Welcome to the March issue of Lausanne Global Analysis. We look forward to your feedback on it.
In this issue we highlight the contextual challenges posed by the ‘third wave’ of missions in contemporary India and the creative responses that have been found to them. We then examine medicine and its place in God’s mission to the world today; the values of honor and shame and how restoring honor and removing shame are core aspects of God’s mission and the role of the religious registration system in fuelling discrimination and violence against Christians in the Middle East.
‘While Christianity in India is as old as Christianity itself, the Protestant Christian missions in India—spanning three centuries—can be broadly classified into three waves’, writes Prabhu Singh (Head of the Department of Missiology at South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore, India). The third wave began in the 1990s as India liberalized its economy unleashing a new era of globalization. This period also saw the ascendancy of Hindu nationalism and its targeted persecution of the Christian community. However, Christianity continues to grow in fresh ways, challenging our conventional methodologies and motivating us to rethink our traditional mission models. Authentic Christian mission is prophetic and it involves sacrificial service, no matter which era we live in. ‘May our Lord give us grace to be creative, contextual, and courageous “fishers of men and women” in this third wave’, he concludes.
‘The church has invested heavily in [medicine] as an expression of care for the weak and vulnerable and of God’s mission in the world’, writes Andrew Sloane (Director of Postgraduate Studies, Morling College, Australia). Now in the West we need to consider how our commitment to technology and individual choice drives unhealthy consumerist approaches to medicine—and what we, as those called to God’s mission in the world, can do and say to counter that. In the Majority World we need to consider how our embodiment of God’s passion for justice and concern for the poor can shape healthy communities, what role medical care should play in that, and how to navigate the changing landscape of emerging economies. ‘All of these challenges require those who think about mission and engage in its practice to reflect carefully and theologically on the nature and goals of medicine’, he concludes.
‘Shame disrupts God’s design for the world’, writes Jayson Georges (founder and editor of www.HonorShame.com). Shame is not limited to non-Western contexts. People of every culture feel unworthy and fear rejection before others. Honor and shame are prominent in Majority World cultures, where these moral values form the ‘operating system’ of everyday life. New global realities necessitate a larger role for honor and shame in twenty-first century theology and mission. The restoration of status, which all people long for, plays a key role in God’s mission. Jesus Christ dismantles shame and procures honor for the human family. The church now continues the mission of God to bless all nations with God’s honor. God’s people must discern how to embody and proclaim God’s saving honor in particular contexts. ‘The theological realities of honor and shame are essential to the gospel and Christian mission’, he concludes.
‘Segregation of society on religious lines underpins discrimination, undermines the rule of law and fuels violence [in the Middle East]’, writes Jonathan Andrews (Chair of the Muslim World Forum). This segregation is imposed and maintained by the religious registration system. Everyone is assigned to a faith at birth. Converts face the ‘identity crisis’ of living and worshipping as Christians while being treated by the state as Muslim. Middle Eastern Christian leaders ask that we all work to enable Christians to stay. However, religious registration is the root of why Christians are treated as second-class citizens and prompts some to emigrate. Authentic local solutions need to be identified for the benefit of all. ‘All governments across the region that want to fulfil their people’s aspirations for greater dignity and more and better jobs would be well advised to address the negative effects that religious registration has on economic, cultural, and social creativity’, he concludes.
We hope that you find this issue stimulating and useful. Our aim is to deliver strategic and credible analysis, information, and insight so that as an influencer you will be better equipped for the task of global mission. It’s our desire that the analysis of current and future trends and developments will help you and your team make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to your care.
Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue of Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in May.
David Taylor serves as the Editor of the Lausanne Global Analysis. David is an international affairs analyst with a particular focus on the Middle East. He spent 17 years in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, most of it focused on the Middle East and North Africa. After that he then spent 14 years as Middle East Editor and Deputy Editor of the Daily Brief at Oxford Analytica. David now divides his time between consultancy work for Oxford Analytica, the Lausanne Movement and other clients, also working with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the Religious Liberty Partnership and other networks on international religious freedom issues.