Useful Resources for Mission at the International Bulletin of Missionary Research


The April version of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research has a number of interesting articles. Articles are available for free at the website after your subscribe to its email newsletter. Among articles which are relevant to faith, culture and mission in the postmodern context are: 1. Emerging Adults and the Future of Missions by Rick Richardson In his introduction: Several recent studies have focused on emerging adults in the United States, considering the spiritual and religious lives of high school teens (ages 14–18)[1] or of twenty-somethings (ages 19–29).[2] Two works helpfully draw out the implications of this research for … Continue reading Useful Resources for Mission at the International Bulletin of Missionary Research

Understand the Context to Better Understand the Message


In the end, most of us would agree that life is not all that easy to understand, that the messages we receive from within and from others and from God are not always clear. As the Apostle Paul famously said; ‘Now we see in a mirror dimly (one translation has ‘in a riddle’)’, always remembering that mirrors in the ancient world gave a very distorted image. It is partly that all our messages are filtered through to us by our language and culture, but even more because we are fallible and sinful creatures. This last compounds the situation. Our proneness … Continue reading Understand the Context to Better Understand the Message

Why is Modern Church in the Postmodern World Declining


       Excerpt from my MA dissertation: [Today,] the culture has changed so much that while the world in general has abandoned or reacted toward over-rationalised ways of thinking and lifestyle, the highly rationalised church, which Drane considers an example of being successfully contextualised to the previously dominant rationalised worldview, is left behind and finds it hard to follow the change.1 The following paragraphs will serve to depict the severely ‘modernised’ church. By applying the concept of ‘McDonaldization’ on the church, Drane laments the over-rationalisation of the church which makes the church no more than just another modern system that adhere … Continue reading Why is Modern Church in the Postmodern World Declining

China and the Christian Impact


Excerpt from ‘A Conflict of Cultures’, the Review of: China and the Christian Impact: A Conflict of Cultures Jacques Gernet – Cambridge University Press, 1985, by J.S. Cummins: Translating and closely analysing contemporary Chinese material, Gernet show that it was not merely clerical squabbles, doctrines, rituals or customs which separated missionary and potential convert. The twain were unable to meet because their respective world-pictures differed radically: the Chinese mind-set, for instance, rooted in concepts from the Sino-Tibetan family of languages, found literally inconceivable Christian ideas evolved from the Graeco-Roman- Judaic-Scholastic mental world. And vice versa. The literati, by and large … Continue reading China and the Christian Impact

Review of ‘Pagan Christianity’ at Amazon


I have finally written a short review for Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices at Amazon. It is published in full below: Good Summary but needs to Look Deeper and Wider! This book is a good resource for anyone who wonders why and how some of the current practices in the church which are not directly mentioned in the New Testament have into being. This book is arranged systematically and in general clear and well written. However, it is still lacking in a number of ways. Firstly, the author(s) seems to be judging these so-called pagan practices … Continue reading Review of ‘Pagan Christianity’ at Amazon

Revivalism = Pagan Christianity?


My previous review on Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices highlighted the need for works like this to be aware of the cultural context of the historical period involved before making any judgement. One of the mistakes in which ‘Pagan Christianity’ made is to draw conclusion on the effect of the revivalist movement in the 18-19th century America without providing a balanced view. Viola mentioned in ‘Pagan Christianity’ that ‘Frontier-revivalist’ movement has contributed to the emergence and acceptance of individualism within the church. In his own words, ‘the goal of the Frontier-Revivalists was to bring individual sinners … Continue reading Revivalism = Pagan Christianity?

Institutional Church = Pagan Christianity?


Ben Witherington shared Howard Snyder’s review on Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by Frank Viola here. I find Snyder’s review helpful . He pointed out that there are three approaches to church history: 1. the “traditional orthodox” approach, 2.the “secret history of the faithful remnant” theory and 3. the “renewal movement view.” Snyder mentioned John Wesley’s renewal attempt within the Anglican church as an example of the ‘renewal movement’, which he sees as the preferred solution compared to the ‘secret history of the faithful remnant’, which Viola prefers, where the institutional church is often regarded as corrupted and … Continue reading Institutional Church = Pagan Christianity?

Made to Stick


From my previous blog: One of many books that I value highly is ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath. You can find its excerpts here. They were also interviewed in the 2009 Global Leadership Summit organized by Willow Creek Community Church. Their idea matches the format of the Revivalists in the nineteenth century America, where concreteness, emotion, stories and to a certain extent, unexpectedness played a part in shaping the ‘new measures’ of revivalism. A particular case would be Lorenzo ‘Crazy’ Dow who delights in unexpectedness. Applied to preaching, this can be used to distinguish a revivalist from … Continue reading Made to Stick

Finney’s Revivalism


I am working on McLoughlin’s ‘Modern Revivalism – Charles G. Finney to Billy Graham’. As I am writing an essay on Charles G. Finney, referring to this book is inevitable. It is interesting to see some different views from McLoughlin in this book, compared to Iain H. Murray’s excellent work – Revival and Revivalism. McLoughlin’s account of Finney is much more positive compared to Murray’s. He stressed the role historical context played in shaping Finney’s revivalism, while Murray tends to focus more on the split among the Presbyterians as a consequence of Finney’s influence. The best book for reading pleasure … Continue reading Finney’s Revivalism