CHAPTER TWO BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BASIS OF MISSION TO PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS
There is a clear record in the Bible with at least 239 occasions when the people of God, the Old Testament patriarchs, Israelites, and the New Testament followers of Jesus came in contact with people of other religious traditions or faiths with the purpose of reaching them with the Word of God (Muck & Adeney 2009:33). These 239 encounters accordingly provide lessons to teach Christians how they can responsibly do Mission with people of other faiths such as Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and others (ibid).
The Bible, the Word of God, essentially from start to finish is a missionary book because it contains the inspired story of God Himself reaching out into human beings’ history to reconcile a fallen and rebellious people to Himself and to restore his reign over all creation (Wright 2006:22-23; Van Till 1986:7). The Bible pictures two kinds of missionaries, going and sending missionaries, and God is clearly both. God sent many people. The variety of reasons for which people were sent is remarkable. The “Sending” language is used in many Biblical stories (Goldsmith 2014:92). Joseph was sent to be in a position in Egypt in order to save lives during famine (Gen 45:7). Moses was sent to deliver people from oppression and exploitation (Ex 3:10). Elijah was sent to affect the course of global politics (I Kings 19:15). Jeremiah was sent to proclaim the Word of God (Jer. 1:7). Jesus was sent to proclaim the good news, to proclaim freedom, to provide eyesight for the blind, and to release them from oppression (Luke 4:16-19; cf. Isa 61:1). The disciples were sent to preach and display the delivery and healing power of the reign of God (Matt 10:5-8). The Apostles also were sent to make disciples to baptise and teach (Matt 28:18-20). Mentioning but these few Biblical texts,it is clear that the concept of sending10 and being sent lies at the core of missions. There is a wide range of biblically authorised activities that people may be sent by God to do, including preaching, evangelism, teaching, and healing (Goldsmith 2014:92-93). The living God, Maker of heaven and earth, the eternal Father, sends His people on a Mission into the world. Having redeemed His people by the blood of His Son, having given people His message in the Bible and having equipped people with the Holy Spirit, He sends them out to be His instruments for fulfilling His purpose in history (Köstenberger 1998: Xi). According to Ott, Strauss, and Tennent (2010: xiv), “to send” is a word derived from the Latin word mitto, and missio, which means “sending.” The Greek New Testament uses two terms to describe sending: pempo and apostello. These terms are used more or less synonymously to describe God sending angels and prophets, the Father sending the Son, the sending of the Holy Spirit, and the sending of the disciples (Köstenberger 1998:97–111).
Indeed, God is a God who sends His representatives, messengers, and eventually, His Son, as agents in the story of salvation. This salvation will ultimately include persons of every group, nation, tribe, and languages. It is God’s initiative, and it is God who receives all the glory. According to the researcher, God initially mainly sends angels and prophets, after which He calls people, known as Israelites, to be sent as witnesses to His righteousness and glory among the nations of the world.
The story continues with the sending of God’s Son Jesus Christ to effect salvation for all mankind and defeat the evil on the cross, and then, the sending of new people of God in the power of His Spirit, the Church, to become His instrument and a sign of His Kingdom. The story concludes victoriously with the return of Christ, the ultimate consummation of His Kingdom, the final defeat of evil and the universal confession that Christ is Lord (Ott, Strauss Tennent 2010: 3). The Old Testament is full of promises and anticipation that people from all nations of the world would one day adore God. According to John Piper’s survey of all case variants of the phrase panta ta ethne in the plural, which occurs in the Old Greek Testament some 100 times, it virtually never carries the meaning “Gentile individuals” but always carries the meaning “all nations” in the sense of the people groups outside Israel (Winter & Hawthorne 2009: 133-134). This chapter therefore explores the Biblical and theological basis of Mission to the people of other faiths in both the Old and New Testaments.
GEOGRAPHICAL MISSION IN THE BIBLE
Jesus’ word at the very beginning of Acts outlines the geographical structure of the Missional Church. The geographical course of the apostolic witness starts from Jerusalem and spreads to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The first mission of the church took place in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7). Following the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7), great persecution erupted, and the church scattered throughout Judea and Samaria (Acts 8). The conversion of Saul (Acts 9) and of Cornelius (Acts 10-11) led to the founding of the church at Antioch (Acts 11), and paved the way for Mission work beyond Israel to the Gentile people. This mission was launched when the Holy Spirit led the church at Antioch to send Barnabas and Paul to take the good news throughout the Roman Empire. After their first trip to Cyprus and Asia Minor (Acts 13-14), the theological foundation amidst the nations was established at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). In the second journey, this time in the company of Silas,Paul travelled to the provinces beyond Asia Minor before returning to Jerusalem (Acts 16-21). The geographical Mission movement outlined in Acts 1:8 was seen as the progress of the Word of God from Jerusalem to Rome (Goheen 2011:129). This story line of Acts is about the geographical spread of the Word of God. As Rosner (in Marshall & Peterson 1998:221). points out, this was not an abstract theological message; it was a message of power fully incarnated in the life, words, and deeds of the church.
Isaiah 49 provides a clear depiction of the homecoming of exiled Jewish people from all points of the globe (vv. 22-23). They came from all over the world where they had been scattered, to rebuild their ruined city and restore their community (v. 23). At Pentecost, people from all over the Biblical world heard Peter preach the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection with astonishing results. However, as the Christian movement spread, it became clear that it was different from other religions, which have a geographical centre: Jerusalem for the Jews, Mecca for Muslims, Varanasi for Hindus, and Amritsar for Sikhs. Christianity is not a territorial religion (Goheen 2011:129).
Bosch (1993:175) states that in this new era: “If we want the missionary enterprise to be authentic and our reflections on Mission to be relevant, we will have to pay even more serious attention to this branch of Missiology than we used to.” Goheen (2014:36) points out that Mission was understood primarily as a geographical movement from the West to the non-West. Although it was difficult to find Old Testament passages to fit this understanding, the New Testament offered more, and yet this practice was seen to isolate missionary texts that fit a geographical expansion understanding. It is clear that the Bible is a narrative record of God’s Mission in and through His people for the sake of the world. It tells a story in which Mission is a central thread, God’s Mission, Christ’s Mission, the Spirit’s Mission, and the Church’s Mission to the entire world (Bartholomew and Goheen 2014:37).
Willitts (2008:372) says that the geographical scope of the narrative of Mission is perhaps important for the understanding of the identity of “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In spite of the unquestionable observation of Matthew describing Jews coming from all over the land of Israel to Jesus (Mt 4:23-25), he does not show Jesus as either gathering the Jews or going to them (Lohfink 1983: 274-276; Cousland 2001:63-65; Chae 2004:321-324, 588). Jesus’ sending of His disciples (10:5b-6), which when viewed from the standpoint of the whole Gospel reflects His own calling (cf 15:24). It also suggests the possibility of a limited geographical scope of Jesus’ earthly Mission (Willitts 2008:372).
Davies and Allison argue that the Matthean Jesus is not pursuing all Israel in His pursuit of “the lost sheep,” (1991:160-61). According to Matthew, there is a geographical limitation in Jesus and His disciples, with His Messianic activity centering in the northern region of the Land (Gundry 1994:185; LaGrand 1999:139-40). Willitts (2008:372) indicates that a limitation of scope on the part of Jesus’ mission according to Matthew, need not imply that Jesus was not interested in the restoration of “all Israel” but, to the contrary, it is likely that His Mission in the north was a sign of the coming restoration of the whole.
Gundry (1994:185) takes the disciples’ geographical prohibition to imply that they were not to go into any region of Gentiles in the north or Samaritans in the south; thus, the Mission was limited to the region of Galilee. LaGrand (1999:137), Overman (1996:148), and Garbe (2005:147) agree with Gundry’s opinion. Gundry, further believes that the basis for this geographical prohibition of Mission is found in the example of Jesus. He writes: “In this way Matthew indicates that their ministry must follow the pattern of Jesus’ ministry, which, He has already taken pains to show, began in Galilee (Matt 4:14-16)” (1994:185; cf. similarly Schnabel 2002:292-93).
This mission work is also restricted geographically by the fact that its focus is on the northern Israelites (Willitts 2008:378). According to the researcher, the disciples were neither to go beyond the borders of Israel to the Jewish Diaspora in Gentile regions in the north or east, nor were they to conduct their Mission in the region of the Samaritans in the south. Jesus, as the Messianic Shepherd King, was Himself sent and also sent His disciples to the northern elements of the former kingdom of Israel to prepare them for the coming renewal of national Israel reunited under His Davidic leadership (ibid).
Peskett and Ramachandra (2003: 152-153) indicate that as far as the redemption which the Bible speaks of has been experienced by large numbers of people in all categories of different circumstances, consequently Mission fulfilment of the Old Testament expectations has far surpassed the geographical terms in which they were articulated. Isaiah 49:12 mentions the universal ingathering, the vision and hope that “… all flesh shall know that I am the Lord Your Saviour” (v. 26) which has already been fulfilled in ways far beyond what could perhaps have been convincingly anticipated in Old or New Testament periods. This can be evidenced by the fact that the globe has become community Christian believers. In hundreds of nations, the Christian faith has taken root. However, there are still billions of people worldwide who have not had the opportunity to hear the message of salvation or encounter the good news of Jesus Christ. Therefore, because of this, it is necessary for many who will follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who will proclaim and live out the gospel, who will plant and establish evangelising churches and who will hope and pray for the new heaven and earth from God, whose temple is the Lord God, and whose light is the Lamb, who look forward to the time when the nations will walk by its light, and kings of the earth will bring their glory into it (Peskett & Ramachandra 2003: 153)
THE UNIVERSAL SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD AND MISSION
The Book of Deuteronomy shows that universal sovereignty belongs to God (10:14, 17). These verses depict that heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to God and the earth with all that is in it (v.14). According to the researcher, this is a Hebrew manner of saying that the entire cosmos, all of realism belongs to God (Craigie 1976:204; Merrill 1994:203). God is not another tribal God. The Living God is not confined within the physical world or even within the cosmic heaven of Near Eastern mythology. He owns the cosmos and he is the ruler of everything therein. Everything that is, is indebted for its existence to God. In verse 14, it is clearly shown that God’s universal rule covers the entire planet earth and that all humankind belongs to him, even when they don’t obey him, he is still their Creator and they are His creatures. On the other hand, verse 15 speaks of God’s specific redemptive love for a particular people. Indeed, if God loves this people, it is because his agape, so to say, is on the entire world. Actually, the calling of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) had as its final goal the fulfilment of the promise that ‘all people of the earth will be blessed through you’. So, while God is at work in all nations, in no nation other than Israel is he at work for the sake of all nations as Peskett and Ramachandra (2003:110-111) put it. Additionally, from Abraham’s story, it is clear that God’s concern is for all created human beings. People from every possible human grouping are called into the people of God. Thus, regardlesss of their faiths, God deserves worship as the One Creator.
There are also three themes that show the expression of God’s universal interest towards the people of other faiths and other nations apart from Israel. God is not only interested in Israel. There are several places in the Old Testament where it clearly shows that God leads other nations towards Himself as well. For instance, in Amos 9:7, God speaks through Amos: “Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the Lord. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt?, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?” Indeed, this gives clear evidence that God is also interested in bringing people of other faiths on board through his chosen people.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTION .
1.3 RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY
1.4 THE MAIN AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.5 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.6 LITERATURE REVIEW
1.7 EVANGELISM APPROACHES TO MUSLIMS
1.8 RESEARCH FRAMEWORK
1.9 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.10 STUDY POPULATION AND SAMPLE
1.11 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.12 RESEARCH INSTRUMENT
1.13 DATA ANALYSIS
1.14 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.15 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER TWO BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BASIS OF MISSION TO PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS
2.1 Geographical Mission in the Bible
2.2 The universal sovereignty of God and mission
2.3 Three Old Testament basic mission texts
2.4 God’s purpose for Missions in the Old Testament
2.5 God’s mission creation of Kingdom peoples, the Patriarchs
2.6 Old Testament examples of believing Gentiles which God used to reach Gentiles
2.7 Mission of God and the nations in the New Testament
2.8 Mission in the age of the Holy Spirit
2.9 Mission witness to the end of the earth
2.10 The church lives in the missional trail of the New Testament today
2.11 Theological basis of mission to people of other faiths
CHAPTER FOUR CURRENT TRENDS OF MISSION TO DIGO TRIBE
4.1 MISSION APPROACHES OF THE SELECTED CHURCHES TO THE DIGO TRIBE
4.2 THE IMPACT OF CURRENT APPROACHES TO MISSION TO DIGO TRIBE
4.3 DATA ANALYSIS
CHAPTER FIVE A PROPOSED MODEL TO EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO MISSION AMONG DIGO MUSLIMS
5.1. APPLYING THE PASTORAL CYCLE OF PRAXIS APPROPRIATELY
5.2 THEORIES OF EFFECTIVE MODEL FOR MISSION AMONG THE DIGO TRIBE
5.3 BIBLICALLY BASED MODEL FOR MISSION TO THE DIGO TRIBE MUSLIMS
5.4 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
LIST OF REFERENCES
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