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“. . . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22)

The Apostle Paul, a great model for missionaries, confessed that he became all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some. Do we become all things to all people for the sake of the gospel? Are we truly incarnational to communicate the gospel effectively? The Apostle Paul was very strict to the law, but was so flexible when it comes to communicating the gospel.
Today’s mission environment is so complex. A Missionary’s approach to the Muslim world, the Hindu world, the communist and socialist communities, the Confucian culture, and the nominal Christian world cannot be the same. Missionary approaches must be different. Inflexible approaches could be a great hindrance to effective communication of the gospel. People do not reject the gospel because of its content, but mainly because of inappropriate methods of communication.
Let us pay attention to what Paul said in 1st Corinthians Chapter 9 verses 19-22: 19. Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
The theme for this 59th issue of Asian Missions Advance is effective communication of the gospel. Apparently, each article contributors deal with different topics, but all of them address the issue of communication directly or indirectly in different context of mission. John H. N. Chung’ paper is about ‘The Issue of Replacement Theology of Christian Zionism, Tu Thien Van Troung wrote about “Leadership Development in Vietnam’s Communist Context”, S. David Park on “Developing Disciple Making Self-Theology Through Integrating Evangelism and Mission: Towards Shaping Christianity in Asia Truly Asian and Biblically Global”, Esther L. Park on “Cross-Cultural Communication in Asian Context” (particularly in the Philippine context), Sandy Day and Gibbs Mweemba on “The Strategic Contribution of Media in Africa,” and Thir Koilala wrote on “Communicating the Gospel in Nepal”
Thanks to the article contributors and readers! May His kingdom come and may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Hallelujah!

by Timothy K. Park, Editor



This paper will first present the context in which the Vietnamese Communist Party came into being in the North of Vietnam and its governing system of the entire country after it took over the South in 1975. The next part will review briefly the Vietnamese Protestantism and the forms by which the churches do their leadership training. The last part will talk about the objectives that the churches in Vietnam set forth for their leadership development.
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were a period of turmoil for Vietnam. In this period, two powerful families partitioned the country: the Nguyễn Lords ruled the South and the Trịnh Lords ruled the North. The Trịnh-Nguyễn War was not only disastrous for the Vietnamese people but also provide European traders the opportunity to support each side with weapons and technology. In 1784, during the conflict between Nguyễn Ánh, the surviving heir of the Nguyễn Family, and the Tây Sơn Dynasty, Nguyễn Ánh sought advice from a French Catholic Bishop, Pierre Pigneaux de Behaine (Bá Đa Lộc), who advised him to seek military backing from France. Nguyễn Ánh wrote to France asking for military assistance; in return, Nguyễn Ánh promised to concede the town of Hội An (Faifo) and Côn Lôn island to France as well as allow France to conduct trade in the South.[1] With help from France, Nguyễn Ánh defeated the Tây Sơn at Quy Nhơn the first time in 1793 and completely defeated the Tây Sơn in 1802.[2]
After Nguyễn Ánh established the Nguyễn Dynasty in 1802 under the name Gia Long, he tolerated Catholicism and employed some Europeans in his court as advisors. However he and his successors were conservative Confucians who resisted Westernization. Considering the Westerners, especially Catholic missionaries, as a threat to the security of the country, the next Nguyễn emperors, Ming Mạng, Thiệu Trị, and Tự Đức (1833-1883), brutally suppressed Catholicism and pursued a closed-door policy.[3] Tens of thousands of Vietnamese and foreign-born Christians were persecuted, and trade with the West seemed to be almost discontinued during this period.
These acts were soon used as an excuse for France to invade Vietnam.[4] In 1858, French gunships attacked the port of Đà Nẵng and assumed control over the whole of Vietnam before the dawn of the twentieth century. French Indochina was formed in October, 1887, from Annam (Trung Kỳ, central Vietnam), Tonkin (Bắc Kỳ, northern Vietnam), Cochin China (Nam Kỳ, southern Vietnam), and Cambodia, with Laos added in 1893. Within French Indochina, Cochin China had the status of a French colony, Annam was a protectorate where the Nguyễn Dynasty still ruled in name, and Tonkin had a French governor with local governments run by Vietnamese officials.[5]
As the French had established its domination throughout Vietnam, most of the Vietnamese people were living under double layers of oppression: the French government with its capitalists, and the Vietnamese feudalist system with the landlords as its representatives. The peasantry in Vietnam, who were already poor, now became poorer and lost their lands because of the policies favoring the landlords which were made by the feudalist government at the end of the nineteenth century. Đào Duy Anh, a famous Vietnamese historian, wrote, “Hồng Nhậm (King Dực Tông, 1847-1883) planned to cancel the equal distribution of land (quân điền) which was carried out under the Phúc Đảm dynasty in Bình Định, that proved that he only took notice of the benefits of landlords and the local wealthy and paid no attention to the benefits of the peasantry. Trickeries of the landlords and the local wealthy developed freely.”[6]
This situation continued into the twentieth century. Under the oppression of French colonizers and Vietnamese feudalist landlords, the miserable life of the majority of Vietnamese people was also intensified by drought, failure of crops, and famine. In this situation, tens of thousands of people left their homes to find jobs or become beggars in other places. Many of these landless farmers eventually became workers in French mines, factories, and plantations, which were built upon “no owner” land in the country under French control.[7] On these plantations, miserable farmers from Tokin came to work … with the hope that they could earn their living and save some money to bring home. But after three or four years, they become decrepit with malaria and odema…. Most of these people have no chance to see their families again. Those who could come back to their villages were only lifeless bodies without money and worn-out. They come back to die. But before they died, they scattered and disseminated the seeds of disease and hatred.[8]
Against this socio-political background one can easily understand why there were many violent uprisings during this period. Some were inspired by the revolution in Russia and China and began to turn to radical paths. This period also witnessed the forming of political organizations to resist foreign invaders such as Việt Nam Quang Phục Hội, Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng, Hội Việt Nam Thanh Niên Cách Mạng, and Tân Việt Cách Mạng Đảng. Eventually, many of these uprisings converged, with the interference of the Communist International, into one organization, Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam (the Vietnamese Communist Party), which defeated the French troops at Điện Biên Phủ in 1954, leading to the signing of the Geneva Accord in July, 1954. It is this Geneva Accord that paved the way for France to leave Vietnam. The Geneva Accord also partitioned the country into two sections with the promise of democratic elections to reunite the country. But that election never took place, instead giving way to the so-called Vietnam War between the North and the South. It is important, however, that we understand the Vietnam War within a larger, international frame. The historian Robert Buzzanco, one of the U.S’s leading authorities on the Vietnam War, maintains that to American officials in the White House and Department of State it was crucial to support France and stop Asian communism at the time. This policy was necessary for three interrelated reasons: to maintain French support in the European Cold War, to contain communism in Asia, and to encourage economic development. Whereas U.S military officers looked at conditions inside Vietnam and saw great risks, civilian officials had a global outlook and saw Vietnam as part of a much larger contest: the Cold War.[9]
In this context, the North of Vietnam was supported by the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union, and the South was supported by the United States and its allies. The war was escalating from the early 60’s, then reached its climax in the last years of that decade. American troops withdrew from Vietnam in March, 1973, and the war ended with the capture of Sài Gòn by the North in April, 1975.[10]
After the reunification of the country in 1975, the Vietnamese Communist Party established their ruling system over the country. They put former South Vietnam soldiers into re-education camps; many of those soldiers never returned. Many Southern people could not stand the draconian policies of the new government and sought to escape overseas, even though such attempts involved the threat of death due to severe sea weather and rape and robbery by pirates.[11] Though these escapers were first called betrayers by the communists, they contributed a good part in the development of the present day Vietnam.
The ensuing economic life of Vietnam became stagnant due to the “closed door” and “self-providence” policies of the government. Farmers were forced to give up their private lands, join co-operatives, and collect all crops in public storehouses. They were told this was a fair policy of the Party, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1857 Critique of Gotha Program. As it was seen in China, this utopian policy, no matter how great it was in theory, was unpractical and went bankrupt at the end of the 80s since farmers did not want to devote themselves to what they were not allowed to possess. The workers also experienced difficulties since factories, which were using out-of-date technologies, could not make high quality products and lost the confidence of domestic consumers. As a result, money was put into circulation very slowly. In addition, the slow-moving economy was also damaged badly by bureaucracy and corruption. At the same time, foreign trade was very limited due to an American trade embargo and the low quality of available goods. To make matters worse, the national budget was largely spent on compensation for the financial losses of state-owned corporations. Subsidization (bao cấp) was the main characteristic of the Vietnamese economy in the first half of the 80s. From the 90s, especially when the embargo against Vietnam was lifted, the Vietnamese economy gradually became a market economy though the Communist Party still remains the monopoly political party in the country.
The government’s policy toward religious bodies remained a very complex issue after 1975, as the communist government tried to maintain control of the religious life of the people of Vietnam. All religions in Vietnam had a tough time, and many worship centers were closed or confiscated by the government with no intention of returning them. Many spiritual leaders and believers sought to escape the country, while the remainder lived with anxiety and the fear of persecution. Almost all religious institutions were forced to establish patriotic associations. These associations functioned as bridges between the central committees of religious institutions and the government. However, many leaders in these associations were believed to be government agents. While some associations complied with the government’s demands, some, such as Protestant groups, did not. Regardless, leaders and followers in every religious institution were suspicious about each other since there were insiders who reported internal affairs to governmental authorities. They could not know for sure who were genuine followers and who were undercover agents. It was reported that there were Buddhist monks protesting the South Vietnamese government during the so-called Vietnam War. After the war, however, people soon realized these monks were communist undercover agents who tried to stir up an anti-war spirit among believers. This might explain why the Vietnamese government today pays so much attention to religious affairs. Unlike Karl Marx, who considered religion’s only function to be the opiate of the masses, Vietnamese communists understood that religion could pose a deadly threat to any political regime, especially their own.[12]
One of the measures of religious persecution by the new government was to close down churches and confiscate a number of them for government use: It is estimated that right after 1975 about ninety percent of local churches were closed or confiscated.[13] The persecution became more severe when the government applied forms of control such as getting the names and addresses of church members and printing their religious affiliation on their ID cards. This threatened many Christians, because they could be inhumanely discriminated against, and young Christians could be denied access to a college education or jobs. The government tried to control the national executive committee of the Protestant groups, thinking that through these committees they would be able to control all the Protestant churches in the South. Nevertheless, it failed to prevent or to destroy the development of the local churches because the system of administration and management of Protestant groups in the South were very loose, the leaderships of the national executive committees were very weak, and the local churches were self-sufficient.[14]
The government exploited every reason to attack the local churches. It often exploited the close link of Vietnamese Protestants to the U.S. to justify persecution. For example, in order to confiscate the Nha Trang Biblical and Theological Institute, many articles appeared in the government Đại Đoàn Kết (Great Unity) magazine accusing it as an “institution of the American government to train Vietnamese to serve the imperialist America.”[15] This suspicion is described clearly by Mai Thanh Hải, former editorial director of the Chính Nghĩa (Just Cause) newspaper,

America’s Christian and Missionary Alliance opened an office in Sài Gòn and focused on supporting Vietnamese Protestantism with financial assistance, media communications, training, and overseas visits and studies. When the Vietnam War escalated with American deep involvement, Vietnamese Protestantism also received abundant support sent from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. The National Board of Directors of Vietnamese Protestantism officially celebrated a National Assembly and quickly structured the organization into three levels: national, regional, and local churches. They intentionally organized two special regions for ethnic people in the Central Highlands, creating a specialized agent named “Agent of Minority Ethnic Evangelicals” under direct management of Americans[16].

The Roman Catholics started their work in Vietnam in the sixteenth century—and succeeded in building a strong presence as early as the seventeenth century[17] through pastoral and theological work. However, Protestant missionaries paid little attention to Vietnam, even in the nineteenth century, which is often considered the “great” century of Protestant missions. Vietnamese Protestant Christianity came into being in 1911 upon the arrival of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) missionaries. The first Vietnamese Protestant Church that appeared on the scene was the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (the ECVN). Other Protestant groups entered Vietnam in the following decades, such as: the Seventh-day Adventists, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, Mennonites, the Church of Christ, and the Quakers. By the end of 1972 the ECVN had 45,287 baptized members and total adherents of about 127,505 with 490 congregations and 424 official pastors.[18] By the time of the fall of Sài Gòn, it is estimated that the ECVN had about 48,000 baptized members.[19] Other Protestant groups, except for the Vietnam Christian Mission,[20] the Seventh-day Adventists, who operated on a small scale, and the Southern Baptists, who had only one local congregation, stopped their activities. Beginning again in the late 80’s, these groups resumed their operations.
After the first few years of bewilderment and struggle, Protestant groups recuperated and began to grow. Instead of destroying the church, persecution helped it grow faster, made it stronger, more mature, and more productive. Furthermore, every faithful church leader or Christian had to stand on his/her own and develop a personal resilience. The total estimated number of Vietnamese Protestant Christians in both the North and the South at the present time is about 1.5 to 2 million.[21]
As mentioned above, when the Communists from the North took over the country, many Vietnamese Protestants could not endure their rule and sought to escape the country. A majority of them settled down in America, Canada, Australia, and other European countries. These believers found Vietnamese churches and sought affiliations with various denominations, including Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, and Baptist. According to the Vietnamese Christian Fellowship Directory, there are about 350 Vietnamese churches of all denominations in America alone, and another 150 in Canada, Australia, and other European countries.[22]

After 1975, churches’ activities had to be reported and organized within the churches’ facilities. Local churches developed their young leaders with Bible study evenings. In this form churches could only train leaders for children and youth groups. But church leaders, especially newly trained ministers were much needed. New leaders were needed for new churches that were established in the Highlands, and they were also needed to help ministers in the existing churches in the cities and the country. Thus, underground training was the only form for leadership development in this period. Underground trainings were organized in parks, in farms, and also in jungles. These trainings were initiated by Christians in Vietnam or with the help of overseas Vietnamese Christians, and lately of Christians from other countries.

Leadership Training With the Help from Outside Vietnam
As mentioned above, with the fall of Saigon many southern Vietnamese people left the country and migrated to other countries. A significant number of these refugees came to the United States, resulting in the establishment of a substantial Vietnamese-American community. As a result, many Vietnamese Protestant Churches were founded in the United States and around the world. The increased number of Vietnamese Protestant Churches has created a sizeable need for well-trained Christian leaders and ordained pastors to minister to the Vietnamese churches. Therefore, a number of theological schools emerged to meet this need. And these schools also extended their operation to Vietnam.
The first institution was the Vietnamese Theological College (VTC), now its name is Union University of California (UUC). This school came into being in 1978 by the efforts of a number of Vietnamese pastors and leaders to train lay leaders for Vietnamese-American churches. In 1986 it was officially established as a non-denominational and degree granting theological school under the leadership of Dr. Spencer T. Sutherland, a former CMA missionary to Vietnam. In 1991 UUC offered distant learning courses for Christians living in Vietnam. Some years later UUC organized onsite classes in Vietnam and sent teachers for the Associate and Bachelor of Theology programs. Graduates from these programs are now serving in local churches in the country. However, because these programs did not have government permission, many times the classes were cancelled or moved from one place to another. In 2003, in the realization of the need of higher theological education, UUC organized intensive, master-level classes in Cambodia and brought students from Vietnam to take the courses twice a year, one month at a time. This intensive program lasted for nearly four years and was stopped when the police threatened to confiscate students’ passports without which they would not be able to go to any other countries. Although lasting only a short period, this program equipped a good number of people and now many of them are serving as leaders of house churches or faculty members in theological schools and training centers in Vietnam.
In 2005 UUC began to offer online courses for both the bachelor and master programs. UUC is now offering many programs such as the Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry and Master of Divinity.
From 2013, UUC opened a Diploma in Ministry program. This program is equivalent to a high school program, and materials have been written by the Vietnamese. UUC offered classes of this program to churches in the highland and mountainous areas. Each month we send teachers to villages, and students in the villages get together for 4 days to study. There are about 300 students studying in 15 study centers.
Besides online, onsite and intensive classes, UUC also brought students from Vietnam to other countries to study theology. From 1997 UUC brought about thirty students to the USA to study and four of them graduated with doctoral degrees from prestigious schools and many others graduated with master degrees. Later UUC helped about another thirty students to study in McGilvary College of Theology in Thailand since 2006. Many of them graduated with the Master of Divinity program and came back to serve in the country.
The second school established outside of Vietnam was the Alliance Evangelical Divinity School (AEDS). This school was founded in 1998 as a denominational school. Like UUC, AEDS offered Bible training inside Vietnam with a six session program called Cuộc Đời Chúa Cứu Thế (The Life of Jesus Christ). Students receive a certificate of completion after they complete this program. AEDS offers this program via local churches inside Vietnam as Bible classes. Like UUC, AEDS organized intensive classes in Thailand for some years and brought students from Vietnam there to study. AEDS also brought students from Vietnam to the USA to study but only for intensive courses offered by AEDS. Right now AEDS offers programs such as a Diploma in Theology, Associate of Biblical Studies, Bachelor of Christian Ministry, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Christian Ministry, and Master of Biblical Studies.
Besides UUC and AEDS, some other schools and training centers were established in the USA and other countries and have their operation in Vietnam, but they are small scale and/or low quality.

Official Schools Established Inside Vietnam
As mentioned above, all Protestant theological schools and training centers were closed down by the Communist authorities after the reunification of the country in 1975. In 1988, the ECVN (Northern) got the government’s permission to open only one class with 14 students in Ha Noi, and it got permission to reopen its theological school in 2013.
The ECVN (Southern) got legal recognition in 2001 and about a year later it got the government’s permission to reopen its theological school, the Viện Thánh Kinh Thần Học (Institute of Bible and Theology, IBT). IBT was allowed to recruit 50 students for the first year and 100 students every two years from a second recruitment. Applicants need to pass the entry examination and then get the government’s approval in order to be accepted into the Bachelor of Theology program which is the only program offered. However, when the previous school was closed in 1976, the ECVN (Southern) still tried to find ways to maintain its theological training. In the early 1990s, an underground program was organized to help theological students to finish their program because their studies were stopped with the closing down of the school in 1976. Then this program became a training program for lay leaders who volunteered to serve as the heads of worship service centers or chapels that did not get the government’s official approval. This program became official with the name Supplementary Theological Program (Chương Trình Bổ Túc Thần Học) when the ECVN (Southern) got permission to reopen its school in 2003. Hundreds of lay leaders got trained through this program but this program was closed in 2008 by the ECVN.
Other recognized churches are also preparing to reopen their theological schools though like the ECVN (Southern)’s situation they had underground training programs to meet the needs of their local churches. Some churches got the government’s permission to open their training centers though they do not have the permission to open their schools yet. For example, Hội Thánh Báp-tít Việt Nam Nam Phương (Vietnam Southern Baptist Church), which got the legal recognition in 2008, had permission to open Bible Training Center for Pastors and Bible Training Center for Leaders.
From the 1980s to this day, the house church groups have established underground training programs to train local church leaders and evangelists. Most of these churches are locally established and often associated with churches in other countries. These local churches receive help financially as well as with other resources from foreign churches or organizations to do training. Some churches cooperate with schools in other countries such as South Korea or the Philippines to offer degree programs.
Besides, several individuals opened underground theological training centers by themselves or with the financial dependence from foreign churches or organizations. Some of them receive help from a number of people or churches from South Korea to establish underground theological schools or training centers.

For their survival and development the churches in Vietnam have set the following three main objectives for their leadership training:

To Build Up a Spirit of Evangelism
Though developed significantly in the last several decades Vietnamese Protestantism still remains minor in Vietnam. When the Communist government took action to eradicate the Christian faith the churches had to respond in order to survive and grow. Following the CMA’s premillenial perspective Protestant Christians in Vietnam are taught that their most important task is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others because Jesus will return very soon. They believe that faith in Jesus Christ not only guarantees salvation in the age to come but also helps the believers find out true meaning of life on earth. Leaders, therefore, are needed to help Christians to share the Gospel so that people can be saved in this life and in the next. Socially, Vietnamese Protestants believe that the more people believe in God, the less social problems the society will face. For this reason, leaders need to be trained to equip church members to share their belief with people around them. They need to consider the task of sharing the Gospel the reason for their life. As church leaders they are taught to sacrifice their time, money, effort and even their lives to do evangelism, and to help other Christians to do the same things.

To Build Up Personal Moral Life
It can be said that the building of personal moral life within the Vietnamese Protestant circles is the first thing to discuss in leadership training. Vietnamese Protestants are taught that God not only controls the destiny of institutions and nations but also looks at the individual’s life. God’s justice requires a righteous way of living. Vietnamese Protestants always try to live up to the standards of Christian ethics in public as well as in their private lives. The belief in righteousness as well as in God’s love helps Vietnamese Protestants stay away from thoughts and actions that are negative and destructive, and pursue a good life. Therefore Christian leaders must be examples for this ethical, moral life. The task of leadership development in relation to this aspect is not only easily seen in training programs in theological schools, but also expressed in worship services on Sundays, in Bible studies, and in church conferences. Not only are Vietnamese Protestants taught not to participate in evil things but also in bad and destructive habits such as drinking and smoking. This is not to say that Vietnamese Protestants are always successful in living up to standards of an ethical and moral life. However, the Vietnamese Protestant efforts to live an ethical and moral life are widely recognized in the society of Vietnam in the present day.

To Replace Retired Ministers and to Help Church Growth
The training of new leaders to replace retired ministers is indespensable to leadership development program of any churches, and the churches in Vietnam are not exempted. But to replace retired ministers only will lead a church to shrink and eventually disappear, especially when it lives in an inimical and hostile situation. In order to survive and grow a church has to train more leaders than what it needs to replace retired ministers. It needs more leaders to plant new local churches. Under the Communist government’s persecution, churches in Vietnam could survive and develop in the last several decades because they understood the importance of leader development. And churches in Vietnam have done the work though they were not allowed to do so. Even when churches got permission to admit limited new students each year, they found ways to train leaders unofficially by organizing short-term trainings in local churches’ facilities and also in provincial short-term trainings. Leaders trained in these short-term trainings are crucial for the development of the churches.

Leadership development is of leading importance to any Christian church, especially when a church has to live in a persecuted context. Leadership development will help a church to survive and grow. In a communist context, leadership development can take the form of training programs in Bible colleges and seminaries. But mostly it is done unofficially and/or underground. Generally speaking, it can be said that the Protestant churches in Vietnam have done a good job in their leadership development in spite of persecution.

*This paper was presented at the ASM Forum in Thailand, 2016.


Tu Thien Van Truong

Dr. Tu Thien Van Truong graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, and completed Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union University, California. He is serving as Academic Dean for the Vietnamese School of Theology in Union University of California. He, his wife Hannah, and their two sons reside in Da Nang, Vietnam.


[1] Trần Trọng Kim, Việt Nam Sử Lược (Short History of Vietnam), (1st print in 1921; reprinted, NXB Văn Hóa Thông Tin, 2002), 378.
[2] Ibid., 418-33.
[3] Đào Duy Anh, Lịch Sử Việt Nam: Từ Nguồn Gốc Đến Thế Kỷ XIX (History of Vietnam: From Beginning to XIX Century) (NXB Văn Hoá Thông Tin, 1955, reprint 2002), pp. 472-4.
[4]  Trần Trọng Kim, Việt Nam Sử Lược (Short History of Vietnam), 515.
[5] Neil L. Jamieson, Understanding Vietnam (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA.: University of California Press, 1995), 42ff.
[6] Đào Duy Anh, Lịch Sử Việt Nam: Từ Nguồn Gốc Đến Thế Kỷ XIX (History of Vietnam: From Beginning to XIX Century), 479.
[7] On May 1, 1900, the French authorities in Vietnam issued a decree that vetoed the right of ownership of land in Vietnamese feudalist law. Nguyễn Quang Lê, Từ Lịch Sử Việt Nam Nhìn Ra Thế Giới (From History of Vietnam to History of the World) (Hà Nội: NXB Văn Hóa Thông Tin, 2001), 262.
[8] Andrée Voillis, Indochine S.O.S. (Paris: Les Éditeurs Francais Réunis, 1949), 115-6; quoted in Nguyễn Khánh Toàn et al., Lịch Sử Việt Nam (History of Vietnam), vol. 2: 1858-1945 (NXB Khoa Học Xã Hội, 2004), 238.
[9] See Robert Buzzanco, Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life (Blackwell Publishers, “Problems in American History” Series, 1999), chapter 2.
[10] The year 1975 has different meanings for different groups of Vietnamese people. For Vietnamese Communists, it was the year of Victory and Liberation from the Imperialist America and the puppet regime of the South. For people of the government of the South and those who supported it, it was the year of losing their country. For most of other Vietnamese people, it was simply a year that marked the change in regimes.
[11] See The Vietnamese American 1.5 Generation: Stories of War, Revolution, Flight, and New Beginnings, ed. by Sucheng Chan (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006.
[12] For a good discussion of the many functions of religion, see K. H. Ting, “On Religion as Opiate,” in Love Never Ends, edited by Janice Wickeri (China: Nanjing Amity Printing Co., Ltd, 2000), 223-33.
[13] Directory of the ECVN, 1993 (Sài Gòn, 1993), 33; quoted in Nguyễn Hữu Cương, “The Growth of Certain Protestant Churches in Saigon under the Vietnamese Communist Government from 1975”, 65.
[14] Nguyễn Hữu Cương, “The Growth of Certain Protestant Churches in Saigon under the Vietnamese Communist Government from 1975”, 78.
[15] The Fatherland Front, “Invisible Prison,” Đại Đoàn Kết (Great Unity), No. 41, 1977; quoted in Nguyễn Hữu Cương, 80.
[16] Mai Thanh Hải, Tôn Giáo Thế Giới và Việt Nam (Religions in the World and in Vietnam) (Hà Nội, NXB Công An Nhân Dân, 1998), 161.
[17] Peter Phan, Mission and Catechesis: Alexandre de Rhodes and Inculturation in Seventeenth-Century Vietnam (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998), 202.
[18] Reginald E. Reimer, “Protestant Directory, Churches, Missions and Organizations in Vietnam” (Saigon: Office of Missionary Information, 1972), 5; quoted in Nguyễn Hữu Cương, 13.
[19] Nguyễn Hữu Cương, “The Growth of Certain Protestant Churches in Saigon under the Vietnamese Communist Government from 1975”, 13.
[20]   Its Vietnamese name is Cơ Đốc Truyền Giáo Hội, locally established in 1956 by the CMA missionary G. H. Smith who disagreed with the CMA’s policies on social work. See Nguyễn Thanh Xuân, Bước Đầu Tìm Hiểu Đạo Tin Lành Trên Thế Giới và Ở Việt Nam (Towards an Understanding of Protestantism in the World and in Vietnam), (Hà Nội: NXB Tôn Giáo, 2002), 436f.
[21] This number is the unofficial statistics of church populations circulated among church leaders. Official statistics of this number is not available.
[22] Directory of Vietnamese Christian Fellowship, 2013-2014.



The following media ministries: Bible translation and Scripture use; Communication (radio, audio scriptures, television); and use of Films have different focuses that play particular roles in contributing to the unfinished task of discipling nations in Africa. Much work is being done here, some of the work being done in Southern Africa is highlighted.

Zambia: The Bible Society conducted a survey worldwide in which it was discovered that only 20% of the body of Christ read their Bibles. Those 20% were usually the ones to do most of the work in churches and were regular givers but less than 10% read their Bibles systematically. Reasons for this were varied but some common reasons were that people were too busy to sit down and read, work demanded so much energy that they were too tired to read.
Globally, something was needed to get people back to the Word of God. The Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) programme was begun and its aim is to get people back into the Word of God and to see lives changed as they interact with the scriptures. In Deuteronomy 6:3-9, Moses exhorts a practice that runs through the Bible – listen to the Word of God. FCBH developed the Proclaimer. It is a recording device that uses modern microchips and rechargeable batteries run off solar power to play back the Word of God. In partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators the whole New Testament of the Bible has been recorded in various languages, which are the mother tongues of the listeners amongst whom the Proclaimers are distributed.
In Zambia, where oral dissemination of information is popular, listening groups were formed by the Bible Society in various churches, orphanages, schools, colleges through ZAFES, villages, professional organizations such as the Police and Lunch Hour Fellowship and para-church organizations such as Scripture Union. Today there are 3,113 groups with 130 new listening groups added in 6 months almost every year. The Bemba region has seen the most growth but other groups are reported in Nakonde, rural Kasama, Isoka, Serenje and Kabwe. Listening groups are planned for the Southern Province. This means that more than 3,999 people have been introduced to the scriptures bringing the total listeners in monitored groups to 54,459.
This method of scripture distribution has overcome the challenges of poverty where many people are illiterate and also cannot afford radio receivers and batteries. It has meant people are hearing the scriptures in their mother tongues of Bemba and Chichewa and soon Tonga, which has been translated, will be added to the list. English is also available and is used as an interim language e.g. in Livingstone, while mother tongue recordings are being produced. Partnering with radio stations has also increased the dissemination of scriptures.
The Bible Society in Zambia also produces and distributes Bibles, Bible portions and other biblical literature from original languages into local languages. They have 11 Bibles and New Testaments translated and they would like to see all the languages of Zambia plus its neighboring countries translated. They would like to see another project that uses scripture get off the ground. It uses the parable of the Good Samaritan as the basis of a workshop to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which mainly affects the 13-49 age group.
As with any work, anywhere in the world the challenge is to ensure it is self funded. The past affected societies and how they view the importance and value of items. Some feel the Bible as been similarly affected. Surveys in Zambia show that neither rich nor poor are wiling to purchase a Bible even though they are amongst the least expensive books. There are many factors involved in this view such as lack of understanding of the gods of the original people and how they were served and appeased. Some feel that because the Bible was historically given free of charge by missionaries to new converts, the perception that it should not have to be purchased remains and now affects the advance of the distribution of scriptures because insufficient finances are generated to pay suitable personnel, undertake translation work and print the scriptures. There is a need to break this yoke and to change the attitude of people towards the Bible. There is a need to create an awareness of the word of God that leads to it being cherished and worth spending on. Where people have a sense of ownership.

COMMUNICATION – radio, audio scriptures, television, etc
Audio Scriptures: Audio Scriptures have played a great part in spreading the word of God here in a continent that is largely illiterate and with a tradition of orality. Good News Media, SA, suggests that 90% of non readers will never have the chance to learn to read and write and there is a need for more than a quick fix Gospel presentation as people need to be won and built up spiritually. GNM material covers Genesis through Revelation in 40 pictures and also has a two-minute teaching that is prepared especially for people that have received little or no teaching in the past. Bridging material is necessary to prepare people to receive and engage the Bible.
Working in partnership to produce materials on request for specific needs, they have Audio Visual Bible teaching available in 65+ African languages. Audio programmes in 128+ languages for Sub Saharan and Indian Ocean languages. Cassettes and MP3 players that work without power or batteries form part of their portfolio and also weatherproof backpacks to protect the teaching tools.
GNM feels there is need for more research studying cultures, values and communication methods in different areas and how languages relate to one another in order to create a more effective and cost effective outreach method.
They ask the question “ are high distribution figures proof that a particular evangelism tool speaks to the heart of a person in such a way that this person hears and understands the message so that it has a life-changing effect on him/her?
They are committed to learning from partners and coworkers so that together they can serve the church in Africa, better. Partners include Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Indian Ocean Islands. They are looking for more partners to prepare material in the other towns and cities. They are also working on an aids script for Malawi.
Television: Television has seen some new initiatives in South Africa. The Association of Christian Broadcasters is encouraging more, local initiative, TV stations, both satellite and Community terrestrial especially as the local licensing body, ICASA, is looking more positively at Community TV. There is a new Christian satellite TV station, WOW TV (Walking on Water). They have been licensed and should be broadcasting by 2008.
Film: Film is a creative way to reach people with the Gospel. Heartlines in South Africa produced 8 films designed to impart Godly values, that were aired to 24 million people over 8 weeks on national television. The films are multilingual and can be used by many religions who share a desire for moral regeneration. They aim to engender hope against a backdrop of high levels of crime and HIV/AIDS. The films come with a discussion guide that churches can use in conjunction with the films to bring about discussion of Godly values.
Campus Crusade continue to distribute the Jesus Film in Sub Saharan countries using this medium to orally and visually display the Gospel.
Radio: Radio is described as the communications medium of Africa today. It overcomes the lack of infrastructure, speaks the local language and understands the culture of the listener. It is cost effective and popular. Radio is the means by which many countries find out what is happening and how it can affect them. It is the means of providing community programming such as primary health care and education. It is also the means of spreading the Gospel in a relevant manner to the listener. It reaches the listeners in the privacy of their own homes, at the point of their needs. It is said that more homes in Africa today have radio than have access to clean water.
In the countries that MANI is focusing on, South Africa, Botswana (limited to 3 commercial stations), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia community or private broadcasting are allowed. Zimbabwe has recently allowed a private radio station but Angola, and some other countries are not yet licensing private radios. Good work has been done by international radio organizations to cover Africa with Satellite and SW broadcasts in many languages so that people hear the Gospel in a language they understand. Through the World by Radio initiatives these and other organizations who develop programming in local languages, have produced programs that provide least reached people groups and large population groups with Christian programming in their mother tongues and with programming that address their felt needs. These efforts along with local Fm radio initiatives are ensuring that people are hearing the Word of God in a relevant manner.
In using technology as means of communicating the gospel there is a need to ensure that new and developing technology is being utilized where and when possible. Our young people want to use the technology their counterparts across the world are using. We find ourselves in a strange dichotomy where some people have almost no technology and others are demanding its use.
Botswana is one example of this. Licensing for Christian community stations is not available at this time and some are testing the waters by opening, unlicensed stations. Soul Fm has been waiting for years in anticipation of deregulation of the airwaves. Finally, new technology presented an opportunity to use the studio of equipment and the training they had prepared themselves with, quite legally. Internet is not regulated so it allowed them to stream their broadcasts. They feel that this experience will allow their staff to explore the equipment and bring the station to functionality before the anticipated license is granted, thus making it easier to compete with the licensed, commercial, secular stations, which have national licenses.
The challenges they face are a lack of easy access to internet, particularly broadband as it is expensive. Apart from audience affordability the station has to pay a monthly connection fee and these increase as more service is provided. Something they are keeping an eye on is the copyright laws which may affect music broadcast over the internet.
Rural Radio: The rural areas of Mozambique face the challenge of many other rural radio operators and people investigating planting rural radio stations. One such station started by a local church, operates in an area without electricity. Starting the station was a challenge as it first had to be determined how the station transmitter and studio would be powered before it could begin. Solar power backed up with generators has been the answer coupled with FEBA Radio’s new studio in a suitcase kit. This station has trained local men to present the gospel to the least reached Yao community. As more stations are allowed in urban areas the challenge for Christian radio will be to use the airwaves to present the gospel in rural settings where infrastructures and resources are not easily available.
Africa By Radio (AbR Media): Africa by Radio now called AbR Media, a chapter of World by Radio, is an association that was formed in 2004 as a further means of ensuring dialogue and providing a mechanism for those involved in the continent to meet together to discuss new initiatives and form new strategies to ensure every man, woman and child on the continent is receiving at least 30 minutes of Christian broadcasts in their own mother tongue each day. Also, looking at where the gaps are for planting radio stations. AbR Media works closely with Africa Media Trainers (AMT), another association that, through ICTI, the International Communications and Training Institute in the UK, provide accredited training and curriculum for radio training. AbR and AMT are associations, there are no fees involved in joining, the purpose is to gather as many associates as possible from the continent so all continue to dialogue, support each other, grow, help and encourage African Christian stations to become the best, most effective broadcasters or producers of programmes that they can be.
AbR Media supports the Lausanne Media Engagement plan ( http://engagingmedia.info/media-engagement-as-a-lausanne-theme/) and seeks to work together with Churches, Missions and other Christian Ministries. Radio is an effective medium to spread the Gospel and can even be used in disciple-making, by working in conjunction with the church, benefits can be found on both sides. Radio is an effective tool for spreading the Gospel and even disciple making to some extent, however, the church can help identify people groups to reach and offer advice on the right approach to that group.
Today, it is recognized that people reached through media can benefit if the media, Disciple-making Movements and Church Planting organizations work together. Media can help share the message of DMM movements and Church planting movements, help converts to continue to be discipled and grow in their faith. This can influence whole communities.
At this time AbR Media has more than 240 associates including local stations and production houses across Africa as well as regional associations plus radio trainers.
– VISION: AbR Media is a body of Christian broadcasters unified by an agreed strategy, supporting God’s plan for Africa. We are committed to seeing that every man, woman and child in Africa is provided the opportunity to turn on a radio and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way and language they can understand, so they can become responsible members of His Church.
– PASSION: As part of the body of Christ, AbR Media shares the goal of extending the Kingdom of God on the African continent, particularly by co-operating in strategic broadcasting issues and co-ordination of efforts in the area of broadcasting of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
– CHALLENGES: To have enough co workers and partners who will join and share the load to do the job quicker and most effectively.
– SPHERES OF INFLUENCE: Continent of Africa, local, regional and continental radio related organizations as well as grassroots radio workers. Radio planting, broadcasting, programming, training.

Often, radio works in partnership with Bible translators and Bible Societies to ensure that the Gospel reaches as many as possible in languages they understand. These organizations also lend their skills to assist in language translation for works like Gospel Recordings. Without the research and translation work of Bible translators, programming in different languages would be impeded and the Word of God would not be in the hands of as many people as possible. All this work contributes to the greater work of the Lord on this continent to bring people to salvation and to disciple them.
There is need to keep abreast of technology and changes in a changing world to meet the demands and expectations of developing society and to use them to the fullest to proclaim the Gospel.
Partnerships can play a key role in involving diverse groups working together to speed up work and avoid duplication of effort while using Kingdom resources effectively. When each lends their strengths to the project the work is advanced.
There are challenges in the various media genres as well as opportunities. We have much to learn from each other. Dialogue is helpful to identify areas of growth as well as challenges and dialogue identifies partners as well as solutions.

* This is a revised paper (by Sandy Day) from the original article taken from MANI 2008.


Sandy Day and Gibbs Mweemba

Ms. Sandy Day is the Administrator of Radio Africa Network and the Secretary of AbR Media.
Mr. Gibbs Mweembe passed away in 2012.


Many nations in Asia and Africa won their independence from the super strong imperialists in the 20th century. These countries also have been through times of political convulsions under the military regimes and historical transitions to democracy. The wounds of these nations from the past, especially from foreign exploitations are not completely healed. Even, today, the people from these hurting nations, somehow show their suspicions or overly sensitive reactions toward foreigners, including missionaries. I hope this article will contribute some thoughts for the cross-cultural workers, how important knowing the culture and the people of the countries where they are working. My observations and studies are confined in South-East Asia, particularly in the Philippines where I served as a missionary for 17 years. The following is an exemplary study of the Philippines.

A. Effects of Colonialism
Colonialism affected every area of the Filipino life. Everett Mendoza, points out the outcome of colonization in this country: “the external pressures of colonial imposition distort existing mechanisms of resources allocation, disturb traditional patterns of social relationships and interactions, and break down structures of ideas that give order, orientation and meanings to every aspect and the whole of social and personal existence.”[1] For that reason, the Philippines became one of the most cosmopolitan in culture among Asian countries.[2]
– Lack of National Identity: The Philippines suffered from long history of colonization. Some critics argue that even though the Philippines became politically independent in 1946, earlier than most of its neighbours, the country and its people still lack a strong identity as a nation. For an explanation, a foreign writer named Niels Mulder rationalises the lacking allegiance to the nation as, “of all things, independence was not the fruition of nationalism. It was not a product of struggle.”[3] By transferring state leadership to the Filipino elite from the government of the United States without much involvement from the majority of ordinary people, neither event had a chance of having a nation-building impact nor did it lead to popular mobilization.[4]
– Regionalism: Bautista points to two negative traits that in his view explain the weak national consciousness among Filipinos: strong regionalism and the colonial mentality. Tujan, on the other hand, identifies two social structures Filipino society suffers from: the system of patronage and a colonial mentality.[5] Bautista continues, “regionalism is the tendency of a person to be strongly attached and exclusively protective by the members within his group”.[6] Constantino explains that this regionalism, especially by demographic and cultural segregation from each other, enabled easy conquest by both Spaniards and Americans.[7] Tujan points out the ill effects as “that in spite of the fact that the Philippine state has been liberated from their colonizers, but allowing foreigners’ domination on economy, politics and culture causes a politico-cultural system of patronage that has no concept of individual self-worth or self-determination but only of one’s position in relation to the patron”.[8] This regionalism became an obstacle to build a national identity and a barrier to cross for missionary work.
– Fusion Religion: Despite the predominant Catholicism in this country, some indigenous, pre-Magellan, religious traits have been embedded deeply in Filipino religious concepts and practices, both in sacred and daily life.[9] Mulder notes that when speaking generally of Southeast Asian religions, the focus is not on morality or salvation or liberation, but rather an animistic quest for power, potency, and protection (protective blessing — safety from danger and misfortune).[10] He continues, “implicit in this view is the conviction that power is near, tangible, and accessible.”[11]
– Christianized Bathalism: As is commonly known, folk-Catholicism, or Christianized animism, is the dominant belief system of the majority of the Philippine northern and middle islands (Luzon and the Visayas) while the southern Philippines is dominated by Islamized animism or Christianized Bathalism (from Bathala ‘God’).[12] However, overlaid on these synthesised religions, Filipino religious psychology can be found in traditional, indigenous, Anitism (from the word anito, an ancestral god), and it is deeply rooted in various aspects of life.[13] Mulder gives an example of Filipinized Spanish Catholicism in anito worship: ‘this fitted nicely with the local belief in the active role of the recently deceased in the lives of the living. Even today, departed parents and grandparents are often supplicated, and supernatural intervention in human affairs is “naturally” expected in many areas of life’.[14] He continues by explaining the Filipino concept of honouring deceased parents and grandparents, since they were sources of blessing while alive or even after death. Mulder puts it this way: ‘the only line between life and death is as fluid as the line between the visible and the invisible. These are not separate realms but interpenetrate each other, religious manifestations being pervasive and present to the senses…’.[15]
Therefore, outwardly, the majority of Filipinos say they are Roman Catholic as Spanish orientation lies in their culture. Henry describes the fusion of animism with Hispanic Catholicism as ‘the fusion of two separate thought and behaviour systems and the coexistence of two religions in the same person without inconsistencies’.[16] The similarities were well adapted in Filipino religiosity and practices.

B. The Voices of Missionary Moratorium
In the 1970s the voice of “missionary go home” in Africa and Asia shook the Christian community. The causes were several factors, but one thing was clear about a sullen word regarding missionaries’ attitudes. Unconsciously or unintentional attitudes of missionaries who engaged the missions in those areas were provoked by the Christian national leaders. The voices were loud enough that some Western mission organizations ended up withdrawing their missionaries. However, Korean missionaries, after the Western missionaries—were poured out in these areas as replacements. Due to this, I would like to discuss about the cultural clashes in this section which is the main cause of miss-communication happens in general.

C. Cultural Clashes among “Doing Culture” and “Being Culture”
Growing up and residing in a community, people inevitably internalize the commonly shared practices of the group, values that form the basis of their ways of thinking, expressing, and evaluating things in their surroundings.[17] Ultimately, these values also become their own standards for certain ways of decision-making and behaviours when they are a part of organisations.[18] For that purpose, I aim to explain the different value systems and behaviors in both “being culture” and “doing” culture societies. Interestingly, some scholars claim that even among Asian countries there is a clear distinction between Confucian and non-Confucian societies. For example, Jack Scarborough distinguishes ‘doing’ culture from ‘being’ culture like this: “the primary difference is that the Confucian culture is a ‘doing’ culture, whereas the non-Confucian is a ‘being’ culture.”[19]
We need to study both cultures in order to compare and evaluate without passing judgment on others. For instance, in order to reduce the perceived differences between cultures, the technique needs to focus on the individual level rather than the cultural level and functionality of differences. And differences should be addressed in a contextualized way. Providing a reason for their existence makes for better cognitive acquisition of concepts rather than simply stating cultural differences.
Here I will compare two distinctive cultures: Korean culture as a ‘doing’ culture and Filipino culture as a ‘being’ culture. Scarborough continues with a further description of the uniqueness of these world views:

‘Doing’ cultures are more individualistic, are more masculine and competitive, and have smaller power distances. Very much different from ‘being’ cultures, wherein people tend to be weak in uncertainty and tries avoidance, not out of submission to fatalism, but rather because they are conditioned to bring about change proactively. They want to build a more perfect world rather than enjoy the world as it is. ‘Doing’ people tend to define themselves according to their occupations and measure themselves by their achievements. ‘Being’ cultures tend to be more relaxed, more holistic in their world view, more relationship-oriented, and more accustomed to yielding power; view time as a continually recurring cycle; feel less able to control their fate; and want work, which at best can be enjoyed and at worst can be tolerated as a necessary evil. ‘Being’ people define themselves by their collective affiliations. They ‘work to live’, whereas their ‘doing’ counterparts ‘live to work’. ‘Doing’ people see ‘being’ people as lazy, unproductive, and irresponsible. ‘Being’ people see ‘doing’ people as cold, compulsive, and unable to enjoy life.[20]

1. An Example of “Doing Culture” Background: Koreans (missionaries)
– Confucius world view: Confucianism and Koreans cannot be separated. George Paik, a Korean Christian historian, testifies as

…it was Confucianism that formed the character of the people and shaped the course of the ancient civilization of Korea. Korea accepted the imported system and made it part of the bone and fiber of the people. In return, Confucianism made distinctive contributions to the development of Korea.[21]

The effects of Confucianism, Paik writes, had many deplorable results: “it nourished pride, taught no higher ideal than that of superiority,[22] and was agnostic and atheistic in its tendency; it encouraged selfishness, exalted filial piety…and it imbued every follower with a hunger for office.”[23] The effect of Confucianism on Korean society was controversial: some say its systematic higher and lower concepts have been a hindrance to their becoming a healthy democratic society. Others say it created a balanced life from a fast-paced and changing society. However, most people observed that one Confucian heritage, enthusiasm for education, is undoubtedly a main contributor to the modernization of Korea. Foreign observers conclude that the traditions of Confucianism and the needs of a modernizing society coincide for “not only natural but perhaps even inevitable that Koreans would transfer their traditional respect for learning to the task of mastering new technologies from the West.”[24] This positive influence from Confucianism is from a ‘self-cultivation’ to reach virtue: It provides the fundamental source of insight and strength to rule orderly within oneself, one’s family, one’s country, and abroad.

2. An Example of “Being Culture”: Filipinos (local church leaders)
– Equilibrium-maintenance worldview: As I mentioned earlier that the effects of long history of colonization made the definition of Filipino difficult. The general notion of ‘Asian is Asian’ becomes confusing when it is applied to Filipinos.[25] Historically, the Philippines has been under the influence of Western contacts for a long period. The Filipino is Asian but cannot be considered entirely Eastern.[26] The complexity of defining the Filipino is, as Bautista writes, “in a highly stratified country like the Philippines, defining the members of the set of Filipinos can itself be a problem.”[27] Therefore, this study will focus more on the indigenous psychology of Filipinos that has survived throughout the centuries: their basic temperament and lifestyle. Mercado employs the phrase pagkakapantay-pantay,di pagkakatalo “equilibrium-maintenance” as the Filipino concept of being in harmony with nature. They calmly accept the continuation of natural catastrophes such as storms, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions and learn how to adapt in this harsh environment. Therefore, if this balance is disturbed, the Filipino expects suffering and other forms of misfortune.[28] This equilibrium-maintenance with nature also applies to everyday life and interpersonal relationships. Well-known Filipino communication skills such as avoiding conflict, smooth interpersonal relationships (SIR), and group consensus are ways of coping with the disruption of peace and accepting pre-ordained destiny.

3. Comparison
It is evident that two people raised in different worlds easily become judgmental toward those from the other culture. Management practices in an office can become problematic since two groups of people follow different work ethics and hold a different general world view. Filipino anthropologist, Landa F. Jocano emphasizes the art of Management By Cultural awareness (MBC): “In the office, the tasks may be technical in nature, but motivating people to peak performance is cultural”.[29] He goes on to say that MBC is the new key to achieving teamwork and cooperation:

“…foreign techniques may be academically attractive, but they are seldom suited to the Filipino cultural temperament; effective management is the function of fit or match in the perceptions and expectations managers and workers have of each other.”>[30] I think that comment also can be applied to missionaries who work in cross-cultural settings.

In Korean culture and management, it is almost impossible to escape the hierarchical structures which have been embedded in Korean homes and society. Therefore, for people who were born and raised in this environment, Confucius’ five-fold proprieties would obviously be a dominant theme between leader and subordinate; it is a monolithic, regimental management style. Even if the subordinate is more knowledgeable and able to handle things better than the boss, the position is territorial and cannot be crossed over. Scolding a person in public (during meetings) in a Philippine setting — a common and expected practice by the boss in Korea — can provoke anger among Filipinos. Therefore, in the Philippines, communication is always indirect and non-adversarial. Under the Filipino cultural norm where everything is relational (Smooth Inter Relationship, SIR), Korean missionaries’ unconscious actions stemming from their Confucius psyche produced a rather poor acculturation outcome. This exogenous relational gap could affect the competency of the mission work: its performance, quality, and productivity.
The following three steps are the traditional ways Filipinos use to communicate and arrive at decisions for the group: “pagsasangguni (consultation)”, “paghihikayat (persuasion)”, and “pagkakasundo consensus).”[31] An example, the reclusive planning of the growth strategies by Korean missionary executives, without inviting their local counterparts—only requesting them to join at the implementing stage instead of the brainstorming stage—has been the usual practice by foreign mission leaders and has created resentment against missionary leadership by the majority of national leaders. Therefore, the practical use of “consultation” seems to be the only solution to remove clashes at the top leadership level. Jocano continues that this functions more than just as consultation, but it shares the responsibility by getting people to participate in planning. Also, “consensus” can be a helpful tool to boost team spirit since everyone agrees in the group, but it can become a sumbat (may be translated as reprimand or reproach) or moral censure if planning is not done as a consensus.[32]

D. Misunderstandings and Improvement of Culture Sensitivities For A Better Communication
Culture can be observed on a surface level related to language, food, and behavior, while on the deeper level they relate to beliefs, feelings, and values. As Hiebert points out “misunderstandings are based on ignorance of beliefs, feelings and values of another culture”[33] :

  • Ideas, the cognitive aspect of culture, have to do with the knowledge and wisdom shared by members of a group and provides the conceptual content of a culture.
  • People’s feelings, notions or standards of beauty, likes, and dislikes, etc., are the affective dimension of culture reflected in most areas of life.
  • The evaluative dimension of culture has values to judge human relationships:- moral values such as ‘moral’ or ‘immoral’; cognitive beliefs to determine ‘true’ or ‘false’; emotional acknowledgment of ‘beauty’ and ‘ugliness’. Also, this stage of the dimension contains each priority in values and primary allegiances.

These three cultural dimensions are indispensable for understanding the nature of each group or society. Therefore, this cultural study between Korean and Filipino cultures focused on these cognitive and behavior dimensions. So, it is a necessary process for national leaders to constantly interact with their foreign colleagues to develop a learner attitude in understanding missionaries in order to improve communication and achieve common goals. Ideas, the cognitive aspect of culture, have to do with the knowledge and wisdom shared by members of a group and provides the conceptual content of a culture. Also Scarborough suggests that both the ‘doing’ culture and the ‘being’ culture learn from each other on how to modify for the harmony of the organisation: ‘we may need to be satisfied with simply learning from one another. Although it is assumed widely that those from “being cultures” could do with a little more “doing”, it may well be that those from “doing cultures” could benefit from being a bit more “being”.[34] Heibert suggests that the solution to misunderstandings and premature judgments toward cultural differences is empathy: one needs to learn to appreciate other cultures and their ways of life.[35] This sense of openness leads to a deeper cross-cultural sensitivity that allows individuals to think as members of the other culture.

1. Need for Improved Missionary Cross-cultural Training
In interpersonal matters, many missionaries were unprepared. This has raised concerned voices from missiologists, especially those who have served as missionaries themselves and specialize in the field of cultural-anthropology. For example, Kraft suggests that the main focus should be to have a learner’s attitudes: to learn how to learn. He talks about the problem of our school experience where we are pressed to learn how to be taught, not how to learn.[36] Our general system of education there is no room to ‘add’ once you complete the education. It is a different skill to learn. He emphasizes that if a missionary has a learner’s attitude, they will then carry this attitude to the field. He adds the suggestion that during a regular furlough period, missionaries could spend at least part of their time in analysis and reflection. The chart below is Kraft’s suggestion for percentages of time a cross-cultural worker should put into learning compared to how much time into ministry; I believe this would be definitely profitable for the cross-cultural workers.

2. Self-awareness and Self-directed Cross-cultural Training
Dale Kietzman points out that the first step in the cross-cultural training is self-awareness. He writes of the importance of cross-cultural training as follows:

Cross-cultural training cannot prevent cultural shock, nor bypass the experiential unease of actually living with people of a different culture. Cross-cultural training can, however, point the way to becoming a self-directing person, able to learn from life in the new foreign context. Cross-cultural training can increase awareness, provide a foundation for understanding another culture, for developing skills through experiential processes, and reducing the anticipated anxiety of living and working in a new cultural context.[37]

Kietzman is also vocal against missionaries having leadership roles in projects involving international teams if they have failed in their adjustment to other cultures.[38] It is also a common sense that if leadership is defined as ‘influencing others’, then a person who has not developed leadership skills recognized first within his own society, he probably will not develop as a leader in cross-cultural contexts. Kietzman continues, “the characteristics of a leader, the sensitivity to followers, the ability to take initiatives and to do strategic planning, however, should all be transferable to another cultural setting, if the leader’s cross-cultural training has created a true cultural sensitivity and a desire to be a life-long self-motivated learner.”[39] This claim seems logical, yet many Korean churches and mission agencies neglect a very basic and simple screening process that acknowledges that people do not change easily. A careful selection of individuals through their histories of performance in their homeland should be considered in the missionary selection process.

3. Selection of the Cross-Cultural Trainers
One of Kietzman’s notable suggestions relating to cross-cultural training is about the selection of trainer. He suggests that the best trainer is the one who comes from the same culture as the trainee.[40] He mentioned earlier that the first step of the training is self-awareness: ‘Self-awareness involves being conscious of one’s own world view, beliefs, values, and cultural biases acquired through enculturation to our native culture.’ He emphasizes that having a conscious knowledge of the assumptions of one’s own culture, its customs, values, and biases provides a framework for interacting with a new culture. It is most crucial for first-time missionaries to be disciplined in learning about their host’s new culture. Kietzman points out that first-term missionaries should direct their learning and adaptation, so that they will be accountable for their own learning. This requires self-motivation and a directed-learner’s attitude.[41] He suggests that trainees should focus their readings and reference work specifically on the country where they will serve. This includes researching comprehensive information about the target country and its culture, as well as the specific people group. I believe this suggestion needs to be considered for inclusion in general anthropological sessions of pre-field training programs, so that missionaries can spend more time and effort, even before arriving on the mission field, studying the assigned or targeted culture and people.

4. Minimizing Intergroup Conflicts
To resolve intergroup conflicts, a variety of strategies to remove sources of competition are needed, thus limiting their competitiveness or derogating their members, and avoiding or denying social comparisons between groups. The following suggestions are applicable for the process of initial training and during years of missionary service where missionaries live in the field among cross-cultural workers.

  • Recognise that our cultures are biased; be open to recognise these biases.
  • The need to study both the culture in which we minister and our own in order to compare and evaluate the two. For that reason, this study gave a good deal of space for that cultural aspect.

KS Lee, who has been working in the Philippines as a mission practitioner, suggests developing a new curriculum for pre-field missionary training. The following are some of his suggestions:[42]

  • Set clear communication channels between the sending body and receiving body and provide clear job descriptions for the new missionaries;
  • Learn how to handle meetings and agreements in the field through culturally- accepted etiquette and proper communication skills;
  • Cross-cultural and customs studies: comparative study of her/his own culture and adaptive culture; and
  • Analyse success/failure through field case studies.

5. Biblical Based understanding
Hiebert suggests an elucidation worth knowing by all Christians who are working with different cultures:

The dialogue between us and our national colleagues is important in building bridges of cultural understanding. It is also important in helping us develop a more culture-free understanding of God’s truth and moral standards as revealed in the Bible. Our colleagues can detect our cultural blind spots beter than we can, just as we often see their cultural prejudgments better than theirs. Dialogues with Christians from other cultures help keep us from the legalism of imposing foreign beliefs and norms on a society without taking into account its specific situations. It also helps keep us from a relativism that denies truth and reduces ethics to cultural norms.[43]


In the current ‘global village’ situation, daily cross-cultural activities are inevitably increasing and it is expedient to learn how to minimize conflicts and misunderstanding between different cultural groups and individuals. For this reason, a compelling priority is to increase the ability to understand and to respond well to conflicts for the survival, peace, and accomplishment of a common goal. Efforts, especially by intercultural program designers and trainers, can actually help trainees who wrestle with cross-cultural issues. I hope that cross-cultural organizations can take steps to plan programs in which both missionaries and nationals learn to cope with and adjust to their differences and move towards integration. The programs do not necessarily have to be formal ones, like large gatherings of denominational meetings, but rather they can also be small group interaction events such as sport events, potluck lunches, outings, and etc.


Esther Lee Park

Dr. Esther Lee Park is currently an Associate Missionary serving with Glocal Leaders Institute, CA, USA as Director of Research and Development. Esther received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 2014 from University of Wales, United Kingdom.


[1] Everett Mendoza, Radical and Evangelical: Portrait of a Filipino Christian (Quezon City, Philippines: New Day, 1999), p. 9.
[2] Tuggy, p. 7. He describes it as “Philippines today may be called either the most Western of the Eastern countries or the most Eastern of the Western!”
[3] Neils Mulder, Filipino Images: Culture of the Public World (Quezon City, Philippines: New Day), p. 6, p. 182.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Bautista, VV (1988) “The Socio-Psychological Make-up of the Filipino”, In E Miranda-Feliciano (ed), All Things to All Men. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day, p. 9; Antonio Tujan Jr, ed, Transformative Education (Manila: Ibon, 2004, pp. 5–6, quoted in Glicerio Maniquis Manzano Jr, ‘Developing Appropriate Training Programs for Filipino Intercultural Ministry Workers’ (DMiss diss, Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines, 2008), p. 56.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Renato Constantino, A Past Revisited (Manila: Renato Constantino, 1975), np, quoted in Bautista, p. 10.
[8] Tujan, A (ed) (2004) Transformative Education. Manila: IBON. pp. 5–6, quoted in Manzano, p. 57.
[9] Teodoro Agoncillo, Filipino Nationalism 1872–1970 (Quezon City, Philippines: RP Garcia, 1974), quoted in Virgilio G Enriquez, From Colonial to Liberation Psychology: The Philippine Experience (Quezon City, Philippines: University of the Philippines Press, 1992), pp. 1–2. Historian Agoncillo claims the unique argument that the dominant home-grown religion is the Iglesia ni Kristo (consider it as a cult). He continues that even if Catholics comprise over 80% of the total population, the genuine Catholics probably do not comprise 0.5 % of the whole population, while those who belong to the Iglesia are devoted followers and loyal to their Church.
[10] Niels Mulder, Inside Philippine Society: Interpretations of Everyday Life (Quezon City, Philippines: New Day, 1997), p. 130, 133.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Enriquez, VG (1992) From Colonial to Liberation Psychology: The Philippine Experience. (Quezon City, Philippines: University of the Philippines Press, 1992), p. 2.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Mulder, Inside Philippine Society, p. 18.
[15] Ibid. p. 131.
[16] Rodney L Henry, The Filipino Spirit World: A Challenge to the Philippine Church (Manila: OMF, 1986), p. 11.
[17] Deborah Terry and Michael A Hogg, eds. Attitudes, Behavior, and Social Context: The Role of Norms and Group Membership (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2000), p. 97. The argument is “the social norms often produce public behavior that is inconsistent with individuals’ private attitudes. Social norms are properties of situations and groups, not of individuals. They develop thorough processes that have only an indirect and partial connection to the characteristics and views of those who are influenced by them. Therefore, the normative behavior that is exhibited in public settings is frequently counter-attitudinal for some or even most of the people who are enacting it.”
[18] Dadkhah Asghar, Susumu Harizuka, and Manas Mandal, ‘Patterns of Social Interaction in Societies of ASIA-Pacific Region’, The Journal of Social Psychology 139.6 (December 1999), p. 730. They argue that personal goals are subordinate to the goals of the group, particularly in collective societies. Moreover, the socio-centric (collective) nature of Asian culture like Philippine society suggests that interpersonal interaction regulates behavior patterns: self is defined as an aspect of a group.
[19] Jack Scarborough, The Origins of Cultural Differences and Their Impact on Management (Westport, CT: Quorum, 1998), p. 74.
[20] Ibid.
[21] George Paik. The History of Protestant Missions in Korea 1832–1910 (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 1971), p. 25.
[22]  Martha Huntley, Caring, Growing, Changing: A History of the Protestant Mission in Korea (New York: Friendship, 1941), p. 8. Huntley summarizes this Confucian world order, and the duties and attendant virtues of inferiors, clearly: Father and son — filial piety; Sovereign and people — loyalty; Husband and wife — deference; Older and younger brother — obedience; Friends — faithfulness.
[23] Ibid.
[24]  Lewis R Lancaster, Richard K Payne, and Karen M Andrews, eds., Religion and Society in Contemporary Korea (Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 1997), p. 49. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=9980815 [accessed 20 March, 2008].
[25] Jack Scarborough, The Origins of Cultural Differences and Their Impact on Management (Westport, CT: Quorum, 1998), p. 74.
[26] Theodore Gochenour, Considering Filipinos (Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural, 1990), pp. 7–8.
[27] Violeta V Bautista, ‘The Socio-Psychological Make-up of the Filipino’, In All Things to All Men, ed. Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano (Quezon City, Philippines: New Day, 1988), p. 1.
[28] Leonardo N Mercado, Elements of Filipino Philosophy (Tacloban City, Philippines: Divine Word University, 1976), p. 110.
[29] Landa F Jocano, Management by Culture (Metro Manila: Punlad, 1999), p. 8.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Landa F Jocano, Management by Culture (Metro Manila: Punlad, 1999), pp. 72–74 .
[32] Ibid.
[33] Paul G. Hiebert, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1985), p. 34.
[34]  Scarborough, p. 268.
[35] Paul Hiebert, “Cultural differences” In R Winter and SC Hawthorne (eds), Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. 3rd ed. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, p. 378.
[36] Charles Kraft, Charles H Kraft, Anthropology for Christian Witness (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1996), pp. 32–33.
[37] Dale Kietzman, “Effective Cross-cultural Leadership Development”, In Timothy K Park (ed), New Global Partnership for World Mission (Pasadena, CA: IAM Institute for Asian Mission, 2004), p. 91.
[38] Ibid. p. 90.
[39] Ibid.
[40] Ibid.
[41] Ibid.
[42]  KS Lee, “Missionary Work in Partnership: A Case Study of the Korean Presbyterian Missions Working Together in the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines”. Unpublished Thesis (DMin), Fuller Theological Seminary,2004. p. 154.
[43]3]  Hiebert, “Cultural Differences”, p. 380.


(1) The founding of the nation of Israel (1948). (2) Israel’s recapturing of East Jerusalem from Jordan (1967). (3) The reconstruction of the third Jewish Temple on the temple grounds of Jerusalem (future). According to the Christian Zionism based on dispensationalism. All of the above: (nos 1,2, and 3) are all fulfillments or preparatory to fulfillments of a biblical prophecy. Approximately 27 years ago (Sept, 1989), an Arab pastor and I were attending a meeting at his church in Bahrain and were both asked whether we agreed with the previous three statements claimed by dispensationalists. While I was hesitating to answer, the Arab pastor hastily answered “yes” and explained his answer. This caused a great commotion among the church people. Although he belonged to the Egyptian Presbyterian church, he was heavily influenced by dispensationalism rather than reformed/covenant theology. In truth, the reason for my hesitancy to answer was the same at the time even though I also belonged to the Korean Presbyterian church.
The first western evangelical missionary in Jordan was Roy Whitman (1904-1992). At the age of 14, Whitman was deeply inspired by a sermon about the rapture and later dedicated his life as a missionary, moving to Jerusalem at the age of 21 (1925). During his ministry in Jordan, the nation of Israel was established (1948.5.17). He interpreted this event as a fulfillment of a biblical prophecy. He justified his interpretation by reminding the Arab congregation that, despite Judas Iscariot’s betrayal against Christ, it was still a part of the process in fulfilling a biblical prophecy. Many evangelical church leaders in Jordan are from Palestine and are also disciples of Roy Whitman. They believe that the phrase ‘his kingdom’ in Matthew 6:33, “But seek his kingdom and his righteousness” is referring to the millennium kingdom of Jerusalem, in which Jesus will return and reign as the Messiah. They also believe that the founding of Israel in 1948 is a foundational step to His kingdom and therefore they must bless Israel. In addition, they apply the passage “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mat 16:24) by explaining that even though it is personally painful and sorrowful to be pro-Israel, it is their cross to bear.
The dispensationalists’ claim of (1), (2) and (3) brings up the question ‘who do the biblical prophecies refer to?’ According to dispensationalism, they refer to the bloodline descendants of Jacob. On the other hand, the reformed/covenant theology states, it refers to the church community redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, dispensationalism criticizes reformed/covenant theology as ‘replacement theology or supersessionism’.[1] They claim that reformed/covenant theology replaces Israel with the church community as the true fulfillment to the Biblical prophecy. This means that the biblical prophecy refers not to the blood of Jesus Christ, but rather to the bloodline of Jacob. The term replacement theology indicates that the church has overtaken the place of Israel and was formulated by dispensationalists in order to discredit reformed/covenant theology. The term was coined by dispensationalists in an effort to criticize reformed/covenant theology. Sizer explains that the replacement theology is a favorite ‘straw man’ of Christian Zionists. [2] A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. Warner states the following in his conclusion in Replacement Theology,

In conclusion, there is no such thing as “Replacement Theology.” The Gentiles have been grafted in to Israel, and now they are sharers together in the promises of God in Jesus Christ. To propagate this notion of the Church replacing Israel is divisive. It necessitates an on-going pejorative use of the term “Replacement Theology.” This term should be redacted from Christian discourse. Using this device to portray other Christians as anti-Semitic is unfair, and also should find cessation.[3]

In actuality, the concept of ‘replacement’ is found in each Abrahamic religion: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. More specifically, it is the concept of the replacement sacrifices. Although this concept is a part of each religion, a closer look will reveal how Judaism’s replacement sacrifice is merely a shadow and Islam’s replacement sacrifice just an imitation of Judaism’s shadow. It is only in Christianity where the reality (true nature) of the replacement sacrifice is revealed in Jesus Christ, along with the church community who has been redeemed through His blood. Therefore, reformed/covenant theology would technically be the reality theology,’ the exact opposite of the inaccurately coined, ‘replacement theology.’

After God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem, He granted Abraham a replacement sacrifice shortly before Abraham followed through. The ram caught by its horns (Gen 22:13) took the place of Isaac and spared his life. Subsequently, Abraham named the location ‘The Lord will Provide (Gen 22:14).’ Later in history, Solomon built the temple / house of God on Mt. Moriah, a place the Lord had prepared to build His temple during the time of Solomon’s father, David (II Chronicles 3:10). Before the house of God was built, the house of David was founded first. The house of David represents the Kingdom of Judah, where the throne of David and his descendants can be found. (Psalms 122:5). Furthermore, there is a precedent in Israel that is based on the two houses of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:4). It is a tri-annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Sukkoth. In the house of David, they pledged an oath of obedience to the authority of the kingdom and provided an offering as a replacement sacrifice in the house of God.
With the destruction of the two houses of Jerusalem, David’s Palace and God’s house (the temple), the nation of Israel was destroyed in 586 BC. Today, the Wailing Wall located on the west side of Jerusalem’s temple grounds is all that remains. Consequently, the precedents of Jerusalem are being impeded. The only one who can restore Israel and continue its precedents is the Messiah of Eschatology. When the two destroyed houses of Jerusalem are restored by the Messiah, (1) the house of David will become the Messianic Kingdom and (2) the House of God (temple) will become the Messianic Temple. According to Judaism, because the Messiah (Christ) has not come, the House of David / Messianic Kingdom and the House of God / Messianic Temple has not been rebuilt yet. In other words, those who are part of Judaism do not have an altar or a temple to offer their replacement sacrifices. Instead, the grounds where they plan to rebuild their temple are occupied by the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic mosque. Additionally, according to Jewish folklore, the rock placed inside the Dome is also the same rock where Abraham sacrificed the replacement offering in place of Isaac.

There are two Islamic mosques in Jerusalem’s temple grounds, one being the Dome of the Rock and the other being the Al Aqsa Mosque. Similar to other typical mosques, there is a large carpet covering the floors of the Al Aqsa mosque for prayer. However, unlike the Al Aqsa and standard mosques, the Dome of the Rock simply has a rock inside. In other words, this building is not necessarily a mosque, but rather a shrine dedicated to a rock. Jews believe that the rock is where Abraham offered the ram as a replacement sacrifice. Muslims, on the other hand, believe it to be associated with two journeys taken place in Muhammad’s vision he had back in Mecca. (1) Al-Isra’ is a journey from Mecca all the way to the rock in Jerusalem (Qur’an 17:1). At Muhammad’s arrival, multiple prophets came down from heaven to greet him and worship Allah together. (2) Al Mi’raj is a journey from the rock up to the heavens (Qur’an 53:8-15). According to Islam, the two following journeys of Muhammad confirmed him as the greatest Messenger, which became the foundation of Islam’s confession of faith, the Shahadah: “There is no other god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger.”
Roughly two years prior to the 9/11 terrorist attack, Osama Bin Laden and five of his associates announced an important Fatwa regarding the Al Aqsa Mosque standing on the old temple grounds of Jerusalem. The main message was basically a Jihad proclamation to defend and liberate the Al Aqsa mosque.[4] The Al Aqsa mosque in reference to both the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock located in Jerusalem’s holy grounds (Qur’an 17:1) With the rock playing a critical role in the founding of Islam, they were determined to not let it become an altar for Jews to offer their replacement sacrifices.
In the Qur’an, the location of Abraham’s offering did not take place on Mt. Moriah, but in Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula. Abraham in the Qur’an also had to almost give up his son as a sacrifice, referred to as ‘a great sacrifice’ (Qur’an 37:107). The Qur’an does not go into detail about the incident, but there is an old Arabic folklore that does. It states that a ram was fattened for forty autumns and was hastily transported by an angel to Abraham in Mecca. Due to the speed at which the ram was travelling, its wool came off in process, creating the Milky Way that shines above the Arabian Peninsula.
To this day, Muslims have their own way of offering replacement sacrifices in the Haram Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This is known as ‘Eid al-Adha, being Islam’s greatest religious holiday. This religious ceremony and those who take part in it are called ‘Hajj’ in Arabic. The Hajj prayers are supposedly one hundred thousand times more effective than praying anywhere else in the world. Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and over 250,000 Hajis from all over the world carry out their pilgrimage to the Haram Mosque every year. They also offer up replacement sacrifices, just as Muhammad did, following the footsteps of Abraham. However, Qur’an does not acknowledge the concept of transfer of sins through a replacement sacrifice. The Qur’an repeats in five passages, “No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden (Qur’an 6:614; 7:15; 35:18; 39:7; 53:38-42),” and denies the principle of a sinner transferring his sins to an offering. Simply put, Islam does not recognize Jesus Christ as the true replacement sacrifice, the son of God who died for the atonement and covenant of his people.

According to the New Testament, the replacement sacrifice that took Isaac’s place was more of a shadow; the reality of the shadow was the true descendant of Abraham, Jesus Christ.[5] Through his death on the cross, Jesus became the true sacrifice of the countless replacement offerings that had been sacrificed since Abraham, found in Hebrews & Colossians:

They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven… (Hebrews 8:5)
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves… (Hebrews 10:1)
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16,17)

The replacement sacrifice, the temple for offerings, religious holidays, the new moon celebration and the Sabbath, representing the traditions of the Old Testament and Mosaic Law, are all but just a shadow and a remnant of the past. The true identity behind this shadow is none other than Jesus Christ, who came down from Heaven. Judaism, being solely based on the Old Testament is merely a shadow, compared to Jesus Christ who fulfilled both the Old and New Testament as the reality. Despite the coming of Jesus Christ, Paul’s adversaries continued to obsess over shadow of the past and persecuting him and criticizing his gospel (Col 2:16-17). The first one to identify Jesus as the reality was not one of his twelve disciples or Paul, but John the Baptist. In John 1:29, when John saw Jesus coming towards him, he announced, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
When did John the Baptist declare this affirmation? This must have taken place shortly after Jesus spent forty days for fasting and prayer in the wilderness. They first met when John baptized Jesus and then met again after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. During their first encounter, John was not able to introduce Jesus to his own disciples; Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit and was sent to the wilderness soon after (Mark 1:12). John was unable to meet up with Jesus during his time out there, while the devil came to him and tempted him and angels attended to him, but Jesus came back to see John after his trial. What was the reason behind this? It was so that Jesus could recruit some of John’s disciples as his own, which John was fully aware of. The forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness was also a time for John to prepare for a transfer or farewell ceremony in order to send his disciples to Jesus. The passage of John 1:29 – 34 is a summary of John’s message during this event:
Let us take a closer look at God’s command and promise given to John the Baptist. God commanded John to baptize with water (John 1:33a). Then what was God’s promise for John (John 1:33)? The Messiah, the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, will come to John in order to be baptized with water, and the Spirit will visibly come down on him and God would visibly send the Spirit down onto him to distinguish him as the Messiah. According to the synoptic gospels, God’s promise was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus as a dove (Matt 3:1: Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22). Taking Luke 1:39-56 into consideration, it can be assumed that John the Baptist expected that the Messiah, who was baptized with the Holy Spirit, was none other than Jesus of Nazareth. One would assume John was eagerly waiting to fulfill God’s promise by baptizing Jesus. However, Matthew 3:14 reveals the contrary. John insists, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” John did not follow through with God’s command or plan and instead acted as if he had forgotten about the promise of God and fulfill it. What could be the reason behind this?
Until that time, John had been baptizing people with water, signifying the repentance of sinners. He would openly preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven has come near,” and carry out baptisms of repentance (Matthew 3:2). He could not make himself baptize Jesus; he was without sin and the Son of God, who was born by virgin birth. Regardless, Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness,” and convinced John to baptize Him with water (Matthew 3:15). John reluctantly complied. At that moment, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove and God’s message was proclaimed, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16,17).”
This declaration was a combined reference to the verses Psalms 2:7, “You are my son…” and Isaiah 42:1, “… in whom I delight…” Psalms 2 is an enthronement poem written by David for his descendants. When David’s descendants are enthroned, a person opens the Old Testament scroll and reads Psalms 2. However, when Jesus was enthroned, God the Holy Spirit personally descended from the heavens and proclaimed that Jesus of Nazareth, the spotlight of the enthronement, is His own son. Therefore the baptism of Jesus was His enthronement ceremony as a king to the messianic kingdom. In addition, John the Baptist realized that Jesus was the Messiah who was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 42, by receiving the baptism of repentance to carry the sins of his kingdom’s people. In other words, He also discovered that the baptism of Jesus was not only his enthronement, but also a transferring of sins for Jesus to carry the sins of the world. Finally, John affirmed to his disciples “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is a clear indication of Jesus becoming the true sacrifice of the replacements sacrifices that have been offered since the time of Abraham. In addition, his resurrection, ascension, and sitting on the heavenly thrones are clear evidence that His enthronement, which began with His baptism, was completed as Jesus became the King of the Messianic Kingdom.[6] The establishment of the church community on the Pentecost through the coming of the Holy Spirit confirms that the church community is also the reality along with Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ being revealed as the reality of the replacement sacrifices solidifies that the church community that has been redeemed by his blood is also the reality. That is why the church community celebrates communion, which has been claimed by Jesus as part of the new covenant. It commemorates the flesh and blood Jesus bled for the church community with bread and wine. This reveals that the replacement sacrifice and three religious holidays of Judaism are nothing more than just a shadow and that Jesus Christ is the reality. Reformed/covenant theology interprets that the old covenant is replaced with the new covenant, contrary to the dispensationalists who disparage this interpretation for replacing Israel with the church. Hebrews 8:13 states, “By calling this covenant ‘new’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”[7] From this perspective, the church community of Jesus Christ supersedes the old Jewish communities due to the fact that the New Testament was written on the basis that Jesus Christ has fulfilled, excelled, and superseded the Old Testament.
Dispensationalists often quote Revelation 7:1-8 to support their argument that the Biblical prophecies are in reference to Jacob’s descendants. The twelve descendants of Jacob will each lead a tribe of 12,000 who are sealed by God, amounting to the total number of 144,000. According to dispensationalists, the 144,000 are all direct descendants of Jacob. Reformed/covenant theology believes that they are the representatives of the church community of Jesus Christ who have been called as spiritual soldiers of the earth. Just like the Israelites during the Exodus who counted their numbers with men over the age of 20 who had been called as soldiers of the army (Numbers 1, 26), their place is not the heavens but the earth (Revelation 7:1). According to an angel, the ones with a seal on their foreheads are servants of God (Rev 7:2-4). These servants of God are those who belong to all the churches of Jesus Christ, represented by the seven churches of Asia Minor, which is revealed as recipients of the revelation (Rev 1:1). The number 144,000 here is not only a representation number, but also a symbolic and complete number. If they try to literally interpret the book of Revelation, they are greatly deviating from the author’s intention. This goes the same for those who interpret the leaders of the twelve tribes as the bloodline descendants of Jacob. They are actually the soldiers of the church community of Jesus Christ who endure the spiritual battle on earth. Then what is the total number of God’s spiritual soldiers that are saved who are represented by the 144,000? The total number is revealed in Rev 7:9.

There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Rev 7:9).

Bauckham explains that the role of Rev 7:9 is to reinterpret Rev 7:1-8.[8] If we take a look at the following explanation of Pilchan Lee, we can see how incorrect it is for dispensationalists to criticize reformed/covenant theology as replacement theology.

Revelations 7:9 alludes to the fact that the church community of God is not overtaking the place of Israel, but is eradicating boundaries and differences, opening up the new covenant to every nation, tribe, people, and language. However, the previous verses 1-8 cause a juxtaposition with the verses that follows it. The number 144,000 in Rev 7:1-8 makes another appearance in Rev 14:1-5. They are introduced as victors of the beast, introduced in chapter 13. However, they are not on earth but in Mt. Zion of the heavens with the Lamb of Jesus Christ (Rev 14:1). It can be speculated that Mt. Zion is not on earth but in the heavens, because they are singing a new song before the four living creatures and the elders (Rev 14:3). Expressing the ‘heavens’ as ‘Mt. Zion’ is an Old Testament concept of succession, for ‘Mt. Zion’ of the Old Testament has been regarded with Heavenly attributes. The 144,000 introduced twice in Rev Chapter 7 and 14 is a representation and symbolism of the complete number of the countless great multitudes. In other words, the 144,000 mentioned in Rev 7:1-8 and ‘the great multitude that no one could count’ in Rev 7:9-17 was consolidated and referred to as the 144,000 in Rev 14:1-4. The same consolidation takes place on the basis of the church regarding the trumpets in chapter 8-9, the spiritual battle between the church and the dragon in chapter 10-12, and the church which stands up to the two Beasts in chapter 13.[9]

According to the book of John, during his first miracle performance (John 2:4) and last public appearance on the cross (John 19:26), he calls his mother ‘woman’ and himself ‘the offspring of the woman’ both times, which is known from primitive Gospel (Gen 3:15).[10] The coming of Jesus was not only for the bloodline of Jacob, but for all the descendants of Adam, especially for the church community that was redeemed by His blood. When the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 1:4, “for he chose ‘us’ in him before the creation,” the term ‘us’ is the church of Jesus Christ, represented by the Apostle Paul himself and the church of Ephesus. In addition, looking through Paul’s message “now, through the church…according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord…” (Eph 3:10-11), it is for certain that the church of Jesus Christ was prepared by God in the eternal past.
The dichotomous question of who the biblical prophecies are referring to, “Israel or the community” is the same question as “Is it the bloodline of Jacob, or the blood of Jesus?” Furthermore, it is also equivalent to “The Wailing Wall, or the church (community)”, “The rock/altar of the Jerusalem temple grounds, or Jesus Christ/sacrifice?” “The old walls of the in-laws or the new walls of the in-laws?” What does this all mean? There is a Korean proverb that goes, “If the wife is beautiful, one will bow down to even the wall of the in-laws’ house. Now let’s say the in-laws moved to a different house, we can presume that the son-in-law would be bowing down to the wall at the new house. The son-in-law would have been in serious denial to refuse to bow at the new house and stubbornly continue to bow at the old one. Unfortunately, there are those like the son-in-law in denial who continue to bow down to the old house. These would be the Jews and dispensationalist Christians. In other words, the Wailing Wall in the Jerusalem temple grounds is only one of the walls of the old in-laws’ house, where Islam now resides. What once was the temple ground for Jews has now been occupied by the Muslims, along with its rock in the Dome of Rock located on the temple grounds of Jerusalem.
Muslims believe the rock has a significant role to the birth of Islam and its confession, “There is no other god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” On the other hand, Jews believe that the rock was the altar Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac and instead offered the ram as a replacement sacrifice. Finally, as Jesus Christ carried the sins of the world by becoming the Lamb of God and dying on the cross, he became the only true sacrifice in place of all replacement sacrifices. Jesus is not only the reality of the replacement sacrifice, but also the true temple. His church community is also the temple. The church community is the Messianic Kingdom, because Jesus was enthroned as the King of the Messianic Kingdom when he first came to Earth. Therefore, the reconstruction of the two destroyed houses of Israel/restoration of Israel: (1) the house of David and (2) the house of Jehovah God (the temple), has in fact already begun with the first coming of Jesus and will be complete when He returns. In other words, the two houses have combined as one, for it is Jesus Christ alone who is the owner of both houses. The house is the church community which has been redeemed through the blood of Christ. Additionally, the church community of Jesus Christ is his bride, and New Jerusalem.

Dispensationalists claim that the biblical prophecies are in reference to the bloodline of Jacob/Israel, the grandson of Abraham. Therefore, they denigrate reformed/covenant theology for supporting a replacement theology that believes the church community, redeemed by the blood of Christ, is the truth behind Biblical prophecies. However, the concept of ‘replacement’ is shared by all three Abrahamic religions. To be more specific, it is a ‘replacement sacrifice’. Although Judaism identifies the ram caught in its horns as the replacement sacrifice. However, it was no more than a shadow, and the true identity of the shadow is never revealed. Islam provides no further explanation or identification either, merely imitating the shadow Judaism examines. According to Christianity based on reformed/covenant theology, Jesus Christ is the reality of the replacement sacrifice, along with the church community that was redeemed by his blood. Therefore, it is more appropriate to call reformed/covenant theology as ‘reality theology’ instead of ‘replacement theology’. Unfortunately, Judaism does not know of Jesus Christ and his church as the reality and still holds on to the shadow. More regrettably, despite dispensationalist Christianity’s faith in Jesus Christ, it still holds on to the shadow alongside Judaism and is caught up in the confrontation between Judaism and Islam. In fact, it only antagonizes more Muslims and increases the tension in the area by siding with the Jews. What is even more unfortunate is that some Arab evangelical church leaders are being branded as advocates of deeply rooted dispensationalist theology of Zionist Christians. If a church community based on reformed/covenant theology is the reality, we can assume that Jerusalem-centered dispensationalist Christianity is a mix of reality and shadow. On the other hand, Islam imitates Judaism’s shadow, with its biggest holiday being an imitation of Judaism’s three religious holidays. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).”

*This paper was a part(p.128 – p.145) of 2016 Korea Missions Quarterly.


[1] Craig A. Blaising, “The Future of Israel as a Theological Question,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 44:3 (2001): 435.
[2] Stephen Sizer, Zion’s Christian Soldier? (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 16.
[3] www.replacementtheology.org. Brian D. Warner Brian is the lead teaching pastor at Fairport Community Baptist Church (http://www.fairportcommunity.org).
[4] www.fas.org/irp/world/par/docs/98023-fatwa.htm.
[5] O. Palmer Robertson, The Israel of God, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, P&R, 2000), 4.
[6] John H.N. Chung, Islam and the Issue of Messianic Kingdom, (Seoul: CLC, 2009). 155-175.
[7] Stephen Sizer, 16,37,125,159.
[8] Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Revelation, (Cambridge, CPY, 1993), 225.
[9] Pilchan Lee, I will come soon, (Seoul, Iresewon, 2006), 607.
[10]  Goredon J. Wehnahm, Genesis 1-15, (Wacko, Texas, WBC, 1987), 81

Hyung Nam Chung
Dr. Chung belongs to Global Mission Society.He served the Iraqi Christian Refugee Worship Communities of Jordan Evangelical Churches since 1994. He was a lecuturer of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary. He received his DMin. from Fuller Theological Seminary. He published a book in Korean entitled: “Islam and the Issue of the Messianic Kingdom”.


Looking at the history of Christianity in Nepal, we would likely find a Portuguese Jesuit person named Father Juan Cabral entered Nepal in 1628. King Laxmi Narshing Malla (1620-1641) presented Cabral with a Tamra Patra (a copper plate) and gave him permission to preach Christianity in Kathmandu valley. This is the first recorded Christian foreign alliance visit in Nepal.
In 1661, King Pratap Malla also received missionaries Albert d’Orville (Belgian) and Johann Grueber (Austrian) in Nepal. King Pratap Malla also granted them permission to preach Christianity in Kathmandu but they did not stay long in Nepal.
In 1703, Capuchin priests arrived in Nepal and stayed in Kathmandu until 1715. A small Catholic Church was established in Kathmandu in 1760, by Father Tranquillius, with a local Newar family who had converted to Christianity through his influence. Later, when King Pratap Maal was succeeded by King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha, fifty-seven local Newar Christians and Capuchin priests were kicked out and left the country along with a small group of other Christians eventually reaching India on February 4, 1769. A few Capuchin priests returned to Nepal in 1794 and Father Joseph of Rovato stayed longer and died in Nepal in 1810. Until 1951, Nepal was completely closed to Christians and mission work but some missionaries and Nepali evangelists were able to cross the border from India.
After 1951, there were Christian mission organizations, namely International Nepal Fellowship (INF) and United Mission to Nepal (UMN), came to Nepal and started social development work. Nepal remained as a Hindu nation in times of Shah regime and practicing Christianity was very difficult at that time. Many devoted Christians were harassed by police and even jailed for spreading Christianity.
After the Shah regime in the country, multi-party democracy was established in Nepal in 1990. Even though people were given some changes and freedom, the resulting constitution then declared the country as a Hindu kingdom, thus the freedom of religion was not included in this new democracy. Although it was not easy for Christian evangelism to take place, courageous Nepali Christians spread the Gospel of Jesus across the country in a rapid way. Unfortunately, the Maoist Communist Party armed forces started a civil war (1996-2006) in Nepal which disturbed the evangelism work to spread the Gospel in the rural areas.
When Nepal was declared a republic democracy and a secular country in 2007, there was a new hope for everyone including Nepali Christians. But in the real sense, practically this democracy is still not applied freely in the country. The definition of secularism in Nepal is biased against Christian believers and other religious minorities. Secularism, as defined by the Nepalese Constitution, protects and promotes Hindu religion and alienates other faiths.
Nevertheless, the Gospel is spreading everywhere in Nepal every day. God’s work is progressing effectively all over the country. According to the 2011 national population census, the population of Christians in Nepal was 375,699 adherents, or 1.4% of the total population of Nepal. But the Nepali Christians do not agree with this government data. The General Secretary of Nepal Christian Society claims that Christian population reaches more than 2 million people including around 10,000 church-based Christians in Nepal. Although these numbers are not that important, but the fact that God does amazing work in Nepal through spiritual and social gospel movement must be known to the world.

According to the census data from 2011, there are about 26 million people living in Nepal. Nepal is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and religiously diverse country in South Asia. There are 123 languages spoken as native languages in this small country. There are 131 ethnic groups that live in Nepal. 81.3% of Nepal’s total population is Hindu, 9.0% is Buddhist, 4.4% is Muslim, 3.0% is Kirat (indigenous religion) and 1.4% is Christian.

Communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an effective way in this pluralistic society is a huge challenge for Nepali Christians. Each group has different religious, cultural and social views and values following their own dogmatic teachings. It is difficult to transform lives of people in this cultural and religious pluralistic society.
As a polytheistic religion, Hinduism believes in many gods and goddesses but it is not really concerned with one’s salvation and eternal life. In Buddhism, they believe in Karma and ritual practices. Meanwhile, Christians are viewed as religion changers and culture destroyers. These became the primary accusations other religions apply against Christians in Nepali society.
Meanwhile, the caste system is also realized as a stimulating issue and possibly the biggest hindrance to the social development in Nepali society. The system is divided into four main social classes i.e. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. It is based on Hinduism where the Brahmin caste is seen as the high caste rulers of the others in all parts of the society and Sudra as the lowest caste subjecting them to the most discrimination in society. In fact, lower caste people accept Jesus more than higher caste people because they are discriminated and isolated. They find that in Christianity all are equal in God’s eyes, therefore they are more easily to convert into Christians.


“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17)-NIV

Communication is a powerful way of sending and receiving information amongst people. In the old days, people communicate with each other only by verbal or face-to-face way. The function of communication was mainly only to spread the message. Looking back to the past, it was not easy to travel or communicate with people from another country because of geographical distance and the absence of information technology, but then the development of technology makes all parts of this world connected and becomes a global village. Today we even can say that communication is like breathing in our life. Communication has swift its function to not only spreading the message, but also to share knowledge and develop relationships with people.
Nepal as one of the 47 least developed countries stated in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s. The Least Developed Countries Report in 2017 revealed that Nepal was included due to the presence of political instability, corruption and many other factors. On the other hand, Nepal has shown very significant growth in information and technology development over the last 10 years. Over 50% of total population in Nepal now have Internet connection and other communication technology access.
Communication is very much impacted to the history of missions in Nepal. In the first part of the history, western missionaries entered Nepal and used more communication technology as much as possible. Before 1990s, there was no freedom in terms of information and communication. All mass media was under government’s control. In 1990s, multi-party democracy system then allowed freedom to write, speak and publish. After that, evangelism grew rapidly. Missionaries learned Nepali and even local languages to share the Gospel even to the very remote areas.
In 1991, I started my journey to learn the Bible and become a Christian. At that time, I was still in my remote village in Ilam and I was raised in Hindu teachings. I received a correspondence material from Nepal Every Home Concern in Kathmandu. They sent me a gospel booklet entitled “A Way of Joyful Life” by mailing because mailing system was the only way to distance communication at that time. I remember that it took two months to get back a reply via post office from Kathmandu to Ilam and the other way around. At that time, there were few ministries such as Nepal Every Home Concern, International Correspondence Institute (ICI), Nepal Bible Correspondence Institute (NBCI), etc., doing some correspondence course by mailing. Thousands of Nepali villagers came to Christ through correspondence like me.
Afterwards, I received biblical correspondence materials from ICI and also participated in a series of biblical course from them for 2 years. By every month I learned the course only by mailing and then finally I received Bible’s New Testament. I learned the Bible by myself and prayed for this new belief. The understanding and knowledge on Jesus eventually grew within me. Finally, in 1993, I personally accepted Jesus as my personal Savior.
When I was still a new Christian, it was believed and practiced by the church that watching television, reading newspaper and listening to radio would keep away the people from reading the Bible. I was not involved yet with communication and media during that time. Eventually I realized that evangelism can be more effective by using mass media. I moved to Kathmandu in 1997 and started my work as a writer in 2004 and as a radio host and a television presenter in 2004 until now. I am able to share the Gospel and reach more people effectively through mass communication.
Accepting Jesus personally was a turning point in my life and Romans 10:17 became a solid ground of my desire to share His Words. That in what I experienced, even a simple communication method have reached a young villager like me to nurture my faith. I had no one around me to really guide me to understand this new belief at that time. I was completely learning something new. As simple as only by mailing I can even grow in faith within me. In comparison to that, evangelism should be expanding more nowadays because everyone is exposed to information and communication technology that can make evangelism work effective and more people can be reached to accept Jesus in their lives.
Mission strategies and methods change in line with the development of information and communication technology. Now we can even say that mass media plays an important role in sharing the Gospel. Nepali people even can do their mission by themselves to reach even local or remote areas. There is no need for assistance from western missionaries.
Technology accommodates people to nurture their religious beliefs every day. People can read the Bible in their mobile phones, watch a sermon video, participate in a Bible study or webinar, listen to religious song, download a Christian choral sheet music, listen to Biblical radio broadcast, create a group chat where everyone can discuss matters regarding the Bible and many other things.

Technology and internet created the growing necessity of having social media in these years significantly. Technology makes all things possible for people to fulfill their thirst for information and knowledge. People nowadays are interested to learn something new day by day, to keep them updated about what’s happening around them, and to express themselves by using existing social media platforms.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogspot, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Youtube channel are very common to be used by not only younger generation, but also older generation. Moreover, there is a very little number of people around the world that has only one social media account. In Nepal particularly, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are still ranked as top 3 social media used by Nepali people.
When it comes to sharing our faith with others, the Bible calls us to communicate the gospel in a way that will help other people to understand and receive it. This is the Apostle Paul’s attitude in 1 Corinthians 9:22 when he wrote, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (NIV). Paul was so eager to see as many people as possible to know Jesus that he adjusted his approach to evangelism depending on who he was talking to.
Christian leaders also see this potential and use social media as their platform to distribute God’s words and Bible lessons to young generation and urban people who are more exposed with technology and have busy lives.
Even though, it seems easy because everyone is on Facebook and we can preach the gospel by Facebook, in reality it is much more complex.
Social media can shape the messages we communicate and the kinds of conversation we are capable of having. But no of technology bears no risk. Social media utilization still needs be done carefully and wisely. We as users should be thoughtful in using social media and reflect on our original purpose using this. We can wind up communicating a “gospel” that is different from the gospel of the Bible. We can speak the name of Jesus in a way that drives people away from Him instead of towards Him. This is not real evangelism. It might make us feel like we have done our job in sharing the gospel, but it does nothing to advance the Kingdom of God.
The best evangelism does not happen online. Now more than ever, in our social media-saturated digital age, the world is searching for something real. They need an encounter with the Living God. If it is not anticipated, internet and social media can be the first and main encounter of people to communicate or to fill their lives with. Not only meeting personally, have a conversation with the real person standing before us. It can be dangerous if eventually our faith in social media becomes deeper than our belief in God. We believe completely that social media can connect us to other people everywhere and any time. At the worst case, our activity and our time in using social media eventually should not replace our activity and time to speak to God and learn the Bible.
If we are really serious about evangelism, we need to seriously consider how our methods influence our message. Besides its risks, social media is still a good way to convey the message of God and do evangelism. We need to be thoughtful and fully pray to revert that addiction in using social media to addiction in looking for understanding about Jesus. We also still need to reach the real people, moreover, the ones who are not exposed in technology or social media, and deliver our message in person, talk to them, pray with them, develop spiritual relationship with them, help them to overcome their difficulties so that they can see the living reflection of God’s teachings, rather than counting on social media.


“What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humble with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NIV)

In general, mission is understood as “saying”. That “saying” is actually a part of evangelism and communicating the Gospel. Nepali mission movement also was more focused on evangelism by saying. It was commonly understood that a mission is about sharing the gospel to all. On the other hand, in reality most of the churches did not have a good relationship with the local community because the churches only focus on evangelism rather than social responsibility. Because of that, it made such a big divide between Christians and non-Christians in the community.
About ten years ago, there was some perspective in non-Christian communities that Christians are only doing religious things for themselves. On the other hand, other communities were seen as secular people in Christians’ perspective. But today, the situation has changed and local churches are trying to be agents of transformation for the society.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus’s mission is an integrated mission. It is not only by “saying” but also with “doing” action and living our life as Christians. The mission of the church should reflect the mission of Jesus. The local church can witness as salt and light in the community, which is more effective evangelism rather than by only “saying” the word.
Currently, Nepali churches and Christian based organizations have been actively engaging closely in integral mission. This kind of engagement showed during the response for the devastating earthquake in 2015 whereas Nepali churches and Christian based organizations engaged and worked together for the affected people. Many people came to Christ afterwards. As a result, Christians proclaim the gospel by word, practicing by action and demonstrating by life.
Case study: Changing the Church, Changing the Community
Gajendra Thakuri is serving as a pastor in Budhabare Baptist Church in Letang, East Nepal, Morang District. He had passion to work with the community and later on found lots of social challenges in his work and he wanted to address the problems.
In 2012, he participated in Church and Community Mobilization Process (CCMP) workshop organized by Micah Nepal. “After participating in the training, I understood the process and how to link the church with the community to address common issues.” he said. He strongly realized the importance and benefit of healthy relationships between church and society. He even realized that the church has a role to play as a change maker in the society.
At the first stage of the process, he envisioned the congregation and then the church identified social issues in their community. Church and community then worked together to develop road construction and planted 300 trees in the village. After those initiatives, the society has begun to recognize the presence and involvement of the church in the community.
Pastor Thakuri said, “The church has a further plan to continue to work with the community to conserve the environment. It is expected that working together will be an opportunity to be witnesses of Christ through words and actions.”
In this time, we need to rethink about our mission and the role of the church in the community. Our mission should not only about “saying” and “doing”, but as God wants us wholistically to look like Jesus, love like Jesus, serve like Jesus, and obey like Jesus. This is the real need for today’s mission in our world.


“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” Daniel 2:21 (NIV)

Nepal is one of the politically unstable countries in South Asia. After the 1990s, there were 27 times the government changed over the last 28 years. This situation always affected the mission in Nepal. Some government was open for Christians and some were against. Nevertheless, Nepali mission movement did not stop and His Kingdom growers were never tired.
When Nepal declared as a secular country in 2006 from Hindu Kingdom, the minority religious groups were more hopeful to freely practice their own faith. After that many political changes happened such as new constitution came and the country became the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. It is written in part 4 no. 26 in the Constitution of Nepal 2015: ” Every person who has faith in religion shall have the freedom to profess, practice and protect his or her religion according to his or her conviction.” But also written as ” No person shall, in the exercise of the right conferred by this Article, do, or cause to be done, any act which may be contrary to public health, decency and morality or breach public peace, or convert another person from one religion to another or any act or conduct that may jeopardize other’s religion and such act shall be punishable by law.”
The Nepal constitution did not allow to openly preach the Gospel and convert others to Christianity, And it has been regulated in the Criminal Code Bill 2017 by Parliament of Nepal on 10th of August 2017. Section 9 no 160 in the Bill stated:
Not to convert a religion:
(1) Nobody should convert the religion of other person or indulge in such act or encourage such an act.
(2) Nobody should indulge in any act or conduct so as to undermine the religion, faith or belief that any caste, ethnic group or community has been observing since Sanatana time (eternal or Handed down from forefathers) or to jeopardize it with or without any incitement to convert to any other religion, or preach such religion or faith with any such intention.
(3) Anyone committing the offense as per sub-clause (1) or (2) shall face up to five years of imprisonment and fine of up to fifty thousand rupees.
(4) If a foreigner is found to have committed the crime as per sub-clause (1) and (2), he/she will have to be sent out of Nepal within seven days of completion of the sentence as per this clause.
Even if the Criminal Code Bill endorsed by the Parliament and enacted by the President of Nepal, it is not easy to implement in the society because democratic government cannot be authoritarian towards human rights to follow their religious teachings. However, this Bill still can affect our evangelical mission movement.
In this situation, we cannot stop our mission but we have to work carefully and strategically to spread the good news of Jesus. Political situation can be changed, rulers and authority can be succeeded but God’s word and commandment are still the same yesterday, today and until forever. This is the time to spread the message of His Kingdom to the unreached everywhere. Do not be afraid to take the initiative and believe God can work beyond everything. We Christians have to prove that we are not against the nation but we are peacemakers and nation builders in society. God has massive plan and purpose for Nepal to transform the lives of people and develop the nation. We only have to follow His commandment and living our life as a good servant of the Lord Jesus.

Nepal does not have a long Christian history. It is only about six decades. The situation was not good for missionaries and mission work in Nepal before 1990s, but the first generation of Nepali Christians were very committed and devoted to the Lord including also the foreign missionaries and worked very hard to spread the Gospel in Nepal. As a result, Nepal became one of the fastest growing country in Christianity. In difficult situation, God bless Nepali Christian leaders and missionaries to overcome obstacles in doing their mission work. They were sent to prison, physically and mentally tortured, but God’s mission was not hindered and grew more and more.
Although Nepal has many diversities in religion, ethnicity, and culture, the mission of Christ still works effectively. In the past, it was not easy to communicate the Gospel because lack of modern communication technology, transportation system was not good and geographically challenged. Christian people did very good and they worked very hard to travel and to deliver the Gospel despite those challenges. Now with the developing communication technology, it is easy to share the Gospel whenever, wherever and by whoever, by using modern communication and social media, although its utilization should be done carefully.
Mission and evangelism should reflect through our personal lives wholistically, not only about “saying” and “doing”. This is the real need for today’s mission in the world. Even how rapidly political situation changes in Nepal and how difficult that is for the evangelism work, Christian people are still part of the society and have responsibility to build the nation together with the government.
Communicating the Gospel in Nepal in the past and in present time can be very different at practical level. Christian missionaries still need to find a way to strategically and wisely preach the Gospel, regardless the situation and easiness offered by technology.


Thir Koirala

Mr. Thir Koirala is National Coordinator of Micah Nepal. He is also known as a writer and a journalist in Nepal. Before that, he worked as a church planter and missionary pastor from 2000-2009 in east Nepal. He is familiar with Nepali media, as a radio and television presenter. He has been actively advocating on anticorruption issue in Nepal since 2013 and other social issues. Mr. Koirala is also well experienced in social development and community mobilization. He plays an important role in the community as a peace-building mediator amongst interfaith groups and advocator for minority and marginalized groups.


Why Christianity is still regarded as “western” religion though the center of Christianity has moved into the majority world that includes Asia? It is because westernized Christian theology has not yet answered some of the Asian questions about God in deeper level. It is also because modern Christian mind assumed that ministries based on prosperous economic and scientific usefulness from Christianized modern society would help answer the life questions for the majority world.
However, the main theological question seeking the truth of God has not been answered, because only local theologians who know the question deep enough can answer those questions. Though some of the pastors and missionaries are emphasizing self-theology as part of fourth self, after self-propaganda, self-supporting, and self-governing, it has not significantly developed among evangelical churches in Asia. It subsequently hinders Asian Christianity from rooting down deeply as Asian religion into communities in Asia.
This article is looking for an answering scheme to the question above by finding a way to make self-theology in Asia biblically missional through globalizing self-theology from integrating evangelism and mission. In other words, it is disciple making that really gives birth to theology. Because “all true theology is, by definition, missionary theology.” Asian self-theology also should follow the missional intention which is innate in global aspect of Christianity.[1]
Therefore, the next step for each believer’s community should be to produce self-theology particularly in the context where only a local leader can fully grasp the situation. It is the soil of self-theology that should overcome the guild of theological scholars producing theology in narrow terms.

Self-theology came out of Hiebert’s exhort to mission community to add a “fourth self” to those new growing indigenous churches.[2] It was “fourth self,” more than 120 years after Anderson and Venn proposed three-self church principles around 1861.[3] This “fourth self” would encourage a new church not just take the lead in evangelization, support, and governance but also in creating and managing the people’s knowledge of God.
However, it does not mean self-centered theology nor contextualized periphery theology, sided by western theology. It means enlarging the horizon of biblical truth designed by God with diversity in unity. The research direction is to look for knowledge management in church & mission to make disciples and find a way to build hermeneutical knowledge community that produces self-theologies.
One of the most concerning risk of self-theology to missionaries were that it might encourage pluralistic theologies. Western missionaries and even westernized Asian missionaries worried that those self-theologies may drift away from fully developed systematic theology and give birth to different kinds of truth.[4] They tend to side contextualized theology not fit into “theology” developed by western theologians. On the other hand, some of them actually want to understand contextualized self-theologies, but there are only a few who can fall in that category.
How did non-traditional self-theologians respond to this kind of overconfident theological minds who developed and consolidated Christian theology since the five hundred year old Reformation? Samuel Escobar remarked that all theology is contextual.[5] Though it is true in contextual nature of theology, there is still divine nature and its relation to human nature. Every theology is contextual in which God reveals Himself to human. Kim saw this role of interpreting the message, knitted by divine and human author with accuracy and persuasion as herald.[6] In fact, divinely revealed truth in human context can be found in four different types of the gospel written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As those four different authors wrote four gospels by spiritual inspiration, the depth of the gospel has communicated widely for spreading the gospel to the all different contexts.
Nevertheless, there is still a suspicious view on contextualized theology or even contextual nature of theology. It was not because of a problem from the bible, but because of the problem from western society.[7] Christian minds took fear from the mindset influenced by Darwinism, while fighting against Darwinism and Social Darwinism.[8] Due to the influence from Darwinism, even western Christian leaders and theologians misapprehend that theology developed in different context may end up evolving into a different kind of truth. If a believer were truly born again, this person cannot become other species by trying to answer his or her own theological questions relevant to a new context. This kind of western context specific fear hinders the development of self-theology.
This fear, however, would not block Christian zeal for world mission. Even if there is lacking in self-theology, new individual Christians still have relatively sound view on self and others.[9] By interacting with Christians and missionaries who came from communities where theology of God is relevant to their own people, those individuals can be changed. Nevertheless, there would not be sound theology of God without self-theology, because there have been already proper theology according to their traditional religion.
It is difficult to change the core of worldview that “shapes the cultural surface”, proper theology and its subsequent repercussion.[10] If a new believer lived in a highly developed religious society in high context culture, it would not be easy for them to really understand the truth and to have a sound relationship with God. Their individual joy from the gospel would not last long due to societal theology of other god. In other words, a new believer may enjoy new relationship with God in faith, yet the previous theology of other god still affect this new relationship. To overcome the previous knowledge on other god, the new believer should have his own self-theology.
Another aspect to consider about self-theology is worldview. The purpose of theology is to study God. However, if you have no relationship with God, it would not be a real study of God despite the fact that the person studies about God. That is why theological education may end up giving theoretical and scholastic development to seminarian but not giving proper training for harvest workers. Though new believers tend to have better dynamic personal relationship with God than the existing church members, a way of developing theology is still in western way. In fact self-theology cannot be done without real relationship with God and without proper methodology developed under the ownership of the new believer in their contexts. In other words, self-theology is not truly self, but based on relationship with God and the interaction with other theologians and bible interpreting communities around the world with a commitment to be transformed within the relationship.

Having faced the shift of the center of Christianity and the emerging contextual theologies, there were attempts to form a global theology derived from western minds.[11] It was big encouragement to see the new development for global theology, but it was not truly global. It was a western version of international theology. If it were truly global, this kind of attempt would include 360-degrees of participation from the world. The minds of western theologians are dominating the introduction and conclusion of the discussion through which they try to suggest methodologies. The majority of theologians add few exotic tastes to those mainstream discussions with some contextualized case studies not as mainstream theology. However, it is not just a problem for theology and Christian society but for society in general including the publications.[12] It is just sad to see that Christians follow this world pattern.
Having reflected this reality, there is a challenge to bringing all those different perspectives into theological academia, heavily influenced by western minds. Some of the brilliant minds from the majority world can contribute to this attempt yet it is not for every leader. Even those brilliant minds usually cannot publish until their thoughts are westernized. Then, it could not truly reflect their self-theological perspectives. It may look good in western theological point of view, but it would not help the majority world and also the western world that God constantly brings it together for genuine theology in the Kingdom of God. God is the one who “allotted periods and the boundaries” of ethnic group’s (Acts 17:26) and why does he mix all those people by globalization? He is constantly challenging people’s entire mind to repent and return to the kingdom mind, which cannot be reflected by any single mind. Therefore, this discussion of global & self-theology should go back to the basics, especially the purpose of theology.
According to Ashford & Whitfield, the purpose of theology is “to know and love God and to be transformed by His Word so that we can take our part in the ongoing drama of redemption”[13] Their point has been drawn from Calvin who interpreted Exodus 34:6-7 as doctrine of God and purpose of theology. That God did not reveal Himself to answer Moses’ question but in a way to relate to humans with deeper relationship that manifested God’s characters in action.[14]
Having followed the theology that God lived out to Moses, those editors should make themselves humble enough to recognize different ways of doing theology, to become what it is, attempt global. The group of editors should include theologians from different backgrounds to form a multicultural interpreting community in Christ. It will take longer time to form the editing team and to spend enough time for mutual understanding.
After that, they need to have a constructive process of counter contextualization in knowledge and action in theology making.[15] It is mutual and sometimes even reverse learning from one another in theology that involves not just the cognitive area of theology but also including praxis in the body of Christ as learning organization. In other words, believing communities whether they are from evangelist-missionary sending churches or evangelist-missionary receiving churches, those communities need to apply the biblical truth by ongoing adaptation towards one another and learning from one another. In this kind of bible reading, the theological community can be regarded as learning believers’ community. As a part of learning community, as well as bible reading community, theologians also need to learn from one another in various ways.[16]

A question for the logical extension from learning one another among the community of theologian, is how the community is going to learning from one another and manage the knowledge for future generations. According to Scharmer, learning organizations have three forms of knowledge in theology. Those are explicit knowledge, tacit embodied knowledge, and self-transcending knowledge.[17]
Now we are going to apply this knowledge frame of three different organizational learning into Evangelism and Mission in the process of disciple making as common ground. In this three forms of knowledge, explicit knowledge is “the least difficult to disseminate and distribute”, because it is obviously clear to everyone. The other two kinds of knowledge: tacit embodied knowledge and self-transcending knowledge, are actually the same kind as tacit knowledge.[18] Basically self-transcending knowledge is not yet embodied tacit knowledge. In other words, explicit knowledge can be regarded as content. Embodied tacit knowledge is viewed as part of the process that interplays between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge in spiraling movement. Self-transcending knowledge is about inspirational force that brings knowledge “from absence to presence”.[19]
Scharmer organized these three different forms of knowledge into “twelve types of knowledge in organization” by classifying those three forms of knowledge with four different levels of corporate action. Those four levels are: A1) Performing which delivers results; A2) Redesigning which improves the process-based context of performing; A3) Reframing which improves the assumption-based context of performing; A4) Regenerating which improves the intention-based context of performing.[20] See the table 1 for the twelve types of knowledge.[21]

Scharmer especially introduced the concept of self-transcending knowledge which is not-yet-embedded knowledge. This not-yet-embedded knowledge is an important one to successfully compete for “increasing return markets” and “leaders need a new type of knowledge that allows them to sense, tune into and actualize emerging business opportunities.”[22] Applying to ministry setting, servants of the Lord should follow Christ in ministry as he obeys God the Father. Now the servants of the Lord should follow spiritual protocol “to find self” in Christ and to do ministry well in this rapidly changing world (John 14:24).[23]
Through this framework of twelve types of knowledge, this article is now looking for the biblical model for disciple-making ministry, a local church, and a mission organization. Actually the concept of self-transcending knowledge shows us the knowledge that a new church/mission desperately need, self-theology that leads each church/mission to find out God given emerging opportunities for the Kingdom of God.

It is most important to look at how Jesus made disciple in various levels of knowledge and forms in these twelve types. Presumably this research cannot find out all of His knowledge but it is a humble effort. The table below is focused on Peter whom Jesus called, commissioned, tested, and re-commissioned. One fact that should be noticed here is that every disciple should be discipled first to disciple others.

The explicit knowledge that Jesus communicated to his disciples were clear yet due to disciples’ different assumption and intention, it took for a while for them to understand Jesus’ teaching after the cross and His resurrection. Jesus used the disciples’ tacit-embedded knowledge that they learned from their synagogue study and Jewish religious life. It showed how much Christ fulfill the law through regeneration (Matt. 5:17). After the Pentecost, the disciples went on with their witnessing journey with the Holy Spirit for discipling others.

When you organize knowledge built around a local church setting, the researches see ideal knowledge and its realistic situation like this in the table. It should not be forgotten that disciple making is the proof of living faith. If a church is growing in faith and in life, discipleship as the Christian life and church membership go overlap.[24] However, when there is no training/practice on reproducing disciples in a believing community, it becomes legalistic quickly.

When a church is only regarded as religious organization without new blood. It quickly become a dry boned rigid organization not sensitive to the community context where the church is called. It is not because they do not want to do that, but because they cannot reach out to new non-believers. How can the church/mission rekindle the spirit of disciple making within or outside of the church?

As a mission organization grows, it tends to take tools to accomplish each organization’s purpose. When the mission is drift according to its natural course, those tools become main thing and lose its original purpose.[25] Table 4 below shows the knowledge that a mission organization should keep is the knowledge of making disciples.

The world is globalized and its subsequent impact on local communities is deepening in ways evangelism and mission is required to connect, cooperate and integrate. For accomplishing the Great Commission, evangelism and mission should be integrated. In other words, local churches and mission organizations need to integrate ministries at home and overseas to overcome innate challenges and shortcomings in this global era.
What does the word integration mean? It is the question we need to address here first. There are several meanings of integration in Christian faith. It could mean integration between life and faith, between Sunday and weekdays, between the priest and the laity, and between evangelism and mission. Here we are focusing on integration between evangelism and mission that moves the Christian ministries in another level, because now no one can accomplish the Great Commission alone and everyone is already involved in it by globalization.
Actually it is difficult to tackle the issue of integration though it is lofty ideal based on biblical truth. Disciple making is one of the loftiest things to do and the practical tasks for church and mission to start. However, according to those three tables above tables 2, 3, 4, there are ideals and realities that do not match with each other due to silo minded ministries and myopic concepts within church and mission.
If then, we can still ask what is the locus of integration in disciple making church/mission in global setting. That is self-transcending witnessing ministry knowledge creation that is used for answering to theological/missiological inquiries derived during disciple making ministry. In other words, self-theology with discipleship making could be the locus for integrating evangelism and mission.

Here I would like to suggest the community of self-transcending knowledge for answering ministry questions derived from Asian contexts through which developing biblical global Asian self-theology is secured not just in theory but also in reality for shaping Christianity in Asia Biblically Global.
See the community’s knowledge of creation and management patterns below at table 5. Please note that even if there is a need for self-transcending knowledge, it is still necessary for ministers to acquire other forms of explicit and tacit knowledge and its subsequent creation and management skills for developing self-theology/missiology.

For each party’s role and its subsequent strength in the integration is that a local church can truly make a self-theology when they become missional through disciples – making. For a mission organization, it can truly contribute to the church by letting a local church take the lead in answering to the theological question while those organizations are sharing the gospel. This kind of facilitation and taking lead cannot be done alone.
The communities of self-theology for creating and managing knowledge for witnessing ministry could be an answer to cooperation and collaboration among kingdom minded churches/missions for God’s Kingdom. It could be a platform to integrate evangelism and missions. Every body of Christ should be connected and built around the foundation of Christ the Lord. Those churches and organizations are no longer strangers. Brothers and sisters from all over the world in Christ are no longer outsiders but citizens of the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2:19-20).

*This paper was presented at the AMA Triennial Convention, Manila, 2016.


S. David Park

Rev. Park is an ordained minister and has served in five different countries in three continents as youth pastor, mission pastor, mission origanization staff, missionary, and leader. Currently he is serving as the Regional Director for SIM CSEA (Continental & South East Asia). He has earned his Th.M. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY) and he also holds M-Div. and MA (Muslim Studies) from Columbia International University (Columbia, SC) in US. He is a strategic thinker and practitioner for facilitating leaders in the CSEA region to initiate, grow, graduate, and support team ministries.


[1] Kirk, J. Andrew. The Mission of Theology and Theology as Mission. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International. 1996, 50.
[2] Hiebert, Paul G. Anthropological Insights for Missionaries. Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Academic. 1985, 196.
[3] Hiebert (1985), 194.
[4] It is still prevalent thinking especially against contextual theology, though R. C. Sproul admitted that “no one has ever done it [systematic theological work] perfectly” in his book Everyone’s A Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing. 2014, 7.
[5] Greenman, Jeffrey P. & Green, Gene L. Global Theology in Evangelical Perspective: Exploring the Contextual Nature of Theology and Mission. Downers Grove: IL. IVP Academic. 2012, 11.
[6] Kim, Julius J. Preaching the Whole Counsel of God: Design and Deliver Gospel-Centered Sermons. Zondervan. 2015, 20.
[7] Richards, E. Randolph & O’Brien, Brandon J. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. IVP Press. 2012, 17.
[8] Darwin, Charles. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: Murray.1859.
[9] Coning, Danielle. “Reconciling self, other and God: the gospel responding to fear, guilt, and shame in Thailand”, in De Neul, Paul. Reconciling self, other and God: the gospel responding to fear, guilt and shame. SEANET XVII, 2017.
[10] Hiebert, Paul G. Transforming Worldviews: An anthropological understanding of how people change. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008, 32.
[11] See some of well-intentioned western initiated books, not without limitations, such as Globalizing Theology (ed. Ott & Netland) and Global Theology in Evangelical Perspectives (ed. Greenman & Green).
[12] Jen Calleja interviewed Deborah Smith who translated two books from Han Kang, a Korean novelist. Smith described the reality of publishing industry in UK that it is so difficult to get published if a book is written in non-European language due to implicit biases, lacking funds, and inherent conservatism.
Calleja, Jen. “Verfreundungseffekt: A Question Of Humanity – Han Kang & An Interview With Deborah Smith” The Quietus. March 6, UK. 2016, accessed March 11, 2016. http://thequietus.com/articles/19833-verfreundungseffekt-han-kang-interview-deborah-smith-tilted-axis
[13] Ashford, Bruce R. & Whitfield, Keith. “Chapter 1. Theological Method: An Introduction to the Task of Theology” in Akin, Daniel L. (ed.) A Theology for the Church, Revised Edition. B&H Publishing Group. 2014, 6-7.
[14] Calvin, John. Institutes on the Christian Religion, trans. Ford Lewis Battles; ed. John T. McNeill. Louisville: Westminster John Knox. 2006, 1.10.2.
[15] Park, S. David. Counter Contextualization, Unpublished paper, 2008.
[16] Carroll, John M. (ed). Learning in communities. University Park: PA. Springer. 2009, v.
[17] Scharmer, Claus O. “Self-transcending knowledge: Organizing around emerging realities” in Nonaka, Ikujiro & Teece, David J. (Eds.) Managing Industrial Knowledge: Creating, Transfer and Utilization. Sage Publications, 2001, 68-90, 70.
[18] Scharmer (2001a), 70.
[19] Scharmer (2001a), 71.
[20] Scharmer, Claus O. “Self-transcending knowledge: sensing and organizing around emerging opportunities” in Journal of Knowledge Management. MCB University Press. Vol. 5, No 2, 2001, 137-150, 140. Scharmer did provide the philosophical background for these three forms of knowledge in this article pp. 142-144.
[21] Scharmer (2001b), 140.
[22]  Scharmer (2001b), 137.
[23] Hiebert (2008), 229.
[24]  Leeman, Jonathan. Church Membership: How the world knows who represents Jesus. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 2012, 130.
[25] Greer, Peter & Horst, Chris. Mission Drift: the unspoken crisis facing leaders, charities, and churches. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishing. 2014, 20.

EDITORIAL: Calling, Faithfulness, and Prayer

Hebrews 3:1-2 “Therefore holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest, whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.”
Our God is a missionary. God can work independently, but works in cooperation with His people for the coming of His kingdom and for the accomplishment of His will, (Ex. 3:7-10) The writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”(Heb. 3:1) The Apostle Peter also wrote “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9) God has called and is calling both men and women and clergy and lay people to work for the kingdom of God.
God gives authority and power to His servants as he calls them for mission. (Gen. 12:1-13; Matt. 10:1; 28:18-20) Therefore, people of God, who are called by God to do his will, ought to believe that God is faithful, is with them, protects them, and provides for all their needs. What God requires of those who are called for the kingdom of God and gospel is faithfulness.
Jesus was Faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. They accomplished the mission God entrusted in them. “Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him” (Ex. 40:16). Jesus confessed, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4). How could Moses and Jesus successfully accomplish their mission God gave them to do? It was through prayer and obedience.
Mark Chapter 1 verse 35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Intimate fellowship with God through prayer was the secret of successful ministry.
Without discerning God’s will for our ministries, we cannot faithfully accomplish the mission God called us to do. True reformation, successful training of missionaries for the ministry in the creative access countries, successful support-raising, missiological research, and mission education cannot be done in the ways that pleases God. As we start a new year, let us remember that our God is a missionary God, that we are called to do His will, that he who called us for mission will provide resources, that we are required to be faithful, and that we can be faithful when we keep intimate fellowship with the Lord.

The Restoration of the Whole Gospel and the Contemporary Reformation

The year 2017 celebrated the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation. How can the spirit of the Reformation be restored in the Church of Korea which has become secularized and lost its life? The Reformation inspires us to return to the fundamentals of the gospel. We are going to look at the direction that a contemporary Reformation will need to go through an examination of what the whole gospel means.

The whole gospel does not mean to emphasize a particular section of the gospel, but includes all the contents of the gospel as recorded in the Scripture. So what is the gospel?

  1. Firstly, the whole of the Bible conveys the whole good news. God has revealed himself through the complex phenomenon of the Canon of Scripture. The gospel is to affect every dimension of creation, for it has all been ravaged by sin and evil.[1]
  2. The gospel announces as good news the historical events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (1 Cor 15:1-4). The gospel is the unchanging account of what God has done to save the world, supremely through the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news in Christ.[2]
  3. The gospel includes the good news to restore life to the people through the power of the Holy Spirit who performs miraculous healing, does miracles, and casts out demons (Lk 4:14,19; Ac 10:38).[3]
  4. The gospel produces a redeemed and regenerated humanity, a single, unified family of God. It brings about the restoration of a community of love through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is not merely a by-product but lies at the very heart of the gospel itself (Eph 3:6).[4]
  5. The gospel is a message of the ethical transformation and justice. The radical change of one’s life accompanies true faith. The gospel is not just to be believed, but obeyed. The gospel is intrinsically ethical, a matter of obedience not just belief (1 Pe 4:17).[5]
  6. The gospel is the display of God’s transforming power on the universe. The gospel is the power of God at work in history and creation to bring redemption. The gospel is the saving power of God that is transforming history and redeeming creation.[6]
  7. The gospel is to be proclaimed. It is to be preached to all nations, for they are included in God’s promise to Abraham.[7]

Therefore The Cape Town Commitment states, “We love the whole gospel.” Jesus’ ministry contained every piece of the whole gospel.[8] He preached the gospel as the Word of God, worked in the power of the Holy Spirit, he became the head of the church community, he endeavored for justice for the poor, and he worked as a missionary preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Therefore, the whole gospel is summed up as the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, church as community, social justice, and missions. With this, as background, we are going to examine what a contemporary Reformation will look like.

The Word of God is the foundation of and final authority on all faith and practice. The Word of God is both the basis and the starting point of the whole gospel. The Bible takes precedence over church tradition, personal experience, and an individual’s vision. The church of Korea, which was founded on Calvinistic traditions including Sola scriptura, considers the Word of God as precious and of sound heritage.
Sola scriptura sees no other source as having the same authority as the Bible. Only the Bible is infallible. In this view, all secondary sources of authority are derived from the authority of the Scriptures and, therefore are subject to conform to the teachings of the Bible. The intention of the Reformation was to correct the errors of the Catholic Church by appealing to the uniqueness of the Bible’s textual authority. The Catholic doctrine comes from a mixture of Church tradition and Scripture. Sola scriptura meant rejecting the view that the interpretation of the Magisterium of Scripture and Church tradition was infallible. Luther elaborates:

The Holy Scripture is the queen which must rule over all and to which all must submit and obey. No one, no matter who he may be, is allowed to be the master and judge of the Scripture, rather all must be its witnesses, disciples, and confessors. The Scripture validates itself… The church’s decision is never under any circumstances an authority standing above the word of God but only beneath it. It is not the church which authorizes the Scripture, but quite the contrary: the Scripture validates the Church… The gospel is not believed because the church confirms it, but because one recognizes that it is God’s word.[9]

Calvin also criticized the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church’s council, and the dogmatic Bible interpretation of the pope:

A most pernicious error has very generally prevailed that Scripture is of importance only in so far as conceded to it by the suffrage of the Church; as if the eternal and inviolable truth of God could depend on the will of men… On the determination of the Church, therefore, it is said, depend both the reverence which is due to Scripture and the books which are to be admitted into the canon… Paul testifies that the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets” (Eph 2:20). If the doctrine of the apostle and prophets is the foundation of the Church, the former must have had its certainty before the latter began to exist.[10]

In the view of Calvin, the Bible did not originate from men but is from God and makes us submissive beyond men’s reason and experience. It makes us wrestle with the secular ideology and ecclesiastical authority that challenge the authority of the Bible.
Today the authority of the Bible is threatened by those with liberal and syncretistic dispositions. The statement of faith and founding papers of World Council of Churches declare,

We are not to regard the Bible primarily as a standard to which we must confirm in all questions arising in our life… The Bible is not a norm imposed on us from outside… The Bible is not a patrimony from which we are free to select at will, nor is it just one source of inspiration among many.[11]

They view the authority of the Bible not as due to its inspiration but from the influence it holds in society. Consequently, they do not view the Bible as a norm for the faith and life.
The church of Korea on the whole firmly maintains the doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. Nevertheless, it’s weaknesses lie in the practice of the Word of God. The Korean church needs to thoroughly obey the Word of God by bringing it into practice in their lives. The urgent and serious problem of the contemporary church is orthopraxis which means to radically obey the Word of God and practice it in one’s daily life rather than orthodoxy which refers to the belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. The first element of the whole gospel is to believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and to thoroughly obey it.

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:18), by the Jordan river, received the baptism of and was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 3:21-22; 4:1), after forty days of prayer and fasting, Jesus received the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:14, 19; Ac 10:38) and did all of his public ministry of teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and performing miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that his disciples would receive this power and commanded them to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth only after they had received the power which comes on high (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4-5,8).
The Christian movement deserving the closest attention from the last century is Pentecostalism. The denomination that has shown the greatest growth is Pentecostal denomination. In 1995 there were 217 million ‘Denominational Pentecostals’ throughout the world.[12] In 2011 there were an estimated 279 million classical Pentecostals, making 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of the world’s Christian population. The study found ‘historically Pentecostal denominations’ to be the largest Protestant denominational family.[13]
However, there is a serious problem to solve before we accept the worldwide Pentecostal phenomenon. The core dispute relating to pneumatology has always been the relationship between the regenerational work and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here we will examine this dispute and its solution.

1. The evidence in the Bible
Jesus gave his disciples this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Ac. 1:4-5). In these verses ‘the gift my Father promised’ means ‘to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Luke refers to this earlier in Luke 24:48-49: “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” In these verses ‘what my Father promised’ means ‘to be clothed with power on high.’ Comparing the two verses on the same topic, it is clear that ‘to be clothed with power from on high’ means ‘to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Through these Bible passages, therefore, the definition of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be expressed as to receive power for the witness of the gospel.

2. Two kinds of the fullness of the Holy Spirit
In the Greek Bible two different terms are used to refer to what is called the fullness of the Holy Spirit: πλἠθηs πνεύμἀτοs άγιου and πλἠρηs πνεύμἀτοs άγιου. The first term plethes (πλἠθηs) refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as power. Meanwhile pleres (πλἠρηs) is the infilling in order to bear fruits and has no reference to power for ministry. Plethes is consistently used for the outer work of the Holy Spirit and usually refers to a brief, temporary filling. The inner work of the Holy Spirit is consistently referred to as pleres and usually refers to something that gets fuller over time until saturated. R. A. Torrey III calls pleres, the fruit of the Spirit, the internal workings of the Spirit in the believer and plethes the power that is the external, visible work of the Spirit.[14]
For instance, ‘the fullness’ in Act 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!” is written as pleres (πλἠρηs), and ‘fullness’ in Act 6:3: “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them” is recorded as plethes (πλἠθηs).
In Act 4:8, when the priests arrest Peter to prevent him from the preaching of the gospel, he is filled with the Holy Spirit in that moment and boldly witnesses to them of Jesus Christ. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in this case is a brief, temporary filling. On the other hand, the fullness of wisdom and the Holy Spirit in Act 6:3 is different from that of Act 4:8. The wisdom and character of Stephen cannot be obtained in a moment for which the people gave him respect are only obtainable through long-term obedience and discipline.
In the two cases, the fullness of the Holy Spirit of Peter is not a personal thing but a temporary empowerment. Stephen’s fullness of the Holy Spirit is personal, internal and long-term. Therefore the fullness of the Holy Spirit marked as plethes (πλἠθηs) refers to the external and temporary power of the Holy Spirit.[15] The fullness of the Holy Spirit when referred to as pleres(πλἠρηs) is an internal and personal work on a long-term basis.[16] Andreas Kostenberger defines πίμπλημι and πληρόω such that the former is a special power to witness the gospel and the latter refers to being continuously ruled by the Spirit.[17]

3. The solution to the pneumatological dispute
Evangelical and Pentecostal understandings of the role of the baptism of the Holy Spirit come from different points of view. Evangelicals see it as the infilling which starts the process of regeneration and sanctification.[18] It can be called ‘the inner work’ of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals restrict the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the initial experience of the power of the Spirit.[19] It can be called as ‘the outer work’ of the Holy Spirit. The use of the term ‘fullness of the Holy Spirit‘ can refer to both the temporary filling for an outer work of power and the long-term indwelling, inner work whose purpose is regeneration and sanctification. The theological emphasis of Evangelicals is on the inner work of the Spirit whereas the Pentecostal’s is on the outer. As a result, there are two seemingly conflicting definitions for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a result both emphasize only one aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work.
Regeneration and sanctification are tied directly to the inner work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the outer work empowers one for service and to be a witness. It is worthwhile to make a distinction between the inner and the outer workings of the Holy Spirit. It is necessary for Christians to receive both the fullness of the Holy Spirit as an outer work (Ac 2:4) and as an inner work (Eph 5:18).
Therefore, the definition the fullness of the Holy Spirit is ‘the first experience of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as outer work.’[20] The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of power. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is to be empowered with power of God for the service of God’s work and witness of the gospel.

4. The continuity of charismatic gifts as the power of the Holy Spirit

The work of the Holy Spirit entails more than regeneration and sanctification. It includes the power for service and to preach the gospel. Then we can be assured that the charismatic gifts, speaking tongues, prophecy, healing, and miracles, are well represented today.
Lloyd-Jones often mentioned that the gifts have been continuously present throughout church history including the present day.[21] The Reformed Church and traditional Evangelicals have had a tendency of ignoring the charismatic gifts. Reformed and Evangelical denominations need to recognize and seek the charismatic gifts, the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to have powerful ministries and missions.
Today is the time for Pentecostalism. The reason why churches in China and South America have experienced explosive growth is because they received the power of the Holy Spirit. The 1907 Pyongyang Revival in Korea was truly a work of the Holy Spirit like that of Pentecost to the early church and played a major role in supplying the power that propelled the growth of the Korean Church. Today the Korean Church puts special emphasis on the Word of God but pays little attention to the need for the power of the Holy Spirit. The church of Korea needs to receive both the inner and the outer work of the Holy Spirit and pursue a balanced spirituality that addresses both character and power. The power of the Holy Spirit is the second keyword of the whole gospel.

The church is the family of God that was formed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said that the church is ‘the body of Christ’ and ‘the family of God’ (Eph 3:6; 1:22-23). He also emphasized a single community in Christ is the heart of the gospel itself (Eph 2:11-19). The essential quality of the church is defined as communio sanctorum (the communion of saints).[22] The communion of saints means being part of the community which makes up the body of Christ. The Reformers declared communio sanctorum was the very essence of the church.

1. Luther and communio sanctorum
Luther taught that communio sanctorum was integral to understanding the Apostles’ Creed which stood in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church doctrine.[23] Luther’s view of the church as communio sanctorum gave him reason to reject the pope and separate from the institutional Roman Catholic church. Luther said:

The church is the communio sanctorum. This is nothing else than the community or gathering of the saints and of the godly, believing men on earth which the Holy Spirit gathers, preserves, and rules… I believe that in this community of Christendom all things are common, that the goods of each one belongs to the other, and that no one possesses anything that is his own.[24]

Luther preferred not to use the term church but opted to use congregation, assembly, or Gemeine which means a practical community of people that hold everything in common.[25] Luther’s ecclesiology puts a strong emphasis on the communal spirit of the church.

2. Calvin and communio sanctorum
Calvin also emphasized the church as community but also spoke about the necessity of church as an institution. He said, “The church is our mother, insomuch as God has committed to her the kind office of bringing us up in the faith until we attain full age.”[26] Calvin defined church as the universal church and the communion of the saints according to the Apostles’ Creed.[27] On the fellowship of saints, Calvin stated that the communio sanctorum is appropriately expressing the nature of the church.[28] Discussing the communal aspect of the church he states:

Still a community is asserted, such as Luke describes when he says, “The multitudes of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul”(Ac 4:32); and Paul when he reminds the Ephesians, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling”(Eph 4:4). For if they are truly persuaded that God is the common Father of them all, and Christ common head, they cannot but be united together in brotherly love, and mutually impart their blessings to each other.[29]

Likewise the Reformers reemphasized that the church is essentially a community through the communio sanctorum, but the contemporary Church is generally weak in the communal spirit of the church. The concept of communio sanctorum as an essential quality of the church is headed in the right direction but a lot of problems were revealed in practice within the community.

3. The Anabaptists and communio sanctorum
The Anabaptists as the third major group coming out of the Reformation thoroughly practiced communio sanctorum through community life in church history. The central concern of the Anabaptists is an attempt to reinstitute the ‘true church,’ patterned after the lifestyle of the early church.[30] The Anabaptists’ community life is an expression of a brotherhood. The Anabaptist vision can never be lived individually, but must be lived within the context of a group. Robert Friedmann, an Anabaptist scholar, sees this as being most important.

Now then, the central idea of Anabaptism, the real dynamite in the age of Reformation, as I see it, was this, that one cannot find salvation without earning for his brother, that this ‘brother’ actually matters in the personal life… This interdependence of men gives life and salvation a new meaning. It is not ‘faith alone,’ which matters… but it is brotherhood, this intimate caring for each other, as it was commanded to the disciples of Christ as the way to God’s kingdom.[31]

Thus, the Anabaptists saw the essence of the church to be found within a community of believers. Zschäbitz sees the important fact of Anabaptism in its ‘coming together in communities’ outside of the established church.[32] Therefore the basic lifestyle of the Anabaptists is community life. Whereas the Hutterite strictly practiced the community of goods, the Amish and the Mennonites lived a voluntary communal life. The Anabaptists does not deal with the communio sanctorum in a conceptual dimension, but practically practiced the community of brotherly love and tried to establish the essential quality of the church as the communio sanctorum.
One of the problems of the contemporary church is that the community of love is just confined to a conceptual status. The community should be a practical family. Many Christians do not want the church to be just a religious society but need a real family of brotherly love. So they pursue the community as a loving family by sharing their possessions. This kind of enterprise is called as ‘Christian intentional community.’ The New Commandment that Jesus gave us is ‘loving one another’ (Jn 13:34). Loving one another can be realized through the practical community life.
Protestant church has lost the authentic communal spirit of brotherly love for many centuries and the contemporary church became ‘an individualistic Christianity.’ Moreover the church of Korea had been divided into so many denominations and the essence of the gospel as a body of Christ has severely been damaged. ‘The community of real love’ is core element to recover the whole gospel. The recovery of communal spirit of the church is a significant task to move forward to the essence of the church and the whole gospel.

Jesus told us that he had come to preach the gospel to the poor (Lk 4:17-19). The gospel and justice, and justice and poverty have a deep relationship with one another. Jesus was strongly concerned for justice. “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23).
Justice appears 1,060 times in the Bible. Most versions of the Bible translates tsedaqah as ‘righteous,’ and the King James Version translates mishpat as ‘judgement,’ so people do not see the Bible’s insistence on justice. Tsedaqah means delivering, community-restoring justice, and mishpat means judgment according to right or rights, and thus judgment that vindicates the right especially of the poor or powerless.[33]
Justice is one of the key characteristic of God’s kingdom. Justice has four dimensions: (1) deliverance of the poor and the powerless from the injustice that they regularly experience; (2) lifting the foot of domineering power off the neck of the dominated and the oppressed; (3) stopping the violence and establishing peace; and (4) restoring the outcasts, the excluded, the Gentiles, the exiles and the refugees to community.[34]
When Jesus received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, he declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). It means that the poor is a primary focus of his ministry. The poor in Greek is not the poor spiritually but the poor socio-economically (ptokos). Jesus’ vision statement is a declaration of the whole gospel. The gospel that Jesus preached was not just a spiritual gospel and also not just a social gospel. The gospel of Jesus is ‘the holistic gospel’ which includes spiritual and physical problems.[35]
In Jesus’ declaration of the holistic gospel, the Evangelical and Liberal are able to get joined together and the charismatic movement and social gospel movement can be matched together. There were no needy persons in the early church, because those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and shared it with the poor (Ac 4:34). Because the New Testament church is essentially the church to be with the poor, the preaching of the gospel and social justice together can be the elements of the whole gospel.
The Scripture teaches that injustice and oppression, not laziness, are the most fundamental causes of poverty, and that God acts in history to liberate the poor and the victims of injustice. Jesus especially singled out the religious leader and economic oppression of the poor (Mt 23:1-36; Mk 12:38-40; Lk 20:45-47). God’s people bear special responsibility for the poor. Jesus intervened to bring justice and righteousness to the poor. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). And the church today, if truly righteous, should be concerned with justice for the poor.[36] The Cape Town Commitment proclaimed on the justice of the poor as follows:

All God’s people are commanded to reflect the love and justice of God in practical love and justice for the needy. Such love for the poor demands that we not only love mercy and deeds of compassion, but also that we do justice through exposing and opposing all that oppresses and exploits the poor. ‘We must not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist’… We give ourselves afresh to the promotion of justice, including solidarity and advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed.[37]

It is true that sharing life with the poor as practiced in the conservative Reformed and Evangelicals is relatively weaker than Liberals. This phenomenon is also similar in the church of Korea. If the conservative Reformed and Evangelical church which represent the value of the individualistic middle class are concerned about the poor and identify with them, it will be an obvious mark for the royalty of the kingdom of God and the stating point of fundamental reform. When the church becomes more of a church for the poor through voluntary sharing and serving, justice will practically be established and the kingdom of God will be strongly witnessed. Justice for the poor is the fourth theme of the whole gospel.

Jesus came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. The mission is the great commission that he imposed to his disciples (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15), and the last ministry that the church should carry out.
It has often been pointed out that the Reformers were indifferent to mission. But Luther should be regarded as ‘a creative and original missionary thinker.’ He provided the church’s missionary enterprise with clear and important guidelines and principles.[38]
Luther’s metaphor of the gospel is like a stone thrown into the water – it produces ripples of circular waves that move out from the center until they reach the furthest shore. In a similar way the proclaimed word of God moves out to the ends of the earth. Throughout, the emphasis is on mission not being dependent on human efforts.[39]
Calvin was more explicit, particularly since his theology took the believers’ responsibility in the world more seriously than Luther’s. Calvin’s theology holds significant resources regarding mission theology. On the whole there can be little doubt that at least Luther and Calvin propounded an essentially missionary theology. In spite of what the scholars have identified as the fundamentally missionary thrust of the Reformers’ theology, very little happened by way of missionary outreach during the first two centuries following Reformation.[40]
But the Anabaptists were involved in a remarkable program of missionary outreach during the Reformation period. The Anabaptists accepted and then radicalized Luther’s idea of the universal priesthood of believers by jettisoning special and exclusive offices and limiting a person’s ministry to a given area. This enabled them to regard all of Germany as well as the surrounding countries as mission fields, without any consideration for boundaries of parishes and dioceses. Preachers were in fact, selected and systematically sent to many parts of Europe.[41]
The Anabaptists who had been misunderstood in its essence and identity were actively involved in missionary outreach during the Reformation period. The Anabaptists were at the vanguard of missions during the Reformation period. By the middle of the sixteenth century Anabaptist missionaries were preaching in every European state. The Anabaptists were among the first to make the Great Commission mandatory for all believers. The Anabaptists were the first pioneers of Protestant missions.[42]
What are the fundamental types of mission that the Bible teaches? Jesus described two forms of mission. The first is centripetal mission through the New Commandment of loving one another, and the other is centrifugal mission through the Great Commission of preaching the gospel to the ends of the world.

1. Centripetal mission
The word centripetal means moving or tending to move towards the center. Centripetal mission is the way of mission that attracts and wins people through sincere and mature life of the Christians. The idea of centripetal mission is “Come and see.”
One of the controlling features of the Old Testament’s concept of Israel’s mission to the world is centripetal. Christian mission should be primarily centripetal through a Christian’s attractive life. The quality of Christian life is attractive. They become the attractor – not attractors to themselves, but to the God they worship. Christians are the people who attract others to God. God’s people have the task of attracting others to God, to find his blessing and salvation.[43] Jesus mentioned centripetal mission that nonbelievers could believe Jesus by seeing Christians’ community life of love (Jn 13:34-35; 17:21). KÖstenberger and O’Brien (2001: 226) remark:

The church’s mission is not to be carried out as an individualistic enterprise. The mission should rather be undergirded by the corporate life of the community, as believers reflect God’s love and unity (cf. Jn 13:34-35; 15:12; 17:11, 20-26). Where direct proclamation of the word may initially fail to persuade, the more indirect approach of providing an example of loving, unified relationships may provide the needed corroboration for the mission to succeed. Conversion to Christ necessarily involves incorporation into a Christian community.[44]

Mission is a ministry of love. Mission without love is just religious activity. To practice the community of love and to be one in the body of Christ is the pathway to being a witness for Christ’s presence in the world. This is the biblical mandate of centripetal mission. Loving each other is the basis of mission. Lausanne Movement declares that loving each other is the very dynamics of mission:

As those, then, whom God has loved from eternity to eternity and throughout all our turbulent and rebellious history, we are commanded to love one another. For ‘since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,’ and thereby ‘be imitators of God… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.’ Love for one another in the family of God is not merely a desirable option but an inescapable command. Such love is the first evidence of obedience to the gospel, the necessary expression of our submission to Christ’s Lordship, and a potent engine of world mission.[45]

2. Centrifugal mission
The word centrifugal means moving or tending to move towards the outer. Centrifugal mission is the way of mission that with deliberate efforts to win people through proclamation and persuasion.[46] The key word of centrifugal mission is “Go and preach” (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Rom 10:14-15).
Centrifugal mission includes the proclamation of the gospel. Proclamation is the act of communicating the gospel about Jesus and the gospel of Jesus. Mission includes verbal testimony, standing up to speak the truth about who is truly God and about what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to the nations. Lausanne Covenant primarily emphesizes centrifugal mission by preaching gospel.

To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe… We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world…World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.[47]

There are the two billion people who may never have heard of Jesus as Savior, and are not within reach of Christians of their own people. There are some 2,000 peoples or ethnicities in which there is not yet a vital, indigenous church movement. Centrifugal mission means to go directly to the unreached peoples and proclaim that Jesus is the Savior.[48]

3. The problem of the contemporary mission
When we mention mission, the most cited Bible verse has been Matthew 28:19-20. The mission of the past has usually been confined to centrifugal mission. There has been a tendency only to send missionaries to the mission field abroad. But the contemporary definition of mission has been changed as this: “The mission field is everywhere, including your own street – wherever there is ignorance or rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”[49] As mission was only confined to sending missionaries to cross cultural boundaries, there was the deficiency in training for missional life. That is, there was not much community of love by loving one another. David Bosch points out the problem of contemporary mission:

We may have been fairly good at orthodoxy, at ‘faith’, but we have been poor in respect of orthopraxis, of love… There has been countless councils on right believing; yet no council has ever been called to work out the implications of the greatest commandment – to love one another… The mission is the good news of God’s love, incarnated in the witness of a community, for the sake of the world.[50]

Seongho Kim pointed out that one of the most serious problems in Korean Mission today is the division and over-competition between denominations and the mission circles. Missionaries, mission agencies, and the churches are divided and perform very individualistic mission. The competition among 252 denominations is still related to mission fields and also caused division and the overlapped investments.[51]
Today the centripetal mission which preaches the gospel through a community of brotherly love as a body of Christ is urgently needed. A. T. Pierson mentioned that the mission of the united and associated Christians is the practical solution to the problem of mission.[52]
Therefore a balanced approach to mission is not just preaching the gospel cross-culturally but practicing centripetal mission according to the New Commandment of loving one another. The most desirable and balanced approach to mission is a combination of the centripetal mission practice of the New Commandment and the centrifugal mission practice of the Great Commission.[53]
It is a special blessing that the church of Korea has become a missional country for world evangelization. The church of Korea should actively participate to the overseas missions. But to perform more desirable mission, the church of Korea should overcome the phenomenon of severe division among denominations and mission agencies, and practice with balanced both centripetal mission and centrifugal mission.

When we examine the church of Korea in view of the whole gospel, it has a sound basis in the authority of the Word of God but it is weak in the practice of the Word of God. In the matter of pneumantology, the work of the Holy Spirit is biased toward regenerational and sanctifying inner work of the Holy Spirit while ignoring the power of the Spirit. As regards to community, the church is not a practical community and is in a status of conceptual community. The ministry of pursuing social justice is also very weak. In the matter of missions, overseas mission as centrifugal mission is overemphasized, but the centripetal mission as a community of love is still meager. Therefore, the church of Korea in general is severely unbalanced in view of the whole gospel.
In the church of Korea one denomination emphasizes the Word of God, another the power of the Holy Spirit, the next emphasizes community of love, a different one attaches importance to social justice, and others focus on world evangelization criticize and condemn the others. All these happen because they are sticking to just a part of the whole gospel. This is ‘the disaster of a fragmented gospel.’
A reformation is a movement to return to the fundamentals of the whole gospel. The whole gospel includes the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the community of love, and justice, and missions. All these elements of the whole gospel should be integrated into and practiced in balance in the church of Korea. In addition the church should totally be born again enough to reform the church and society. When the church of Korea sets aside individualism, narrow-mindedness, and division and starts to live out the whole gospel in balance, there will be a future of the church of Korea and the kingdom of God will be more soundly expanded on earth.

[1] Christopher Wright, “According to the Scriptures: The Whole Gospel in Biblical Revelation”, Evangelical Review of Theology Vol. 33-1(2009): 4.
[2]Lausanne Movement, The Cape Town Commitment. https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment#p1-8
[3]J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, “Signs, Wonders, and Ministry: the Gospel in the Power of the Spirit”, Evangelical Review of Theology Vol. 33-1(2009): 32-46.
[4]Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People (Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 191-92.
[5]Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 194-95.
[6]Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 197-98.
[7]Wright, “According to the Scriptures”, 18.
[9]Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther. trans. by Robert Schultz (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1966), 75.
[10] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989), 68-69.
[11]Ellen Flesseman-van Leer, The Bible: Its Authority and Interpretation in the Ecumenical Movement (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1980), 56.
[12]Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 286.
[14]R. A. Torrey III, “A Study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, in The Holy Spirit (Seoul, Youngsan Publishing House, 1981), 80-82.
[15]The instances of the fullness of the Holy Spirit recorded as πλἠθηs / πλἠθω /πίμπλημι: Ac 2:4; 4:8; 9:17; 13:9.
[16]The instances of the fullness of the Holy Spirit recorded as πλἠρηs /πληρόω: Ac 6:3; 6:8; 7:55; 11:24; 13:52; Eph 5:18.
[17]Andreas J. Kőstenberger, “What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?: A Biblical Investigation”, JETS 40/2 (June 1997), 229–240.
[18]The Evangelical scholars such as John Stott, John Walvoord, and Donald Bridge insist that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the first indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration. See John Stott, The Baptism and Fullness of the Holy Spirit (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1964), 2; John Walvood, The Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1954), 139-140; Donald Bridge and David Phyper, Spiritual Gifts and the Church (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1973), 115.
As an evangelical Lloyd-Jones opposes the theory of John Stott on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Martyn Lloyd Jones defines the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the baptism of power of the Holy Spirit for the special service. See Lloyd-Jones (1996:135). Long and Mcmurry as the Evangelicals, also support Lloyd-Jones’ pneumatology. See Zeb Bradford Long and Douglas Mcmurry, Receiving the power: Preparing the Way for the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Book, 1996), 79-106.
[19]Pentecostal scholars such as Rodman Williams, Don Basham, and Thomas Smail insist that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the first impartation of the supernatural power and gifts for the service of God’s work after regeneration. See Williams (1996:181-208); Don Basham, A Handbook on the Holy Spirit Baptism (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House,1969), 4 ; Thomas Smail, Reflected glory: the Holy Spirit in Christ and Christians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1976), 143.
[20] Torrey III, “A study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, 84.
[21]D. M. Lloyd-Jones, God the Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 370.
[22]Lewis Berkof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983), 562-564.
[23]Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 294.
[24]Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 304.
[25]Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 295, 296-7.
[26]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 279.
[27]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 281-82.
1[28]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 282.
[29]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 282-83.
[30]Franklin Littell, The Origins of Sectarian Protestantism: A Study of the Anabaptist View of the Church (New York: Macmillan Company, 1964), 151-152.
[31]Robert Friedmann, “On Mennonite Historiography and on Individualism and Brotherhood”, Mennonite Quarterly, Vol. 18 (1944), 121.
[32]Gerhard Zschäbitz, Zur Mitteldeutschen Wiedertäufer Bewegung nach dem Grossen Bauernkrieg. (Berlin: Rutten und Loening,1958), 76.
[33]Glen H. Satssen and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Groves, IL: IVP, 2003), 345.
[34]Satssen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 349.
[35]. Hyun-Jin Kim, A Theology of Community (Seoul: Jeyoung Publishing House, 1989), 325.
[36]Howard A. Snyder, Liberating the Church: The Ecology of Church and Kingdom (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1983), 235-37.
1[38] David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1991), 244.
[39]Bosch, Transforming Mission, 244-45.
[40]Bosch, Transforming Mission, 245-47.
[41]Wolfgang Schäufele, Das missionarische Bewusstsein und Wirken der Täufer (Neukirchen-Vluyn:Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1966), 74, 141-182.
[42]Hyun-Jin Kim, “A Study on the Missions of the Anabaptists of the Sixteenth Century”, The Korean Society of Mission Studies, 37(2014): 134.
[43]Wright, The Misison of God’s People, 128-129, 149.
[44]Anderas KÖstenberger and Peter O’Brien, Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2001), 226.
[45] The Cape Town Commitment. https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment#p1-9
[46]Arthur Glasser & Donald McGavran, Contemporary Theology of Mission (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), 64.
[47] https://www.lausanne.org/content/covenant/lausanne-covenant.
[49]Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 27.
[50]Bosch, Transforming Mission, 519.
[51]Seongho Kim, “The Reform of Korean Mission and the Proposal”, The Korean Society of Mission Studies, the 9th Conference. 2017. 29.
[52] Dana L. Robert, Occupy Until I Come: A. T. Pierson and the Evangelization of the World (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 71.
[53]Hyun-Jin Kim, A Theology of Community, 418-19.

Dr. Hyun-Jin Kim is the Professor of Missiology, Pierson Graduate School of Theology at Pyongyaek University, South Korea. He is also the Director of Koinonia Community in Tae-an.
He received Ph. D. from North West University.

Creative Access Mission – Indigenous Training in Chinese Church

According to Operation World edited by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Asia is still the most populous and the least-evangelized area of the world (2001:39-41). Among the East Asian countries, more than 80 percent of the population resides in creative-access regions (Prescott 2001:3-4). “Creative-access regions” are countries where there is a political barrier to missionary entry and missionary service. These governments seek to prevent or restrict efforts at evangelization from foreign support; in particular, they deny entry to those identified as missionaries. However, although creative-access regions may be closed to traditional forms of mission, they are rarely closed to all foreigners. Many Christian professionals have found ways to access these regions creatively as professionals in secular fields, such as English teachers or medical doctors. Though direct proclamation of the gospel in this context may not be possible, the way these Christian professionals live in a non-Christian world has a significant impact on non-Christians’ perception about the gospel of the kingdom. It is not by word or act alone but also by their presence; sometimes their presence is itself a threat to the government. Perhaps in these situations overt witness is severely limited and a witness by life becomes the primary means.
Christian professionals are on the missionary frontier in the twenty-first century creative-access mission. They have the primary responsibility to share the good news of the kingdom to the needy. Consequently, a widespread need for better formation of Christian professionals in the faith becomes increasingly clear in today’s churches. However, the complexity of today’s life in this world has made it difficult to design and establish an equipping ministry that is effective and manageable. This rapidly developing mission trend needs to be presented as both challenge and invitation to all Christian professionals as they begin to be equipped for mission.
In the Asian context, the spontaneous expansion of the Chinese church forces us to rethink the strategy of training next generation leaders. In the past, Chinese Church receives much help from the western missionaries. Today, many local pastors, with limited theological training, have taken major role in leading churches in Mainland China. These leaders also catch a vision to share the gospel cross-culturally within China and beyond. However, some church leaders argue that Chinese Christians do not need cross-cultural training in order to be missionaries in their home country. The church continues to send more and more workers to serve cross-culturally from Han to minority, but without sufficient training and preparation. The need for equipping these cross-cultural missionaries are urgent.
In the past, mission responsibility in the church has been limited to a small number of specially trained and specially “called” professional missionaries and/or ministers. The underlying mentality has rendered God’s people passive. For the rest of this paper, we attempt to unfold the difficulties in releasing the underdeveloped resource of laity in the Western church. The rapidly expansion of the Chinese church forces us to rethink the strategies for indigenous leadership training in a more relevant context. Instead of only sending the elite, the whole people of God should be actively involved with cross-cultural mission. Developing a conceptual framework for a more inclusive curricular design that is theologically rigorous and contextually appropriate for these cross-cultural workers who have a heart for the Great Commission is urgently needed in response to the rapidly developing creative-access mission in this century.

Four difficulties in releasing the underdeveloped resource of Christian professionals have been identified in the Western church by Po (2004:59-60):

    1. Passivity of the laity. One of the regrettable characteristics of the church today is the passivity of the laity. Many Christians just let others take up responsibilities while they themselves remain passive and disinterested in church business. The pastors are hired to get certain jobs done in the church. Apparently this problem is widely recognized by pastors and acknowledged by the laity. There are many reasons for the passivity of the laity: hierarchical organization in church offices, domination by intellectual meritocracy, and common misunderstanding of Christian vocation in the church.
    2. Hierarchical organization. There has been a mounting criticism that the church has adopted hierarchical structures, similar to many secular organizations. Thus, there are some people who are perceived to be more important than others. This criticism is particularly true in the Chinese culture, where relationships such as teacher-student and employer-employee are hierarchical. The church will not get far in equipping the whole people of God for mission in such a hierarchical organization.
    3. Domination by intellectual meritocracy. The criticism that church leadership is dominated by intellectual meritocracy is more widely heard among laypersons than among the clergy. In many churches, status is earned by knowing. Ted W. Ward has rightly criticized the situation in most mainline denominational churches: “Once a magic bag of merit is in one’s possession, it can be traded for honor and prestige (plus a salary) at the friendly local church, and thus one maintains oneself – career and salary – more in terms of what one knows than what one is” (1996:29).

Misunderstanding of Christian vocation. Both the clergy and the laity tend to limit their understanding of Christian vocation as a call to the priesthood or religious life. In other words, pastors are called to full-time service in churches, and missionaries are called to serve cross-culturally. Ministry outside the church is rarely recognized and seldom rewarded. Ordinary Christians do not know or at least they are not taught that their daily work ought to be undertaken as a divine service to the glory of God. Consequently, the impact by the laity to witness for Christ at work is diminished.

In response to the trends of rapidly developing Chinese church, we need to rethink the strategies of training leaders in the new century. Unlike the leadership training in the West which is dominated by intellectual meritocracy, many church leaders in the Chinese church are from grass root. They have minimum education and limited theological training but they take up important role in leading the church. Many lay pastors work in the secular world and serve in the church. The theological understanding of Christian vocation and the meaning of “calling” need to be addressed in a cultural appropriate way. The rapid development of house church movement further flattens the hierarchical structure of the church. There is a great potential of releasing the underdeveloped resource of laity in the Chinese church. In the next section, we attempt to address several issues related to equipping lay leaders in the context of Chinese Church.

As Chinese Church plays an increasing role in cross-cultural mission, it is urgent to give attention to prepare the workers. A holistic equipping approach for kingdom workers requires an ongoing process of decision-making to keep the process theologically sound and contextually appropriate.
The purpose of indigenous cross-cultural training is the first question to be answered. The answer to the question of “why?” then becomes the principal guiding value along the way. The purpose of training cross-cultural missionaries in Chinese Church is to equip them for serving in creative-access regions. One of the main goals of leadership development is to multiply emergent spiritual leaders. As emphasized by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, he committed to Timothy the task of entrusting what he had learned to faithful men who would teach others also (2 Ti. 2:2). Paul repeatedly demonstrated the importance of this expectation of leaders in his own ministry. Thus, the equipping of cross-cultural missionaries should focus not only on expanding God’s kingdom, but also on the lifelong development of individuals.
However, education is geared to the political and economic ends in Chinese culture. Individual needs are not regarded as an area of high priority. As pointed out by Daniel D. Pratt, for the Chinese, human rights are derived from the society; there can be no such thing as individuals claiming rights against the society (1991:294). Rights are presented as privileges that can be granted or withheld by the state, depending upon the political or economic conditions. In addition, the emphasis within China on superior-inferior relations, obedience and order, and the maintenance of stability at the expense of individual rights indicates a good deal of external control and sanction which affect people’s identity (1991:295). This is obviously different from the Western culture in the sense that education is the expression and cultivation of individuality. As a result, the Chinese education system is more rigid than the Western ones. The difference in the Chinese culture and the Western culture helps us to reexamine the aims of equipping next generation cross-cultural missionaries in Chinese Church.
Two types of people need to be identified in any training system, the trainees as well as the trainers. When applied to training cross-cultural missionaries, the learner selection functions as a confirmation of one’s calling. It is important for the leaders of the church to broaden their theological understanding of missionary calling, not only limited to a special group of professional missionaries doing church planting and direct evangelism, but also recognizing tent-makers teaching Chinese in the third world as bi-vocational missionaries of special calling and special training. These tent-makers have been welcomed by the government in creative-access regions as medical doctors, engineers, social workers, teachers, and others. They can make use of their natural abilities, acquired skills, and spiritual gifts to serve the local people in creative-access regions and can bring new opportunities for service to the kingdom. The role of Christian professionals in the marketplace will be strengthened if they reckon all gifts and talents to be blessings from God.
The rapidly growing Chinese church has forced the leaders to rethink the strategy for training lay pastors to serve cross-culturally. These lay pastors are called to follow Jesus and they may not have rigorous theological and/or cross-cultural training. Due to limited resource in the church, many lay pastors have to work in the business world (tentmaking) in order to reduce the financial burden of the church. Many of these lay pastors are called to serve cross-culturally, ministering from one province to another, from Han to minority people group.
Ideally the trainers also serve as mentors to their trainees. The trainers should have cross-cultural missionary experience so that they can empathize with their trainees and identify with the challenges and hardships their trainees will face. They should be healthy spiritual examples in faith, prayer, commitment to Christ and passion for cross-cultural mission. They will be seen as models by those they train. The trainees will tend to repeat their trainers’ views, reflect the trainers’ lifestyles, including spiritual, family and ministry.
The content of any Christian leadership training program is the whole gospel and the obedience it requires. The focus should be on the long-term effectiveness of the person who is serving rather than just a short-term engagement (Elliston 1999:247). In the creative-access context, three major areas of preparation are identified to equip cross-cultural missionaries in the Chinese Church.
(1) Work theology and job skills
For equipping cross-cultural workers, an often neglected area in the Chinese Church is the practice of the “cultural mandate.” The “cultural mandate” often refers to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it,” recorded in Genesis 1:28. Many leaders of the Chinese Church assume that equipping their members is mainly a “spiritual” ministry. They have invested most of the resources in training Bible study and personal evangelism leaders; for example, though these areas should not be neglected. Facing the tremendous changes in the twenty-first century “creative-access” mission, the Chinese Church needs to reevaluate the feasibility and suitability of the current leadership training program. In particular, the training program must include a wide range of content, such as spiritual formation, development of relational skills, Christian vocation, theology of work, theology of presence, ethics in the workplace, lay leadership training, and spiritual gifts in order to address issues that have long been overlooked.
(2) Spiritual life and Christ-like character
If the missionary candidates have no healthy relationship with Jesus, it is difficult for them to convince others to put their faith in Jesus. If the missionary candidates do not learn and practice the total dependence on God and the power of the Holy Spirit while they are in the pre-field training whether in church or in the market place, it is difficult to project how they can cope with the challenges after being sent to the mission field.
The pre-field training should emphasize Christ-like character development of the missionary candidates. The spiritual qualities of an elder or deacon, recorded in the Pastoral Epistles, focus not on academic credentials or ministry skills (except the ability to teach), but on Christ-like character development. Paul had proved his courage to preach the gospel cross-culturally and Barnabas was well known as a good man who was able to encourage others. They were both regarded as trustworthy.
In the Mission history to China, some western missionaries tended to feel a sense of superiority. After two hundred years, the Chinese church is mature and is ready to send out missionaries to different parts of the world, but they tend to repeat the same mistakes that their western colleagues did. Han Chinese also tends to feel a sense of superiority towards the minority. They may not want to invest time to study the minority language with the misconception that Mandarin Chinese language is sufficient. Duane Elmer asked local Christians around the world what missionaries could do to more effectively minister the gospel in various cultures and the answer is that “they did not think they were so superior to us” (2006:15). Thus the character development of humility and self-awareness is vital in the pre-field training. David Harley summaries the main issues as:

“Many missionaries today, wherever they come from, show a desire to be in control, to want to introduce new programs, to tell the local people what they need and what they ought to do, to impose on them new ways of doing things, new patterns of worship, new styles of church leadership. This is just another form of imperialism, which militates against the growth of a healthy, mature, national church” (2009:74).

(3) Biblical, theological, and cross-cultural training
Church growth in contemporary China moves from rural to urban. In the past, local pastors from villages have minimum Bible training but they played a key role in leading the rural churches. Moving from rural to urban poses a big challenge to today’s Chinese churches. What types of training and/or education are needed in order for these pastors to be effectively ministered their own people – indigenous leadership development?
In my past fourteen years of cross-cultural training experience in China, one of the main challenges is that the trainees lack the ability to reflect missiologically. That is, the ability to reflect and learn from the past, either succeed or failure. If the next generation Chinese missionaries can learn from their predecessors, they will be able to repeat their success and avoid their mistakes.
Many missionary candidates do not know enough about the part of the world in which they are called to serve. For example, those who are called to serve the Muslim need to dedicate more time for Muslim ministry before heading to the mission field, love and care the Muslim neighbor, read books about Muslim by both Western and non-Western authors. The trainees need to develop their own theology of mission.
The delivery system provides the mechanism for conveying missiological education to the learners. To have an optimally effective delivery system, one needs to balance contextually three basic training modes[1] and to give attention to the educational media and technologies to be used. The delivery system also serves as a significant formational influence on the learner. Elliston suggests some variables of the delivery system that need to be tailored to the local context: (1) the balance between self-directed learning and teacher-directed learning, (2) the balance between extraction from the ministry setting and extension of the learning to it, and (3) the focus on the dominant learning styles of the students (1996:248).
The teacher-directed learning fits more for the traditional Chinese learning style especially the learners are from the grass root. Non-formal or informal training may be more appropriate. Moving from rural to urban, from grass root to intellectuals, if the learners participate in the design of the learning, they will learn to design. Upon receiving the calling from the Lord, these Christians become highly motivated and highly independent to learn, they should be able to learn by themselves with minimum supervision. Thus, incorporating some kind of self-directed studies into a formal training setting seems feasible to meet the needs of these Christians for their lifelong development. In addition, since the high-technology media is accessible to these Christians, they can complete the studies in the mission field without being extracted from the ministry. Finally, Christians need to break with their old passive learning styles and adapt themselves by seeking a more self-directed approach to equipping in response to their calling to serve in creative-access regions. It is a paradigm shift of training culture in the Chinese Church.
To optimize effectiveness, timing is an important issue to consider when designing training programs for Chinese cross-cultural workers. Flexibility in timing within the training programs reflects a contemporary value that affects virtually every dimension of modern life. In other words, how can the timing be adjusted to best accomplish the purpose, given the constraints of these other variables? (Elliston and Kauffman 1993:159-160)
The non-formal and the informal modes of training are typically more flexible and shorter in terms of individual learning segments. They often fit better with in-service training. This is perhaps the trend of training cross-cultural workers in the Chinese church. Many Chinese Church leaders even argue that there is no need for formal theological/missiologically training for their co-workers. However, Elliston rightly reminds us that the Apostle Paul’s formal education was put to a very good use for the strengthening of the church (1999:250). One should not, therefore, totally decry formal education. Sherwood Lingenfelter also suggests a way to return the university to the service of the Church and the kingdom by refocusing on mission (1999:123). In the Chinese Church tradition, many local pastors do not receive formal theological training, and thus they are considered to be the second class to a group of professional missionaries with special calling and special training. With flexible design in the training programs, these pastors can pursue formal training without interrupting their service in the mission field and the church.
Universities and seminaries should be able to make some significant timing adjustments, such as offering evening or weekend classes, one-week intensive courses, or self-directed learning programs, to allow students to complete a formal degree. Some degree programs even relax the residency requirement so that students can get the degree without coming to the campus. The training program, a combination of course work and fieldwork, structures the offering in such a way that students can complete the degree according to the individual’s time span.
The venue for equipping cross-cultural workers is the mission field, the community and the workplace. The general principle is that the venue where equipping is done should be as similar as possible to the projected ministry environment and the local people to be served (Elliston and Kauffman 1993:161-162). Flexibility and creativity with the venue may be fostered in many ways, including offering intensive courses, extension courses, and self-directed studies through the use of advanced telecommunications technologies. Many on-the-job training and/or internship are offered to equip these cross-cultural workers. The pressing need is the availability of the mentors with cross-cultural competency

Looking toward for the trend of leadership development in Asia in the twenty-first century, the laity becomes the mission frontier. The equipping of Christian professionals from the West requires a paradigm shift in order to release the full potential of the laity in the church. In the context of Chinese house church movement, the tremendous church growth requires rapid multiplication of leaders and mutual equipping. However, this shift from authoritarian to shared participation may be threatening to the existing leadership hierarchy in the Chinese culture. It challenges the leaders’ spiritual authority. Though the mission tasks are many, the following recommendations center on the people to be developed.
Develop An Integrated and Lifelong Learning Perspective
Acknowledging the difference between Chinese and Western culture, the leaders of the Chinese Church must place greater emphasis on the lifelong development of cross-cultural workers according to an individual’s potential. Not only does this help with sharpening individual’s ministry skills, but also enable individual to do more missiological reflection in order to reduce the failure rate in the mission field.
Implement Self-Directed Formal Training
Self-directed formal training is desirable for lifelong development of cross-cultural workers. They can receive a formal training in intercultural studies in a self-directed learning mode in a few years while serving in the mission field. This approach to learning combines the advantages of the other two training modes—informal and non-formal; namely, practicality and flexibility. It helps to raise the competency of the cross-cultural workers.
Exercise Mutual Equipping and Empowerment in a Cultural Appropriate Way
Empowering others requires working beside them without holding them back. The Biblical leadership figure is Barnabas. When Barnabas and Paul went to Cyprus, the people observed that Barnabas was in charge (cf. Ac. 13:1–13). After leaving, Barnabas continued his growth-encouraging role by following Paul. Barnabas empowered Paul and was not afraid to see Paul lead. No longer were they referred to as “Barnabas and Saul,” but now as “Paul and Barnabas” (Ac. 15:36). More spiritual mentors like Barnabas are needed in today’s Chinese Church.
<strong>Undertake Research and Development in Creative-Access Mission
The Chinese church needs to invest more resources towards research and development in creative-access mission so that it will not establish a long term dependency from the West. The commitment is high, as much as the commitment to take up the cross and follow Jesus Christ.

Reference cited:
Elliston, Edgar J.
1996. “Moving Forward from Where We Are in Missiological Education.” In Missiological Education for the 21st Century. J. Dudley Woodberry, Charles Van Engen, and Edgar J. Elliston, ed. Pp. 232-256. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
1999. “Moving Forward In Missiological Education.” In Teaching Them Obedience In All Things: Equipping for the 21st Century, Evangelical Missiological Society Series. Number 7. Edgar J. Elliston, ed. Pp.240-278.
Elliston, Edgar J., and J. Timothy Kauffman
1993. Developing Leaders for Urban Ministries. New York: Peter Lang.
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Lingenfelter, Sherwood
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* This paper was presented at the Group Session of the AMA Convention in Manila, 2016.

[1] Available online at http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/home/diaspora (accessed July 6, 2015).

Dr. Hau-Ming Lewis Chau received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California at Los Angeles (1989) and Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary (2002). He has been serving in China since 2002. He is actively partnering with a network of local churches for leadership development. His vision is to see the local church in China actively involve with cross-cultural mission.