Stackhouse on Mission

John Stackhouse has an typically thoughtful article on Christian missions.

It has long been my opinion that Bible translation is the only ethically justifiable form of explicitly Christian mission (medecine and famine relief may be practiced by those of any religion, of course). If we Westerners, with all our economic and technological power, are going to go around telling other people what religion they should follow, then the least we can do is make our instruction manual as accessible as possible to them.

But if more missionaries worked from Stackhouse’s paradigm, I might have to become more sympathetic. The framework he presents is that missions is not about saving souls — only God does that, and She may do so in whatever way is pleasing, with or without legions of pasty-faced pith-helmeted Sinner’s Prayer-wielding Europeans — it is about saving the Earth, and all that is in it. It’s about reversing the curse. Thus it should be as much about justice, economics and environmentalism as counting souls.

Note that the Great Commandment does not say “go and make disciples”. It says “As you go, make disciples.”  Note that usually, disciples come to you, because they think you’re on to something.