When the church was the mission organization
I will be presenting the following paper at the annual Evangelical Missiological Society meeting in Dallas (Oct 15). My abstract reads:
Critical observers of mission history remark that following the sixteenth-century Reformation in Europe, one reason for the initial inaction of Reformed Protestants in global mission was the lack of missionary sending structures. Roman Catholics on the other hand possessed a number of sending structures—most notably the monastic orders (e.g., Franciscans, Augustinians, Dominicans, Cistercians, and Jesuits) that were formed in the medieval period for the purpose of sending witnesses to the world. So how did mission sending happen and what structures were in place in the early and medieval church prior to the rise of monastic missionary orders? In this paper, I will argue that the church itself was the key organism and catalyst for mission sending. In doing so, I will offer an alternative conclusion to Ralph Winter’s (cf. Winter 1999, 220-229) popularly accepted notion of two structures of redemption in mission history—modalities (e.g., churches) and sodalities (e.g., monastic movements)—and argue that the church was the sole means of mission sending. To make the case, I will highlight the representative examples of five missionary-monk-bishops who served between the fourth and eighth centuries: Basil of Caesarea (fourth-century Asia Minor), Patrick (fifth-century Ireland), Augustine of Canterbury (sixth- and seventh-century England), Alopen (seventh-century China), and Boniface (eighth-century Germany).
Comments are closed.