Sunday, April 22, 2012

Abu Daoud on Christ at the Checkpoint 2012

Christ at the Checkpoint was a conference in March of 2012 over in the (not) charming town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Yours truly was able to attend, as were folks from all around the Middle East. Well, not Libya--I didn't meet anyone from Libya there. But then again, there really aren't many Christians in Libya, are there?

But back to the point. You can check out the website here and let me tell you, those guys who put it together sure were sharp in terms of technology! So lots of stuff at the website. All in all this was a full, frontal assault on Christian Zionism and I must say that I--wait, if you want to know what I thought about it read the stinkin' article at St Francis Magazine.

Finally, I do want to note that I enjoyed my Palestinian sojourn. It's a land I had visited from time to time over the years, but had never really connected with people there like I did over that busy week in March.

Do let me know if you have any comments or questions. I do think the material presented there has the capacity to move evangelicals away from their Zionism, which had the Jerusalem rabbis shaking in their boots and writing articles.

Here is a section of the article:

In addition to the responsible handling of Scripture, there were some other great strengths, and they outweigh the complaints. Foremost among these is the emphasis on nonviolence, which Sami Awad emphasized, and which was the topic of his movie “Little Town of Bethlehem” (Hanon 2010). Also refreshing was the refusal of the Palestinian speakers to build their identity around victimization. Colin Chapman [the PDF has the wrong surname here, not sure why--AD] spoke on “radical” Islam, and in his own irenic manner helped address this difficult topic, but more on this later. Salim Munayer spoke passionately on communicating with Jews, and especially Messianic Jews. Salim and Colin did a good job arguing that we must get past labels and “othering” (though I hate to borrow such a trendy term from the whorehouse that is Western academia). I was waiting for someone to quote the great philosopher Wayne Campbell, who said, “If you label me, you deny me” (in Spheeris 1992, though some attribute this quote to the Danish Lutheran Soren Kierkegaard). These two factors—a clear renunciation of all violence and a refusal to be victims—stood out to me as great strengths of this local community of believers.

Read it all HERE.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mission 'ad gentes', frontier missions, and church planting

The mission ad gentes has this objective: to found Christian communities and develop churches to their full maturity. This is a central and determining goal of missionary activity, so much so that the mission is not completed until it succeeds in building a new particular church which functions normally in its local setting.

Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, §48

Sometimes evangelicals and Catholics have a hard time understanding each other. One example of this is that in Catholic thought mission to the totally unevangelized, where there is no church at all, is called mission 'ad gentes', which is Latin for 'to the nations' more or less. Evangelicals don't use Latin (and don't know it usually), but they use a very American image for this same endeavor: frontier mission. This word is present even in the name of missionary agencies like Frontiers (a major player) and Anglican Frontier Missions (a minor player).

What I like about this quote above is that it ties in frontier mission to planting churches, and not ust making a handful of converts here or there. I believe that the truth announced in this section of Redemptoris Missio is agreeable to both Catholics and evangelicals. If anything is sad, it is that both Catholics and evangelicals invest far too little in this essential missionary endeavor.

What do you think? Is your church active in frontier mission 'ad gentes'? How so?