defend his faith. Our church planters should know Islam even better than common Muslims not to use the Quran or Islamic knowledge to bridge, but to use this knowledge in defending their faith.
Uniformed – For the approach in evangelism, worship, and church planting method – PC maintains uniformed position so that this could be a united movement. Members of our staff are trained to follow and apply commonly agreed and researched approaches in mission field and they are not free to create their own ideas which would divide the church.
Cultural Transformation than Contextualization – The culture between Islam and Christianity is different – faith, worship, praying, fasting, funeral, marriage, festivals, etc. are practiced differently in two religions. So unless the former things are not deleted from the mind of the believers and replaced with the new ones, a culture would not be established and if not, Christianity would not survive in the Muslim community. So we believe to establish Christian community with Christian culture in the Muslim community.
Our mission feels comfortable to identify us as Christians, speaking with the use of Islamic terms but with careful attention to meanings based on the Bible.
IMers are trying to show themselves more Islamic than the common Muslims. In Bangladesh, less than 20% Muslims have beards, less than 10% wears veil; but IMers keep their beards and female IMers use their veils. Hiding is not possible – even though we say about Jesus, Muslims immediately categorize us as Christians. So IMers are showing they are Muslims but Muslims are considering them as Christians.
Rev. Edward Ayub is a Presbyterian minister in Bangladesh. He is the moderator of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He is one of the five initiator of Bangladesh Missions Association.
HISTORY & BACKGROUND
Rev. Edward Ayub was invited by AMA leaders to attend the 11thTriennial Convention of the Asia Missions Association (AMA) held in South Korea in 2013. Due to his trip to the USA, he could not attend. Dr. Timothy Kiho Park, the Head Chairman of AMA and Dr. Steve Eom, the General Secretary of AMA visited Bangladesh on November 11-13, 2015 to invite two of Bangladesh Christian leaders to the 12th Triennial Convention in Manila from April 18-22, 2016. Bishop Philip Adhikary and Rev. Edward Ayub were invited as speakers. Mr. Shankar Shikdar has also been invited through e-mail communication. Suddenly Bishop Philip Adhikary could not make it but 2 others attended the Convention in his place.
Rev. Ayub was invited to present a paper on “A Critique to the Missiology Based on Common Grounds between Christianity and Islam.” He also served as one of the seven committee members for drafting the declaration of the AMA Manila Convention. During the convention, he was elected as one of the members of AMA Executive Committee and as South Asia Coordinator for the next 3 years.
Connection: This is to mention that Dr. Timothy Kiho Park was the President and professor of Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the Philippines when Rev. Ayub was taking his Masters of Divinity degree program from 1993-1995 at PTS. Dr. Park has later joined Fuller Theological Seminary to serve as Professor of Asian Mission. He has also been serving as the President of East-West Center for Missions Research and Development (EWCmrd). Dr. Eom serves EWCmrd as Gen. Secretary. Dr. Park and Rev. Ayub did not have any communication for a long time. But Dr. Park shared that he searched for Rev. Ayub through Google and found his e-mail contact address and invited him to get involved in AMA ministry representing Bangladesh. AMA met Dr. James Tejosh Das of Dhaka University to consult about the missionary movement of the Bangladesh church during their Bangladesh visit. This re-connection resulted to Bishop Philip Adhikary and Rev. Ayub were invited to attend the AMA Manila ‘2016.
The AMA & BMA
In 1971, Dr. David J. Cho, the founder of AMA, made several trips to various Asian countries, discussing the possibility of calling an All-Asia Missions Consultation. This proposal was warmly received and the Consultation was held in Seoul, Korea in August 1973. As a result of the Consultation, the Asia Missions Association was formed in August 1975. It’s consisted by 14 Asian nations, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
According to the history of AMA, “Rev. Subhas Sangma from Bangladesh was invited to the All-Asia Mission Consultation in 1973. He was the Secretary of the National Council of Churches at that time and was invited as a representative from Bangladesh because there is no mission organization there at that time. He presented the ‘National Report’ at the All-Asia Mission Consultation in 1973. He attended again the Inaugural Convention of AMA in 1975 and became one of the Board of Directors of AMA. We can see from the Official Report of the Inaugural Convention of AMA that he was actively involved in discussion on the future plans of AMA. As AMA encouraged other nations, his country, Bangladesh, was also encouraged to form the national missions association and AMA officers promised to help on that matter.”
Bangladesh church was one of the 14 founding members of AMA. Rev. Subhash Sangma, the then President of Garo Baptist Convention and a respected leader of Bangladesh Church, was the representative of Bangladesh church. So we feel that the legacy he left should be carried by our generation as Dr. David J. Cho did. Dr. Timothy K. Park visited Bangladesh once again on July 21-30, 2016 to teach at the Center for Religious Studies of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. During his visit, he met Mr. Shankar, Rev. Ayub and some Korean missionaries in Bangladesh to consult how to facilitate the missionary movement of the Bangladesh church. Through his second visit, the vision of AMA has become more convincing and a growing interest for BMA has merged.
AMA has challenged Mr. Shankar and Rev. Ayub to seriously consider the forming of Bangladesh Mission Association with the purpose to send cross-cultural missionaries to other parts of the world for the implementation of the Great Commission. The burden for fulfilling the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 18-20 has moved their hearts. They have started to realize that the Bangladesh Church must start sending missionaries into foreign land. For this, there should be some wing for:
- Challenging the Bangladesh Church towards sending missionaries to foreign mission.
- Equipping missionaries – short term and long-term.
- Sending them through church and missions.
- Networking with other international mission agencies for the mission development and partnership ministry.
When these are in clearer perspective, they were moved to involve other mission-minded evangelical leaders of the Bangladesh Church to widen the national network for the said mission goals. This has also been understood that some platform like Bangladesh Mission Association (BMA) should evolve – not by one or two individuals but with a collective effort. This venue must not or should not be a competing one with NCC and NCFB. BMA would only work with the agenda for mission through the Bangladesh Church.
The first set of five persons who started to pray for such an initiative are:
REV. LEOR P. SARKER
General Secretary, Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Rev. Leor has been serving a church planting denomination named Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship for a long time. He has also been serving national and international bodies and is now considered as one of the key leaders of Bangladesh Church.
During the meeting among Rev. Leor, Mr. Shankar and Rev. Ayub, we discovered that Rev. Leor is already involved in missions. Some of his dreams he shared are to send missionaries among the Bengali Diasporas in Lebanon and other parts of the world, and sending short-term missionaries for experience. He already challenged some missions-minded individuals to going abroad for mission work. To carry out his missionary sending dream through BMA Rev. Leor P. Sarker conveyed his responsibility to Mr. Naba Kumar Das, Program Manager of BME, so that he could represent on behalf of BBCF.
PASTOR NABA KUMAR DAS
Program Manager of the Board of Mission & Evangelism (BME), BBCF
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Mr. Naba Kumar Das is currently serving as the Program Manager of Mission & Evangelism (BME), BBCF. During his tenure from 2009 to 2012, he was the secretary at the BBCF affiliated church, the Jhenaidah District Church Fellowship. Later BBCF sent him to the Philippines along with his family for 3 years to study theology (M. Div.) in Baguio City. After the successful completion of his M. Div. degree, he returned to Bangladesh in 2015. Since then BBCF appointed him as the Program Manager of the Board of Mission & Evangelism (BME). He has the passion for ministry to move forward in Bangladesh and other parts of the world with a view to lead evangelists, and pastors through BBCF churches in Bangladesh. Being a part of BBCF he has the opportunity to encourage sending missionaries to other parts of the world. BMA is blessed with his involvement towards the great commission of Christ. He has a strong desire to study abroad for a doctoral degree in the near future and to serve for His Kingdom.
REV. SETU MUNSHI
Pastor, Assemblies of God Church
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Rev. Setu was pastoring the central church in Dhaka with Assemblies of God Church for more than 20 years. He recently resigned from his pastoral work last August 2016 and now aiming for a work in mission. He believes he is called for Christian works. Rev. Setu is dedicated to preaching the gospel; he is even ready to serve as a missionary among Bangladesh Diaspora population in the foreign land especially in Malaysia, the land where he studied Theology.
The family of Rev. Setu is considered as the main resource for AG Church formation and growth. Most of his family members are engaged with ministry works in different capacities.
MS. SUKLA SANGMA
Former President of Garo Baptist Mohila Central Committee & the daughter of Rev. Subash Sangma (former President of GBC).
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: She has a long professional experience with World Vision Bangladesh as a Translator Analyst; HEED Bangladesh as Leadership Development Officer, Women in Development Manager; World Concern as WSBAC Manager, HRD and Program Coordinator and since 2012 she has been involved with the Leprosy Mission International Bangladesh as Human Resources Manager. Being a HR Manager she attended different workshops on HR, Finance and IT at home and abroad. During university life she was a regular member of endeavor society of GBC and took part in seminars, rally, mission activities and Bible camps. As a professional, she was mostly invited as speaker on different Mohila camps, seminars and workshops of GBC.
She has a heart for the women of Garo Baptist Convention who are living traditional lives working in different beauty parlors, work as maid servants at different houses in Dhaka city and girls seeking higher education.
MR. SHANKAR SHIKDAR
Member of the District Advisory Board (DAB), Church of the Nazarene Int’l & Former General Secretary, Bangladesh Nazarene Mission.
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Mr. Shankar and Rev. Ayub have come to know one another during their participation at the AMA Convention in Manila, 2016. Mr. Shankar and his wife have been successfully leading a school ministry in Dhaka. This shows that Mr. Shankar is a strong administrator since he had the privilege to serve in diverse fields. He started his career as a Lecturer in English in a Muslim fundamental institution. Subsequently he worked with Bangladesh Football Federation as the first Executive Secretary appointed by Asian Football Confederation –AFC in favor of the FIFA Goal Development Project, then Director – International Affairs at Christian Service Society (CSS) and finally as Director – Administration at Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), the leading human rights and legal aid services organization in Bangladesh. He also served as honorary General Secretary of the Executive Board of Bangladesh Nazarene Mission (BNM) and continuing as a member of the District Advisory Board (DAB) of Church of the Nazarene int’l. Mr. Shankar has shown his heart for mission. BMA would be blessed if his gift in leadership is used.
REV. EDWARD AYUB
Chairman, Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Rev. Ayub has served in different responsibilities through Christian Life Bangladesh [CCCI], as Dean of Students with Bangladesh Reformed Theological Seminary, as Acting Director for Bangladesh Reformed Presbyterian Church, as Dean of Students and Business Manager with Gloria Theological Seminary, served also as Director with Shikkha Kalyan Trust [a project of SIM], then as founding General Secretary of Isai Fellowship in Bangladesh, then first founding Country Manager of Light Foundation, and now as Founding Executive Chairman of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He is involved to reach the Muslims with the Gospel and plant churches among the Muslim Background Christians. Some of his writings are being used by Bangladesh Church for sharing the Gospel with the Muslims.
Mission is in his heart. He believes that Bangladesh Church should send her people to the foreign mission field and this is very much possible. But the church now should be taught and challenged.
 Taken from PARTNERSHIP IN KINGDOM MINISTRY by Timothy Kiho Park, Ph.D.
 The intended meaning of “Bangladesh Church” is the whole body of Jesus Christ in Bangladesh covering all churches/denominations.
Mr. Shankar Shikdar has a post graduate degree in English Literature from Chittagong University. He has 15 years experience in the field of teaching, training, communication, administration, event management, community development, business development, international relation and human rights activities. He and his wife Lusia are the founders of a Christian school William Shakespeare Academy in Dhaka.
Rev. Edward Ayub is a Presbyterian minister in Bangladesh. He is the moderator of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He is one of the five initiator of Bangladesh Missions Association.
The Bangladesh Mission Association’s foundation stone has been laid and its first step was taken with a great hope to bring Bangladesh Church into foreign land. We are passing through a very crucial moment where economical insolvency, social and political unrest and spiritual warfare are rising each and every moment. Therefore the important individual and collective asset is the ability to be lead by the Holy Spirit to enjoy a reformation and transformation of life. God has called you, me and all of us to be part of this realm.
Being inspired from the latest AMA Manila Convention 2016 Rev. Edward Ayub and Shankar Shikdar had a scope to think about the challenge of overseas missions for the Bangladesh Church. They shared this idea to Dr. Timothy K. Park while he was visiting Bangladesh between July 21 and 30, 2016 to teach at the Center for Religious Studies of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He encouraged Rev. Ayub and Ptr. Shankar to take this agenda very seriously, which encouraged them to connect with 5 founding members very shortly.
BMA MEETING & WORKSHOP 2016 & 2017:
BMA had its first meeting on October 18, 2016 at William Shakespeare Academy with 3 members. The 2nd meeting was held on November 4, 2016 at the Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh with 4 members, while the 3rd meeting happened at the Garo Baptist Convention attended by 5 members. BMA arranged a one day brain storming workshop on January 14, 2017 at the premise of Grace House Hall at BSFB. Eighteen top level leaders attended from 11 major denominations that had the same passion for mission. The first meeting of 2017 was held on February 9, 2017 at William Shakespeare Academy.
BMA MISSION CONFERENCE 2017
BMA is going to arrange a 3 day mission conference between April 19 and 21, 2017. Dr. Wati Longkumer AMA Head Chairman & IMA General Secretary and Dr. Timothy K. Park, Director of Global Connections and Professor of Asian Mission School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary and the President of EWC-MRD have given their kind consent to attend the mission conference. We kindly ask your kind prayer for this events.
BMA was also represented at the 3rd Tent Making Conference in India:
With the invitation of India Missions Association (IMA), Mr. Shankar Shikdar (BMA founding member) attended the 3rd Tent Making Conference: THE OTHER 6 DAYS between January 26 and 27 held in Hyderabad, India.
THE STATISTICS OF BANGLADESHI DIASPORAS – THE FIRST BMA CHALLENGE
The statistical graphs produced by United Nation Population Division “International migrants stock 2015: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladeshi_diaspora (The Wikipedia – free encyclopedia) says more than 72 million people from Bangladesh living in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, UK, USA, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy, Oman, Singapore, Bahrain, Maldives, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Greece, Spain, and Germany only. There is no statistics of Bangladeshis living in other countries”. It is assumed that more than about 8 million of Bangladeshi people are living in other countries other than mentioned above. To those Bangladeshis living outside of their country, there is zero presence of missionaries.
BMA takes the first challenge to equip the Bangladesh Church to reach out the Good News of Christ to other countries of the world. Time does never favor anything unless or until being moved. This is high time to go, teach and proclaim the Great Commission of Christ. We expect the power of God by our faith and act. May God give talents and gifts to each and every one of us so that we could make a real EXODUS that empowers us and release us from slavery into liberty!
Mr. Shankar Shikdar has a post graduate degree in English Literature from Chittagong University. He has 15 years experience in the field of teaching, training, communication, administration, event management, community development, business development, international relation and human rights activities. He and his wife Lusia are the founders of a Christian school William Shakespeare Academy in Dhaka.
Welcome to the 55th issue of Asian Missions Advance! We have good news to share with our readers about the birth of Bangladesh Missions Association (BMA). After decades of prayer and effort, BMA has been founded. It has been a long journey to arrive to this point of the birth of BMA. Since the Asia Missions Association (AMA) was conceived in 1973 and founded in 1975, Dr. Subhas Sangma, a representative from Bangladesh, has served as one of AMA’s founding Board members. At the time, however, Bangladesh was not able to form its own missions association. Recently, AMA leaders visited Bangladesh a couple of times to encourage Bangladesh church leaders to form BMA. This year, BMA became a reality!
Rev. Edward Ayub and Mr. Shankar Shikdar, upon their return to Dhaka from AMA Manila ’16 Convention talked about the need for BMA. They proposed the formation of BMA to the leaders of Bangladesh by sending them papers on “The founding of BMA” and “Impressions, Thoughts & Suggestions Bangladesh Missions Association.” The Bangladesh church leaders met on November 2016 and decided to hold a missions conference for the Bangladesh church on April 20-21, 2017 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We anticipate that BMA will facilitate and lead the missionary movement of the Bangladesh church.
To add to our feature on Bangladesh mission, we included the paper of Rev. Edward Ayub called, “A Critique to the Missiology Based on Common Grounds Between Christianity & Islam”. This paper introduces us to the current situation of the relationship between Christianity and Islam in Bangladesh. Included also in this issue is a meaningful recommendation to Korean churches on how the re-unification of South and North Korea should occur in the paper, “Re-Unification of North and South Korea As Told by the Bible”.
To make this issue more relevant to missions, we added the works of Dr. Nelson Jennings’ “Did Roland Allen Foresee Diaspora Missiology?”; Dr. Susanta Patra’s “Continuity in Missions, and Why A Contingency Plan is Critical”; Rev. Lalano Badoy’s “Global Partnership in Missions” and a Ministry Report on ISM by Mr. Leiton Chinn. These papers though diverse were written to represent the different areas in mission that need our attention and continuous inquiry to evaluate their effectivity in the ministry.
We are thankful to our contributing authors who have shared their points of view and expertise so that we may learn and share with others as well.