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Feb 09, 2011

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Robert Austell

Michael, I was in attendance... it was an outstanding lecture followed by meaningful Q&A.

Some other takeaways not in the article... Dr. Jenkins gave five "impressions" of the church of 2050 as indicated in the growing global south. Themes include:

1. Healing ministries (one application among several he mentioned was the implications for understanding the atonement; prob. a shift towards Christus Victor from a more forensic view)

2. Clash with other religions and the reality of Christian as a cultural minority; including context of persecution

3. Poverty - Christianity not a rich person's religion; greatly affects how scripture is read, interpreted, and applied

4. Pentecostalism - not as a denomination, but a thoroughgoing trait of worship, belief, and practice; Christianity will be "global, uncompromising, pentecostal, and extroverted"

5. Relationship of the OT to the NT - much more emphasis on full canon, including the moral/spiritual lessons of the OT

Sounds like quite a stretch for the Western church.

Sorry - wish I could include more!

Robert Austell
Charlotte, NC

Michael Kruse

Fascinating. Thanks for the elaboration. He always has such an interesting take on things.

Tyson

Awesome. Reminds me of a prophetic note in Matthew Henry's commentary on Matthew 20, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard:

"Who knows but that the church, in its old age, may be more fat and flourishing than ever, to show that the Lord is upright? Though primitive Christianity had more of the purity and power of that holy religion than is to be found in the degenerate age wherein we live, yet what labourers may be sent into the vineyard in the eleventh hour of the church's day, in the Philadelphian period, and what plentiful effusions of the Spirit may then be, above what has been yet, who can tell?"

Very similar to what you posted last week about the Back to Jerusalem movement.

Dana Ames

It sounds like Jenkins has made what he knows into a thoughtful and coherent presentation. It seems to correlate with what an Orthodox friend of mine is experiencing. He is a brilliant guy who is working in adult ed. for the Greek diocese in Johannesburg. He's also taught in Uganda. His latest "field report" is heartbreaking and much like what he wrote when he was in Kampala. It's all anecdotal, of course, but it's consistent.

In his experience, Africans know "the story of Jesus" so well that they're pretty much inoculated against it. What the people he meets want is "a way out" - out of the poverty, disease and hopelessness. If "Christianity" can given them that, fine. That's why Africans flock to pentecostal "healing" ministries and "health and wealth" types of churches, and give money to the "charismatic" leaders of those churches (who are living high on the hog - which validates the expectations of the people attracted to such churches). Most people he meets are not after righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit; they are after muti (spiritual power, like Native American "medicine") so that they can get rich. They come to him asking for prayers to get muti; after all, as a white guy from the US he must be rich, and as a "Christian" he there to share how others can get rich, too. The reality is that he makes a pittance, and most of his money goes to getting a handful of Ugandan (and now South African) students through secondary school so that they can have a chance at finding a decent job.

Bare numbers of self-identified Christians in Africa don't tell the whole story.

Another blogger I read, Steve Hayes, also an Orthodox in SA, (http://khanya.wordpress.com/ and http://methodius.blogspot.com/) sometimes writes about the different "flavors" of Christians in Africa. He is very interested in missiology and communicates with a lot of different groups. There are already Christians who connect to the OT - and some of their moral lessons end up leading to as legalistic a view (and sometimes as wacky a doctrinal view) as what we can find in the States.


I'm not surprised that Jenkins sees significance in healing ministry. I can only hope that the full meaning and reality of the Christus Victor aspect will actually be preached.

Dana

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