African Christians are coming to the US as missionaries—or are they? Many are saying that “reverse missions”—from the Majority World to the West—is on the rise. But the whole picture isn’t that simple, as the world and the Western church still have a lot to learn from each other. Alex Kocman and Scott Dunford exploreContinue reading “‘Reverse Missions’ and Global Christianity”
Recent political events and rallies have Christians asking: what is nationalism? Is it the same as patriotism? These questions are vitally important to the missionary. Can a missionary truly love his home country that he’s leaving—and if so, how? What does Scripture say about love of country—or countries, for that matter? And what about globalism?Continue reading “Christian Nationalism, Patriotism, and Globalism”
In Genesis, Adam was told to be fruitful, multiply, and take dominion of creation. He failed. Now, believers in Christ are called to spread the good news of Christ to the world. Are these two separate missions, or is the Great Commission a renewal of the original marching orders from Eden? Matthew Newkirk, author ofContinue reading “Was Adam a Missionary? Matthew Newkirk on the Creation Mandate and Missions”
In today’s technology-saturated world, we can “be” anywhere—except where we actually are. Place matters. So how can we identify what our “mission field” is around us and know the way it thinks? In this episode, Scott and Alex dive into the book of Acts for answers about worldview, context, and missional living. Remember to share,Continue reading “Know Your Place: How to Identify and Study Your Mission Field”
In 2020, it’s impossible to escape the topic of privilege. This week, we dive into the archives and bring back our May 2019 interview with Chad Vegas, founding board member of Radius International and lead pastor of Sovereign Grace Church, and our discussion of “gospel privilege.” Perhaps it has never been more timely. Chad is the founding pastorContinue reading “Throwback: The Greatest Injustice With Chad Vegas”
Sometimes the missionary task is a balance between evangelism and humanitarianism. William Carey believed that the more evangelized a society was, the more civilized it became—and the more civilized it was, the more open to evangelized it would become. But was he right? C.J. Moore, missions mobilizer, Midwestern Seminary Ph.D. student and fellow, and pastorContinue reading “Evangelize or Civilize? C.J. Moore on William Carey”
Watch the video version of this episode on YouTube. Social justice. Critical theory. Post-colonialism. Intersectionality. These issues have divided believers and unbelievers alike in the church over the last few years, and in 2020 the issue is impossible to escape. Is conservative evangelicalism beginning to compromise biblical teaching on complex social issues? And if so,Continue reading “Critical Theory, Post-Colonialism, and Missions: Neil Shenvi on Social Justice”
Christians live in an age of iconoclasm. How can we do church history and modern missions history responsibly—without falling into the opposite errors of hero-worship or “cancel culture”? Jonathan Arnold, Associate Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, weighs in from his perspective as a church historian. For three years,Continue reading “Missions History in a ‘Cancel Culture’ Age: Jonathan Arnold Explains”
Biblical authority is under attack. A missionary’s job is partly to make the transcendents truths of God’s word understandable within human language, context, and culture. But is it possible to know God’s objective truth, or are we always “stuck” within our culture—making modern missions inescapably colonialist? In this episode, Scott Dunford and Alex Kocman dialogueContinue reading “Is All Theology Cultural? Biblical Authority and Contextualization”
Between 1-2 million people have been taking to the streets in Hong Kong—even singing Christian hymns—in peaceful protest over a new extradition law representing China’s continued aim to tighten its fist and squelch political and religious liberties in the semi-autonomous region. What can believers learn from this complex situation? In this special episode, Alex KocmanContinue reading “Special Episode: What Do the Hong Kong Protests Have to Do With Missions?”
Everybody talks about “engaging culture.” Culture is a slippery concept. When should missionaries break from their host culture, and when should they bend with it? Is missions mainly about creating countless contextualized Christianities across various cultures, or is it also about assimilating believers into one overarching Christian culture? We discussed these issues with Dr. KennethContinue reading “Culture: When to Bend, When to Break—Kenneth Nehrbass Explains”
Reading well in Scripture, theology, culture, and literature in general is key to preaching and teaching that connects—especially for the cross-cultural worker. What should we be reading? Why does it matter? And how can we who are busy working and doing ministry have time to cultivate the life of the mind as we constantly prepareContinue reading “The Life of the Missionary Mind”
The presence of Islam in North America is still a lightning-rod issue, even 17 years after 9/11. This week we return to the topic of how Christians can engage their Muslim immigrant and refugee neighbors—and wade through the complicated waters of related political issues—in a way that is biblical and missional. We consulted a newContinue reading “Micah Fries: What Christians Should Know About Islam in North America”
Across the Internet—the place where many missionaries away from home get much of their theology and encouragement—there is a critical drought of deep-thinking resources for women. Many of the women’s resources simply play to one’s emotions or repackage common tropes like “you are loved” or “you are beautiful.” How can we make sure that weContinue reading “Missions and the Need for Deeper Women: Karen Swallow Prior and Anne Kennedy”
We use the word “worldview” a lot, but what does it actually mean? Does anthropology have anything to teach missionaries—and can it give us a model for how worldviews actually change as people are converted to Christ? To help us make sense of these questions addressed in the late Dr. Paul Hiebert’s classic missiological text TransformingContinue reading “What Are Worldviews and How Do They Change? John Mark Yeats on Paul Hiebert”
We live in an age of perpetual outrage and cynicism, and lost hope takes its greatest toll upon the missionary endeavor. This week we spoke with Dr. Jason Duesing, passionate missions sender and academic Provost and Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, author of the new book Mere Hope: Life in An AgeContinue reading “Mere Hope: Jason Duesing on Missionary Hope in a Cynical Age”
Announcement: It’s the show’s first birthday! As a way of thanking our loyal listeners, we’re giving away some great, free books and spiffy, new ABWE swag. Click here for details and to enter our drawing. “It’s the economy, stupid.” Economics is complicated enough already, but injecting a Christian perspective adds a new layer. How doContinue reading “How Missionaries Should Think About Economics With Matthew Arbo”
What is a biblical definition “social justice” and how does it relate to the gospel? What bearing does the recent conversation about racial reconciliation—and the resulting controversy—have for missionaries ministering to disparate and people groups and ethnicities? How can the church do a better job of addressing social justice and racial issues without proposing leftistContinue reading “Collin Hansen: Social Justice, Racial Reconciliation, and Missions”
How do you handle the pressures of growing up hearing “don’t waste your life,” and what lessons can missionary kids and pastors’ kids take away? Barnabas Piper joins us this week as we wander to and fro to discuss those topics along with cultivating a curiosity with other cultures, parenting with an eye towards missions, and avoiding ministry cynicism by grounding our identity in Christ.
How can Christians in the West remain faithful to their convictions and winsomely engage their postmodern neighbors? Karen Swallow Prior, English professor, author, pro-life activist, and writer published everywhere from The Atlantic to The Gospel Coalition joins us to share her insights. She explains why postmodernism isn’t necessarily the bogeyman we all think it is, and how humbly engaging literature can help us learn foreign cultures—and our own.
Gandhi’s India couldn’t have existed without William Carey. That’s the argument made by Vishal Mangalwadi, who makes the case that the gospel necessarily transforms culture—and William Carey is the example.
Today in missions there’s a lot of talk about contextualization. The “C scale” developed by John Travis makes a case for so-called insider movements—professing believers in the Islamic world who follow Jesus, yet remain culturally and religiously Muslim. Is that biblical? How can we adapt the gospel to new cultures—and how far is too far?