Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Presbyterian Outlook: 21st century mission: Shifting center, growing diversity

21st century mission: Shifting center, growing diversity:
"ATLANTA – With the center of Christianity shifting south in the 21st century, what can North American Christians learn from what’s happening in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

What are the implications of the new alignments – with pluralism and secularism increasing in Europe and the United States, while evangelical Christianity is booming in many places in the southern hemisphere?..."

It is somewhat disconcerting to think that we here in the USA are not the center of Christendom, but when we look at it more closely we can see good news (and Good News).

It is tempting to pat ourselves on the back and take credit for planting these churches and nurturing them, and seeing them grow. On further reflection, our Western world views and experiences do little to equip indigenous Christians with the spiritual tools to deal with the challenges that are a part of life in many southern hemisphere countries.

As Vic Pentz, senior pastor of Peachtree Church learned, "his view of mission shifted. Now he sees it as God’s work, ever surprising, not something of which he’s in charge."

With over half of the world's Christians living in the southern hemisphere, a figure that is on track to reach two-thirds by the year 2050, it is good to hear that we as a denomination are doing a little introspection. As a denomination that has suffered significant losses over the past 20 years, we need to discern God's direction for us and have the courage to follow.

2 comments:

Gruntled said...

That's "signficant losses" over the last forty years.
The center of gravity in Christianity has already shifted to the global South. When Third World churches object to the direction of the PC(USA), this is not a the voice of a fledgling or ignorant movement that we can ignore. They are the dog; we are the tail.

Denis Hancock said...

Thank-you for your correction and your comments.

The PC(USA) seems to be avoiding the mistake an Anglical bishop made following one of the Lambeth Conferences in the 1990s when he said that the third-world bishops were not as sophisticated in the Faith as their counterparts in Great Britain. This was in response to a vote that didn't quite go the way the "mother church" wanted it to go.