In this issue we feature two articles examining how we should respond to the global refugee crisis, focusing on living out Christian hospitality to migrants and welcoming the Global Stranger. We also consider how the church should respond to the rise of religious nationalism in South Asia, and how the growth of orality-training resources can advance the Great Commission.
‘Today’s refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II’, writes Cindy Wu (author of A Better Country: Embracing the Refugees in Our Midst). War and conflict are the primary causes, but there are other factors, such as economic deprivation, environmental degradation, and persecution. Faced with this global phenomenon, how are Christians to respond? The Bible commands charity and hospitality to strangers and sojourners. Therefore, people who follow Jesus have a special mandate to address the refugee crisis. However, the complexities of the refugee system and concerns over national security often overshadow the call to justice and mercy. Even though our human nature makes us wary of strangers, God decreed that strangers were entitled to his love and concern; so caring for refugees today is not merely a compassion or pity issue—it is a justice issue. Furthermore, in some ways, we can relate to refugees because we, like them, are sojourners, with no permanent home in this life; and we experience God through hospitality offered to strangers, challenging us to view refugees, not as a burden, but as an asset to our communities. We can extend this welcome through typical hospitality of meals and fellowship, but also through advocacy and education. ‘We have a tremendous opportunity to share the love of God and light of Christ to people from far-away lands who otherwise might not receive such ministry’, she concludes.
‘The issue of Muslim immigration shows no sign of going away anytime soon in either Europe or North America’, writes Matthew Kaemingk (assistant professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary). Christians cannot ignore the issue. So how should Christians respond? For the past 20 years most Western Christians have reacted to Muslim immigration by following the lights of the political right or left and treating them with either fear and suspicion or liberal paternalism and religious relativism. However, the answers of the right and left to Muslim immigration are politically unsustainable, and theologically bankrupt. There is, in fact, an alternative and uniquely Christian response to this urgent question that grasps a critical opportunity for Christian service, witness, and hospitality. The article introduces five individual disciples, who are embodying a humble alternative witness. The current crisis represents a critical missiological space in which the church can consider new opportunities for Christian witness and hospitality. These disciples are living out a theology of Christian hospitality amidst the conflict between Islam and the West. Christians in the West desperately need more models of gospel vulnerability and witness amidst this global conflict. ‘The dead-end paths of the political right and left demand a renewed gospel-shaped imagination in this critical missiological space’, he concludes.
‘Across the region of South Asia, religion is an important component of the identity of a person’, writes Tehmina Arora (Senior Counsel, South Asia, for ADF International). In the recent past, a growing overlap between violent religious fundamentalism, nationalism, and majoritarianism has led to increased violence and hostility against religious minorities, especially Christians. The increased violence has resulted in insecurity and loss of life and property. It has also resulted in increased government restrictions on religious life. The main factors that fuel religiously motivated violence are a culture of impunity that allows mob violence to go unpunished, propaganda directed against religious minorities, and a failure to forge common identities among citizens. Christians should work towards strengthening the rule of law, responding to the propaganda, and building common identities. In response to the growing overlap between religious and nationalistic identities and the resultant violence against religious minorities, the diversity within one body, and the love and respect for different members of it that the global church represents is a unique and important model for a hurting world. It is imperative that Christians continue to live this out. ‘Christians must work towards strengthening the justice delivery system and building deep and meaningful relationships in our neighbourhoods and wider society and with those who are most vulnerable’, she concludes.
‘Increasing numbers of missionaries, mission executives, pastors and cross-cultural church planters are coming to a recognition that the Orality movement is transformational in our time’, writes Jerry Wiles (North America Regional Director of the International Orality Network). In fact, some now acknowledge that Orality is changing the face of missions and is one of the most significant breakthroughs of the past 500 years. The Orality Movement seeks to rediscover the most effective ways that people have used to learn, communicate, and process information from the beginning of time. As it becomes more visible and credible, the academic community is gaining interest and looking at ways of engagement. When we engage with a broader understanding of the Orality movement, we recognize the variety of academic disciplines related to the overall Orality domain. Despite a massive volume of scholarly research, theses, and dissertations, there seems to be a shortage of contemporary application in terms of mission and ministry strategies. However, that is now changing. Reports and feedback from mission boards and agencies are providing new and much-needed data that can be very helpful to institutions implementing Orality studies in seminaries and other institutions. Amid the multi-faceted aspects of the Orality Movement, the central focus is on the Great Commission. ‘That means communicating the gospel and making disciples, and doing so in ways that are international, cross-cultural, and reproducible to all places and every people group on earth’, 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 a leader you will be better equipped for the task of world evangelization. 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 The Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in July, when we hope to revisit the issue of balancing grace and truth in our approach to Muslims and Islam.
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 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.