On Thursday of this week, I'll be giving a paper at the University of Leuven in Belgium at the International Donatist Studies Symposium. Focusing on my two loves--mission and early Christianity--I will read a paper entitiled, "Augustine, missionary to heretics? An appraisal of Augustine's missional engagement with the Donatists."
Here's a glimpse of the paper from the abstract:
Augustine is well remembered as a theologian, polemicist, and church leader, especially in his dealings with the Donatists. In this paper, my aim is to take an admittedly different approach and examine Augustine's Donatist interactions afresh in the light of Christian mission. That is, as Augustine regarded the schismatic group as a heretical mission field—distinguished not by cultural or geographical barriers but through ideology—he deemed that they were in need of conversion to the true church.
In order to accomplish this, I will propose a working definition of Christian mission that stems from the Scriptures, which reflects the activity of the church. Second, I will briefly discuss Augustine's heretical branding of the Donatists, which made them a focus of mission. Finally, I will build the case for Augustine's missional engagement with the Donatists—even that which included the involvement of the state—by exploring his interactions with them over three periods between 392 and 419. From this narrative, an argument will be made for Augustine's understanding of and approach to Christian mission.
You can read the rest of the paper HERE.
Let me know your thoughts! els