Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Environment and the Kingdom

This blog highlights books from Ralph Winter’s Library and compares excerpts to Winter’s own writings on one or more of the themes from his list of twelve “Frontiers of Perspective.” (See the full list at the end of this blog.)
(6) The Reclaiming of the Gospel of the Kingdom

Sinclair, Maurice. 1980. Green finger of God. Exeter: Paternoster Press.
Foreword by Samuel Escobar; includes practical stories from Latin America interwoven in the chapters.
Chapter Titles:
Does God Believe in Development?
   The effects of the fall. The Gospel and development. A biblical corrective.
Educational Development
Economic Development
Community Development
Medicine and Development
Politics and Development
The Role of the Church in Development

Gremillion, Joseph. 1978. Food/energy and the major faiths. Maryknoll: Orbis.
From the Foreword:
Thirty-five participants were present for the first Interreligious Peace Colloquim held in Bellagio, Italy, May 1975. The majority were religious leaders from the five world faiths—Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Christians. … Our purpose was to help believers of these five faiths, so often in conflict, to work together on issues affecting the fate of the whole human family—above all to work for peace. The food/energy crisis challenges peace and justice and human rights—for what right takes precedence over the right to eat? It raises questions about the value of life, social ethics, and the meaning of the human person that are so basic that they call upon faith for adequate response.

Division Titles:
The Facts of the Food/Energy Crisis
Impact of the Crisis on World Peace and Social Justice
The Role of Religion in Politics and Society
Strategies for Meeting the Food/Energy Crisis

Some of Ralph Winter’s thinking that relates to concern for world food and environment issues.
From his elaboration on the 6th of his 12 “Frontiers of Perspective”:
It may today be the distinctive heresy of the Evangelical that we have become specialists in merely getting people happy and getting them into heaven. … The Bible does not talk so much about how to get people into heaven as about how to get heaven into people.

Latter day Evangelicals have … made their “Gospel of salvation” a nearly total substitute for the Gospel of the Kingdom. Why is this? Nineteenth century Evangelicals were very socially conscious compared to Evangelicals in 20th century. … Christian structures contribute very little to “Thy will be done on earth” as Jesus asked us to pray. Missionaries are not normally trained nor well-equipped to take on the social, commercial, medical, engineering, and political problems of Africa. Neither are the national pastors. This vast array of problems is not part of our Gospel of Salvation even though it is definitely part of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We leave these problems to the “secular world.” In a word, we think of ourselves as survivors not soldiers.

From the 2006 FMF Principles Members Manual:
Another example, in view of our “international development” approach to mission, is that we seek the goal of effective land use and thus decry the excessive use of land for the production of animal protein. We feel strongly that in the Western world, and in the U.S. in particular, animal protein is commonly used in excess and not only tears down health, but diverts a huge percentage of land that would otherwise be available for the cultivation of more efficient foods. (The corn grown on a given tract of land will feed ten times as many people as it will if fed first to cattle which are then eaten as meat. The people of India could not support their population if India were not mainly vegetarian!).

From an electronic document in Ralph Winter's files:
 In Ralph Winter’s electronic files I discovered a sermon by Greg Boyd, “A War-torn Creation,” that I later included as a chapter in a book I edited with Scott Moreau, Evangelical and Frontier Perspectives on the Global Progress of the Gospel, available from William Carey Library: and Frontier Perspectives on the Global Progress of the Gospel.

A few excerpts:
Creation is permeated with spiritual warfare. It’s not just human beings who are sort of the plane of spiritual warfare, but creation itself has been corrupted. … Colossians chapter 1: it says that “God was pleased to have all of his fullness dwell in Christ, and through him to reconcile to himself all things whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood shed on the cross.”
Know that you are doing spiritual warfare whenever you fight the evil effects of nature. You are reclaiming nature, you are rebuking the curse. We are doing spiritual warfare when we fight disease. Not just when we pray, anything you do to push back the harmful effects of nature. When you fund famine relief, you are doing spiritual warfare. When you support organizations that help people that are suffering from a drought you are doing spiritual warfare. When you go to build wells in villages you are doing spiritual warfare. When you teach people better farming and irrigation skills, you are doing spiritual warfare. When scientists do scientific engineering to develop crops for people they are doing spiritual warfare. When they investigate new ways to sanitize water, they are doing spiritual warfare. When they discover ways to fight diseases, that is spiritual warfare. Anything you do to fight poverty and hunger is spiritual warfare. In fact, having mercy on animals is a form of spiritual warfare. Anything you do to reflect God’s ideal for creation is a form of spiritual warfare. In fact, everything you do positive for the earth is a form of spiritual warfare. 

Ralph Winter’s 12 “Frontiers of Perspective” represent major shifts in his thinking that “profoundly modified and molded his perception of the mission task”:
(1) Unreached Peoples
(2) The Great Commission and Abraham
(3) From the Unfinished Task to the Finishable Task
(4) Failure with the Large Groups and the Off-setting Trend to “Radical Contextualization”
(5) Reverse Contextualization, the Recontextualization of Our Own Tradition
(6) The Reclaiming of the Gospel of the Kingdom
(7) Beyond Christianity
(8) A Different Type of Recruitment
(9) A Trojan Horse
(10) Needed: a Revolution in Pastoral Training
(11) The Religion of Science
(12) The Challenge of the Evil One

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