David J. Bosch, TransformingMission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission
Introduction• Wider Crisis – Advance of Science & Technology – West is being de-Christianized – No more "Christian" vs "nonChristian" world – Western Church & Christians suffer from guilt due to past wrongs they have done – World is divided between the rich & the poor • & the rich ones are the Christians – Western predominance in ecclesial ways, practices, & theology is waning. – New theologies are rising in prominence.
Bosch’s Thesis"It is in fact the thesis of this book that the eventswe have been experiencing at least since WorldWar II & the consequent crisis in Christian missionare not to be understood as merely incidental &reversible. Rather, what has unfolded in theological& missionary circles during the last decades is theresult of a fundamental paradigm shift, not only inmission or theology, but in the experience &thinking of the world" (4).
Foundation of Mission• Foundations of Mission• Motives& Aims of Mission• Nature of Mission
Supernatural & Natural Foundation• Supernatural Foundation – Great Commission – The Nature of the Christian Faith as being one faith• Natural Foundation – Superiority of Christianity when compared with others – Acceptability & adaptability of Christians to all peoples & conditions – Superior achievements of Christian mission in the "mission fields" – Christianity is Stronger than the other religions
Impure Motives• Imperialist motive – making the natives docile• Cultural motive – transfer the missionarys "superior" culture• Romantic Motive – Go to far away lands & exotic cultures• Ecclesiastical Colonialist Motive – export own beliefs & church to other places
Theological Motives• Conversion Motive – too personal• Eschatological Motive – too focussed on the next life that this life is ignored• Church Planting Motive – too focussed on church being Gods kingdom• Philanthropic Motive – too focussed on idea that Gods reign = an improved society
Evaluation• These have been found inadequate. – An inadequate foundation for mission leads to unsatisfactory missionary practice• Ultimately the “success of the Christian mission became the foundation for mission. – The argument went something like this: Because Christianity is superior to other religions, the other religions will ultimately fade away & Christianity will emerge as the superior one. – But this never happened!
Results of the Evaluation• Some pulled completely out of mission.• Others kept the dream alive & perpetuated the systems that had been developed.
The Reality?• There is a crisis in missions today.• We need to acknowledge it but keep moving forward!• Bosch’s solution: – “We require a new vision to break out of the present stalemate toward a different king of missionary involvement – which need no mean jettisoning everything generations of Christians have done before us or haughty condemnations of all their blunders.” – But we need to look at what has happened in order to understand what will happen.
Bosch’s Assumptions1. The Christian faith is intrinsically missionary.2. Missiology is a branch of theology.3. Ultimately mission is indefinable.4. Christian mission seeks to understand the relationship between God& the world.5. The Bible can not be treated simply as a storehouse of truth, therefore there are no “laws of mission.”6. The church is by its very nature missionary.7. There is no geographic definition of mission.8. “Mission” = God’s mission; “Missions”= the missionary ventures of the church9. Mission is “the whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world.”10. Missions is “participation in God’s existence in the world.”11. Mission includes evangelism as one of its essential dimensions.12. Mission is an expression of our opposition to & engagement with the world.13. The church is a sign of what God wants the world to be. The church is a sacrament of what God wants the world to be.
Part 1: NT Models of Mission• Ch 1: NT as Missionary Document• Ch 2: Matthew: Mission as Disciple-making• Ch 3: Luke-Acts: Practicing Forgiveness & solidarity with the Poor• Ch 4: Mission in Paul: Invitation to Join the Eschatological Community
Ch 5: Paradigm Changes in Missiology• The Six Paradigms of Church History 1. Apocalyptic Paradigm of Primitive Christianity 2. Hellenistic Paradigm of the patristic Period 3. Medieval Roman Catholic Paradigm 4. Protestant Reformation Paradigm 5. Modern Enlightenment Paradigm 6. Emerging Ecumenical Paradigm
Paradigm Defined• Thomas Kuhn – "The entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques, & so on shared by the members of a given community." (184) Thomas Kuhn – "science does not really grow cumulatively ... but rather by way of "revolutions.” This is known as a “paradigm shift.”
Paradigm Defined• "Our views are always only interpretations of what we consider to be divine revelation, not divine revelation itself (& these interpretations are profoundly shaped by our self-understandings)." (182)• "It is an illusion to believe that we can penetrate to a pure gospel unaffected by any cultural & other human accretions." (182) – "These include the persons ecclesiastical tradition, personal context (sex, age marital status, education), social position (social "class" profession, wealth, environment), personality, & culture (worldview, language, etc)." (182)
Paradigm Shifts in Christianity, Hans Kung "Each of these epochs … reflects a theological "paradigm" profoundly different from any of its predecessors. In each era the Christians of that period understood & experienced their faith in ways only partially commensurable with the understanding & experience of believers of other eras." (183)
The Impact of a Paradigm• "the hegemonic pervasiveness of a societys dominant ideology (ie. paradigm) is so great that when that society thinks it is acting in a neutral fashion it is really being guided by hidden ideological constraints." Apple, 1979, 22
Jay Gary• Küng claims we must always keep our paradigm of the church&theology both "centered"& on the "horizon" (p. 222). He asks: 1. Centered: Is this paradigm of religion – measured against the Gospel of Jesus Christ as norm –really in keeping with the Scriptures? 2. Horizon: Is this paradigm –measured against the paradigm of society as such –still up to date? Jay Gary, Cant Christians be Questians? http://www.christianfutures.com/mclaren_questian.shtml, accessed Feb 19, 2010.
In Theology, paradigms sometimes live on.• Sometimes they have a "revival" like the revival of Romans by Augustine, Martin Luther, & Karl Barth.• Old Paradigms Never Disappear Entirely.In all denominations we have representatives from fundamentalist, conservative, moderate, liberal & radical believers all side by side.• Sometimes we are committed to more than one paradigm as the same time.
Issues with the Paradigm Concept• Each group or supporter of a paradigm "uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigms defense." (Kuhn in Bosch 186)• You can only accept a paradigm if you have already accepted it!• "it cannot be made logically or even probabilistically compelling for those who refuse to step into the circle" (Kuhn in Bosch 186)
So paano?• How do we deal with this? Are there no limiting factors? Or must we just hope it all works out for the best? – Paradigm shifts can only be carried out on the basis of the good news & because of the good news. It can never be against the good news. – Theology is connected not only to the present & the future but also to the past. – Contextualising Theology must remain dependent upon Gods revelation to Israel & through Jesus Christ. – Scripture always takes priority.
Ch 6: The Missionary Paradigm of the Eastern Church
Ch 8: The Missionary Paradigm of the Protestant Reformation
Ch 9: Mission in the Wake of the Enlightenment God Church King & Nobles People Animals, Plants, & Objects
Ch 9: Mission in the Wake of the Enlightenment• 7 Characteristics of the Enlightenment 1. Age of Reason. • Reason was natural & therefore uninfluenced by tradition or presupposition. 2. Subject-Object Schema. • World could be examined from scientific objectivity. 3. Elimination of Purpose. • The cause determines the effect. 4. Belief in Progress. • Fostered exploration & development. 5. Knowledge was Factual, Value-free & Netural. • Facts are objectively true – knowledge without a knower. 6. All problems were solvable. • Just need to keep on working at it. 7. People were Emancipated, Autonomous Individuals. • Individual takes priority over community.
1. Reason• Church Responses – Locate Religion in Human Feeling & Experience – Privatize Religion – Make Theology a Science – Create a "Christian" Society – Embrace the Secular Society
2. Separation between Subject & Object• The idea of the Bible as "pure doctrine" arose where the truth is unobscured by the observer of that truth.• We are much different from the original hearers/readers so we need to somehow interpret these texts for us now. Separates the text from the reader -- neither affects the other• "treat the biblical tradition as mere object. The scholar examined the text but was not necessarily examined by it." (271)
3. Elimination of Purpose• Human planning took the place of trust in God. If we plan it right, it will happen (cause & effect).
4. Philosophy of Progress• Soon the whole world will be Christian.• Christianity became an irresistible power in the process of reformation, development, etc.
5. Distinction between Fact & Value• We just need to choose what “facts we like the best.”• Theology is concerned “with the facts & principles of the Bible” (Hodge).• There is only one “truth,” but religion was categorized as a “value.”• Science & religion were thought to deal with two separate domains thus they could co-exist but neither could infringe upon the others domain.
6. All Problems Are In Principle Solvable• No miracles.• “All one needed was sufficient knowledge in order to understand, plan, and control events & developments” (273).• God was only good for cancer, etc.
7. Everyone is an Emancipated, Autonomous Individual• Individualism• Each person had the right & ability to understand & and know God’s will & word. So each person could make their own decisions about what to believe.