“The religious genius of India is the richest in the world, the forms that it has taken have often been the most extravagant, sometimes degrading and cruel. These forms are falling away, or will fall away, but the spirit persists and will be poured through other forms. As that genius pours itself through Christian molds it will enrich the collective expression of Christianity. But in order to do that the Indian must remain Indian. He must stand in the stream of India’s culture and life and let the force of that stream go through his soul so that the expression of his Christianity will be essentially Eastern and not Western. . . This does not mean that Indian Christianity will be denied what is best in Western thought and life, for when firmly planted on its own soil it can then lift its antennae to the heavens and catch the voices of the world. But it must be particular before it can be universal. Only thus will it be creative – a voice, not an echo.” E. Stanley Jones, “The Christ of the Indian Road” (1925) • See also, Timothy Tennent, “Building Christianity on Indian Foundations” • Joseph Padinjarekara, “Christ in the Ancient Vedas” Mission as Cargo, Communication or Transformation? What are we really about? Jerald Whitehouse April 7, 2012 Mission as Cargo The Gospel Sender missionary Receiver – “heathen” Mission as Communication The Gospel understood in context Sender’s culture Receiver’s culture Feedback • A new fuel tanker arrives on site in Qatar. • The newly appointed American manager tells the Indian supervisor to ensure that the new tanker is clearly labelled: • “Diesel Fuel” in Arabic and “No Smoking” in Arabic. • This is what he got ... Mission as Transformation God’s Story Community’s new story Community’s Story Our shared story Our new story Our Story • “Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on men’s dreams. More serious still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival. We have, then, to ask what is the authentic religious content in the experience of the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, or whoever he may be. We may, if we have asked humbly and respectfully, still reach the conclusion that our brothers have started from a false premise and reached a faulty conclusion. But we must not arrive at our judgment from outside their religious situation. We have to try to sit where they sit, to enter sympathetically into the pains and griefs and joys of their history and see how those pains and griefs and joys have determined the premises of their argument. We have, in a word, to be ‘present’ with them.” John V. Taylor, “The Primal Vision,” (1963), p. 10, 11 (in the introduction by M.A.C. Warren) God is there before the missionary “Outside the Jewish nation there were men who foretold the appearance of a divine instructor. These men were seeking for truth, and to them the Spirit of Inspiration was imparted. One after another, like stars in the darkened heavens, such teachers had arisen. Their words of prophecy had kindled hope in the hearts of thousands of the Gentile world.” DA 33 • “The light of God is ever shining amid the darkness of heathenism. As these magi studied the starry heavens, and sought to fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths, they beheld the glory of the Creator. Seeking Clearer knowledge, they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures. In their own land were treasured prophetic writings that predicted the coming of a divine teacher. Balaam belonged to the magicians, though at one time a prophet of God; by the Holy Spirit he had foretold the prosperity of Israel and the appearing of the Messiah; and his prophecies had been handed down by tradition from century to century. But in the Old Testament the Saviour’s advent was more clearly revealed.” DA 59,60 The Light that enlightens every man • John 1:4,5,9 “The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. . .This was the real light – the light that comes into the world and shines on all mankind.” • Romans 1:20 “Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all!” Faith development takes place in context • It is far more effective to develop faith – the spiritual life – in the local context, rather than import the context of faith and invite them to join. God’s list of “closed” countries?? •NA The Focus of Mission is a “Kingdom” Focus You cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you are born again. Isa al Masih (Jesus), Injil Kingdom of God Christian KINGDOM + Humility, teachablness + Love + Grace + Faith relationship with God + Born again (new heart) + Forgiveness + Service SDA 2 1 Muslim Who is Allah? More specifically can “Allah” be considered a correct term to be used to translate elohim or theos of scripture? This is an initial question that is frequently raised in discussions of Islam. • Christians have used the word Allah from pre-Islamic times until today. It is the translation of elohim and theos used in all Arabic translations of scripture and in religious speaking in the Christian Arabic world. • From the beginnings of contacts between Jews, Christians, and Muslims there was use of Allah that enabled them to enter into common discussion about biblical content and to dialogue with one another. • YHWH in the Arabic Bible is transliterated as yahwah or translated as rabb (Lord), corresponding to the Jewish custom of using adonai in place of saying the divine name. Allah, cont. • Allah has been used in Biblical translations in nearly all languages used by Muslim communities in the Middle East, Africa and most of Asia. The most obvious exception would be the use of khoda in Persian. Swahili retains the traditional name for the Supreme Being, Mungu. In the Bangali translation, Ishwar, the Hindu common word for the Supreme Being is used in the traditional William Carey translation (1809). However, the recent Muslim Bengali Common Language Bible (2000) uses Allah. • When Malaysia attempted to pass legislation forbidding the use of Allah in non-Muslim publications or Bible translations, Christian and other faith communities objected since they have no other word to use in its place. • Allah is the linguistic cognate of Elloh, Ellohim. Three Abrahamic faith traditions • All three Abrahamic monotheistic religions claim to worship one supreme being, the Creator of the universe, Lord, Sustainer and attribute similar characteristics of omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. However, each of the monotheistic faiths will describe characteristics of the supreme being or certain roles and relationships differently. However, this would be insufficient argument to justify using different words for the supreme being. As Kenneth Cragg notes: • “We reduce everything to chaos if we suggest that disparate predicates do not relate to the identical ‘subject’ to whom they are ascribed, as if there could be, in truth, ‘gods many and lords many’ corresponding to all the confused concepts, however, numerous and contradictory. Thus, the answer to the vexed question, ‘Is the God of Islam and the God of the Gospel the same?’ can only rightly be ‘Yes!’ And ‘No!’ Yes, as the common ground of all we say in partial unison: No, insofar as our convictions diverge.” Kenneth Cragg, Muhammad and the Christian, (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1984, p. 124, quoted in Thomas, Ibid. • “All of these people use the same word ‘God’ to refer to the same entity, yet they have different concepts of who God is. The significance is this: One cannot change a person’s concept of God merely by changing the name he uses for God. Any name that denotes God for someone will evoke that person’s concept of God. What is required for reconceptualization is new information about God that will change the concept itself, and that is the task of the Bible” Rick Brown, “Who is ‘Allah’?” International Journal of Frontier Missions, 23:2 Summer 2006, p. 81 Allah, the moon god? The accusation that Allah is the Arab Moon-god as proposed by Robert Morey in his book The Moon-God: Allah In The Archeology Of The Middle East, has been dealt with at some length by M S M Saifullah, Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi and Abdullah David and will not be covered here. In brief, Morey simply plays fast and loose with the “archeological evidence”. The noted article systematically reviews the archeological examples and notes that there is simply no evidence to support Morey’s position. “Reply to Robert Morey’s MoonGod Allah Myth: A Look at the Archaeological Evidence,” www.islamicawareness.org/Quran/Sources/Allah/moongod.html. “There is no inscription that identifies Allah as a moon god or as a pagan deity. This contrasts with the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English words for God, all of which descend from words that were commonly used by pagans in reference to pagan deities. So the name Allah is freer of pagan roots than are these other names!” Rick Brown, Ibid The missional bottom line “As far as Islamic texts such as the Qur’an are concerned, Allah is the same God as the God of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. However this claim is viewed, contextualization has to engage with the understanding of God that already exists in the culture, no matter how dim, distorted or incomplete individual Christians may believe that understanding to be. Whilst this engagement will certainly not be uncritical, wholesale rejection of all notions of ‘God’ found in the Islamic context will leave very little basis on which to develop a contextualization. It is therefore necessary to reserve expressing judgment on the ontology behind the linguistic form, in order to avoid a complete disjunction with the culture, and allow the possibility of some bridge to communication of Biblical Christology existing. This accords with Paul’s use of ό θεός to refer to the God who made the world and everything in it, without implying any identification with pagan gods such as Zeus.” Martin Parsons, Unveiling God: Contextualizing Christology for Islamic Culture, (William Carey Library: 2005), p. xxx.