For more than two centuries [Western power] has provided the framework in which the Western churches have understood their world missionary task. To continue to think in the familiar terms is now folly. We are forced to do something that the Western churches have never had to do since the days of their own birth – to discover the form and substance of a missionary church in terms that are valid in a world that has rejected the power and the influence of the Western nations. Missions will no longer work along the stream of expanding Western power. They have to learn to go against the stream. And in this situation we shall find that the New Testament speaks to us much more directly that does the nineteenth century as we learn afresh what it means to bear witness to the gospel from a position not of strength but of weakness.
-Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret
A reframing of missions capable of countering the modernizing tendencies within the mission movement must offer an alternative that is substantial and potent. Such an alternative must come from sources that are more than cultural and religious, especially since these have been implicated in the initiation and justification of Western dominance and control. Surely, if we are to find an alternative, correcting voice, capable of defying the powers that so easily seduce and intoxicate us, we will need to look beyond the familiar to substance that is more than merely political, national, or cultural. Such substance can only be found in Jesus Christ and the scriptures that point to him. (more…)