Discover more from Global Witness, Globally Reimagined.
It Is Time To Enlarge The Circle
We Are Back In Acts 15
Welcome to my newsletter, “Global Witness, Globally Reimagined,” where I dream about mission in a postcolonial world. Every week, I share one thought that has spoken to me in the week, a resource I trust will be helpful to you, and three exciting quotes about mission. I pray one of these will energise you in the coming week.
1. Thought I Can’t Shake Off
Only Jesus could start a world-changing movement in Nazareth, of all the places in the world. Not among the powerful people in Jerusalem or Alexandria. Not in Antioch and, definitely, not in Rome. After spending a few years in Egypt as a child, his family went to Nazareth, a village polar opposite to Rome—among people who would reject his ministry at its very inception (Luk. 4:28-30). Nothing good could come out of Nazareth (Jhn. 1:46). Yet, this is where Jesus grew up, away from the centres of power, but still with a vision to disrupt the world. This is how I know that God’s mission does not need empires. After three and a half years of ministry, he led his group of Galilean disciples to Jerusalem for a festival that brought many from the Diaspora back to the homeland. He was crucified. Barely, seven weeks later the Diaspora was back in Jerusalem for Pentecost, and the church was born. Acts 2 brings together the Galileans and the Diaspora to start the journey of inviting people in all nations in the world to become followers of Jesus. By the end of Acts 11, Diaspora Jews began to evangelise Gentiles in Antioch—a move that opened the floodgates for all nations, tribes, and tongues to embrace the lordship of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus. This single event embarked Christianity on its journey to becoming a worldwide religion. When we get to Acts 15, the leadership had to make a group decision to enlarge the table to allow Gentiles to belong, without requiring them to become Jews. Missiologically speaking, many of us are in an Acts 15 situation. We are wrestling with what to do with Christians (and missionaries) from other parts of the world called to join the cause. Yet, God models for us, just like we see in Acts, the call to enlarge the table and invite others to belong with us. Actually, God calls us to make space at the table to share whatever gifts God has given us while taking the time to listen to one another—we may have to bring a few chairs and pass the microphone around so we can learn of God from all who God brings to the table.
2. Resources I am Enjoying
Podcast: Theology in the Raw: God’s Multiethnic Temple with Joel Muddamalle
Today’s podcast sustains the multicultural kingdom conversation with Joel Muddamalle reflecting on his doctoral dissertation together with host, Preston Sprinkle. While Joel uses the term multiethnic rather than multicultural, it is clear from the conversation that the two terms can be, at least in his work, used interchangeably. He unpacks the multicultural default of God’s kingdom by juxtaposing the events recorded in Ephesians 2:19-22, Acts 2, the account of the tower of Babel in Genesis 10-11, and Deuteronomy 32. He also touches on some race-related issues that must be tactfully navigated to enjoy the multicultural composition of God’s kingdom. Indeed, in today’s heavily-racialised world, contemplating God’s multicultural kingdom cannot but involve the crucial and “delicate” conversation on race. In all, the Spirit of God remains the unifying factor in God’s multicultural kingdom, as Acts 2 reveals. Joel was equally clear on this.
3. Quotes I am Pondering
Christianity is a religion intended for and is suitable for every race and tribe of people on the face of the globe. Acceptance of it was never intended by its founder to denationalise any people and it is indeed its glory that every race of people may profess and practice if and imprint upon its own native characteristics, giving it a peculiar type among themselves without its losing anything of its virtues. And why should not there be an African Christianity as there has been a European and Asiatic Christianity? — Lamin Sanneh
To have missional aspirations to reach out to indigenous people, whether of African or European descent, with a religious vocabulary and symbolisms that your audience cannot comprehend or access, is not only tragic but an affront to the missiological implications of the Christian doctrine of incarnation. — Bisi Adenekan-Koevoets
Missio Dei … articulates God’s love for the world and God’s initiative in saving it, which precedes and surpasses the Church. — Arno Meiring
I pray that you will be faithful to the mission God has for you this week.
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