Paradigms in Conflict
Author: David Hesselgrave
Categories: Mission Studies
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10 Key Questions in Christian Missions Today. The fog of pluralism and tolerance has settled over the Great Commission, forming new clouds of doubt over age-old questions. Does a loving God really send sincere people to hell? Isn't there some good in all religions? Why must Jesus be the only way? Veteran missiologist David Hesselgrave tackles ten pressing issues that missionaries and students of missions face today. Using Scripture, social sciences, and history, he provides solid and satisfying answers to tough questions and concludes that the future of Christian missions depends more on the changes we do not make than on the changes we do make.
"The book is timely, framing the biblical arguments in light of contemporary settings. It is also timeless because of the appeal to the revealed Scriptures as the only appropriate grounding for a discussion of the meaning and actions of missions." -Scott Moreau Professor, Department Chair of Missions and Intercultural Studies Wheaton College.
"A wonderful opportunity for study groups and missions classes in colleges, seminaries, and churches to develop a biblical missiology for the twenty-first century." -Walter C. Kaiser Jr. President, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
David J. Hesselgrave (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is a leading spokesman for evangelical missions. Now retired, he has been a pastor and a missionary to Japan, the co-founder of the Evangelical Missiological Society, as well as a professor and director of missions at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His many books include Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally and Planting Churches Cross-Culturally.
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David Hesselgraveâ€™s book, â€œParadigms in Conflict,â€ examines with ruthless honesty some of the conflicts that are alive and well in the missionary community around the world. Although you may not agree with all of Hesselgraveâ€™s conclusions (I certainly did not), you will appreciate the fact that he is willing to confront these issues.
Some of them are theological (sovereignty vs. free will, restrictivism (only those who hear the name of Jesus can be saved) and inclusivism (there may be a â€œwiderâ€ hope for those who have never heard of Christ). His other issues have to do with a combination of theology and missions strategy. For instance, what should be our approach to those from other faiths? What is our responsibility to the poor and the needy as over against â€œwinning soulsâ€ in evangelism? Do we have to choose an either-or, or can there be a both-and?
Another interesting theological battle that has been raging for 150 years, originating with the Tubingen school in Germany, is who should be our missionary model--Jesus or Paul? Hesselgrave pushes for the â€œrepresentational model,â€ that is Paul, as against the â€œincarnational modelâ€ which is Jesus. I found this chapter to be much ado about nothing, as we should follow both Jesus and Paul and to represent Jesus as well as incarnating him in the cultures in which we serve. His book also deals with a few, what I consider, less crucial topics like amateurization verses professionalism, the place of End Times prophecy in our missionary strategy and the definition and place of â€œKingdom thinkingâ€ in our outreaches.
One chapter that I found interesting was truth encounter vs. power encounter. Hesselgrave came down strong on the side of truth encounter, whereas many of us who are Charismatics and Pentecostals might come down on the side of power encounter, but it seems obvious from Scripture that we need both. An excellent read, especially for the strategic thinkers among us.
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