…a Compilation of Works on:
Mark 16:15 | Acts 1:8
Romans 10:13-14 | Revelation 14:6
1 Chronicles 16:24
“Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential”
Special Edition| TLFA – April 2021
Walk by Faith; Serve with Abandon
Expect to Win!
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The Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential
Since its founding in 2003, The Advocacy Foundation has become recognized as an effective
provider of support to those who receive our services, having real impact within the communities
we serve. We are currently engaged in community and faith-based collaborative initiatives,
having the overall objective of eradicating all forms of youth violence and correcting injustices
everywhere. In carrying-out these initiatives, we have adopted the evidence-based strategic
framework developed and implemented by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency
The stated objectives are:
1. Community Mobilization;
2. Social Intervention;
3. Provision of Opportunities;
4. Organizational Change and Development;
5. Suppression [of illegal activities].
Moreover, it is our most fundamental belief that in order to be effective, prevention and
intervention strategies must be Community Specific, Culturally Relevant, Evidence-Based, and
Collaborative. The Violence Prevention and Intervention programming we employ in
implementing this community-enhancing framework include the programs further described
throughout our publications, programs and special projects both domestically and
ISBN: ......... ../2017
......... Printed in the USA
Advocacy Foundation Publishers
(878) 222-0450 | Voice | Data | SMS
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Every publication in our many series’ is dedicated to everyone, absolutely everyone, who by
virtue of their calling and by Divine inspiration, direction and guidance, is on the battlefield dayafter-day
striving to follow God’s will and purpose for their lives. And this is with particular affinity
for those Spiritual warriors who are being transformed into excellence through daily academic,
professional, familial, and other challenges.
We pray that you will bear in mind:
Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible." (Emphasis added)
To all of us who daily look past our circumstances, and naysayers, to what the Lord says we will
- The Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
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The Transformative Justice Project
Eradicating Juvenile Delinquency Requires a Multi-Disciplinary Approach
The way we accomplish all this is a follows:
The Juvenile Justice system is incredibly overloaded, and
Solutions-Based programs are woefully underfunded. Our
precious children, therefore, particularly young people of
color, often get the “swift” version of justice whenever they
come into contact with the law.
Decisions to build prison facilities are often based on
elementary school test results, and our country incarcerates
more of its young than any other nation on earth. So we at
The Foundation labor to pull our young people out of the
“school to prison” pipeline, and we then coordinate the efforts
of the legal, psychological, governmental and educational
professionals needed to bring an end to delinquency.
We also educate families, police, local businesses, elected
officials, clergy, and schools and other stakeholders about
transforming whole communities, and we labor to change
their thinking about the causes of delinquency with the goal
of helping them embrace the idea of restoration for the young
people in our care who demonstrate repentance for their
1. We vigorously advocate for charges reductions, wherever possible, in the adjudicatory (court)
process, with the ultimate goal of expungement or pardon, in order to maximize the chances for
our clients to graduate high school and progress into college, military service or the workforce
without the stigma of a criminal record;
2. We then enroll each young person into an Evidence-Based, Data-Driven Restorative Justice
program designed to facilitate their rehabilitation and subsequent reintegration back into the
3. While those projects are operating, we conduct a wide variety of ComeUnity-ReEngineering
seminars and workshops on topics ranging from Juvenile Justice to Parental Rights, to Domestic
issues to Police friendly contacts, to CBO and FBO accountability and compliance;
4. Throughout the process, we encourage and maintain frequent personal contact between all
5 Throughout the process we conduct a continuum of events and fundraisers designed to facilitate
collaboration among professionals and community stakeholders; and finally
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6. 1 We disseminate Quarterly publications, like our e-Advocate series Newsletter and our e-Advocate
Quarterly electronic Magazine to all regular donors in order to facilitate a lifelong learning process
on the ever-evolving developments in the Justice system.
And in addition to the help we provide for our young clients and their families, we also facilitate
Community Engagement through the Restorative Justice process, thereby balancing the interesrs
of local businesses, schools, clergy, elected officials, police, and all interested stakeholders. Through
these efforts, relationships are rebuilt & strengthened, local businesses and communities are enhanced &
protected from victimization, young careers are developed, and our precious young people are kept out
of the prison pipeline.
This is a massive undertaking, and we need all the help and financial support you can give! We plan to
help 75 young persons per quarter-year (aggregating to a total of 250 per year) in each jurisdiction we
serve) at an average cost of under $2,500 per client, per year.*
Thank you in advance for your support!
1. The national average cost to taxpayers for minimum-security youth incarceration, is around
$43,000.00 per child, per year.
2. The average annual cost to taxpayers for maximun-security youth incarceration is well over
$148,000.00 per child, per year.
- (US News and World Report, December 9, 2014);
3. In every jurisdiction in the nation, the Plea Bargain rate is above 99%.
The Judicial system engages in a tri-partite balancing task in every single one of these matters, seeking
to balance Rehabilitative Justice with Community Protection and Judicial Economy, and, although
the practitioners work very hard to achieve positive outcomes, the scales are nowhere near balanced
where people of color are involved.
We must reverse this trend, which is right now working very much against the best interests of our young.
Our young people do not belong behind bars.
- Jack Johnson
In addition to supporting our world-class programming and support services, all regular donors receive our Quarterly e-Newsletter
(The e-Advocate), as well as The e-Advocate Quarterly Magazine.
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The Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential
…a collection of works on
“Turning the Improbable Into the Exceptional”
John C Johnson III
Founder & CEO
Voice | Data | SMS
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Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I
have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they
believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without
someone preaching to them?
The Three Angels
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to
those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
1 Chronicles 16:24
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
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Table of Contents
…a compilation of works on
The Theology of Missions
I. Introduction: Christian Missions………………………………….. 15
II. Missiology and Missionaries………………………………………. 31
III. Evangelism…………………………………………………………. 55
IV. Humanitarian Aid…………………………………………………… 61
V. Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers……………….………….. 71
VI. International Humanitarian Law………………………………….. 85
Timeline of Events in Humanitarian
Relief & Development…………………………………….. 101
VIII. References……………………………………………………....... 103
A. The Theology of The Christian Mission
B. The Relationship Between Theology and Missiology
C. Scripture, Culture and Missions
Copyright © 2018 The Advocacy Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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A Christian Mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity. Missions often
involve sending individuals and groups, called missionaries, across boundaries, most
commonly geographical boundaries, for the purpose of proselytism (conversion to
Christianity, or from one Christian tradition to another). This involves evangelism
(preaching a set of beliefs for the purpose of conversion), and humanitarian work,
especially among the poor and disadvantaged. There are a few different kinds of
mission trips: short-term, long-term, relational and ones meant simply for helping people
in need. Some might choose to dedicate their whole lives to missions as well.
Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith (and sometimes to
administer sacraments), and provide humanitarian work to improve . Christian doctrines
(such as the "Doctrine of Love" professed by many missions) permit the provision of aid
without requiring religious conversion.
History of Christian Missions
The earliest Christian mission, then, the Great Commission and Dispersion of the
Apostles, was active within Second Temple Judaism. Whether a Jewish proselytism
existed or not that would have served as a model for the early Christians is unclear, see
Circumcision controversy in early Christianity#Jewish background for details. Soon, the
expansion of the Christian mission beyond Judaism to those who were not Jewish
became a contested issue, notably at the Council of Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul was
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an early proponent of this expansion, and contextualized the Christian message for the
Greek and Roman cultures, allowing it to reach beyond its Hebrew and Jewish roots.
From Late Antiquity onward, much missionary activity was carried out by members of
religious orders. Monasteries followed disciplines and supported missions, libraries, and
practical research, all of which were perceived as works to reduce human misery and
suffering and glorify the Christian God. For example, Nestorian communities
evangelized parts of Central Asia, as well as Tibet, China, and India. Cistercians
evangelized much of Northern Europe, as well as developing most of European
agriculture's classic techniques. St Patrick evangelized many in Ireland. St David was
active in Wales.
During the Middle Ages, Ramon Llull (c. 1232 – c. 1315) advanced the concept of
preaching to Muslims and converting them to Christianity by means of non-violent
argument. A vision for large-scale mission to Muslims would die with him, not to be
revived until the 19th Century.
During the Middle Ages Christian monasteries and missionaries such as Saint Patrick,
and Adalbert of Prague propagated learning and religion beyond the boundaries of the
old Roman Empire. In the seventh century Gregory the Great sent missionaries,
including Augustine of Canterbury, into England. The Hiberno-Scottish mission began in
In the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, Franciscans such as William of
Rubruck, John of Montecorvino, and Giovanni ed' Magnolia were sent as missionaries
to the Near and Far East. Their travels took them as far as China in an attempt to
convert the advancing Mongols, especially the Great Khans of the Mongol Empire. (Also
see Medieval Roman Catholic Missions in China.)
Catholic Missions After 1492
One of the main goals of the Christopher Columbus expedition financed by Queen
Isabella of Spain was to spread Christianity. During the Age of Discovery, Spain and
Portugal established many missions in their American and Asian colonies. The most
active orders were the Jesuits, Augustinians, Franciscans and Dominicans. The
Portuguese sent missions into Africa. These are some of the most well-known missions
in history. While some of these missions were associated with imperialism and
oppression, others (notably Matteo Ricci's Jesuit mission to China) were relatively
peaceful and focused on integration rather than cultural imperialism.
In both Portugal and Spain, religion was an integral part of the state and evangelization
was seen as having both secular and spiritual benefits. Wherever these powers
attempted to expand their territories or influence, missionaries would soon follow. By the
Treaty of Tordesillas, the two powers divided the world between them into exclusive
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spheres of influence, trade and colonization. The proselytization of Asia became linked
to Portuguese colonial policy.
Catholic Missions in Asia
Portuguese trade with Asia rapidly proved profitable from 1499 onwards, and as Jesuits
arrived in India around 1540, the colonial government in Goa supported the mission with
incentives for baptized Christians. Later, the Church sent Jesuits to China (1552
onwards) and to other countries in Asia.
The Reformation unfolded in Europe in the early 16th century. For over a hundred
years, occupied by their struggle with the Catholic Church, the early Protestant
churches as a body were not strongly focused on missions to "heathen" lands. Instead,
the focus was initially more on Christian lands in the hope to spread the Protestant faith,
identifying the papacy with the Antichrist.
In the centuries that followed, Protestant churches began sending out missionaries in
increasing numbers, spreading the proclamation of the Christian message to previously
unreached people. In North America, missionaries to the Native Americans included
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), the well-known preacher of the Great Awakening (ca
1731–1755), who in his later years retired from the very public life of his early career.
He became a missionary to the Housatonic Native Americans (1751) and a staunch
advocate for them against cultural imperialism.
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As European culture has been established in the midst of indigenous peoples, the
cultural distance between Christians of differing cultures has been difficult to overcome.
One early solution was the creation of segregated "praying towns" of Christian natives.
This pattern of grudging acceptance of converts played out again later in Hawaii when
missionaries from that same New England culture went there. In the course of the
Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Catholic missionaries learned the languages
of the Amerindians and devised writing systems for them. Then they preached to
indigenous people in those languages (Quechua, Guarani, Nahuatl) instead of Spanish,
to keep Indians away from "sinful" whites. An extreme case of segregation occurred in
the Guarani Reductions, a theocratic semi-independent region established by the
Jesuits in the region of the future Paraguay between the early 17th century and 1767.
From 1732 onwards the Moravian Church began sending out missionaries.
Around 1780, an indigent Baptist cobbler named William Carey began reading about
James Cook's travels voyages in Polynesia. His interest grew to a furious sort of
"backwards homesickness", inspiring him to obtain Baptist orders, and eventually to
write his famous 1792 pamphlet, "An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use
Means for the Conversion of Heathen". Far from a dry book of theology, Carey's work
used the best available geographic and ethnographic data to map and count the
number of people who had never heard the Gospel. It inspired a movement that has
grown with increasing speed from his day to the present.
In the United States, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
(ABCFM) was chartered in 1812.
Protestant missionaries from the Anglican and Lutheran and Presbyterian traditions
starting arriving in what was then the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the 19th
Century. This eventually let to the creation of what are today the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the see of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem.
Furthermore, it was during this time that the Christian and Missionary Alliance started
their missionary activity in Jerusalem.
American "Hard-shell Baptists", "Anti-Mission Baptists", or "Old School Baptists"
adhering to strict Calvinist rejected all mission boards, Bible tract societies, and
temperance societies as nonbiblical. The mainstream of the Baptist denomination,
however, supported missionary work.
Thomas Coke, (1747–1814) the first bishop of the American Methodists, was "the
Father of Methodist Missions". After spending time in the newly formed United States of
America strengthening the infant Methodist Church alongside Episcopal colleague
Francis Asbury, the British-born Coke left for mission work. During his time in America,
Coke worked vigorously to increase Methodist support of Christian missions and of
raising up mission workers. Coke died while on a mission trip to India, but his legacy
among Methodists – his passion for missions – continues.
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A wave of missions, starting in the early 1850s, targeted inland areas, led by Hudson
Taylor (1832–1905) with his China Inland Mission (1865– ). Taylor was later supported
by Henry Grattan Guinness (1835–1910) who founded (1883) Cliff College, which
continues as of 2014 to train and equip for local and global mission.
The missions inspired by Taylor and Guinness have collectively been called
"faith missions" and owe much to the ideas and example of Anthony Norris
Groves (1795–1853). Taylor, a thorough-going nativist, offended the
missionaries of his era by wearing Chinese clothing and speaking
Chinese at home. His books, speaking, and examples led to the
formation of numerous inland
missions and of the Student
Volunteer Movement (SVM, founded in 1886), which from
1850 to about 1950 sent nearly 10,000 missionaries to
inland areas, often at great
personal sacrifice. Many early
SVM missionaries traveling to areas with endemic
tropical diseases left with
their belongings packed in
a coffin, aware that 80%
of them would die within
In the 18th century, and even
more so in the 19th century,
missionaries based in
Britain saw the Empire
as a fertile field for
proselytizing for Christianity. All the main denominations were involved, including the
Church of England, the Presbyterians of Scotland, and the Nonconformists. Much of the
enthusiasm emerged from the Evangelical revival. Within the Church of England, the
Church Mission Society (CMS) originated in 1799 and went on to undertake activity all
around the world, including in what became known as "the Middle East".
Before the American Revolution, Anglican and Methodist missionaries were active in the
13 Colonies. The Methodists, led by George Whitefield, were the most successful and
after the revolution and entirely distinct American Methodist denomination emerged that
became the largest Protestant denomination in the new United States. A major problem
for colonial officials was the demand of the Church of England to set up an American
bishop; this was strongly opposed by most of the Americans had never happened.
Increasingly colonial officials took a neutral position on religious matters, even in those
colonies such as Virginia where the Church of England was officially established, but in
practice controlled by laymen in the local vestries. After the Americans broke free,
British officials decided to enhance the power and wealth of the Church of England in all
the settler colonies, especially British North America (Canada).
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Missionary societies funded their own operations that were not supervised or directed
by the Colonial Office. Tensions emerged between the missionaries and the colonial
officials. The latter feared that missionaries might stir up trouble or encourage the
natives to challenge colonial authority. In general, colonial officials were much more
comfortable with working with the established local leadership, including the native
religions, rather than introducing the divisive force of Christianity. This proved especially
troublesome in India, were very few local elites were attracted to Christianity. In Africa,
especially, the missionaries made many converts. Of the 21st century there were more
Anglicans in Nigeria than in England.
Missionaries increasingly came to focus on education, medical help, and long-term
modernization of the native personality to inculcate European middle-class values. They
established schools and medical clinics. Christian missionaries played a public role,
especially in promoting sanitation and public health. Many were trained as physicians,
or took special courses in public health and tropical medicine at Livingstone College,
By the 1870s Protestant missions around the world generally acknowledged the longterm
material goal was the formation of independent, self-governing, self-supporting,
self-propagating churches. The rise of nationalism in the Third World provoked
challenges from critics who complained that the missionaries were teaching Western
ways, and ignoring the indigenous culture. The Boxer Rebellion in China in 1898
involved very large scale attacks on Christian missions and their converts. The First
World War diverted resources, and pulled most Germans out of missionary work when
that country lost its empire. The worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s was a major
blow to funding mission activities.
In 1910, the Edinburgh Missionary Conference was presided over by active SVM and
YMCA leader (and future Nobel Peace Prize recipient) John R. Mott, an American
Methodist layperson, the conference reviewed the state of evangelism, Bible translation,
mobilization of church support, and the training of indigenous leadership. Looking to the
future, conferees worked on strategies for worldwide evangelism and cooperation. The
conference not only established greater ecumenical cooperation in missions, but also
essentially launched the modern ecumenical movement.
The next wave of missions was started by two missionaries, Cameron Townsend and
Donald McGavran, around 1935. These men realized that although earlier missionaries
had reached geographic areas, there were numerous ethnographic groups that were
isolated by language, or class from the groups that missionaries had reached. Cameron
formed Wycliffe Bible Translators to translate the Bible into native languages. McGavran
concentrated on finding bridges to cross the class and cultural barriers in places like
India, which has upwards of 4,600 peoples, separated by a combination of language,
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culture, and caste. Despite democratic reforms, caste and class differences are still
fundamental in many cultures.
An equally important dimension of missions strategy is the indigenous method of
nationals reaching their own people. In Asia this wave of missions was pioneered by
men like Dr G. D. James of Singapore, Rev Theodore Williams of India and Dr David
Cho of Korea. The "two thirds missions movement" as it is referred to, is today a major
force in missions.
Most modern missionaries and missionary societies have repudiated cultural
imperialism, and elected to focus on spreading the gospel and translating the Bible.
Sometimes, missionaries have been vital in preserving and documenting the culture of
the peoples among whom they live.
Often, missionaries provide welfare and health services, as a good deed or to make
friends with the locals. Thousands of schools, orphanages, and hospitals have been
established by missions. One service provided by missionaries was the Each one, teach
one literacy program begun by Dr. Frank Laubach in the Philippines in 1935. The
program has since spread around the world and brought literacy to the least enabled
members of many societies.
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During this period missionaries, especially evangelical and Pentecostal missionaries,
witnessed a substantial increase in the number of conversions of Muslims to
Christianity. In an interview published in 2013 a leader of a key missionary agency
focused on Muslims claimed that the world is living in a "day of salvation for Muslims
The word "mission" was historically often applied to the building, the "mission station" in
which the missionary lives or works. In some colonies, these mission stations became a
focus of settlement of displaced or formerly nomadic people. Particularly in rural
Australia, missions have become localities or ghettoes on the edges of towns which are
home to many Indigenous Australians. The word may be seen as derogatory when used
in this context.
Sending and Receiving Nations
Contemporary Concepts of Mission
Major nations not only send and fund missionaries abroad, but also receive them from
other countries. In 2010, the United States sent out 127,000 missionaries, while 32,400
came to the United States. Brazil was second, sending out 34,000, and receiving
20,000. France sent out 21,000 and received 10,000. Britain sent out 15,000 and
received 10,000. India sent out 10,000 and received 8000. Other major exporters
included Spain at 21,000 sent out, Italy at 20,000, South Korea at 20,000, Germany at
14,000, and Canada at 8,500. Large recipient nations included Russia, receiving
20,000; Congo receiving 15,000; South Africa, 12,000; Argentina, 10,000; and Chile,
8,500. The largest sending agency in the United States was the Southern Baptist
Convention, with 4,800 missionaries, plus 450 support staff working inside the United
States. The annual budget is about $50,000 per year per missionary. In recent years,
however, the Southern Baptist foreign missionary operation (the International Mission
Board) has operated at a deficit, and it is cutting operations by 15 percent. It is
encouraging older missionaries to retire and return to the United States.
Modern Missionary Methods and Doctrines Among Conservative Protestants
The Lausanne Congress of 1974, birthed a movement that supports evangelical mission
among non-Christians and nominal Christians. It regards "mission" as that which is
designed "to form a viable indigenous church-planting and world changing movement."
This definition is motivated by a theologically imperative theme of the Bible to make God
known, as outlined in the Great Commission. The definition is claimed to summarize the
acts of Jesus' ministry, which is taken as a model motivation for all ministries.
This Christian missionary movement seeks to implement churches after the pattern of
the first century Apostles. The process of forming disciples is necessarily social.
"Church" should be understood in the widest sense, as a body of believers of Christ
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ather than simply a building. In this view, even those who are already culturally
Christian must be "evangelized".
Church planting by cross-cultural missionaries leads to the establishment of selfgoverning,
self-supporting and self-propagating communities of believers. This is the
famous "three-self" formula formulated by Henry Venn of the London Church Missionary
Society in the 19th century. Cross-cultural missionaries are persons who accept churchplanting
duties to evangelize people outside their culture, as Christ commanded in the
Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20, Mark 16:15–18).
The objective of these missionaries is to give an understandable presentation of their
beliefs with the hope that people will choose to following the teaching of Jesus Christ
and live their lives as His disciples. As a matter of strategy, many evangelical Christians
around the world now focus on what they call the "10/40 window", a band of countries
between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude and reaching from western Africa through
Asia. Christian missions strategist Luis Bush pinpointed the need for a major focus of
evangelism in the "10/40 Window", a phrase he coined in his presentation at the
missionary conference Lausanne 1989 in Manila. Sometimes referred to as the
"Resistant Belt", it is an area that includes 35% of the world's land mass, 90% of the
world's poorest peoples and 95% of those who have yet to hear anything about
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Modern pioneering missionary doctrines now focus on inserting a culturally adapted
seed of Christian doctrines into a self-selected, self-motivated group of indigenous
believers, without removing them from their culture in any way.
Modern mission techniques are sufficiently refined that within ten to fifteen years, most
indigenous churches are locally pastored, managed, taught, self-supporting and
evangelizing. The process can be substantially faster if a preexisting translation of the
Bible and higher pastoral education are already available, perhaps left over from earlier,
less effective missions.
One strategy is to let indigenous cultural groups decide to adopt Christian doctrines and
benefits, when (as in most cultures) such major decisions are normally made by groups.
In this way, opinion leaders in the groups can persuade much or most of the groups to
convert. When combined with training in discipleship, church planting and other modern
missionary doctrine, the result is an accelerating, self-propelled conversion of large
portions of the culture.
A typical modern mission is a co-operative effort by many different ministries, often
including several coordinating ministries, such as the Faith2Share network, often with
separate funding sources. One typical effort proceeded as follows:
1. A missionary radio group recruits, trains and broadcasts in the main dialect of the
target culture's language. Broadcast content is carefully adapted to avoid
syncretism yet help the Christian Gospel seem like a native, normal part of the
target culture. Broadcast content often includes news, music, entertainment and
education in the language, as well as purely Christian items.
2. Broadcasts might advertise programs, inexpensive radios (possibly springwound),
and a literature ministry that sells a Christian mail-order correspondence
course at nominal costs. The literature ministry is key, and is normally a separate
organization from the radio ministry. Modern literature missions are shifting to
web-based content where it makes sense (as in Western Europe and Japan).
3. When a person or group completes a correspondence course, they are invited to
contact a church-planting missionary group from (if possible) a related cultural
group. The church-planting ministry is usually a different ministry from either the
literature or radio ministries. The church-planting ministry usually requires its
missionaries to be fluent in the target language, and trained in modern churchplanting
4. The missionary then leads the group to start a church. Churches planted by
these groups are usually a group that meets in a house. The object is the
minimum organization that can perform the required character development and
spiritual growth. Buildings, complex ministries and other expensive items are
mentioned, but deprecated until the group naturally achieves the size and budget
to afford them. The crucial training is how to become a Christian (by faith in
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Jesus Christ) and then how to set up a church (meet to study the Bible, and
perform communion and worship), usually in that order.
5. A new generation of churches is created, and the growth begins to accelerate
geometrically. Frequently, daughter churches are created only a few months after
a church's creation. In the fastest-growing Christian movements, the pastoral
education is "pipelined", flowing in a just-in-time fashion from the central
churches to daughter churches. That is, planting of churches does not wait for
the complete training of pastors.
The most crucial part of church planting is selection and training of leadership.
Classically, leadership training required an expensive stay at a seminary, a Bible
college. Modern church planters deprecate this because it substantially slows the
growth of the church without much immediate benefit. Modern mission doctrines replace
the seminary with programmed curricula or (even less expensive) books of discussion
questions, and access to real theological books.
The materials are usually made available in a major trading language in which most
native leaders are likely to be fluent. In some cases, the materials can be adapted for
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It turns out that new pastors' practical needs for theology are well addressed by a
combination of practical procedures for church planting, discussion in small groups, and
motivated Bible-based study from diverse theological texts. As a culture's church's
wealth increases, it will naturally form classic seminaries on its own.
Another related mission is Bible translation. The above-mentioned literature has to be
translated. Missionaries actively experiment with advanced linguistic techniques to
speed translation and literacy. Bible translation not only speeds a church's growth by
aiding self-training, but it also assures that Christian information becomes a permanent
part of the native culture and literature. Some ministries also use modern recording
techniques to reach groups with audio that could not be soon reached with literature.
Among Roman Catholics
For Catholics, “Missions” is the term given to those particular undertakings by which the
heralds of the Gospel, sent out by the Church and going forth into the whole world, carry
out the task of preaching the Gospel and planting the Church among peoples or groups
who do not yet believe in Christ.
Vatican II made a deep impact on Catholic missions around the world. The Church's
relations to non-Christian religions like Judaism and Islam were revisited.
A steep decline in the number of people entering the priesthood and religious life in the
West has made the Church look towards laity more and more. Communities like Opus
Dei arose to meet this need.
Inculturation increasingly became a key topic of missiological reflection for Catholics.
Inculturation is understood as the meeting of the Christian message with a community in
their cultural context.
Liberation Theology and liturgical reform have also been important in forming and
influencing the mission of the Catholic Church in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
In relation to mission, Pope Benedict XVI has made the re-evangelization of Europe and
North America a priority in his own ministry, even while the upper leadership of the
Roman Catholic hierarchy and the college of cardinals has more members from Latin
America, Africa, and Asia than ever before.
Key documents on mission for Catholics during this period are Evangelii nuntiandi by
Pope Paul VI and Redemptoris missio by Pope John Paul II.
Publishing of Books as Mission
Christian mission organisations have long depended on the printed word as a channel
through which to do mission. At times when countries have been "closed" to Christians,
great efforts have been made to smuggle Bibles and other literature into those
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countries. Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, started smuggling Bibles into
communist countries in the 1950s. Operation Mobilisation was established in 1957 by
George Verwer. Other Christian publishers, such as Plough Publishing, provide free
books to people in the UK and US as a form of mission. The Bible Society translates
and prints Bibles, in an attempt to reach every country in the world.
Objections to missionary work among isolated, indigenous populations involve the claim
that the goal of mission is to Westernize them. Such claims have been raised by
indigenous rights groups organizations, such as Friends of Peoples Close to Nature and
Missionaries, along with other travelers, brought diseases into local populations.
Smallpox, measles, even the common cold, have been blamed on their arrivals. David
Igler of the University of California, Irvine, includes missionary activity as a cause of
spreading germs. However, he says that commercial traders were the main agents of
... other diseases arrived on non-commercial voyages; missionary activities certainly
spread germs, and Spanish conquests had dispersed deadly germs in parts of the
Americas and Pacific prior to the late eighteenth century. Yet, for the period between
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the 1770s and the 1840s, trading vessels were the main agents of disease, creating in
the Pacific what Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie has called a "paroxysm" of the "microbian
unification of the world." By 1850, the microbes of Europe, Asia, and Africa circulated in
almost every Pacific population.
Political scientist Robert Woodberry uses statistics to argue that conversionary
Protestants were a crucial catalyst in spreading religious liberty, education, and
democracy. He shows that statistically the prevalence of such missionaries account for
half of the variance in democracy in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. In a 2014
Christianity Today article, he remarks, "Areas where Protestant missionaries had a
significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today,
with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy,
higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in
Controversy and Christian Missionaries
“ "This proselytization will mean no peace in the world. Conversions are
harmful to India. If I had the power and could legislate I should certainly stop
all proselytizing ... It pains me to have to say that the Christian missionaries
as a body, with honorable exceptions, have actively supported a system
which has impoverished, enervated and demoralized a people considered to
be among the gentlest and most civilized on earth". ”
In India, Hindu organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh assert that
most conversions undertaken by zealous evangelicals occur due to compulsion,
inducement or fraud. In the Indian state of Tripura, the government has alleged financial
and weapons-smuggling connections between Baptist missionaries and rebel groups
such as the National Liberation Front of Tripura. The accused Tripura Baptist Christian
Union is a member body of the Baptist World Alliance.
"In mid-May, the Vatican was also co-sponsoring a meeting about how some religious
groups abuse liberties by proselytizing, or by evangelizing in aggressive or deceptive
ways. Iraq ... has become an open field for foreigners looking for fresh converts. Some
Catholic Church leaders and aid organizations have expressed concern about new
Christian groups coming in and luring Iraqis to their churches with offers of cash,
clothing, food or jobs.... Reports of aggressive proselytism and reportedly forced
conversions in mostly Hindu India have fueled religious tensions and violence there and
have prompted some regional governments to pass laws banning proselytism or
religious conversion.... Sadhvi Vrnda Chaitanya, a Hindu monk from southern India, told
CNS that India's poor and uneducated are especially vulnerable to coercive or
deceptive methods of evangelization.... Aid work must not hide any ulterior motives and
avoid exploiting vulnerable people like children and the disabled, she said."
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In an interview with Outlook Magazine, Sadhvi Vrnda Chaitanya said "If the Vatican
could understand that every religious and spiritual tradition is as sacred as Christianity,
and that they have a right to exist without being denigrated or extinguished, it will greatly
serve the interests of dialogue, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence."
Aid and Evangelism
While there is a general agreement among most major aid organizations not to mix aid
with proselyting, others see disasters as a useful opportunity to spread the word. One
such an occurrence was the tsunami that devastated parts of Asia on December 26,
"This (disaster) is one of the greatest opportunities God has given us to share his love
with people," said K.P. Yohannan, president of the Texas-based Gospel for Asia. In an
interview, Yohannan said his 14,500 "native missionaries" in India, Sri Lanka and the
Andaman Islands are giving survivors Bibles and booklets about "how to find hope in
this time through the word of God." In Krabi, Thailand, a Southern Baptist church had
been "praying for a way to make inroads" with a particular ethnic group of fishermen,
according to Southern Baptist relief coordinator Pat Julian. Then came the tsunami, "a
phenomenal opportunity" to provide ministry and care, Julian told the Baptist Press
news service.... Not all evangelicals agree with these tactics. "It's not appropriate in a
crisis like this to take advantage of people who are hurting and suffering", said the Rev.
Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan's Purse and son of evangelist Billy Graham."
The Christian Science Monitor echoes these concerns... "'I think evangelists do this out
of the best intentions, but there is a responsibility to try to understand other faith groups
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and their culture,' says Vince Isner, director of FaithfulAmerica.org, a program of the
National Council of Churches USA."
The Bush Administration has made it easier for U.S. faith-based groups and missionary
societies to tie aid and church together.
For decades, US policy has sought to avoid intermingling government programs and
religious proselytizing. The aim is both to abide by the Constitution's prohibition against
a state religion and to ensure that aid recipients don't forgo assistance because they
don't share the religion of the provider.... But many of those restrictions were removed
by Bush in a little-noticed series of executive orders – a policy change that cleared the
way for religious groups to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in additional
government funding. It also helped change the message American aid workers bring to
many corners of the world, from emphasizing religious neutrality to touting the healing
powers of the Christian God.
Missionaries say that the government in India has passed anti-conversion laws in
several states that are supposedly meant to prevent conversions from "force or
allurement," but are primarily used, they say, to persecute and criminalize voluntary
conversion due to the government's broad definition of "force and allurement." Any gift
received from a Christian in exchange for, or with the intention of, conversion is
considered allurement. Voice of the Martyrs reports that aid-workers claim that they are
being hindered from reaching people with much needed services as a result of this
persecution. Alan de Lastic, Roman Catholic archbishop of New Delhi states that claims
of forced conversion are false.
"'There are attacks practically every week, maybe not resulting in death, but still, violent
attacks,' Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India tells
The Christian Science Monitor today. 'They [India's controlling BJP party] have created
an atmosphere where minorities do feel insecure.'" According to Prakash Louis, director
of the secular Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, "We are seeing a broad attempt to
stifle religious minorities and their constitutional rights...Today, they say you have no
right to convert, Tomorrow you have no right to worship in certain places." Existing
congregations, often during times of worship, are being persecuted. Properties are
sometimes destroyed and burnt to the ground, while native pastors are sometimes
beaten and left for dead.
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II. Missiology and Missionaries
Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate,
message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work.
Missiology is a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural field of study incorporating theology,
anthropology, history, geography, theories and methods of communication, comparative
religion, Christian apologetics, education methodology, and interdenominational
developed over the
centuries, starting in
early 2nd century and
up to now.
quite late in
era, only in
the 19th century. It
was the Scottish
Duff who first
systematic theory of
appointed in 1867 to a
new chair of Evangelistic Theology in Edinburgh. This first chair of missiology was
closed after Duff’s departure but the path was laid. Some years later another theologian,
Gustav Warneck, was recognized as the founder of missiology as a discipline in its own
Warneck founded the Allgemeine Missions Zeitschrift, the first scientific missionary
periodical, in 1874. In 1897, he was appointed to the chair of missionary science at the
University of Halle, Germany. His three-volume work on Protestant mission theory and
his survey of the history of Protestant missionary work were extremely important for the
young discipline. Influenced by Warneck’s work, Catholic Church historian Joseph
Schmidlin began lecturing in missiology in 1910 at the University of Munster and was
appointed to the first chair of Catholic missiology at the same university in 1914.
Scope of Study
Missiology became recognizable first of all within the study of Christian theology. On the
other hand, over the centuries of missions the missionaries encountered various
cultures and attitudes to accepting the Gospel by the different peoples. This caused
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theologians to reflect on issues of society and Christianity, and anthropology and
Christianity. Communicating the Gospel and comparing the Christian teaching with
other religious or secular teachings made the task of the missionaries even more
difficult. They needed a solid theoretical framework within which they could more
efficiently found their mission and succeed in spreading the Good News.
In this way missiology became the Christian theological discipline which interacted with
many other sciences, such as anthropology, history, geography, communication theory,
comparative religious studies, social studies, education, psychology, inter-religious
relations, etc. The core of the new discipline remains the teaching of the Church:
"Inherent in the discipline is the study of the nature of God, the created world, and the
Church, as well as the interaction among these three."
The wide scope of study of the discipline of missiology makes it difficult for missiologist
to agree upon a unified definition on what missiology is. One approach is to reflect on
what mission is and then define the ways in which mission is explained theologically:
“Mission is the participation of the people of God in God’s action in the world. The
theological and critical reflection about mission is called missiology”
Johannes Verkuyl states, “Missiology’s task in every age is to investigate scientifically
and critically the presuppositions, motives, structures, methods, patterns of cooperation
and leadership which the churches bring to their mandate” Every mission needs a
strategy which can be employed in specific environment, among specific cultural
context. This adds to the definition of missiology a three-dimensional area of study:
“Missiology is made up of three interdependent areas of study: theology, the social
sciences, and strategy. Theology explains the foundations of mission, culture (the social
sciences) elaborates on the arena of mission, and strategy explicitly points to the ways
in which missions is implemented. Defining what is missiology continues even today
and it will continue in the near future until a definition acceptable to all missiologists is
Today missiology is taught at many Christian theological schools and its scope of study
and relations with the other theological and social sciences differ to a great extent. It
continues to be considered a Christian theological discipline and at the same time it is
argued whether missiology is a strictly church discipline or academic one.
The close interaction between missiology, social sciences and culture made scholars to
shape the discipline within the framework of history and sociology and remind about the
“colonial past of missions” when Christians often attempted to use their political and
economic power in evangelism. Many missiologists are now disavowing these methods
and attempt to construct a new paradigm that does not employ such imperialistic
approaches which lead to language and cultural imposition.
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The issues of syncretism and context in mission have been well explained and
missiology obtained the features of intercultural theology.
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize or
perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and
economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent
members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem (nom. missio), meaning "act of
sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage;
in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to
preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian
missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.
Missionaries by Religion
A Christian missionary can be defined as "one who is to witness across cultures". The
Lausanne Congress of 1974, defined the term, related to Christian mission as, "to form
a viable indigenous church-planting movement". Missionaries can be found in many
countries around the world.
In the Bible, Jesus is recorded as instructing the apostles to make disciples of all
nations (Matthew 28:19–20, Mark 16:15–18). This verse is referred to by Christian
missionaries as the Great Commission and inspires missionary work.
The Christian Church expanded throughout the Roman Empire already in New
Testament times and is said by tradition to have reached even further, to Persia
(Church of the East) and to India (Saint Thomas Christians). During the Middle Ages the
Christian monasteries and missionaries such as Saint Patrick (5th century), and
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Adalbert of Prague (ca 956-997) propagated learning and religion beyond the European
boundaries of the old Roman Empire. In 596, Pope Gregory the Great (in office 590-
604) sent the Gregorian Mission (including Augustine of Canterbury) into England. In
their turn, Christians from Ireland (the Hiberno-Scottish mission) and from Britain (Saint
Boniface (ca 675-754), and the Anglo-Saxon mission, for example) became prominent
in converting the inhabitants of central Europe.
During the Age of Discovery, the Catholic Church established a number of missions in
the Americas and in other Western colonies through the Augustinians, Franciscans, and
Dominicans to spread Christianity in the New World and [clarification needed] to convert the
Native Americans and other indigenous people. About the same time, missionaries such
as Francis Xavier (1506–1552) as well as other Jesuits, Augustinians, Franciscans, and
Dominicans reached Asia and the Far East, and the Portuguese sent missions into
Africa. Emblematic in many respects is Matteo Ricci's Jesuit mission to China from
1582, which was totally peaceful and non-violent. These missionary movements should
be distinguished from others, such as the Baltic Crusades of the 12th and 13th
centuries, which were arguably compromised in their motivation by designs of military
Much contemporary Catholic missionary work has undergone profound change since
the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, with an increased push for indigenization
and inculturation, along with social justice issues as a constitutive part of preaching the
As the Catholic Church normally organizes itself along territorial lines and had the
human and material resources, religious orders, some even specializing in it, undertook
most missionary work, especially in the era after the collapse of the Roman Empire in
the West. Over time, the Holy See gradually established a normalized Church structure
in the mission areas, often starting with special jurisdictions known as apostolic
prefectures and apostolic vicariates. At a later stage of development these foundations
are raised to regular diocesan status with a local bishops appointed. On a global front,
these processes were often accelerated in the later 1960s, in part accompanying
political decolonization. In some regions, however, they are still in course.
Just as the Bishop of Rome had jurisdiction also in territories later considered to be in
the Eastern sphere, so the missionary efforts of the two 9th-century saints Cyril and
Methodius were largely conducted in relation to the West rather than the East, though
the field of activity was central Europe.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, under the Orthodox Church of Constantinople undertook
vigorous missionary work under the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine
Empire. This had lasting effects and in some sense is at the origin of the present
relations of Constantinople ith some sixteen Orthodox national churches including the
Romanian Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, and the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church (both traditionally said to have been founded by the
missionary Apostle Andrew), the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (said to have been
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founded by the missionary Apostle Paul). The Byzantines expanded their missionary
work in Ukraine after the mass baptism in Kiev in 988. The Serbian Orthodox Church
had its origins in the conversion by Byzantine missionaries of the Serb tribes when they
arrived in the Balkans in the 7th century. Orthodox missionaries also worked
successfully among the Estonians from the 10th to the 12th centuries, founding the
Estonian Orthodox Church.
Under the Russian Empire of the 19th century, missionaries such as Nicholas Ilminsky
(1822–1891) moved into the subject lands and propagated Orthodoxy, including through
Belarus, Latvia, Moldova, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine, and China. The Russian St.
Nicholas of Japan (1836–1912) took Eastern Orthodoxy to Japan in the 19th century.
The Russian Orthodox Church also sent missionaries to Alaska beginning in the 18th
century, including Saint Herman of Alaska (died 1836), to minister to the Native
Americans. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia continued missionary work
outside Russia after the 1917 Russian Revolution, resulting in the establishment of
many new dioceses in the diaspora, from which numerous converts have been made in
Eastern Europe, North America, and Oceania.
Early Protestant missionaries included John Eliot and contemporary ministers including
John Cotton and Richard Bourne, who ministered to the Algonquin natives who lived in
lands claimed by representatives of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 17th
century. Quaker "publishers of truth" visited Boston and other mid-17th century
colonies, but were not always well received.
The Danish government began the first organized Protestant mission work through its
College of Missions, established in 1714. This funded and directed Lutheran
missionaries such as Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg in Tranquebar, India, and Hans Egede
in Greenland. In 1732, while on a visit in 1732 to Copenhagen for the coronation of his
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cousin King Christian VI, the Moravian Church's patron Nicolas Ludwig, Count von
Zinzendorf, was very struck by its effects, and particularly by two visiting Inuit children
converted by Hans Egede. He also got to know a slave from the Danish colony in the
West Indies. When he returned to Herrnhut in Saxony, he inspired the inhabitants of the
village – it had fewer than thirty houses then – to send out "messengers" to the slaves in
the West Indies and to the Moravian missions in Greenland. Within thirty years,
Moravian missionaries had become active on every continent, and this at a time when
there were fewer than three hundred people in Herrnhut. They are famous for their
selfless work, living as slaves among the slaves and together with the Native
Americans, the Delaware (i.e., Lenni Lenape) and Cherokee Indian tribes. Today, the
work in the former mission provinces of the worldwide Moravian Church is carried on by
native workers. The fastest-growing area of the work is in Tanzania in Eastern Africa.
The Moravian work in South Africa inspired William Carey and the founders of the
British Baptist missions. As of 2014, seven of every ten Moravians live in a former
mission field and belong to a race other than Caucasian.
Much Anglican mission work came about under the auspices of the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG, founded in 1701), the Church
Missionary Society (CMS, founded 1799) and of the Intercontinental Church Society
(formerly the Commonwealth and Continental Church Society, originating in 1823).
With a dramatic increase in efforts since the 20th century, and a strong push since the
Lausanne I: The International Congress on World Evangelization in Switzerland in 1974,
modern evangelical groups have focused efforts on sending missionaries to every
ethnic group in the world. While this effort has not been completed, increased attention
has brought larger numbers of people distributing Bibles, Jesus videos, and establishing
evangelical churches in more remote areas.
Internationally, the focus for many years in the later 20th century was on reaching every
"people group" with Christianity by the year 2000. Bill Bright's leadership with Campus
Crusade, the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, The Joshua Project, and
others brought about the need to know who these "unreached people groups" are and
how those wanting to tell about the Christian God and share a Christian Bible could
reach them. The focus for these organizations transitioned from a "country focus" to a
"people group focus". (From "What is a People Group?" by Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins: A
"people group" is an ethnolinguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by
the various members. There are two parts to that word: ethno and linguistic. Language
is a primary and dominant identifying factor of a people group. But there are other
factors that determine or are associated with ethnicity.)
What can be viewed as a success by those inside and outside the church from this
focus is a higher level of cooperation and friendliness among churches and
denominations. It is very common for those working on international fields to not only
cooperate in efforts to share their gospel message, but view the work of their groups in
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a similar light. Also, with the increased study and awareness of different people groups,
western mission efforts have become far more sensitive to the cultural nuances of those
they are going to and those they are working with in the effort.
Over the years, as indigenous churches have matured, the church of the "Global South"
(Africa, Asia, and Latin America) has become the driving force in missions. Korean and
African missionaries can now be found all over the world. These missionaries represent
a major shift in church history.
Brazil, Nigeria, and other countries have had large numbers of their Christian adherents
go to other countries and start churches. These non-western missionaries often have
unparalleled success; because, they need few western resources and comforts to
sustain their livelihood while doing the work they have chosen among a new culture and
One of the first large-scale missionary endeavors of the British colonial age was the
Baptist Missionary Society, founded in 1792 as the Particular Baptist Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen.
The London Missionary Society was an evangelical organisation, bringing together from
its inception both Anglicans and Nonconformists; it was founded in England in 1795 with
missions in Africa and the islands of the South Pacific. The Colonial Missionary Society
was created in 1836, and directed its efforts towards promoting Congregationalist forms
of Christianity among "British or other European settlers" rather than indigenous
peoples. Both of these merged in 1966, and the resultant organization is now known as
the Council for World Mission.
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The Church Mission Society, first known as the Society for Missions to Africa and the
East, was founded in 1799 by evangelical Anglicans centred around the anti-slavery
activist William Wilberforce. It bent its efforts to the Coptic Church, the Ethiopian
Church, and India, especially Kerala; it continues to this day. Many of the network of
churches they established became the Anglican Communion.
In 1809, the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews was founded,
which pioneered mission amongst the Jewish people; it continues today as the Church's
Ministry Among Jewish People. In 1865, the China Inland Mission was founded, going
well beyond British controlled areas; it continues as the OMF, working throughout East
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has an active missionary
program. Young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five are encouraged to
prepare themselves to serve a two-year, self-funded, full-time proselytizing mission.
Young women who desire to serve as missionaries can serve starting at the age of
nineteen, for one and a half years. Retired couples also have the option of serving a
mission. Missionaries typically spend two weeks in a Missionary Training Center (or two
to three months for those learning a new language) where they study the scriptures,
learn new languages when applicable, prepare themselves to teach the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, and learn more about the culture and the people they live among. As of January
2014, the LDS Church had over 80,000 missionaries worldwide and over 10,000
Welfare Services Missionaries.
Maryknoll The sending of missioners from the U.S. Church was seen as a sign of the
U.S. Catholic Church finally coming of age.
When two American Catholic priests from distinctly different backgrounds met in
Montreal in 1910, they discovered they had one thing in common. Father James
Anthony Walsh, a priest from the heart of Boston, and Father Thomas Frederick Price,
the first native North Carolinian ordained into the priesthood, recognized that through
their differences, they were touched by the triumph of the human spirit and enriched by
encountering the faith experience of others. This was the foundation of their mutual
desire to build a seminary for the training of young American men for the foreign
Countering arguments that the Church needed workers here, Fathers Walsh and Price
insisted the Church would not flourish until it sent missioners overseas. Independently,
the men had written extensively about the concept, Father Price in his magazine Truth,
and Father Walsh in the pages of A Field Afar, an early incarnation of Maryknoll
Magazine. Together, they formulated plans to establish a seminary for foreign
missionaries. With the approval of the American hierarchy, the two priests traveled to
Rome in June 1911 to receive final approval from Pope Pius X for their project. On June
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29, 1911, Pope Pius X gave his blessings for the formation of the Catholic Foreign
Mission Society of America, now better known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
Dawah means to "invite" (in Arabic, literally "calling") to Islam, which is the second
largest religion with 1.6 billion members. From the 7th century, it spread rapidly from the
Arabian Peninsula to the rest of the world through the initial Muslim conquests and
subsequently with traders and explorers after the death of Muhammad.
Initially, the spread of Islam came through the Dawah efforts of Muhammad and his
followers. After his death in 632 C.E., much of the expansion of the empire came
through conquest such as that of North Africa and later Spain (Al-Andalus). The Islamic
conquest of Persia put an end to the Sassanid Empire and spread the reach of Islam to
as far east as Khorasan, which would later become the cradle of Islamic civilization
during the Islamic Golden Age (622-1258 C.E.) and a stepping-stone towards the
introduction of Islam to the Turkic tribes living in and bordering the area.
The missionary movement peaked during the Islamic Golden Age, with the expansion of
foreign trade routes, primarily into the Indo-Pacific and as far south as the isle of
Zanzibar as well as the South-Eastern shores of Africa.
With the coming of the Sufism tradition, Islamic missionary activities increased. Later,
the Seljuk Turks' conquest of Anatolia made it easier for missionaries to go lands that
formerly belonged to the Byzantine Empire. In the earlier stages of the Ottoman Empire,
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a Turkic form of Shamanism was still widely practiced in Anatolia, but soon lost ground
During the Ottoman presence in the Balkans, missionary movements were taken up by
people from aristocratic families hailing from the region, who had been educated in
Constantinople or other major city within the Empire such as the famed madrassahs
and kulliyes. Primarily, individuals were sent back to the place of their origin and were
appointed important positions in the local governing body. This approach often resulted
in the building of mosques and local kulliyes for future generations to benefit from, as
well as spreading the teachings of Islam.
The spread of Islam towards Central and West Africa had until the early 19th century
has been consistent but slow. Previously, the only connection was through Trans-
Saharan trade routes. The Mali Empire, consisting predominantly of African and Berber
tribes, stands as a strong example of the early Islamic conversion of the Sub-Saharan
region. The gateways prominently expanded to include the aforementioned trade routes
through the Eastern shores of the African continent. With the European colonization of
Africa, missionaries were almost in competition with the European Christian
missionaries operating in the colonies.
There is evidence of Arab Muslim traders entering Indonesia as early as the 8th
century. Indonesia's early people were animists, Hindus, and Buddhists. However it was
not until the end of the 13th century that the process of "Islamization" began to spread
throughout the areas local communities and port towns. The spread, although at first
introduced through Arab Muslim traders, continued to saturate through the Indonesian
people as local rulers and royalty began to adopt the religion subsequently leading their
subjects to mirror their conversion.
Recently, Muslim groups have engaged in missionary work in Malawi. Much of this is
performed by the African Muslim Agency based in Angola. The Kuwait-sponsored AMA
has translated the Qur'an into Chichewa (Cinyanja), one of the official languages of
Malawi, and has engaged in other missionary work in the country. All of the major cities
in the country have mosques and there are several Islamic schools.
Several South African, Kuwaiti, and other Muslim agencies are active in Mozambique,
with one important one being the African Muslim Agency. The spread of Islam into West
Africa, beginning with ancient Ghana in the 9th century, was mainly the result of the
commercial activities of North African Muslims. The empires of both Mali and Songhai
that followed ancient Ghana in the Western Sudan adopted the religion. Islam made its
entry into the northern territories of modern Ghana around the 15th century. Mande
speakers (who in Ghana are known as Wangara) traders and clerics carried the religion
into the area. The northeastern sector of the country was also influenced by an influx of
Hausa Muslim traders from the 16th century onwards
Islamic influence first occurred in India in the early 7th century with the advent of Arab
traders. Trade relations have existed between Arabia and the Indian subcontinent from
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ancient times. Even in the pre-Islamic era, Arab traders used to visit the Malabar region,
which linked them with the ports of Southeast Asia. According to Historians Elliot and
Dowson in their book The History of India as told by its own Historians, the first ship
bearing Muslim travelers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 C.E.. H. G.
Rawlinson, in his book: Ancient and Medieval History of India claims the first Arab
Muslims settled on the Indian coast in the last part of the 7th century. Shaykh Zainuddin
Makhdum's "Tuhfat al-Mujahidin" also is a reliable work. This fact is corroborated, by J.
Sturrock in his South Kanara and Madras Districts Manuals, and also by Haridas
Bhattacharya in Cultural Heritage of India Vol. IV. It was with the advent of Islam that
the Arabs became a prominent cultural force in the world. The Arab merchants and
traders became the carriers of the new religion, and they propagated it wherever they
Islam in Bulgaria can be traced back to the mid-ninth century when there were Islamic
missionaries in Bulgaria, evidenced by a letter from Pope Nicholas to Boris of Bulgaria
calling for the extirpation of Saracens.
Pioneer Muslim missionaries to the Kenyan interior were largely Tanganyikans, who
coupled their missionary work with trade, along the centres began along the railway line
such as Kibwezi, Makindu, and Nairobi.
Outstanding among them was Maalim Mtondo Islam in Kenya, a Tanganyikan credited
with being the first Muslim missionary to Nairobi. Reaching Nairobi at the close of the
19th century, he led a group of other Muslims, and enthusiastic missionaries from the
coast to establish a "Swahili village" in present-day Pumwani. A small mosque was built
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to serve as a starting point and he began preaching Islam in earnest. He soon attracted
several Kikuyus and Wakambas, who became his disciples.
In 1380, Karim ul' Makhdum the first Arabian Islamic missionary reached the Sulu
Archipelago and Jolo in the Philippines and established Islam in the country. In 1390,
the Minangkabau's Prince Rajah Baguinda and his followers preached Islam on the
islands. The Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque was the first mosque established in the
Philippines on Simunul in Mindanao in the 14th century. Subsequent settlements by
Arab missionaries traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia helped strengthen Islam in the
Philippines and each settlement was governed by a Datu, Rajah, and a Sultan. Islamic
provinces founded in the Philippines included the Sultanate of Maguindanao, Sultanate
of Sulu, and other parts of the southern Philippines.
Modern missionary work in the United States has increased greatly in the last one
hundred years, with much of the recent demographic growth driven by conversion. Up
to one-third of American Muslims are African Americans who have converted to Islam
during the last seventy years. Conversion to Islam in prisons, and in large urban areas
has also contributed to Islam's growth over the years.
An estimated US$45 billion has been spent by the Saudi Arabian government financing
mosques and Islamic schools in foreign countries. Ain al-Yaqeen, a Saudi newspaper,
reported in 2002 that Saudi funds may have contributed to building as many as 1,500
mosques and 2,000 other Islamic centers.
Ahmadiyya Islam Missions
Missionaries belonging to the Ahmadiyya thought of Islam often study at International
Islamic seminaries and educational institutions, known as Jamia Ahmadiyya. Upon
completion of their degrees, they are sent to various parts of the world including South
America, Africa, North America, Europe, and the Far East as appointed by Mirza
Masroor Ahmad, present head and Caliph of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim
community. Jamia students may be appointed by the Caliph either as Missionaries of
the community (often called Murrabi, Imam, or Mawlana) or as Qadis or Muftis of the
Ahmadiyya Muslim community with a specialisation in matters of fiqh (Islamic
Jurisprudence). Some Jamia alumni have also become Islamic historians such as the
late Dost Muhammad Shahid, former Official Historian of the Ahmadiyya Muslim
community, with a specialisation in tarikh (Islamic historiography). Missionaries stay with
their careers as appointed by the Caliph for the rest of their lives, as per their
commitment to the community.
Early Islamic Missionaries During Muhammad's Era
During the Expedition of Al Raji in 625, the Islamic Prophet Muhammad sent some men
as missionaries to various different tribes. Some men came to Muhammad and
requested that Muhammad send instructors to teach them Islam, but the men were
bribed by the two tribes of Khuzaymah who wanted revenge for the assassination of
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Khalid bin Sufyan (Chief of the Banu Lahyan tribe) by Muhammad's followers 8 Muslim
Missionaires were killed in this expedition., another version says 10 Muslims were killed.
Then during the Expedition of Bir Maona in July 625 Muhammad sent some
Missionaries at request of some men from the Banu Amir tribe, but the Muslims were
again killed as revenge for the assassination of Khalid bin Sufyan by Muhammad's
followers 70 Muslims were killed during this expedition.
During the Expedition of Khalid ibn al-Walid (Banu Jadhimah) in January 630,
Muhammad sent Khalid ibn Walid to invite the Banu Jadhimah tribe to Islam. This is
mentioned in the Sunni Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:628.
Missionaries and Judaism
Despite some Jewish missionary activity in the biblical times, contemporary Judaism
states clearly that missionary activities are mostly taboo. Historically, various Judaic
sects and movements have been consistent on avoiding proselytization to convert
Jewish religious groups encourage "Outreach" to Jews. The outreach, or kiruv,
movements encourage Jews to become more knowledgeable and observant of Jewish
law. People who become more observant are known as baalei teshuva. "Outreach" is
done worldwide, by organizations such as Chabad Lubavitch, Aish Hatorah, Ohr
Somayach, and Partners In Torah. There are also many such organizations in the
United States. There has been a singular, isolated movement to convert Catholics to
Judaism in Peru.
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Members of the American Reform movement began a program to convert to Judaism
the non-Jewish spouses of its intermarried members and non-Jews who have an
interest in Judaism. Their rationale is that so many Jews were lost during the Holocaust
that newcomers must be sought out and welcomed. This approach has been repudiated
by Orthodox and Conservative Jews as unrealistic and posing a danger. They say that
these efforts make Judaism seem an easy religion to join and observe when in reality
being Jewish involves many difficulties and sacrifices.
The first Buddhist missionaries were called "Dharma Bhanaks", and some see a
missionary charge in the symbolism behind the Buddhist wheel, which is said to travel
all over the earth bringing Buddhism with it. The Emperor Ashoka was a significant early
Buddhist missioner. In the 3rd century BCE, Dharmaraksita—among others—was sent
out by emperor Ashoka to proselytize the Buddhist tradition through the Indian Maurya
Empire, but also into the Mediterranean as far as Greece. Gradually, all India and the
neighboring island of Ceylon were converted. Then Buddhism spread eastward and
southeastward to the present lands of Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and
Buddhism was spread among the Turkic people during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE
into modern-day Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, eastern and coastal Iran, Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. It was also taken into China brought by Kasyapa Matanga
in the 2nd century CE, Lokaksema and An Shigao translated Buddhist sutras into
Chinese. Dharmarakṣa was one of the greatest translators of Mahayana Buddhist
scriptures into Chinese. Dharmaraksa came to the Chinese capital of Luoyang in 266
CE, where he made the first known translations of the Lotus Sutra and the
Dasabhumika Sutra, which were to become some of the classic texts of Chinese
Mahayana Buddhism. Altogether, Dharmaraksa translated around 154 Hīnayāna and
Mahāyāna sutras, representing most of the important texts of Buddhism available in the
Western Regions. His proselytizing is said to have converted many to Buddhism in
China, and made Chang'an, present-day Xi'an, a major center of Buddhism. Buddhism
expanded rapidly, especially among the common people, and by 381 most of the people
of northwest China were Buddhist. Winning converts also among the rulers and
scholars, by the end of the T'ang Dynasty Buddhism was found everywhere in China.
Marananta brought Buddhism to the Korean Peninsula in the 4th century. Seong of
Baekje, known as a great patron of Buddhism in Korea, built many temples and
welcomed priests bringing Buddhist texts directly from India. In 528, Baekje officially
adopted Buddhism as its state religion. He sent tribute missions to Liang in 534 and
541, on the second occasion requesting artisans as well as various Buddhist works and
a teacher. According to Chinese records, all these requests were granted. A
subsequent mission was sent in 549, only to find the Liang capital in the hands of the
rebel Hou Jing, who threw them in prison for lamenting the fall of the capital. He is
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credited with having sent a mission in 538 to Japan that brought an image of
Shakyamuni and several sutras to the Japanese court. This has traditionally been
considered the official introduction of Buddhism to Japan. An account of this is given in
Gangōji Garan Engi. First supported by the Soga clan, Buddhism rose over the
objections of the pro-Shinto Mononobe and Buddhism entrenched itself in Japan with
the conversion of Prince Shotoku Taishi. When in 710 Emperor Shomu established a
new capital at Nara modeled after the capital of China, Buddhism received official
support and began to flourish.
Padmasambhava, The Lotus Born, was a sage guru from Oḍḍiyāna who is said to have
transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet and neighbouring countries in the
The use of missions, councils, and monastic institutions influenced the emergence of
Christian missions and organizations, which developed similar structures in places that
were formerly Buddhist missions.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Western intellectuals such as Schopenhauer, Henry
David Thoreau, Max Müller, and esoteric societies such as the Theosophical Society of
H.P. Blavatsky and the Buddhist Society, London spread interest in Buddhism. Writers
such as Hermann Hesse and Jack Kerouac, in the West, and the hippie generation of
the late 1960s and early 1970s led to a re-discovery of Buddhism. During the 20th and
21st centuries Buddhism has again been propagated by missionaries into the West
such as the Dalai Lama and monks including Lama Surya Das (Tibetan Buddhism).
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Tibetan Buddhism has been significantly active and successful in the West since the
Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1959. Today Buddhists make a decent proportion of
several countries in the West such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the
Netherlands, France, and the United States.
In Canada, the immense popularity and goodwill ushered in by Tibet's Dalai Lama (who
has been made honorary Canadian citizen) put Buddhism in a favourable light in the
country. Many non-Asian Canadians embraced Buddhism in various traditions and
some have become leaders in their respective sanghas.
In the early 1990s, the French Buddhist Union (UBF, founded in 1986) estimated that
there are 600,000 to 650,000 Buddhists in France, with 150,000 French converts
among them. In 1999, sociologist Frédéric Lenoir estimated there are 10,000 converts
and up to 5 million "sympathizers", although other researchers have questioned these
Taisen Deshimaru was a Japanese Zen Buddhist who founded numerous zendos in
France. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated, Vietnamese-born Zen
Buddhist, founded the Unified Buddhist Church (Eglise Bouddhique Unifiée) in France in
1969. Plum Village, a monastery and retreat center in the Dordogne in southern France,
is his residence and the headquarters of his international sangha.
In 1968 Leo Boer and Wener van de Wetering founded a Zen group, and through two
books made Zen popular in the Netherlands. The guidance of the group was taken over
by Erik Bruijn, who is still in charge of a flourishing community. The largest Zen group
now is the Kanzeon Sangha, led by Nico Tydeman under the supervision of the
American Zen master Dennis Genpo Merzel, Roshi, a former student of Maezumi Roshi
in Los Angeles. This group has a relatively large centre where a teacher and some
students live permanently. Many other groups are also represented in the Netherlands,
like the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives in Apeldoorn, the Thich Nhat Hanh Order of
Interbeing and the International Zen Institute Noorderpoort monastery/retreat centre in
Drenthe, led by Jiun Hogen Roshi.
Perhaps the most widely visible Buddhist leader in the world is Tenzin Gyatso, the
current Dalai Lama, who first visited the United States in 1979. As the exiled political
leader of Tibet, he has become a popular cause célèbre. His early life was depicted in
Hollywood films such as Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet. He has attracted celebrity
religious followers such as Richard Gere and Adam Yauch. The first Western-born
Tibetan Buddhist monk was Robert A. F. Thurman, now an academic supporter of the
Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama maintains a North American headquarters at Namgyal
Monastery in Ithaca, New York.
Lewis M. Hopfe in his "Religions of the World" suggested that "Buddhism is perhaps on
the verge of another great missionary outreach" (1987:170).
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Hinduism was introduced into Java by travelers from India in ancient times. When the
early Javanese princes accepted Hinduism, they did not give up all of their early
animistic beliefs—they simply combined the new ideas with them. Several centuries
ago, many Hindus left Java for Bali rather than convert to Islam. Hinduism has survived
in Bali ever since. Dang Hyang Nirartha was responsible for facilitating a refashioning of
Balinese Hinduism. He was an important promoter of the idea of moksha in Indonesia.
He founded the Shaivite priesthood that is now ubiquitous in Bali, and is now regarded
as the ancestor of all Shaivite pandits.
Shantidas Adhikari was a Hindu preacher from Sylhet who converted King Pamheiba of
Manipur to Hinduism in 1717.
Historically, Hinduism has only recently had a large influence in western countries such
as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Since the 1960s, many westerners
attracted by the world view presented in Asian religious systems have converted to
Hinduism. Canada is no exception. Many native-born Canadians of various ethnicities
have converted during the last 50 years through the actions of the Ramakrishna
Mission, ISKCON, Arya Samaj and other missionary organizations as well as due to the
visits and guidance of Indian gurus such as Guru Maharaj, Sai Baba, and Rajneesh.
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The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has a presence in New Zealand,
running temples in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian yogi and guru, introduced many westerners to the
teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi.
Swami Vivekananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission is one of the greatest
Hindu missionaries to the West.
Sikhs have emigrated to countries all over the world, especially to English-speaking and
East Asian nations. In doing so they have retained, to a high degree, their distinctive
cultural and religious identity. Sikhs are not ubiquitous worldwide in the way that
adherents of larger world religions are, and they remain primarily an ethnic religion.
However, they can be found in many international cities and have become an especially
strong religious presence in the United Kingdom and Canada.
One morning, when he was twenty-eight, Guru Nanak Dev went as usual down to the
river to bathe and meditate. It was said that he was gone for three days. When he
reappeared, it is said he was "filled with the spirit of God". His first words after his reemergence
were: "there is no Hindu, there is no Muslim". With this secular principle he
began his missionary work. He made four distinct major journeys, in the four different
directions, which are called Udasis, spanning many thousands of kilometres, preaching
the message of God.
Currently there are Gurdwaras in over 50 countries.
Of missionary organizations, the most famous is probably The Sikh Missionary Society
UK. The Aim of the Sikh Missionary Society is the Advancement of the Sikh faith in the
U.K and abroad, engages in various activities:
Produce and distribute books on the Sikh faith in English and Panjabi, and other
languages to enlighten the younger generation of Sikhs as well as non-Sikhs.
Advise and support young students in schools, colleges, and universities on Sikh
issues and Sikh traditions.
Arrange classes, lectures, seminars, conferences, Gurmat camps and the
celebration of holy Sikh events, the basis of their achievement and interest in the
field of the Sikh faith and the Panjabi language.
Make available all Sikh artifacts, posters, literature, music, educational videos,
DVDs, and multimedia CD-ROMs.
There have been several Sikh missionaries:
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Bhai Gurdas (1551-1636), Punjabi Sikh writer, historian, missionary, and
religious figure; the original scribe of the Guru Granth Sahib and a companion of
four of the Sikh Gurus
Giani Pritam Singh Dhillon, Indian freedom fighter
Bhai Amrik Singh, devoted much of his life to Sikh missionary activities; one of
the Sikh community's most prominent leaders along with Sant Jarnail Singh
Jathedar Sadhu Singh Bhaura (1905–1984), Sikh missionary who rose to be the
Jathedar or high priest of Sri Akal Takhat, Amritsar
Sikhs have emigrated to many countries of the world since Indian independence in
1947. Sikh communities exist in Britain, East Africa, Canada, the United States,
Malaysia, and most European countries.
Tenrikyo conducts missionary work in approximately forty countries. Its first missionary
was a woman named, Kokan, who worked on the streets of Osaka. In 2003, it operated
approximately twenty thousand mission stations worldwide.
According to Jaina tradition, Mahavira's following had swelled to 14,000 monks and
36,000 nuns by the time of his death in 527 BC. For some two centuries the Jains
remained a small community of monks and followers. However, in the 4th century BCE,
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they gained strength and spread from Bihar to Orissa, then so South India and
westwards to Gujarat and the Punjab, where Jain communities became firmly
established, particularly among the mercantile classes. The period of the Mauryan
Dynasty to the 12th century was the period of Jainism's greatest growth and influence.
Thereafter, the Jainas in the South and Central regions lost ground in face of rising
Hindu devotional movements. Jainism retreated to the West and Northwest, which have
remained its stronghold to the present.
Emperor Samprati is regarded as the "Jain Ashoka" for his patronage and efforts to
spreading Jainism in east India. Samprati, according to Jain historians, is considered
more powerful and famous than Ashoka himself. Samprati built thousands of Jain
Temples in India, many of which remain in use, such as the Jain temples at Viramgam
and Palitana (Gujarat), Agar Malwa (Ujjain). Within three and a half years, he got one
hundred and twenty-five thousand new temples built, thirty-six thousand repaired,
twelve and a half million murtis, holy statues, consecrated and ninety-five thousand
metal murtis prepared. Samprati is said to have erected Jain temples throughout his
empire. He founded Jain monasteries even in non-Aryan territory, and almost all ancient
Jain temples or monuments of unknown origin are popularly attributed to him. It may be
noted that all the Jain monuments of Rajasthan and Gujarat, with unknown builders are
also attributed to Emperor Samprati.
Virachand Gandhi (1864–1901) from Mahuva represented Jains at the first Parliament
of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893 and won a silver medal. Gandhi was most
likely the first Jain and the first Gujarati to travel to the United States, and his statue still
stands at the Jain temple in Chicago. In his time he was a world-famous personality.
Gandhi represented Jains in Chicago because the Great Jain Saint Param Pujya
Acharya Vijayanandsuri, also known as Acharya Atmaram, was invited to represent the
Jain religion at the first World Parliament of Religions. As Jain monks do not travel
overseas, he recommended the bright young scholar Virchand Gandhi to be the
emissary for the religion. Today there are 100,000 Jains in the United States.
There are also tens of thousands of Jains located in the UK and Canada.
Ananda Marga Missions
Ānanda Mārga, organizationally known as Ānanda Mārga Pracaraka Samgha (AMPS),
meaning the samgha (organization) for the propagation of the marga (path) of ananda
(bliss), is a social and spiritual movement founded in Jamalpur, Bihar, India, in 1955 by
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (1921–1990), also known by his spiritual name, Shrii Shrii
Ánandamúrti. Ananda Marga counts hundreds of missions around the world through
which its members carry out various forms of selfless service on Relief. (The social
welfare and development organization under AMPS is Ananda Marga Universal Relief
Team, or AMURT.) Education and women's welfare The service activities of this section
founded in 1963 are focused on:
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Education: creating and managing primary, post-primary, and higher schools,
Relief: creating and managing children's and students' homes for destitute
children and for poor students, cheap hostels, retiring homes, academies of light
for deaf dumb and crippled, invalid homes, refugee rehabilitation
Tribal: tribal welfare units, medical camps
Women's welfare: women welfare units, women's homes, nursing homes
Certain issues have brought criticism to missionary activity. This has included concerns
that missionaries have a perceived lack of respect for other cultures. Potential
destruction of social structure among the converts has also been a concern. The Akha
people of South East Asia are an example of those who believe that missionaries are
only converting others for personal gain.
The Akha people have complained the missionaries are more worried about building a
church than building a clinic in a village that is very unhealthy. Many traditional values of
the Akha have been lost as a result of these conversions. The Huaorani people of
Amazonian Ecuador have had a well-documented mixed relation with Evangelical
Christian missionaries and the contacts they brought to their communities, criticized by
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Impact of Missions
A 2012 study by political scientist Robert Woodberry, focusing on Protestant
missionaries, found that they have often left a very positive societal impact in the areas
where they worked. "In cross-national statistical analysis Protestant missions are
significantly and robustly associated with higher levels of printing, education, economic
development, organizational civil society, protection of private property, and rule of law
and with lower levels of corruption".
A 2017 study found that areas of colonial Mexico that had Mendicant missions have
higher rates of literacy and educational attainment today than regions that did not have
missions. Areas that had Jesuit missions are today indistinct from the areas that had no
missions. The study also found that "the share of Catholics is higher in regions where
Catholic missions of any kind were a historical present."
A 2016 study found that regions in Sub-Saharan Africa that Protestant missionaries
brought printing presses to are today "associated with higher newspaper readership,
trust, education, and political participation."
Missionaries have also made significant contributions to linguistics and the description
and documentation of many languages. "Many languages today exist only in missionary
records. More than anywhere else, our knowledge of the native languages in South
America has been the product of missionary activity… Without missionary
documentation the reclamation [of several languages] would have been completely
impossible" "A satisfactory history of linguistics cannot be written before the impressive
contribution of missionaries is recognized."
Lists of Prominent Missionaries
Gerónimo Boscana, (Roman Catholic Franciscan) missionary
Isabel Crawford, (Baptist) missionary
Antonio de Olivares, (Roman Catholic Franciscan) missionary
Anton Docher, (Roman Catholic) missionary
Mary H. Fulton, female medical missionary to China, founder of Hackett Medical
College for Women ( 夏 葛 女 子 醫 學 院 ) in Guangzhou, China
Eusebio Kino, (Roman Catholic Jesuit) missionary
Zenas Sanford Loftis, medical missionary to Tibet
Robert E. Longacre, Christian linguist missionary to Mexico
Dada Maheshvarananda, Ananda Marga yoga missionary
Fred Prosper Manget, medical missionary to China, founder of Houzhou General
Hospital, Houzhou, China, also a doctor with the Flying Tigers and U.S. Army in
Kunming, China, during World War II
Lottie Moon, Baptist missionary to China
Arthur Lewis Piper, medical missionary to the Belgian Congo
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Dada Pranakrsnananda, Ananda Marga yoga missionary
Darlene Rose, missionary in Papua New Guinea
John Stewart, (Methodist) missionary
José de Anchieta, (Roman Catholic Jesuit) missionary
Peter of Saint Joseph de Betancur, (Roman Catholic Franciscan) missionary
British Christian Missionaries
John Hobbis Harris, with wife Alice used photography to expose colonial abuses
Benjamin Hobson, medical missionary to China, set up a highly successful Wai
Ai Clinic ( 惠 愛 醫 館 (in Guangzhou, China.
Teresa Kearney, Sister in Uganda
Robert Morrison, Bible translator to China
William Milne, Bible translator to China
Sam Pollard, Bible translator to China
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In Christianity, Evangelism is the commitment to or act of publicly preaching of the
Gospel with the intention of spreading the message and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Christians who specialize in evangelism are often known as evangelists, whether they
are in their home communities or living as missionaries in the field, although some
Christian traditions refer to such people as missionaries in either case. Some Christian
traditions consider evangelists to be in a leadership position; they may be found
preaching to large meetings or in governance roles.
Christian groups who encourage evangelism are sometimes known as evangelistic or
evangelist. The scriptures do not use the word evangelism, but evangelist is used in
(the translations of) Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11, and 2 Timothy 4:5
The word evangelist comes from the Koine Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (transliterated as
euangelion) via Latinised evangelium as used in the canonical titles of the Four
Gospels, authored by (or attributed to) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (also known as
the Four Evangelists). The Greek word εὐαγγέλιον originally meant a reward given to
the messenger for good news (εὔ = "good", ἀγγέλλω = "I bring a message"; the word
"angel" comes from the same root) and later "good news" itself.
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The verb form of euangelion, (translated as "evangelism"), occurs rarely in older Greek
literature outside the New Testament, making its meaning more difficult to ascertain.
Parallel texts of the Gospels of Luke and Mark reveal a synonymous relationship
between the verb euangelizo (εὑαγγελίζω) and a Greek verb kerusso (κηρύσσω), which
means "to proclaim".
Some Christians distinguish between evangelism and proselytism, the latter viewed as
unethical because it is taken to involve the abuse of people’s freedom and the distortion
of the gospel of grace by means of coercion, deception, manipulation, and exploitation.
The term ‘proselytize’ might be used when one group does not approve of the missional
activities of another, particularly when one group is losing members to another group.
Different denominations follow different theological interpretations which reflect upon the
point of who is doing the actual conversion, whether the evangelist or the Holy Spirit or
both. Calvinists, for example, believe the soul is converted only if the Holy Spirit is
effective in the act.
Catholic missionary work in Russia is commonly seen as evangelism, not proselytism.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz openly stated, "that proselytism is absolutely unacceptable
and cannot constitute a strategy for the development of our structures either in Russia
or in any other country in the world". Especially regarding claims by the Orthodox
church that spreading the faith and receiving converts amounts to proselytism, the
Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document called
"Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization" which states that evangelism is "an
inalienable right and duty, an expression of religious liberty ...", and added, "The
incorporation of new members into the Church is not the expansion of a power group,
but rather entrance into the network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven
and earth, different continents and age. It is entrance into the gift of communion with
In recent history, certain Bible passages have been used to promote evangelism.
William Carey, in a book entitled, 'An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use
Means for the Conversion of the Heathens' popularised a quotation, where, according to
the Bible, during his last days on earth Jesus commanded his eleven disciples (the
apostles) as follows:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
— Matthew 28:19,20 NIV
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However, recent scholarship by Chris Wright and others has suggested that such
activity is promoted by the entire Bible, or at least the wider term 'mission', although the
meaning of the word 'mission' and its relationship to 'evangelism' is disputed amongst
Breaking from tradition and going beyond television and radio a wide range of methods
have been developed to reach people not inclined to attend traditional events in
churches or revival meetings.
Dramas such as Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames have gained enormous popularity since
the 1980s. These dramas typically depict fictional characters who die and learn whether
they will go to heaven or hell.
The child evangelism movement is a Christian evangelism movement that originated in
the 20th century. It focuses on the 4/14 Window which centers on evangelizing children
between the ages of 4 and 14 years old.
Beginning in the 1970s, a group of Christian athletes known as The Power Team
spawned an entire genre of Christian entertainment based on strong-man exploits
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mixed with a Christian message and usually accompanied by an opportunity to respond
with a prayer for salvation.
Other entertainment-based Christian evangelism events include comedy, live theater
The Christian music industry has also played a significant role in modern evangelism.
Rock (and other genres) concerts in which the artist(s) exhort non-believing attendees
to pray a prayer for salvation have become common, and just as common are concerts
that are focused on activity not necessarily on prayer and conversion, thus forming an
environment that is not driven by conversion, but instead relaying of a message.
Evangelists such as Reinhard Bonnke conduct mass evangelistic crusades around the
world. Hundreds of church denominations and organizations participate in an
evangelism movement known as the Billion Soul Harvest, which is a comprehensive
initiative to convert a billion people to Christianity.
New opportunities for evangelization have been provided in recent decades by
increased travel opportunities and by instant communications over the internet.
Some churches use the title evangelist of a minister who travels from town to town and
from church to church, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this sense the person is
differentiated from a local pastor, with a ministry grounded in a specific community.
Some denominations have a formally recognised office of evangelist as part of their
ministry, such as the commissioned evangelists of the Church of England and some
other Anglican churches.
Many Christians of various theological perspectives would call themselves evangelists
because they are spreaders of the gospel. Many churches believe one of their major
functions is to function as evangelists to spread the evangelist belief that Jesus is savior
The title of evangelist is often associated with those who lead large meetings like those
of Billy Graham, Luis Palau and J.A. Pérez, possibly in tents or existing church
buildings, or those who address the public in street corner preaching, which targets
listeners who happen to pass nearby. It can also be done in small groups or even on a
one-to-one basis, but actually it is simply one who spreads the gospel. Increasingly, the
internet enables anyone to become an Internet evangelist.
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The New Testament urges believers to speak the gospel clearly, fearlessly, graciously,
and respectfully whenever an opportunity presents itself, incumbent upon a commitment
to hold and revere God as the core/center of their lives (see Colossians 4:2-6,
Ephesians 6:19-20, and 1 Peter 3:15).
Throughout most of its history, Christianity has been spread evangelistically, though the
extent of evangelism has varied significantly between Christian communities, and
denominations. Evangelism, apologetics and apostolic ministry often go hand in hand.
An ἀπόστολος (apostolos) is literally "one who is ordered forth" and refers to the
missionary calling of being ordered forth into the world by the initiation of God. An
example of an interplay between Evangelism and Apologetics can be seen in the USA
when upon door to door Evangelism the prospect is an unbeliever and challenges the
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Evangelist wherein the Evangelist then follows into the role of the Apologist in defense
of their faith with the hope that Evangelism may be restarted. Since missionaries often
travel to areas or people groups where Jesus is not yet known, they frequently take on
an evangelistic role. But the apostolic or missionary calling is not necessarily the same
(and it is a misnomer and misinterpretation to equate them), as there are many who
serve in missionary, church planting, and ministry development roles who have an
apostolic calling or serve in an apostolic role but whose primary duty is not evangelism.
Evangelism in Vatican II Documents
In the very first sentence of its Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, the Vatican
II Council affirmed that Christ had sent the Church to preach the gospel to every
creature (LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15). Evangelism is a theme in multiple Vatican II documents.
These documents mentioned “gospel” 157 times, “evangelize” 18 times, and
“evangelization” 31 times.
For several decades, the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church has been
promoting a theme of New Evangelization. This includes re-evangelism of Christian
people as well mission Ad gentes to reach new regions and cultures.
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IV. Humanitarian Aid
Humanitarian Aid is material and logistic assistance to people who need help. It
is usually short-term help until the long-term help by government and other institutions
replaces it. A report published by the network of European Universities on
Professionalization of Humanitarian Action noted that humanitarian aid is a
"fundamental expression of the universal value of solidarity between people and a moral
imperative." Among the people in need belong homeless, refugees, victims of natural
disasters, wars and famines. The primary purpose of humanitarian aid is to save lives,
reduce suffering and respect to human dignity. Humanitarian aid is material or logistical
assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian
crises including natural disasters and man-made disaster. The primary objective of
humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. It may
therefore be distinguished from development aid, which seeks to address the underlying
socioeconomic factors which may have led to a crisis or emergency. There is a debate
on linking humanitarian aid and development efforts, which was reinforced by the World
Humanitarian Summit in 2016. However, the approach is viewed critically by
Humanitarian aid aims to bring short term relief to victims until long term relief can be
provided by the government and other institutions. Humanitarian aid considers “a
fundamental expression of the universal value of solidarity between people and a moral
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imperative”. Humanitarian aid can come from either local or international communities.
In the Philippines various departments coordinate to provide relief, but the first response
usually comes for the local government unit followed by NGOs. In reaching out to
international communities, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) of the United Nations (UN) responsible for coordination responses to the
emergency. It taps to the various members of Inter-Agency Standing Committee, whose
members are responsible for providing emergency relief. The four UN entities that have
primary roles in delivering humanitarian aid are United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
According to The Overseas Development Institute, a London-based research
establishment, whose findings were released in April 2009 in the paper "Providing aid in
insecure environments:2009 Update", the most lethal year in the history of
humanitarianism was 2008, in which 122 aid workers were murdered and 260
assaulted. The countries deemed least safe were Somalia and Afghanistan. In 2012,
Humanitarian Outcomes reported that the countries with the highest incidents were:
Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia.
The beginnings of organized international humanitarian aid can be traced to the late
19th century. The most well known origin story of formalized humanitarian aid is that of
Henri Dunant, a Swiss business man and social activist, who upon seeing the sheer
destruction and inhumane abandonment of wounded soldiers from the Battle of
Solferino in June 1859, cancelled his plans and began a relief response. Despite little to
no experience as a medical physician, Dunant worked alongside local volunteers to
assist the wounded soldiers from all warring parties, including Austrian, Italian and
French casualties, in any way he could including the provision of food, water and
medical supplies. His graphic account of the immense suffering he witnessed, written in
his book “A Memory of Solferino”, became a foundational text to modern
A Memory of Solferino changed the world in a way that no one, let alone Dunant, could
have foreseen nor truly appreciated at the time. To start, Dunant was able to profoundly
stir the emotions of his readers by bringing the battle and suffering into their homes,
equipping them to understand the current barbaric state of war and treatment of soldiers
after they were injured or killed; in of themselves these accounts altered the course of
history. Beyond this, in his two-week experience attending to the wounded soldiers of all
nationalities, Dunant inadvertently established the vital conceptual pillars of what would
later become the International Committee of the Red Cross and International
Humanitarian Law: impartiality and neutrality. Dunant took these ideas and came up
with two more ingenious concepts that would profoundly alter the practice of war; first
Dunant envisioned a creation of permanent volunteer relief societies, much like the ad
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hoc relief group he coordinated in Solferino, to assist wounded soldiers; next Dunant
began an effort to call for the adoption of a treaty which would guarantee the protection
of wounded soldiers and any who attempted to come to their aid.
After publishing his foundational text in 1862, progress came quickly for Dunant and his
efforts to create a permanent relief society and International Humanitarian Law. The
embryonic formation of the International Committee of the Red Cross had begun to take
shape in 1863 when the private Geneva Society of Public Welfare created a permanent
sub-committee called “The International Committee for Aid to Wounded in Situations of
War”; composed of five Geneva citizens, this committee endorsed Dunant’s vision to
legally neutralize medical personnel responding to wounded soldiers. The constitutive
conference of this committee in October 1863 created the statutory foundation of the
International Committee of the Red Cross in their resolutions regarding national
societies, caring for the wounded, their symbol, and most importantly the indispensable
neutrality of ambulances, hospitals, medical personnel and the wounded themselves.
Beyond this, in order to solidify humanitarian practice, the Geneva Society of Public
Welfare hosted a convention between August 8 and 22, 1864 at the Geneva Town Hall
with 16 diverse States present, including many governments of Europe, the Ottoman
Empire, the United States of America (USA), Brazil and Mexico. This diplomatic
conference was exceptional, not due to the number or status of its attendees but rather
because of its very raison d'être. Unlike many diplomatic conferences before it, this
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conference’s purpose was not to reach a settlement after a conflict nor to mediate
between opposing interests; indeed this conference was to lay down rules for the future
of conflict with aims to protect medical services and those wounded in battle.
The first of the renowned Geneva Conventions was signed on August 22, 1864; never
before in history has a treaty so greatly impacted how warring parties engage with one
another. The basic tenants of the convention outlined the neutrality of medical services,
including hospitals, ambulances and related personnel, the requirement to care for and
protect the sick and wounded during conflict and something of particular symbolic
importance to the International Committee of the Red Cross: the Red Cross emblem.
For the first time in contemporary history, it was acknowledged by a representative
selection of states that war had limits. The significance only grew with time in the
revision and adaptation of the Geneva Convention in 1906, 1929 and 1949; additionally
supplementary treaties granted protection to hospital ships, prisoners of war and most
importantly to civilians in wartime.
The International Committee of the Red Cross exists to this day as the guardian of
International Humanitarian Law and as one of the largest providers of humanitarian aid
in the world.
Another such examples occurred in response to the Northern Chinese Famine of 1876–
1879, brought about by a drought that began in northern China in 1875 and lead to crop
failures in the following years. As many as 10 million people may have died in the
British missionary Timothy Richard first called international attention to the famine in
Shandong in the summer of 1876 and appealed to the foreign community in Shanghai
for money to help the victims. The Shandong Famine Relief Committee was soon
established with the participation of diplomats, businessmen, and Protestant and
Roman Catholic missionaries. To combat the famine, an international network was set
up to solicit donations. These efforts brought in 204,000 silver taels, the equivalent of
$7–10 million in 2012 silver prices.
A simultaneous campaign was launched in response to the Great Famine of 1876–78 in
India. Although the authorities have been criticized for their laissez-faire attitude during
the famine, relief measures were introduced towards the end. A Famine Relief Fund
was set up in the United Kingdom and had raised £426,000 within the first few months.
Early attempts were in private hands, and were limited in their financial and
organizational capabilities. It was only in the 1980s, that global news coverage and
celebrity endorsement were mobilized to galvanize large-scale government-led famine
(and other forms of) relief in response to disasters around the world. The 1983–85
famine in Ethiopia caused upwards of 1 million deaths and was documented by a BBC
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news crew, with Michael Buerk describing "a biblical famine in the 20th Century" and
"the closest thing to hell on Earth".
Live Aid, a 1985 fund-raising effort headed by Bob Geldof induced millions of people in
the West to donate money and to urge their governments to participate in the relief
effort in Ethiopia. Some of the proceeds also went to the famine hit areas of Eritrea.
The first global summit on humanitarian aid was held on May 23 and 24, 2016 in
Istanbul, Turkey. An initiative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the
World Humanitarian Summit included participants from governments, civil society
organizations, private organizations, and groups affected by humanitarian need. Issues
that were discussed included: preventing and ending conflict, managing crises, and aid
Aid is funded by
The funding and
humanitarian aid is
it much faster, more
more effective in
coping to major
numbers of people (e.g. see Central Emergency Response Fund). The United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates the international
humanitarian response to a crisis or emergency pursuant to Resolution 46/182 of the
United Nations General Assembly. The need for aid is ever-increasing and has long
outstripped the financial resources available.
Delivery of Humanitarian Aid
Humanitarian aid spans a wide range of activities, including providing food aid, shelter,
education, healthcare or protection. The majority of aid is provided in the form of in-kind
goods or assistance, with cash and vouchers only comprising 6% of total humanitarian
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spending. However, evidence has shown how cash transfers can be better for recipients
as it gives them choice and control, they can be more cost-efficient and better for local
markets and economies.
Humanitarian Aid and Conflict
In addition to post-conflict settings, a huge portion of aid is being directed at countries
currently undergoing conflicts. However, the effectiveness of humanitarian aid,
particularly food aid, in conflict-prone regions has been criticized in recent years. There
have been accounts of humanitarian aid being not only inefficacious, but actually fueling
conflicts in the recipient countries. Aid stealing is one of the prime ways in which conflict
is promoted by humanitarian aid. Aid can be seized by armed groups, and even if it
does reach the intended recipients, "it is difficult to exclude local members of local militia
group from being direct recipients if they are also malnourished and qualify to receive
aid." Furthermore, analyzing the relationship between conflict and food aid, a recent
research shows that the United States' food aid promoted civil conflict in recipient
countries on average. An increase in United States' wheat aid increased the duration of
armed civil conflicts in recipient countries, and ethnic polarization heightened this effect.
However, since academic research on aid and conflict focuses on the role of aid in postconflict
settings, the aforementioned finding is difficult to contextualize. Nevertheless,
research on Iraq shows that "small-scale [projects], local aid spending . . . reduces
conflict by creating incentives for average citizens to support the government in subtle
ways." Similarly, another study also shows that aid flows can "reduce conflict because
increasing aid revenues can relax government budget constraints, which can [in return]
increase military spending and deter opposing groups from engaging in conflict." Thus,
the impact of humanitarian aid on conflict may vary depending upon the type and mode
in which aid is received, and, inter alia, the local socio-economic, cultural, historical,
geographical and political conditions in the recipient countries.
Aid Workers are the people distributed internationally to do humanitarian aid work. They
often require humanitarian degrees.
Bangladeshi citizens offload food rations from a US Marine CH-46E helicopter of 11th
Marine Expeditionary Unit after Tropical Cyclone Sidr in 2007
The total number of Humanitarian Aid workers around the world has been calculated by
ALNAP, a network of agencies working in the Humanitarian System, as 210,800 in
2008. This is made up of roughly 50% from NGOs, 25% from the Red Cross/ Red
Crescent Movement and 25% from the UN system.
The humanitarian fieldworker population has increased by approximately 6% per year
over the past 10 years.
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Aid Workers are exposed to tough conditions and have to be flexible, resilient and
responsible in an environment that humans are not psychologically supposed to deal
with, in such a severity that trauma is common. In recent years, a number of concerns
have been raised about the mental health of Aid Workers.
The most prevalent issue faced by Humanitarian Aid Workers is Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder. Adjustment to normal life again can be a problem, with feelings such as guilt
being caused by the simple knowledge that international aid workers can leave a crisis
zone, whilst nationals cannot.
A 2015 survey conducted by The Guardian with aid workers of the Global Development
Professionals Network, revealed that 79 percent experienced mental health issues.
During the past decade the humanitarian community has initiated a number of
interagency initiatives to improve accountability, quality and performance in
humanitarian action. Four of the most widely known initiatives are the Active Learning
Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP),
Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), People In Aid and the Sphere Project.
Representatives of these initiatives began meeting together on a regular basis in 2003
in order to share common issues and harmonize activities where possible.
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People In Aid
The People In Aid Code of Good Practice is an internationally recognized management
tool that helps humanitarian aid and development agencies enhance the quality of their
human resources management. As a management framework, it is also a part of
agencies’ efforts to improve standards, accountability and transparency amid the
challenges of disaster, conflict and poverty.
Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International
Working with its partners, disaster survivors, and others, Humanitarian Accountability
Partnership International (or HAP International) produced the HAP 2007 Standard in
Humanitarian Accountability and Quality Management. This certification scheme aims to
provide assurance that certified agencies are managing the quality of their humanitarian
actions in accordance with the HAP standard. In practical terms, a HAP certification
(which is valid for three years) means providing external auditors with mission
statements, accounts and control systems, giving greater transparency in operations
and overall accountability.
As described by HAP-International, the HAP 2007 Standard in Humanitarian
Accountability and Quality Management is a quality assurance tool. By evaluating an
organization’s processes, policies and products with respect to six benchmarks set-out
in the Standard, the quality becomes measurable, and accountability in its humanitarian
Agencies that comply with the Standard:
declare their commitment to HAP's Principles of Humanitarian Action and to their
own Humanitarian Accountability Framework
develop and implement a Humanitarian Quality Management System
provide key information about quality management to key stakeholders
enable beneficiaries and their representatives to participate in program decisions
and give their informed consent
determine the competencies and development needs of staff
establish and implement complaints-handling procedure
establish a process of continual improvement
The Sphere Project
The Sphere Project handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in
Disaster Response, which was produced by a coalition of leading non governmental
humanitarian agencies, lists the following principles of humanitarian action:
The right to life with dignity
The distinction between combatant and non-combatants
The principle of non-refoulement
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The Humanitarian Encyclopedia, launched in June 2017, aims to create "a clear and
comprehensive reference framework, influenced by local and contextualised knowledge
… [including] analyses of lessons learned and best practices, as well as … insights for
evidence-based decision and policy-making." A part of this mission will be to provide a
centralised data base for defining or clarifying different understandings of key concepts
in humanitarian aid. The need for this stems from the experience in Haiti in the
aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, where international aid organisations pushed out
local aid groups as a result of a lack of reflection and understanding of local contexts
and aid concepts, making the relief effort less efficient.
Free to access, the project is expected to be completed within five years, with the first
parts slated to be published online by the end of 2018.
Humanitarian Aid Organizations
DARA (international organization)
Doctors of the World
Doctors Without Borders
ECHO (European Commission)
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Feed the Children
Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International
International Committee of the Red Cross
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
International Rescue Committee
Jugend Eine Welt
LDS Humanitarian Services
Save the Children USA
Skyrocket light project
The Lutheran World Federation
World Food Programme
World Vision International
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V. Attacks on
Humanitarian Aid Workers
Humanitarian Aid Workers belonging to United Nations organizations, PVOs
/ NGOs or the Red Cross / Red Crescent have traditionally enjoyed both international
legal protection, and de facto immunity from attack by belligerent parties. However,
attacks on humanitarian workers have occasionally occurred, and became more
frequent since the 1990s and 2000s. In 2012 there were 167 incidents of major violence
against aid workers and in 2013 there were 474 attacks. This is attributed to a number
of factors, including the increasing number of humanitarian workers deployed, the
increasingly unstable environments in which they work, and the erosion of the
perception of neutrality and independence. In 2012, road travel was seen to be most
dangerous and kidnappings of aid workers have quadrupled in the decade with more
aid workers victims of kidnapping than any other form of attack. ICRC promotes a
framework for Neutral Independent Humanitarian Action (NIHA) to enable differentiated
Legal Basis for Protection of Humanitarian Workers
The legal basis for protection of humanitarian workers in armed conflicts is contained in
the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the related Protocols I and II of 1977. These
treaties describe the category of civilians and outline the rights and obligations of noncombatants
during armed conflicts. These rights include the right to be treated
humanely; to have access to food, water, shelter, medical treatment, and
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communications; to be free from violence to life and person, hostage taking, and
humiliating or degrading treatment; and the prohibition against collective punishment or
imprisonment. Non-combatants include citizens and nationals of countries that are not
party to the conflict.
While the Geneva Conventions guarantee protection for humanitarian workers, they do
not guarantee access of humanitarian workers to affected areas: governments or
occupying forces may, if they wish, ban a relief agency from working in their area.
Médecins Sans Frontières was created in 1971 with the express purpose of ignoring
this restriction, by providing assistance to populations affected by the Biafran civil war
despite the prohibitions of the government of Nigeria.
In addition, the Geneva Conventions do not require that parties to the conflict guarantee
the safety of humanitarian workers. The Conventions prohibit combatants from attacking
non-combatants, and they require occupying forces to maintain general order. However,
the Conventions do not require that combating parties provide security escorts, for
example, when other factions threaten the safety of non-combatants operating in their
In 2003, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1502 giving greater
protection to humanitarian workers and treating attacks on them as a war crime.
The method of targeting foreigners through suicide bombings, IEDs and kidnappings
(often closely associated with criminal and political actors) are strong evidence of at
least some political motivations against aid workers. It is very hard often to precisely
ascertain a motive; for instance, in 55% of the incidents recorded by the AWSD in 2008,
the motive was described as ‘undetermined’. However, of those that were determined,
political motivations have increased (29% of the determined total in 2003 to 49% in
2008) relative to economic motivations, or when the victim’s status as an aid worker
was only incidental. Afghanistan, as one of the most dangerous countries for
humanitarian workers to operate in is influential in this changing dynamic; in 2007 61%
of incidents were carried out by criminals and 39% by political opposition groups, but in
2008, 65% of incidents were the work of armed opposition groups.
Aid workers can be targeted for political reasons both directly and by association.
Sometimes the humanitarian organization may be targeted for something that it has
done or a statement it has made, or simply for the delivery of aid to a population, to
whom others do not wish aid to reach. It can also be targeted as a result of being
associated as an entity collaborating with the 'enemy' (a government, rebel group or
foreign power). The dangers of being associated with specific governments or armed
forces has further increased the determination of aid workers to be seen as separate,
independent and neutral politically. However, evidence shows that this has little impact
and instead that western aid agencies are perceived as an intrinsic part of the western
'agenda' and not merely associated with it. In the case of Afghanistan, with the notable
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exception of the International Committee of the Red Cross, it has been surmised that
locals no longer make distinctions (as they once did) between organisations, e.g. those
were working with the coalition force’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams and those that
did not. In remote areas, they sometimes represent the only accessible western target.
Although empirical studies on aid worker insecurity have been scarce, two have been
conducted in Afghanistan. Watts (2004) did not find evidence indicating heightened aid
worker insecurity in provinces where the US military was present. Similarly, Mitchell
(2015) was unable to discover a relationship between attacks against NGOs and their
proximity to the US military or US-led PRTs respectively; however, his study did reveal
that aid workers were more likely to encounter a greater number of security incidents in
provinces with PRTs not led by the US.
Trends in risks faced by humanitarian workers
Wars between states became much less common in the period following the end
of the Cold War. Unfortunately, these wars have been largely replaced by an
increased incidence of internal conflict and resulting violence and
miscommunication, increasing the risk to civilians and humanitarian workers
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Between 1985 and 1998 slightly less than 50% of all humanitarian worker deaths
came from workers in UN programs. 25% of these deaths were UN
Between 2006-2008 Sudan (Darfur), Afghanistan and Somalia – accounted for
more than 60% of violent incidents and aid worker victims.
Most deaths of aid workers are due to deliberate violence.
One third of deaths occur in the first three months of deployment, with 17%
occurring within the first 30 days.
Since 2006, violence is once again on the increase and growth in the number of
incidents is faster than the growth in the number of humanitarian aid workers.
Kidnapping in particular is on the rise, with a 350% increase between 2006 and
List of Attacks on Humanitarian Workers
A full list of major incidents, from 1997–present, of violence against aid workers can be
found at Humanitarian Outcomes' Aid Worker Security Database.
Somalia – January 2, 1993 - A gunman killed Sean Devreaux, 28, a British
worker for UNICEF in Kismayu.
Somalia – February 22, 1993 - Gunmen killed Valerie Place, 23, an Irish nurse
with the charity Concern.
Bosnia – July 5, 1993 – Scottish aid worker Christine Witcutt shot and killed by a
sniper in Sarajevo.
Bosnia – October 25, 1993 – Danish aid worker Bjarne Vium Nielsen Danish
killed in attack on humanitarian aid convoy.
Burundi – June 4, 1996 – Three ICRC delegates were killed in an attack on two
vehicles on the road between the villages of Rugombo and Mugina in the
northern province of Cibitoke, resulting in a withdrawal of ICRC from Burundi.
Novye Atagi, Chechnya – December 17, 1996 – Six ICRC workers are killed in
an attack on the local hospital. As a result, ICRC withdraws all expatriate staff
Guatemala, 1996 – One Costa Rican Salvation Army officer is attacked by
demobilized guerrilla members while transporting a senior citizen with a broken
leg to the hospital. The vehicle was taken.
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Somaliland region of Somalia – November 23, 1997 – UN negotiates with clan
elders for release of five kidnapped aid workers.
Mogadishu, Somalia – November 26, 1997 – All foreign aid workers withdraw
from the city following the abduction of two Italian aid workers.
Guatemala – 1997 – When returning from mission, one Costa Rican Salvation
Army officer was hijacked by gunmen and held hostage for a short time. The
vehicle was taken.
Somalia – April 21, 1998 – 10 aid workers held hostage.
Bujumbura, Burundi – June 10, 1998 – One Danish aid worker killed by car
thieves in capital.
Central Sudan – June 10, 1998 – Three Sudanese UN staff killed and three
wounded when gunmen fire on a UN vehicle.
Arua, (North West) Rwanda – July 10, 1998 – Ugandan driver for UN World Food
Programme (WFP) killed by rebels.
Bujumbura, Burundi – July 24, 1998 – One Italian World Food Programme (WFP)
staff member killed in the capital.
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Congo-Brazzaville – November, 1998 – Major Eugene Nsingani The Salvation
Army on a peace mission with eight people, gunned down and killed along with
South Sudan – January 4, 1999 – Four ICRC staff killed by SPLA (abducted in
February, murdered in April).
Southern, Somalia – January 27, 1999 – One Kenyan aid worker killed by
Lesotho – February 4, 1999 – Irish aid worker (Ken Hickley) robbed and
Bundibugyo, Uganda – April 23, 1999 – Many aid workers flee area to avoid
attacks by Allied Democratic Forces.
Belgrade, Serbia – May 26, 1999 – Three aid workers put on trial for spying.
Angola – June 15, 1999 – Two aid workers killed when gunmen ambush and rob
Tajikistan – October 2 – French aid worker killed.
Northern Kosovo – November 12, 1999 – 24 people on board a WFP aid flight
died when Si Fly Flight 3275 crashed.
Balad, Somalia – January 3, 2000 – One local CARE staff shot dead in an
North of Mogadishu, Somalia – January 4, 2000 – One CARE worker shot dead
in an ambush.
Sudan – January 9, 2000 – 2 CARE staff killed and 2 missing after an ambush.
Somalia – January 31, 2000 – Attacks on a convoy of aid vehicles leave 20
Ethiopia – February 9, 2000 – A medical organisation suspends operations in
part of Ethiopia after the killing of a staff member.
Ambon, Indonesia – May 22, 2000 – Foreign aid workers pulled out of Ambon to
escape growing inter-communal violence.
Sierra Leone – June 19, 2000 – One British aid worker (Alan Smith) freed after
being held for one month by rebels.
Baghdad, Iraq – June 28, 2000 – Two FAO workers shot and killed.
South Sudan – August 6, 2000 – Eight aid workers killed when vehicle was
attacked near the border with Uganda.
Atambua, Belu District, West Timor, Indonesia – September 6, 2000 – Five
UNHCR staff members, Mr Samson Aregahegn (Supply Officer); Mr Carlos
Caceres-Collazo (Protection Officer); and Mr Pero Simundza
(Telecommunications Operator) and two Indonesians were killed when their
office was attacked by militia.
Macenta, Guinea – September 17, 2000 – The death of one UNHCR staff
member and the abduction of another.
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Southern border Guinea – December 7, 2000 – Hundreds of people are left dead
as rebels destroy the UNHCR centre.
Afghanistan – December 9, 2000 – Seven people working for UN mine clearance
programme killed in ambush.
Aceh, Indonesia – December 10, 2000 – Three aid workers killed.
Burundi – December 30, 2000 – A British voluntary worker is one of 20 people
killed by gunmen.
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – February 27, 2001 – Six ICRC staff
Mogadishu, Somalia – March 27, 2001 – MSF compound attacked by gunmen.
Alkhan-Kala, Chechnya – April 18, 2001 – Viktor Popkov fatally wounded and
two others injured in a shooting attack.
Tajikistan, – June 16, 2001 – Kidnappers ask for release of detained militants
after taking a group of aid workers hostage.
Banda Aceh, Indonesia – October 4, 2001 – Three more people, including a Red
Cross worker who had been tortured were killed.
Afghanistan – November 15, 2001 – Eight western aid workers released after
three months captivity by Taliban.
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Mogadishu, Somalia – February 23, 2002 – A Swiss woman who ran a small aid
agency was shot dead.
Mogadishu, Somalia – February 28, 2002 – One Somali UN worker kidnapped
hours after region declared too dangerous for permanent UN presence.
Dagestan - August 12, 2002 - A Dutch MSF worker is abducted in Makhachkala.
He is released 20 months later.
Gaza Strip – March 16, 2003 – Rachel Corrie an American member of ISM was
killed by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozer when attempting to prevent the
demolition of a Palestinian's home.
Gaza Strip - April 11, 2003 - Tom Hurndall was a British photography student and
member of ISM who was killed by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sniper.
Hurndall was left in a coma and died nine months later. His killer Taysir Hayb
was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for manslaughter and obstruction of
justice but was released after serving six and a half years of his sentence.
Baghdad, Iraq – August 19, 2003 – The bombing of the UN Headquarters at the
Canal Hotel killed at least 24 people and wounded over 100.
Baghdad, Iraq – October 27, 2003 – An attack on the ICRC building kills at least
Ghazni, eastern Afghanistan – November 16, 2003 – UNHCR staff person
Bettina Goislard was shot dead by motorcycle-borne gunman while travelling by
Kandahar, southern Afghanistan – March 24, 2003 – ICRC staff member Ricardo
Munguia shot and killed in ambush north of Kandahar City. He was working as a
water engineer in Afghanistan and travelling with local colleagues on March 27,
2003 when their car was stopped by unknown armed men. He was killed
execution-style at point-blank range while his colleagues were allowed to escape.
He was 39 years old. The killing prompted the ICRC to temporarily suspend
operations across Afghanistan.
Kabul, Afghanistan – February 26, 2004 – Five Afghans working for the Sanayee
Development Foundation were killed when their vehicle was ambushed northeast
Mosul, Iraq – March 15, 2004 – Larry Elliott, Jean Dover Elliott, Karen Denise
Watson, and David McDonnall were killed in a drive-by shooting. They were US
missionaries for Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
Kabul, Afghanistan – April 28, 2004 – Two Afghan aid workers and a soldier were
killed in an attack in the Panjwayi district of southern Kandahar city.
Badghis province, Afghanistan – June 2, 2004 – Five staff working for Médecins
Sans Frontières were killed on the road between Khairkhana and Qala i Naw,
resulting in the complete withdrawal of MSF from Afghanistan. The names of the
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murdered staff were: Hélène de Beir, Willem Kwint, Egil Tynaes, Fasil Ahmad
Darfur, Sudan – October 10, 2004 – A Save the Children vehicle was hit by an
anti-tank landmine in the Um Barro area of North Darfur, Sudan. Two members
of staff travelling in the vehicle were killed, Rafe Bullick (British, Programme
Manager, North Darfur) and Nourredine Issa Tayeb (Sudanese, Water Engineer).
Baghdad, Iraq – April 16, 2005 – Marla Ruzicka and her Iraqi translator, Faiz Ali
Salim, were killed by a suicide car bombing on Airport Road in Baghdad.
South Sudan/Uganda, – November 5, 2005 – Collin Lee who worked for
International Aid Services died when his jeep, containing his wife and driver, was
ambushed by the LRA in South Sudan.
Vavuniya, Sri Lanka – May 15 – An employee of the Norwegian Refugee Council
is shot dead on his way back from work.
Muttur, Sri Lanka – August 4 or August 5–17 workers from the aid group Action
Against Hunger were found murdered on August 6 in northeastern Sri Lanka.
They were working on post-2004 tsunami reconstruction. There had been fierce
fighting the area for more than a week. (See Muttur massacre.)
2007 Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76 crash
Darfur – between 1 January 2006 and 31 August 2007 – A total of 12
humanitarian workers were killed, including four working for the Government's
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Colombo, Sri Lanka – June 3, 2007 – Two Red cross workers were abducted
and murdered in Sri Lanka.
El Bared refugee camp, Lebanon – June 11, 2007 – Two Lebanese Red Cross
workers were killed and a third wounded.
South Sudan – A driver of the World Food Program was killed in an ambush.
Central African Republic – June 11, 2007 – An MSF logistician was killed when
her car was hit by gunfire during an assessment mission near Paoua.
Algeria – 11 December 2007, 10 United Nations staff died in a double car
bombing in the Algerian capital, Algiers, which killed at least 26 people and
Somalia – December 26, 2007 – A nurse and a doctor working for MSF in
Bossaso were abducted. After one week, they were released.
Burundi – On Monday, December 31, 2007, at 6:30 pm, an Action Against
Hunger vehicle was targeted by shooters in the city of Ruygi in the East of
Burundi. Five people, including three female expatriate staff of Action Against
Hunger, were inside the targeted vehicle. One of them, a French psychologist of
Action Against Hunger, died upon arrival at the hospital in Gitega as a results of
her injuries. The second victim suffered a gunshot wound and underwent surgery
in Gitega. The third Action Against Hunger expatriate escaped uninjured from the
Kabul, Afghanistan – January 14 – Six people, including at least one aid worker
from the USA named Thor Hesla, was killed in an attack on the Serena Hotel.
Kandahar, Afghanistan – January 26 – An aid worker and her Afghan driver were
kidnapped in Kandahar and are presumed dead.
Kismayo, Somalia – January 28 – A surgeon, a logistician and a driver working
for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were killed when their convoy was attacked
between the hospital and their base.
Chad - May 1, 2008 - The country director of Save the Children UK is shot dead
when his car was attacked near Hadjer Hadid in eastern Chad.
Colombo, Sri Lanka – May 16 – An Batticaloa-based employee of the Norwegian
Refugee Council is abducted while visiting the capital and disappears, presumed
Arusha, Tanzania – June 30 – An Australian working with the Australian not-forprofit
organisation foodwatershelter was killed during a robbery.
Logar Province, Afghanistan – August 13 – Three female International Rescue
Committee (IRC) workers and their local driver were killed in an ambush as they
drove back to Kabul. One was an American named Nicole
Somali Region, Ethiopia - September 22, 2008 - A nurse and a doctor working for
Medecins du Monde are kidnapped in Fadhigaradle village and taken across the
border to Somalia. They are released 4 months later.
Merka, Somalia – October 17 – A senior programme assistant for the World Food
Programme (WFP) was shot and killed as he left a mosque.
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Kabul, Afghanistan – October 20 – An aid worker with SERVE Afghanistan was
killed as she walked to work.
Gurilel, Somalia – October 25 – A local worker with the aid agency Iida was killed
as she returned from work.
Several aid workers were kidnapped while in northern Yemen.
Two Chechen aid workers were kidnapped and murdered in Chechnya.
Bakool, Somalia - April 19, 2009 - Two MSF doctors are kidnapped and released
9 days later.
An Irish charity worker was killed during a mugging in Zanzibar.
Chad - August 4, 2009 - A logistician working for MSF and his Chadian assistant
were kidnapped in Ade. The Chadian was freed soon afterwards while the
logistician was released only a month later.
Pakistan – 5 October 2009 3 United Nations staff killed in a suicide bombing
attack against the office of the World Food Programme in the capital city
West Darfur, Sudan - October 22, 2009 - A French ICRC delegate is kidnapped
and released after 5 months.
Afghanistan - 28 October 2009 5 United Nations staff, two Afghan security
personnel, and an Afghan civilian were killed by three Taliban attackers in an
assault on the Bekhtar Guesthouse in Kabul. Nine other UN staff, also there
working for the presidential election, were wounded. The attackers used AK-47s,
grenades, and suicide vests.
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Birao, Central African Republic - November 22, 2009 - Two French aid workers
employed by Triangle Generation Humanitaire are kidnapped and held for 4
months before being freed in Darfur.
Gaza Strip: On 31 May 2010, the Israeli navy killed 9 members of the "Gaza
Freedom Flotilla" attempting to bring aid to the Gaza strip, and breach the Israeli
naval blockade. The Gaza flotilla raid caused worldwide controversy.
Abéche, Chad - June 6, 2010 - A logistician working for Oxfam GB was
kidnapped in Abéche. He was rescued 10 days later by Chadian security forces
near the border with Sudan.
Afghanistan: On 7 August 2010, 10 men and women working for a Christian aid
agency were murdered by Taliban. Two Afghan interpreters, six Americans, a
British woman and a German woman who had been running an eye clinic in the
country died of gunshot wounds. Sabjullah Mujaheed, a Taliban spokesman, said
later that they had been killed because they were missionaries and spies for the
Nigeria: On 26 August 2011, the United Nations' Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria
was attacked by a suicide car bomber, killing at least 18 people, injuring dozens,
and causing massive devastation to the building itself. Boko Haram claimed
Somalia: On 23 December 2011, 2 United Nations aid workers and a 3rd
colleague were shot to death in Mataban Town in the Hiban Province in central
Somalia. The United Nations' workers, who worked specifically for the World
Food Program, had been monitoring distribution of food and camps for internally
displaced peoples. United Nations' operations in Mataban were temporarily
suspended, pending an investigation.
Mogadishu, Somalia - December 29, 2011 - A doctor and a logistician working for
MSF are shot to death in their compound.
Dadaab, Kenya: Two Spanish women who worked for Médecins sans Frontières
were kidnapped by gunmen and released in July 2013.
Aleppo, Syria: A worker for Support to Life, Kayla Mueller, was kidnapped by
ISIS and killed in 2015.
Afghanistan: Two Finnish aid workers with the International Assistance Mission,
a Christian medical charity, were shot and killed in Herat by two men on
motorbikes. The women were in a taxi when shot.
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Syria: British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines was kidnapped in early 2013 in
northeastern Syria, near the Atmeh refugee camp near the Turkish border and
the Syrian province of Idlib. He was seized along with an Italian aid worker and
two Syrians who have since been freed. Haines was apparently executed by a
member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant called Mohammed Emwazi,
in September 2014.
Ukraine: An ICRC worker was killed by a shell in Donetsk.
Afghanistan: A Kunduz hospital was struck by a US airstrike, injuring and killing a
number of MSF doctors. Currently unclear if accidental or intentional.
Syria: Around twenty civilians and one SARC staff member were killed, as they
were unloading trucks carrying vital humanitarian aid. Much of the aid was
destroyed. The attack deprives thousands of civilians of much-needed food and
Nigeria: A humanitarian convoy in was attacked in Borno State and a UNICEF
worker was injured.
Afghanistan: Five Emiratis carrying out humanitarian work were killed in a
terrorist bomb attack in Afghanistan. Mohammed Ali Zainal Al Bastaki, Abdullah
Mohammed Essa Obaid Al Kaabi, Ahmed Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui, Ahmed
Abdul Rahman Ahmad Al Tunaiji, and Abdul Hamid Sultan Abdullah Ibrahim Al
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Hammadi had been on a mission to carry out humanitarian, educational and
development projects in the Republic of Afghanistan.
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International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is the law that regulates the
conduct of war (jus in bello). It is that branch of international law which seeks to limit the
effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not participating in hostilities,
and by restricting and regulating the means and methods of warfare available to
IHL is inspired by considerations of humanity and the mitigation of human suffering. "It
comprises a set of rules, established by treaty or custom, that seeks to protect persons
and property/objects that are (or may be) affected by armed conflict and limits the rights
of parties to a conflict to use methods and means of warfare of their choice". It includes
"the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties,
case law, and customary international law". It defines the conduct and responsibilities of
belligerent nations, neutral nations, and individuals engaged in warfare, in relation to
each other and to protected persons, usually meaning non-combatants. It is designed to
balance humanitarian concerns and military necessity, and subjects warfare to the rule
of law by limiting its destructive effect and mitigating human suffering.
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Serious violations of international humanitarian law are called war crimes. International
humanitarian law, jus in bello, regulates the conduct of forces when engaged in war or
armed conflict. It is distinct from jus ad bellum which regulates the conduct of engaging
in war or armed conflict and includes crimes against peace and of war of aggression.
Together the jus in bello and jus ad bellum comprise the two strands of the laws of war
governing all aspects of international armed conflicts.
The law is mandatory for nations bound by the appropriate treaties. There are also other
customary unwritten rules of war, many of which were explored at the Nuremberg War
Trials. By extension, they also define both the permissive rights of these powers as well
as prohibitions on their conduct when dealing with irregular forces and non-signatories.
International humanitarian law operates on a strict division between rules applicable in
international armed conflict and internal armed conflict. This dichotomy is widely
The relationship between international human rights law and international humanitarian
law is disputed among international law scholars. This discussion forms part of a larger
discussion on fragmentation of international law. While pluralist scholars conceive
international human rights law as being distinct from international humanitarian law,
proponents of the constitutionalist approach regard the latter as a subset of the former.
In a nutshell, those who favor separate, self-contained regimes emphasize the
differences in applicability; international humanitarian law applies only during armed
conflict. On the other hand, a more systemic perspective explains that international
humanitarian law represents a function of international human rights law; it includes
general norms that apply to everyone at all time as well as specialized norms which
apply to certain situations such as armed conflict and military occupation (i.e., IHL) or to
certain groups of people including refugees (e.g., the 1951 Refugee Convention),
children (the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child), and prisoners of war (the
1949 Third Geneva Convention).
Democracies are likely to protect the rights of all individuals within their territorial
Two historical streams: The Law of Geneva and The Law of The Hague
Modern international humanitarian law is made up of two historical streams:
1. The law of The Hague, referred to in the past as the law of war proper; and
2. The law of Geneva, or humanitarian law.
The two streams take their names from a number of international conferences which
drew up treaties relating to war and conflict, in particular the Hague Conventions of
1899 and 1907, and the Geneva Conventions, the first which was drawn up in 1863.
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Both deal with jus in bello, which deals with the question of whether certain practices
are acceptable during armed conflict.
The Law of The Hague, or the laws of war proper, "determines the rights and duties of
belligerents in the conduct of operations and limits the choice of means in doing harm".
In particular, it concerns itself with
the definition of combatants;
establishes rules relating to the means and methods of warfare;
and examines the issue of military objectives.
Systematic attempts to limit the savagery of warfare only began to develop in the 19th
century. Such concerns were able to build on the changing view of warfare by states
influenced by the Age of Enlightenment. The purpose of warfare was to overcome the
enemy state, which could be done by disabling the enemy combatants. Thus, "the
distinction between combatants and civilians, the requirement that wounded and
captured enemy combatants must be treated humanely, and that quarter must be given,
some of the pillars of modern humanitarian law, all follow from this principle".
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The Law of Geneva
The massacre of civilians in the midst of armed conflict has a long and dark history.
Selected examples include
the massacres of the Kalingas by Ashoka in India;
the massacre of some 100,000 Hindus by the Muslim troops of Timur
the Crusader massacres of Jews and Muslims in the Siege of Jerusalem (1099),
to name only a few examples drawn from a long list in history. Fritz Munch sums up
historical military practice before 1800: "The essential points seem to be these: In battle
and in towns taken by force, combatants and non-combatants were killed and property
was destroyed or looted." In the 17th century, the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, widely
regarded as the founder or father of public international law, wrote that "wars, for the
attainment of their objects, it cannot be denied, must employ force and terror as their
most proper agents".
Humanitarian Norms In History
Even in the midst of the carnage of history, however, there have been frequent
expressions and invocation of humanitarian norms for the protection of the victims of
armed conflicts: the wounded, the sick and the shipwrecked. These date back to ancient
In the Old Testament, the King of Israel prevents the slaying of the captured, following
the prophet Elisha's admonition to spare enemy prisoners. In answer to a question from
the King, Elisha said, "You shall not slay them. Would you slay those whom you have
taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them,
that they may eat and drink and go to their master."
In ancient India there are records (the Laws of Manu, for example) describing the types
of weapons that should not be used: "When he fights with his foes in battle, let him not
strike with weapons concealed (in wood), nor with (such as are) barbed, poisoned, or
the points of which are blazing with fire." There is also the command not to strike a
eunuch nor the enemy "who folds his hands in supplication ... Nor one who sleeps, nor
one who has lost his coat of mail, nor one who is naked, nor one who is disarmed, nor
one who looks on without taking part in the fight."
Islamic law states that "non-combatants who did not take part in fighting such as
women, children, monks and hermits, the aged, blind, and insane" were not to be
molested. The first Caliph, Abu Bakr, proclaimed, "Do not mutilate. Do not kill little
children or old men or women. Do not cut off the heads of palm trees or burn them. Do
not cut down fruit trees. Do not slaughter livestock except for food." Islamic jurists have
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held that a prisoner should not be killed, as he "cannot be held responsible for mere
acts of belligerency".
Islamic law did not spare all non-combatants, however. In the case of those who
refused to convert to Islam, or to pay an alternative tax, Muslims "were allowed in
principle to kill any one of them, combatants or noncombatants, provided they were not
killed treacherously and with mutilation".
Codification of Humanitarian Norms
The most important antecedent of IHL is the current Armistice Agreement and
Regularization of War, signed and ratified in 1820 between the authorities of the then
Government of Great Colombia and the Chief of the Expeditionary Forces of the
Spanish Crown, in the Venezuelan city of santa Ana de Trujillo. This treaty was signed
under the conflict of Independence, being the first of its kind in the West.
It was not until the second half of the 19th century, however, that a more systematic
approach was initiated. In the United States, a German immigrant, Francis Lieber, drew
up a code of conduct in 1863, which came to be known as the Lieber Code, for the
Union Army during the American Civil War. The Lieber Code included the humane
treatment of civilian populations in the areas of conflict, and also forbade the execution
At the same time, the involvement during the Crimean War of a number of such
individuals as Florence Nightingale and Henry Dunant, a Genevese businessman who
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had worked with wounded soldiers at the Battle of Solferino, led to more systematic
efforts to prevent the suffering of war victims. Dunant wrote a book, which he titled A
Memory of Solferino, in which he described the horrors he had witnessed. His reports
were so shocking that they led to the founding of the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) in 1863, and the convening of a conference in Geneva in 1864, which
drew up the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in
Armies in the Field.
The Law of Geneva is directly inspired by the principle of humanity. It relates to those
who are not participating in the conflict, as well as to military personnel hors de combat.
It provides the legal basis for protection and humanitarian assistance carried out by
impartial humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC. This focus can be found in the
The Geneva Conventions are the result of a process that developed in a number of
stages between 1864 and 1949. It focused on the protection of civilians and those who
can no longer fight in an armed conflict. As a result of World War II, all four conventions
were revised, based on previous revisions and on some of the 1907 Hague
Conventions, and readopted by the international community in 1949. Later conferences
have added provisions prohibiting certain methods of warfare and addressing issues of
The first three Geneva Conventions were revised, expanded, and replaced, and the
fourth one was added, in 1949.
The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded
and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field was adopted in 1864. It was significantly
revised and replaced by the 1906 version, the 1929 version, and later the First
Geneva Convention of 1949.
The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick
and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea was adopted in 1906. It was
significantly revised and replaced by the Second Geneva Convention of 1949.
The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War was
adopted in 1929. It was significantly revised and replaced by the Third Geneva
Convention of 1949.
The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in
Time of War was adopted in 1949.
There are three additional amendment protocols to the Geneva Convention:
1. Protocol I (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts.
As of 12 January 2007 it had been ratified by 167 countries.
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2. Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed
Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007 it had been ratified by 163 countries.
3. Protocol III (2005): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. As of
June 2007 it had been ratified by seventeen countries and signed but not yet
ratified by an additional 68.
The Geneva Conventions of 1949 may be seen, therefore, as the result of a process
which began in 1864. Today they have "achieved universal participation with 194
parties". This means that they apply to almost any international armed conflict. The
Additional Protocols, however, have yet to achieve near-universal acceptance, since the
United States and several other significant military powers (like Iran, Israel, India and
Pakistan) are currently not parties to them.
Historical Convergence Between IHL and The Laws Of War
With the adoption of the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, the two
strains of law began to converge, although provisions focusing on humanity could
already be found in the Hague law (i.e. the protection of certain prisoners of war and
civilians in occupied territories). The 1977 Additional Protocols, relating to the protection
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of victims in both international and internal conflict, not only incorporated aspects of
both the Law of The Hague and the Law of Geneva, but also important human rights
Basic Rules of IHL
1. Persons who are hors de combat (outside of combat), and those who are not
taking part in hostilities in situation of armed conflict (e.g., neutral nationals), shall
be protected in all circumstances.
2. The wounded and the sick shall be cared for and protected by the party to the
conflict which has them in its power. The emblem of the "Red Cross", or of the
"Red Crescent," shall be required to be respected as the sign of protection.
3. Captured persons must be protected against acts of violence and reprisals. They
shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief.
4. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
5. Parties to a conflict do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of
6. Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between combatants and noncombatants.
Attacks shall be directed solely against legitimate military targets. 
Well-known examples of such rules include the prohibition on attacking doctors or
ambulances displaying a red cross. It is also prohibited to fire at a person or vehicle
bearing a white flag, since that, being considered the flag of truce, indicates an intent to
surrender or a desire to communicate. In either case, the persons protected by the Red
Cross or the white flag are expected to maintain neutrality, and may not engage in
warlike acts themselves; engaging in war activities under a white flag or a red cross is
itself a violation of the laws of war.
These examples of the laws of war address:
declarations of war;
acceptance of surrender;
the treatment of prisoners of war;
the avoidance of atrocities;
the prohibition on deliberately attacking non-combatants; and
the prohibition of certain inhumane weapons.
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It is a violation of the laws of war to engage in combat without meeting certain
requirements, among them the wearing of a distinctive uniform or other easily
identifiable badge, and the carrying of weapons openly. Impersonating soldiers of the
other side by wearing the enemy's uniform is allowed, though fighting in that uniform is
unlawful perfidy, as is the taking of hostages.
International humanitarian law now includes several treaties that outlaw specific
weapons. These conventions were created largely because these weapons cause
deaths and injuries long after conflicts have ended. Unexploded land mines have
caused up to 7,000 deaths a year; unexploded bombs, particularly from cluster bombs
that scatter many small "bomblets", have also killed many. An estimated 98% of the
victims are civilian; farmers tilling their fields and children who find these explosives
have been common victims. For these reasons, the following conventions have been
The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain
Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to
Have Indiscriminate Effects (1980), which prohibits weapons that produce nondetectable
fragments, restricts (but does not eliminate) the use of mines and
booby-traps, prohibits attacking civilians with incendiary weapons, prohibits
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linding laser weapons, and requires the warring parties to clear unexploded
ordnance at the end of hostilities;
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and
Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (1997), also called the
Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty, which completely bans the stockpiling
(except to a limited degree, for training purposes) and use of all anti-personnel
The Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000),
an amendment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which forbids
the enlistment of anyone under the age of eighteen for armed conflict; and
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008), which prohibits the use of bombs
that scatter bomblets, many of which do not explode and remain dangerous long
after a conflict has ended.
International Committee of The Red Cross
The ICRC is the only institution explicitly named under international humanitarian law as
a controlling authority. The legal mandate of the ICRC stems from the four Geneva
Conventions of 1949, as well as from its own Statutes.
“ The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral, and
independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the
lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with
— Mission of ICRC
Violations and Punishment
During conflict, punishment for violating the laws of war may consist of a specific,
deliberate and limited violation of the laws of war in reprisal.
Combatants who break specific provisions of the laws of war lose the protections and
status afforded to them as prisoners of war, but only after facing a "competent tribunal".
At that point, they become unlawful combatants, but must still be "treated with humanity
and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial", because
they are still covered by GC IV, Article 5.
Spies and terrorists are only protected by the laws of war if the "power" which holds
them is in a state of armed conflict or war, and until they are found to be an "unlawful
combatant". Depending on the circumstances, they may be subject to civilian law or a
military tribunal for their acts. In practice, they have often have been subjected to torture
and execution. The laws of war neither approve nor condemn such acts, which fall
outside their scope. Spies may only be punished following a trial; if captured after
rejoining their own army, they must be treated as prisoners of war. Suspected terrorists
who are captured during an armed conflict, without having participated in the hostilities,
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may be detained only in accordance with the GC IV, and are entitled to a regular trial.
Countries that have signed the UN Convention Against Torture have committed
themselves not to use torture on anyone for any reason.
After a conflict has ended, persons who have committed any breach of the laws of war,
and especially atrocities, may be held individually accountable for war crimes through
process of law.
Key provisions and principles applicable to civilians
The Fourth Geneva Convention focuses on the civilian population. The two additional
protocols adopted in 1977 extend and strengthen civilian protection in international (AP
I) and non-international (AP II) armed conflict: for example, by introducing the
prohibition of direct attacks against civilians.
A "civilian" is defined as "any person not belonging to the armed forces", including nonnationals
and refugees. However, it is accepted that operations may cause civilian
Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, wrote in 2006:
"International humanitarian law and the Rome statute permit belligerents to carry out
proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some
civilian deaths or injuries will occur.
A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of
distinction) ... or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the
incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated
military advantage (principle of proportionality)."
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The provisions and principles of IHL which seek to protect civilians are:
Principle of Distinction
IHL Provisions and Principles Protecting Civilians
The principle of distinction protects civilian population and civilian objects from the
effects of military operations. It requires parties to an armed conflict to distinguish at all
times, and under all circumstances, between combatants and military objectives on the
one hand, and civilians and civilian objects on the other; and only to target the former. It
also provides that civilians lose such protection should they take a direct part in
hostilities. The principle of distinction has also been found by the ICRC to be reflected in
state practice; it is therefore an established norm of customary international law in both
international and non-international armed conflicts.
Necessity and Proportionality
Necessity and proportionality are established principles in humanitarian law. Under IHL,
a belligerent may apply only the amount and kind of force necessary to defeat the
enemy. Further, attacks on military objects must not cause loss of civilian life
considered excessive in relation to the direct military advantage anticipated. Every
feasible precaution must be taken by commanders to avoid civilian casualties. The
principle of proportionality has also been found by the ICRC to form part of customary
international law in international and non-international armed conflicts.
Principle of Humane Treatment
The principle of humane treatment requires that civilians be treated humanely at all
times. Common Article 3 of the GCs prohibits violence to life and person (including cruel
treatment and torture), the taking of hostages, humiliating and degrading treatment, and
execution without regular trial against non-combatants, including persons hors de
combat (wounded, sick and shipwrecked). Civilians are entitled to respect for their
physical and mental integrity, their honour, family rights, religious convictions and
practices, and their manners and customs. This principle of humane treatment has been
affirmed by the ICRC as a norm of customary international law, applicable in both
international and non-international armed conflicts.
Principle of Non-Discrimination
The principle of non-discrimination is a core principle of IHL. Adverse distinction based
on race, sex, nationality, religious belief or political opinion is prohibited in the treatment
of prisoners of war, civilians, and persons hors de combat. All protected persons shall
be treated with the same consideration by parties to the conflict, without distinction
based on race, religion, sex or political opinion. Each and every person affected by
armed conflict is entitled to his fundamental rights and guarantees, without
discrimination. The prohibition against adverse distinction is also considered by the
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ICRC to form part of customary international law in international and non-international
Women and Children
Women and children are granted preferential treatment, respect and protection. Women
must be protected from rape and from any form of indecent assault. Children under the
age of eighteen must not be permitted to take part in hostilities.
Gender and Culture
IHL emphasises, in various provisions in the GCs and APs, the concept of formal
equality and non-discrimination. Protections should be provided "without any adverse
distinction founded on sex". For example, with regard to female prisoners of war,
women are required to receive treatment "as favourable as that granted to men". In
addition to claims of formal equality, IHL mandates special protections to women,
providing female prisoners of war with separate dormitories from men, for example, and
prohibiting sexual violence against women.
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The reality of women's and men's lived experiences of conflict has highlighted some of
the gender limitations of IHL. Feminist critics have challenged IHL's focus on male
combatants and its relegation of women to the status of victims, and its granting them
legitimacy almost exclusively as child-rearers. A study of the 42 provisions relating to
women within the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols found that almost
half address women who are expectant or nursing mothers. Others have argued that
the issue of sexual violence against men in conflict has not yet received the attention it
Soft-law instruments have been relied on to supplement the protection of women in
UN Security Council Resolutions 1888 and 1889 (2009), which aim to enhance
the protection of women and children against sexual violations in armed conflict;
Resolution 1325, which aims to improve the participation of women in postconflict
Read together with other legal mechanisms, in particular the UN Convention for the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), these can
enhance interpretation and implementation of IHL.
In addition, international criminal tribunals (like the International Criminal Tribunals for
the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda) and mixed tribunals (like the Special Court for
Sierra Leone) have contributed to expanding the scope of definitions of sexual violence
and rape in conflict. They have effectively prosecuted sexual and gender-based crimes
committed during armed conflict. There is now well-established jurisprudence on
gender-based crimes. Nonetheless, there remains an urgent need to further develop
constructions of gender within international humanitarian law.
IHL has generally not been subject to the same debates and criticisms of "cultural
relativism" as have international human rights. Although the modern codification of IHL
in the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols is relatively new, and European
in name, the core concepts are not new, and laws relating to warfare can be found in all
ICRC studies on the Middle East, Somalia, Latin America, and the Pacific, for example
have found that there are traditional and long-standing practices in various cultures that
preceded, but are generally consistent with, modern IHL. It is important to respect local
and cultural practices that are in line with IHL. Relying on these links and on local
practices can help to promote awareness of and adherence to IHL principles among
local groups and communities.
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Durham cautions that, although traditional practices and IHL legal norms are largely
compatible, it is important not to assume perfect alignment. There are areas in which
legal norms and cultural practices clash. Violence against women, for example, is
frequently legitimised by arguments from culture, and yet is prohibited in IHL and other
international law. In such cases, it is important to ensure that IHL is not negatively
Page 99 of 137
Page 100 of 137
VII. Timeline of Events
In Humanitarian Relief & Development
The following is a timeline of selected notable events in the history of humanitarian aid,
international relief and development.
24 June 1859 – Battle of Solferino: Henry Dunant (who went on to found the
International Committee of the Red Cross) is inspired to organise to assist the
victims of war.
1863 – foundation of the
International Committee of the
1864 – first action of Red Cross
delegates at Dybbol, Denmark.
1877 – Famine Relief Fund set
up in the United Kingdom for
people suffering in the 1876-78
Bengal Famine in British India.
By the end of October, £426,000
had been raised.
1937 – Tan Kah Kee presides
over fundraising efforts in which
overseas Chinese, especially
Singaporean Chinese, contribute
millions of Straits dollars worth of
humanitarian aid in response to
the Second Sino-Japanese War.
June 28, 1948 – the United
States and United Kingdom
governments fly supplies into the
Western-held sectors of Berlin
over the blockade during 1948-
49, known as the Berlin Airlift.
1968 – Biafran War:
disagreement about how to deal
with gross human rights abuses
causes a split that will result in a
group of Red Cross doctors
forming Médecins Sans
1971 – Creation of Médecins
Sans Frontières (Doctors without
Borders - MSF) in France by a
Page 101 of 137
group of French Doctors in the aftermath of Nigerian Civil War.
1978 – Massive number of refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos flee to
neighbouring countries where they are received by UN agencies like the
UNHCR, and private non-governmental agencies. The largest numbers flee to
Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and China.
January 1, 1980, an earthquake in Azores Islands, Portugal - leads to relief
response by Portuguese government and United States Military from Lajes Air
Force Base and Naval Security Group Activity Terceira.
1985 – Ethiopian famine leads to massive relief response by the United States
and other countries.
1992 – Operation Provide Relief, humanitarian relief for Somalia, is led by the
United States. After looting of the aid, it is reorganized as Operation Restore
Hope, an American military operation with the support of the United Nations to
deliver humanitarian aid and restore order to Somalia, that eventually leads to
the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993.
1993 – Workers' Aid for Bosnia is typical of many community-level voluntary
organizations formed in the United Kingdom to directly support the victims of the
violence in Yugoslavia, as a direct result of public outrage.
1994 – Great Lakes Refugee Crisis in Central Africa. Humanitarian relief to
refugees fleeing Rwanda is distributed primarily in Congo/Zaire, and Tanzania.
1995 – responding to a flood in North Korea which had caused a famine, the
United States government initially provided over $8 million in general
humanitarian aid (the People's Republic of China was the only country to initially
contribute more aid). However, eight years later, the United States government
has provided $644 million in aid to the country which comprises nearly 50% of
the aid going to North Korea.
1999 – Kosovo War and Refugee Crisis. Serb military action led to the flight of
refugees to Albania and other neighbouring countries where they were received
by UNHCR and other agencies. NATO responded with a bombing campaign
against Serbia. Charitable groups from around Europe send many aid convoys
similar to those sent to Bosnia several years previously; Aid Convoy is founded.
2008 – 2009 – 2008–09 Gaza Strip aid after Gaza War and several aid initiatives
during the Blockade of the Gaza Strip.
2010's – Humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War has been maintained
inside Syria and on refugees camps by international non-governmental
organizations (ICRC, several UN-organizations), neighboring countries such as
Jordan, Turkey and Israel, the European Union, several European states, United
States, Russia and Iran.
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Page 103 of 137
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Page 106 of 137
The Theology of The Christian Mission
Page 107 of 137
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
The Theology of the
Christian Mission: A Review Article 1
Time was when missionaries pointed to the Great Commission and obeyed it precisely
because Christ’s word said, ‘Go’. They had no time to delve into theory or doctrinal
principles. Their motives and message were simple. Their methods and movements were
largely dictated by the circumstances of their labour. Theologians, on the other hand, were not
affected by the missionary movement. There seemed to be little or no call to study the
complex ecclesiological problems of the missionary situation. The question of the relation
between theology and mission was scarcely raised. Theologians and missionaries moved in
Now, however, the atmosphere has changed. Missionaries everywhere are seeking for a
systematic theology of mission which will help guide them in the difficult responsibility they
bear in the name of Christ. Theologians are becoming increasingly involved in missionary
questions, because of the growing prominence of doctrinal, ecclesiastical and ecumenical
problems in the worldwide Church.
The validity of the Christian mission is being questioned today. The multiplicity of
missionary organizations and the relative paucity of ‘results’ have caused adverse critics to
call the whole business ‘a racket’. The resurgence of non-Christian religions has thrown into
relief the fact that, far from storming the citadels of resistance to the Gospel, much missionary
effort has been a series of disjointed skirmishes on the periphery. The emergence of new
independent nations, with their respective manifestations of nationalism and corresponding
religious associations, has challenged the motive of Christian missions, particularly when the
message they bring is associated in any way with an alien culture.
The study of missionary literature leads to the conclusion that the Church’s world mission is
based on the plight of men, on the need of the world; that it is composed of a series of
organizations, each dependent upon human initiative and enthusiasm; that it is conducted by
appeals for service, prayer and support, the response to which depends largely upon the
spiritual and emotional state of the hearers or readers. Is this, in effect, the valid basis of
These challenges and others summon Christians to a re-examination of the foundations of
missionary labour. What were the considerations which initially moved the Apostles and have
subsequently turned the Church out toward the whole world? Were they
philanthropical―sympathy with the ignorant, the diseased, the dispossessed, the lost? Or
were they theological―harmony with the great redemptive purpose of God? What place does
the Christian mission have in the total revelation of God? On what does the Christian mission
1 The Theology of the Christian Mission: edited by Gerald H. Anderson (London: SCM, 1961). The page
references in the text are to this volume.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
What is its authority and value? What may it hope to accomplish? What methods should it
Such questions reveal an immediate need to return to the Bible and to restate
our theology of mission in terms of God’s unchanging nature meeting man’s universal need,
expressed in a way which is relevant to an aggressively non-Christian world. In a lecture to
the London Bible College, Bruce Nicholls, of the Union Biblical Seminary, Yeotmal, India,
stated that, among the fundamental questions which demand an unequivocal answer are:
‘Who is Jesus Christ and why did He die?’ ‘Is He a way to the truth and life, or the Way?’ ‘Is
He a saviour of the world or the Saviour?’ 2
In an attempt to meet this need, Gerald H. Anderson has gathered contributions from 25
scholars in different parts of the world, in a volume which approaches this vast subject from
four angles. The first part of the book contains six papers which view it from the Biblical
aspect. The second part comprises three studies which review its historical development. The
third has eight contributions on the relation of Christian missions to other religions. In the
fourth, eight writers consider various aspects of the theory of the Mission.
In his own introduction to the symposium, Professor Anderson of Manila, Philippines, (to
distinguish him from Wilhelm Andersen, whose essay ‘Further toward a Theology of
Mission’ closes the book), surveys the development of the study of this theme thus far in the
twentieth century. He mentions the following trends and factors among others: One is that a
movement toward a fundamental re-formation of the theology of mission has been gaining
momentum. This may be discerned in the type of question asked at missionary conferences,
particularly in the major international gatherings from Edinburgh 1910 to Ghana 1957-8. A
second factor has been the diversity of Protestant attitudes toward men of other religions. A
third trend has been toward a theocentric concept of mission in trinitarian perspective. He
concludes his survey by recognizing the inadequacy of the attempts made in recent years
formulate to the theology of mission.
The missionary’s approach to his task is determined quite considerably by his understanding
of man’s state and of the nature of his religion. In his essay on ‘The Biblical View of Man in
his religion’, Johannes Blauw, Secretary of the Dutch Missionary Council, makes a Biblical
analysis of the position of man before God, and gives brief suggestions for a theological
criticism of man’s religions (31-41). These religions may be regarded as human answers to
God’s question, ‘Man, where art thou?’ God has allowed all nations to walk in their own ways
(Acts xiv. 16), to do their own thinking and to make their own answers. Understanding these
answers leads to a knowledge of the man himself, in and behind the religions. Only Jesus
Christ is from above. In His light, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the ways of man in his
religion are seen to be ‘imaginations’. Man, however, can hear the Gospel when the approach
is made in terms of his own religious position. While admitting the value of Johannes Blauw’s
contribution, evangelical scholars may enquire whether he has taken sufficiently into
consideration the Biblical description of man as lost, perishing, dead in trespasses and sins.
2 Bruce Nicholls, Missionary Strategy, 1962.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
Eschatology cannot be overlooked as an integral part of the theology of the Christian mission.
Some have thought that it has nothing to do with Christian action in the present day and that it
has a paralysing effect upon missions. Prof. Oscar Cullmann, of Basel and Paris, shows that,
on the contrary, the Biblical hope of the ‘end’ constitutes the keenest incentive to action (42-
Two constitutive elements in Biblical eschatology as a whole are the divine omnipotence by
which alone the end will come, and human ignorance of ‘the day and the hour’ or of ‘the
times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority’. These elements constitute
a spur to Christian fulfilment of the Church’s duty in the period to which we belong, and for
which the power of the Holy Spirit has been received (Acts i. 7-8). The proclamation of the
Gospel to all nations becomes a ‘sign’ of the end, and integral element in the eschatological
plan of full salvation.
In his exegesis of Matthew xxviii. 16-20, as related to the Easter stories found in the other
Gospels, Karl Barth demonstrates that the Christian mission arises out of the historical fact of
Christ’s Resurrection. It is the outcome of His revelation as the One Who held, holds, and will
hold all authority. His command to make disciples envisages the founding of the Apostolic
church, the existence of which is constantly renewed as listeners become ‘apostolic’, as new
disciples begin to proclaim the good news (63). Because of Christ’s presence, the great
commission of the risen Lord to make disciples, baptize and teach, is valid until the close of
Searching for the motives which made Paul pursue the missionary task in such an exemplary
fashion, Professor Donald G. Miller of Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia,
finds that God’s own self-revelation in Christ and in Scripture was the primary issue. The fact
of His unity and His lordship laid upon Him an inescapable obligation. ‘The same Lord over
all is rich unto all that call upon Him’ (Romans x. 12-15). In Athens, Paul was stirred to
action by idolatrous challenges to Christ’s lordship (Acts xvii. 16, 31). The Gospel is
impelled, by its very nature as a revelation, to embrace the whole world. It cannot come to
terms with any syncretistic tendency to amalgamate the good in all religions. Paul was moved
by the need of man viewed, not from a human perspective, inspired by psychological and
sociological analyses. His whole understanding of man was theological. Jesus Christ was for
Paul the measure of man’s depravity and his potential glory. The futility of man’s life in
alienation from God and the fact that man is under divine judgment motivated Paul to offer
man Christ’s deliverance. Paul took the wrath of God seriously. He worked constantly under
the stimulus of this motive.
F. N. Davey contributes an essay on the decisive part which the Gospel according to John
plays in the Christian mission (86-93). He states that John alone gives an absolute theological
framework to the narrative about Jesus. Yet it is expressed in terms of the raw material of
fundamental human need, referring to birth, water, wind, eating, drinking, meat, darkness,
death. The Fourth Evangelist clarifies the Apostolic approach, showing that there is no
authentic part of human life which does not point beyond itself toward Christ. The Gospel
reaches men where they are. John, however, is concerned with the opposition between the
truth of God and the darkness in which sinful men are in bondage, from which the only
deliverance is by the grace of God in Christ apprehended by faith.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
The second part of Anderson’s book is composed of three historical studies which examine
developments among (a) Protestants in general, (b) Free Churches in particular, and (c)
William Richey Hogg examines the reasons for the lack of missionary concern
at the time of the Reformation and its subsequent birth and growth up to 1914. He traces the
burgeoning of Protestant missions in the nineteenth century back to pietistic movements
which emerged almost simultaneously in Germany, Britain and the Thirteen Colonies during
the previous century. Francke, at the University of Halle, set forth a world view and
missionary concern quite new in Lutheranism. This did not give rise to a sect but produced a
new movement within Lutheranism which attracted educated and influential people. Gaining
his missionary vision from Francke, Zinzendorf influenced an entire community at Herrnhut
to accept missionary responsibility. Whole families went overseas as self-supporting units.
The whole Moravian Church became a missionary society with warmhearted zeal.
Calvinism’s transplantation to American soil brought striking results. Directly confronting
‘savages’ ignorant of the Gospel, the Calvinists’ concern for the souls of men emerged in
various missionary work. In Britain, Carey spoke to hearts stirred by the Evangelical
awakening. He did not use the term ‘foreign missions’, knowing only one mission to be
Roman carried out on all fronts.
The ‘Great Century’ of the Christian movement, according to Latourette, was from 1815 to
1914. Then came the peak of Western impact upon the non-Western world. Anglican missions
flourished in British colonies, Reformed Missions in Dutch colonies, Lutheran missions in
German territories, and Roman Missions in the possessions of Latin European countries.
Professor Hogg’s colleague at Dallas, Franklin H. Littell, continues the study by pointing out
that Western Europe can no longer be taken for granted as the centre of Christendom. The
time has passed when ‘younger churches’ may be considered as minor deposits of European
church life. Not only have two world wars and two types of totalitarianism shaken the
complacency of European religious establishments at a time when indigenous churches
overseas are becoming aware of their identity and independence, but also the centre of support
for Christian expansion has shifted. The large majority of Protestant missionaries are now
supported by Free Churches in North America and Great Britain, and the major proportion of
support for Roman Catholic undertakings is coming from the United States. Professor Littell
maintains that the ‘younger churches’ find themselves in a situation remarkably like that of
the early Church. A new period of Church history is at hand for those who will pattern their
life on the New Testament.
The development of Mission Theology among Roman Catholics is admirably summed up in a
paper contributed by Father Andrew V. Seumois, O.M.I., who reveals the extent and
thoroughness of the work done since 1910, and particularly after the Second World War. His
bibliographical notes indicate source material which will afford scope for profitable study.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
In the third section of Anderson’s work, eight scholars analyse the encounter of Christianity
with other faiths, including Communism. This is probably the part of the book which will call
for the closest examination and the most careful study.
Ernst Benz of Marburg affirms that the formulation of a new theological understanding of the
history of religion is an urgent task. He maintains that the two traditional basic types of
approach are no longer adequate, and suggests that two new ways offer themselves to us.
First, to make a study of the New
Testament references which indicate that an exclusive claim to absoluteness is not the only
attitude to be adopted by Christians toward non-Christian religions. In this connection, he
quotes Acts xiv. 8-18 which the Roman Catholic theologian Père Jean Danielou has made the
basis for his doctrine of the révélation cosmique. Paul emphasises here the continuity of the
self-witness of the living God throughout all generations. Benz also refers to Luke xiii. 29 ff.,
Matthew xxv. 21, and vii. 21-23. The second way is to address our questions to those who
have come into personal Christian conviction and experience after having grown up within
one of the non-Christian religions. The old approach has been made by theologians who did
not know those religions from within.
Discussing the problems created by the resurgence of non-Christian religions (148-157), Paul
D. Devanandan points out that, no matter how widely they may differ from one another in
their basic credal affirmations, they are all agreed in their opposition to the missionary
expansion of Christianity. Moreover, they are all being challenged by Communism. They call
for inter-religious cooperation, suggesting that Christians should give up all talk of mutual
exclusion, in order to find a formula of comprehension which will make for unity in diversity.
Much of the religious vocabulary which is used by Christians and non-Christians appears to
be the same. Is the fear of syncretism driving Christians to the opposite danger of
safeguarding the one talent of their faith so zealously that they come to the point of hiding it?
(Matthew xxv. 18, 24-29). Dr. D. T. Niles has said that the talk about syncretism has led, in
India, to an inclination towards ‘ghettoism’ in the Churches.
Twentieth century Christianity’s concern with Communism introduces a new phase in our
relation to non-Christian religions. In his paper on the encounter with Communism, Dr. Frank
Wilson Price, Director of the Missionary Research Library, New York, points out that this
militant ideology in action challenges all faiths. To the orthodox Marxist, every form of
religion is an opiate and will ultimately disappear in the Communist society. Christianity,
therefore, finds itself standing alongside Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other
religions, in opposition to a self-sufficient, materialistic and atheistic creed. Although Dr.
Price gives ten valuable points which Christians everywhere should bear in mind when
approaching Communists, he omits the crucial issue of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If He
is risen from the dead, and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, then
the Communist perspective is false. Time, and the things which exist in time, are not the only
realities. God has broken into history in the Person of Jesus Christ and the horizontal
relationships between men are now determined by the primary vertical relationship between
God and man. That relationship determines the essential principles of right and wrong, and
applies them in all circumstances. Hence, while Christians may sympathize profoundly with
certain Communist ideals, admire some of their moral reforms, and appreciate their group
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
discipline, we cannot harmonize our ethical principles with theirs. We can only match them
with something higher and better. ‘We must obey God rather than man’.
Japan provides a remarkable laboratory for the study of new religions. Some 700 of them
have registered with the government since the last war. At least five of them have won more
than 600,000 adherents each. Reiyukai, a Nichiren sect, alone has gained a membership of
2,300,000, or more than four times the
total Christian population. Masatoshi Doi, Professor of Church History and Ecumeinics,
Kyoto, indicates the causes of this. After giving historical and pragmatic reasons, he focuses
on the theological problem. The Japanese Church is noted for its high theological attainment
in comparison with Churches in other mission lands. Yet Protestant evangelism in post-war
Japan, has not been effective, in spite of the slogan ‘Let the Gospel penetrate into the
masses!’, whereas hundreds of thousands of people are thronging to fanatical religions which
promise to meet their immediate needs (168-178).
The essay to which most theologians will probably make a bee-line is A. C. Bouquet’s on
Revelation and the Divine Logos (183-198). He puts forward a series of six propositions, each
of which he considers in logical sequence. He then tries to answer three questions which, by
their nature, appear to have been put to him in India. In so doing, he emphasizes the
historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. ‘His crucifixion when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea
is completely attested; and whatever may have been and are the exact nature of the post-
Resurrection appearances, the evidence is clear enough that they have taken place.... Thus the
career of Jesus as the Logos Incarnate is not a record of what people would like to have
happened, but of what actually did happen. It is not an edifying fiction, but a supreme event in
the life of the Eternal Deity... by which something decisive for the human race was achieved’
Christians recognize that the New Testament Gospel is a fulfilment of the Old Testament
revelation rather than a radical displacement of it. The question raised by Professor L. Harold
De Wolf of Boston, Massachusetts, in his paper on ‘The Interpenetration of Christianity and
the Non-Christian Religions’, is whether other religions contributed to the Christian religion
(199-212). He mentions, for example, the evidence of influence from Greek sources in the
New Testament, the amalgam of Christian and pagan elements in the religious life of Europe,
and the witness to a syncretism of customary rites which is found in the Church calendar,
notably, 25th December and Easter. He finds examples of Christian influence among the
devotees and institutions of non-Christian religions, Hindus and Buddhists being mentioned
Studying the theological issues concerning this interpenetration of religions, he outlines four
main policies which have been recommended or attitudes which have been adopted: (1) Total
rejection of non-Christian religions, with the purpose of radical displacement: (2) Relativistic
syncretism; (3) Discontinuity, and (4) Fulfilment. 3 De Wolf gives arguments for what he calls
3 See A. C. Bouquet, The Christian Faith and the Non-Christian Religions, 1958; E. C. Dewick, The Christian
Attitude to other Religions, 1953; and Hendrik Kraemer, The Christian Mission in a Non-Christian World, 1938;
idem, Religion and the Christian Faith, 1956; idem, The Christian Faith and Non-Christian Religions, 1958.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
a carefully discriminating doctrine of the fourth. ‘As Jesus came... not to abolish the law and
the prophets, but to fulfil them, so His Gospel comes today to the laws and prophets of other
religions to fulfil them.’ An examination of his appeal to the Biblical testimony shows that an
important part of his argument rests on the exegesis of John i. 9. His appeal to the testimony
of first-generation Christians in several regions of Africa is significant. ‘Many of the
missionaries who had evangelized those regions had believed in radical displacement, but in
the experience of their converts the Gospel had come nevertheless as fulfillment’ (211) It
would be helpful to have this confirmed by other competent observers. The point, however,
which requires most careful consideration occurs during Dr. Wolf’s appeal for a new
understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. ‘If God has revealed Himself to men solely as the
Son and only in
Jesus of Nazareth’, he concludes that we cannot hope to find any sign of His revelation of
Himself where there is no knowledge of Jesus. The inference from this would be that God has
left Himself without witness in most of the world through most of the centuries. De Wolf
maintains that this is implied by the logic of Kraemer’s theory of discontinuity.
The fourth section of the book is taken up with a restatement of missionary evangelism for
our day. Canon Max Warren leads the discussion by a paper on ‘The Meaning of
Identification’ (229-238). He clarifies our Christian task as being a twofold one. First, the
Church has to identify itself with the world as Christ did, and with the same purpose of
redemption. Secondly, the Christians of the West need to identify themselves with the
Christians of the East. He believes that the phrase ‘identification with’ provides a clue to a
new and creative relationship. What this may involve is to be understood from the pattern set
before us by Jesus Christ our Lord as seen in Philippians ii. 5-8, Psalms xl. 6-8; 2 Corinthians
v. 21; Galatians iii. 13-14. The study of these passages should produce an attitude of mind
such as can enter creatively into the human situation in which missionaries find themselves.
Identification, however, must also be with the will of God as revealed in Christ. Working
along the line of His purpose gives meaning and direction and poise to life.
The need for a book on the Theology of the Christian Mission is undeniable. The importance
of this particular work is that it brings together contributions from men of different
nationalities with vast experience in a variety of ecclesiastical traditions and missionary
associations. Eleven are from the United States and five from Britain. Three are from Asia
and only one from Africa. Future books of this nature will undoubtedly contain more insight
from overseas. Within an enriching variety of treatment there are arresting divergencies of
approach, particularly to the problems and perils of syncretism. While most of the book will
be useful to laymen, some contributors have fallen into the use of a jargon which seems
remote from reality. This is a pity, if the gap between theological thought and missionary
practice is ever to be bridged.
The student is now confronted with the question of whether Anderson’s book meets the
burning issues of the hour in the Christian Mission. How far has it helped us to understand the
relationship between Theology and Mission in the contemporary situation? Are those engaged
in Mission convinced that a sound Biblical theology is vitally relevant to the task to which
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
they are committed? Is the book itself informed by Bishop L. Newbiggin’s affirmation that ‘a
theology of mission lives from studying the Bible’? 4 .
Whether the book is adequate or otherwise, it draws attention to the place of theological study
in the strategy of missionary outreach. At a time of radical change, it is not sufficient to say
‘the experience of our mission teaches us that...’ Newbigin says, in his foreword to the
volume, ‘nothing will suffice save radical rethinking of the nature of our mission. Such
rethinking must include both a realistic understanding of the new facts with which the mission
has to deal, and a humble return to the source of the mission in the Gospel’ (xiii).
Scriptural principles underlie practical problems which beset the Christian mission. Tact,
intuition and a clear appreciation of the difficulties involved cannot point to their solution.
Only the Word of God can lead to practices which overcome the impossibilities in the human
situation and discharge the
responsibilities of missionary work. The theology of mission is the study of the Apostolic
work of the Church and the basic principles of missionary work. It includes investigation of
the most profitable God-ordained methods of preaching the Gospel which lead to the
conversion of those who are outside Christ. Its aim is to think about the Gospel and interpret it
in the light of each succeeding age, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Today, it calls for
the study of the various religions, cults, and ideologies which battle for the mind and soul of
man in the lands of the younger churches. And it demands a statement of the Christian faith
which meets the challenge of the theological climate which prevails where resurgent religions
and Communism are predominating factors, A true theology of mission will give us a Biblical
evaluation of religions. Setting out with the conviction that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ is unique and universal, we may ask how a Christian is to approach those who profess
or practise a religion which they regard as the way to God? Are non-Christian religions to be
viewed as a search for God or are they an evidence of estrangement from Him? Do the forces
behind such religions come from above or from beneath? Are their practices a debasing of
purer designs? Are they the degeneration of a people’s earlier response to God’s selfrevelation
through nature, providence or conscience? The tendency has been to swing
between two extremes. One is to take a non-Christian religion at its best and to show how its
quest is fulfilled in Christ. The other is to denounce everything non-Christian as valueless.
There has been a tendency for Christians to underestimate other religions through
concentrating on certain obvious features of the behaviour and attitude of ‘popular’ religion.
When discussing various types of Christian approach to those of other religions and
emphasizing the significance of the testimony given by converts from these religions, Bishop
Stephen Neill raised the thought-provoking question as to whether Christ must not be the
Destroyer before He can be the Fulfiller, the Saviour. It was there in the Christian’s personal
experience of passing from death to life. Must it not be so in the case of those who pass from
their respective religious systems to Christ? 5
B. R. Easter writes that, standing on Scripture in its assessment of and approach to non-
Christian faiths, Reformed Christians see the reality of God’s general revelation in creation,
4 Lesslie Newbigin, One Body, one Gospel, one World; The Christian Mission Today, 1958.
5 S. Neill, Creative Tension, 1959.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
history and human life. They regard other religions as a rejection of the revealing God, i.e. a
deliberate denial, exchange and turning from Him to darkness and chaos. General revelation
now brings guilt and wrath (Romans i. 18 f.). They recognize God’s present activity among
those religions in Common Grace. They stress the absoluteness and uniqueness of the Biblical
revelation in Christ, bringing men the reconciliation, and the new light and power, that they
need. They emphasize also the importance of a loving, personal approach to those of other
faiths―appreciating the other’s position, feeling united with them in sin and need of grace,
loving them as our neighbours depending on God’s Word to convict and lead to faith. 6
Another issue on which an adequate theology must inform missionaries is that of nationalism
and the Church’s approach to the nations. How are the nations to be regarded? Are they
among the orders appointed by God for human society, or are they forces organized in
independence of Him and, in some cases, in actual hostility to His will? Christians have
tended to take opposing views, according to their interpretation of the Scriptures and
to the trends of the times in which they lived. Scripture, however, makes it plain that nations
as such shall ultimately bring glory and honour into the heavenly city. To this end, the Church
must exercise her proper ministry among them, at times saying an emphatic ‘No’ to the
demands of nation or state, and, at other times, serving as its spiritual illumination and
It is becoming clear that, if the whole world is to be evangelized, missionary work must be
undertaken by the whole Church. This constitutes a challenge to missionaries and missionary
societies to find their proper place in a true theology of the Church. It calls for a forwardlooking
understanding of the nature of the Church, adequate to the crises, the opportunities,
and the unexplored possibilities of the period on which we are entering. On the practical level,
it will demand team work of the highest order between those who have become known as the
older and the younger Churches. Such partnership is not easy. Two cannot walk together
unless they are in agreement. There are characteristics in both partners which are open to
misunderstanding. Each must, therefore, be willing to hear what the Spirit is saying to the
Churches about these matters and repent of the things which grieve Him and cause resentment
between Christian brethren. If there is to be oneness in obeying Christ’s command, there must
be the kind of openness between us which will lead to brokenness at the foot of the Cross.
The emphasis on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and the Person and
ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Theology of the Christian Mission must be definite. It is
only as the love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of forgiven sinners by the Holy Ghost that
there is an outflow of Spirit-prompted witness to the world. In his doctrinal dissertation for
the Department of Mission of the Free University, Amsterdam, Harry R. Boer’s thesis 7 is that
the real impetus of the Church’s missionary outreach is to be found in the Holy Spirit’s
descent at Pentecost. He, therefore, emphasized the need for renewed reflection on ‘the
meaning of the Holy Spirit for the missionary proclamation of the Church. He it is who bears
6 In Puritan Papers, 1962.
7 H. R. Boer, Pentecost and Missions, 1961. Boer’s original dissertation, published as Pentecost and the
Missionary Witness of the Church, n.d., contains the full documentation.
John Savage, “The Theology of the Christian Mission: A Review Article,” Vox Evangelica 2 (1963):
the witness of the Church. His is the life that her witness transmits. His the unity that makes
the Church one.’ In practical application, he asks, ‘Have we in our mission work always laid
the emphasis where it needed most to be placed? Do those who have come to Christ through
our witness have an adequate understanding of the witnessing task that has now wholly fallen,
or may soon wholly fall, upon them?’.
The future of missions will depend, under God, on the solidity of their Biblical foundations.
But will a book on Theology help people to rediscover these foundations? Hendrik Kraemer
asks the question in a letter to Gerald Anderson explaining why he was reluctant to
collaborate in his work by writing an essay on ‘Syncretism as a Theological Problem for
Missions’ (179-182). The conviction has grown in him that such essays do not change
missionary thinking or missionary strategy. They are read, registered as the writer’s particular
opinion, and then put on a library shelf. Theology and missionary strategy are thus kept neatly
He maintains that this tendency is due to an attitude toward theological problems which
regards them as theoretical affairs. To Kraemer, however, they are eminently practical matters
demanding decisions followed by action. A sound theological conception is not simply a
matter of intellectual interest,
but rather the most practical thing in the world. The indissoluble oneness of clear thought with
vigorous action belongs to the essence of true theology, especially in relation to the Church’s
In the meantime, he could not overcome his aversion to write ‘one article more’. He did not
believe in its usefulness. ‘What I hope and pray for’, he added, ‘is the awakening of the
responsible agencies to the fundamental necessities’. On that note, it may be wise to end.
© 1963 London School of Theology (http://www.lst.ac.uk/). Reproduced by permission.
Prepared for the Web in December 2006 by Robert I. Bradshaw.
Page 108 of 137
The Relationship Between Theology
Page 109 of 137
The Relationship between Theology and Missiology:
The Missiological Hermeneutics
Pavel Cerny, ThD
Before we start discussing the relationship between theology and missiology we must
briefly look at their content and the development of their mutual understanding.
The understanding of theology has gone through a long historical development and the
individual definitions oscillate from an everyday thinking about one’s faith to highly
academic expressions and terms. Trilhaas, for example, sees theology as a “reflective
self-understanding of faith.” 1 Theology implies the wish to think about the reality of faith
as deeply as possible and about its relationship to other sources of knowledge about life. 2
Other authors look at theology from a more intellectual point and emphasize rational
thinking or speech about God or an intellectual discourse of God. Theology is, according
to this concept, a discipline helping the trained mind come to a more comprehensive and
justified judgment about the claims of faith. 3
The Enlightenment of the 18 th century forced the Christians of the Western world to
defend their understanding of theology and its position within the university framework.
It was the beginning of the efforts to defend theology as a legitimate science. The
Reformed theologian Charles Hodge calls theology “a science about the facts of God’s
revelation”, while E. H. Bancroft claims that theology is “a science about God and the
relationship between God and the universe”. 4 The situation changes in the 1960s with the
development of a number of liberation theologies. The emphasis is more often put on the
practical character of theology and a reflection of the practice. Theology is no longer just
a field of study of narrow intellectual groups but becomes a theme of a dialogue. Gustavo
Gutiéreez understands theology “as a critical reflection on historical praxis in the light of
the Word” and this definition became quite well known and accepted. 5
We should remember that until the 16 th century the word mission was used for describing
the doctrine of the Trinity. The verb mitto (to send) referred to the task of Jesus Christ
who was sent to Earth by God the Father to fulfill the work of salvation. It was the true
and real Missio Dei – God’s mission in this world.
1 Quotation based on KIRK, J. A.: What is Mission? Theological Explorations. Darton,
Longmann and Todd, London 1999, rep. 2002, p. 8
2 Cf. HELM, P.: Faith and Undertanding. University Press, Edinburgh 1997, p. 3-76
3 KIRK, 2002, p. 8
4 Cf. WELLS, D.: The Theologian‘s Craft. In: WOODBRIDGE J. and McCOMISKEY, T.
(Eds.): Doing Theology in Todays’s World. Zondervan, Grand Rapids 1991, p. 182
5 Cf. KIRK, J. A.: The Mission of Theology and Theology as Mission. Trinity Press
International, Valley Forge 1997, p. 14-18
In the 16 th century the word mission starts to appear in the terminology of the Jesuits and
it denotes the spreading of the Christian faith among the people who were not members
of the Roman Catholic Church (therefore among the Protestants as well). The word was
soon adopted by the Protestants as well as a description of their journeys to the overseas
countries. The word then got quite closely connected with the colonial expansion of the
European countries in the Western thinking.
Until 1950 the word mission described sending missionaries into a given territory and
also their activities. The word was also used for the mission agency that sent them, the
mission field or center from which the missionaries went to other places, or a mission
station (a church without a regular pastor, therefore dependent on its “mother church”).
The word mission also described a series of meetings focusing on deepening or
amplification of the Christian faith among “formal” Christians. This overview clearly
shows how much of the meaning of the expression Missio Dei was lost over time.
If history tells us that the ecumenical movement was born out of the mission work, then it
is also true that the mission movement supported the renewal of the theology of mission.
A number of factors and events certainly played a role here: the developments in science
and technology and also secularization attempting to present the faith in God as
irrelevant. Now we have started to hear the shocking news that Europe itself has become
a mission field again. The churches in Europe and North America are sending
missionaries who have to identify the mission fields in their own countries. Also the
missionary activities and methods of other religions are sometimes rather aggressive. A
large number of indigenous churches has sprung up in the so called Third World
countries (now the 2/3 or majority world) which represents another turning point in the
overall situation. In the previous centuries, the missionaries from the West set up the
norm of theological development and the form of the church life. Now the situation has
changed and the young churches reject the dictate of the Western denominations. The
Western theology is now being viewed as speculative and irrelevant. New theologies
have emerged: African, Asian, black, contextual, liberation, Korean minjung and others.
All of that had a significant influence on the further development of our understanding of
3. The relationship of theology and missiology
The first pioneers who understood the importance of missiology in the framework of
theology were the Protestant Gustav Warneck (1834-1910) and the Catholic Josef
Schmidlin (1876-1944). Their writings made it possible for missiology to really start
meeting theology. The first departments of missiology were established in the European
and American schools of theology. It is no accident that the mission conference called to
Edinburgh in 1910 had been connected with the subsequent development of ecumenism
and theological dialogue. Consecutively, more biblical and theological studies were
written proving that “In the beginning mission was more than just an activity. It was the
foundation of the church life. The beginnings of the theology of mission are therefore the
beginnings of the Christian theology as such.” 6
The New Testament scholar Martin Hengel summarizes his survey of Paul’s concept of
mission and the origins of the missionary orientation of the early church by stating that
the history and theology of the early Christianity are in the first place “the history of
mission” and “the theology of mission”. 7 Hengel says: “A church and a theology that
forgets or denies the missionary calling of the believers as the messengers of salvation in
the world threatened by a disaster gives up on its foundations and effectively
surrenders.” 8 No wonder that some authors, like for example Martin Kähler, are quite
strong about it and say that “the oldest mission was the mother of theology” 9 Martin
Kähler adds that theology started to develop as “a supporting manifestation of the
Christian mission”, not as a “luxury of a church that ruled the world.” 10
Now we are faced with a serious question if this separation of theology and missiology
did not have a devastating influence on the understanding of the mission calling of the
church and a future theological development. This fact is now leading some theologians
to stipulating that “theology cannot exist without mission”, or in other words, “there is no
theology which would not be missionary at the same time”. 11
It was Karl Barth who said in a provocative manner that the theological work must be
done with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He wanted to suggest that
theology cannot be developed only for its own sake but that it carries the serious task of
the reflection of faith and the life of the church. Theology is a continuous process of
understanding the relationship of God’s revelation and the reality of the world. 12
As theology developed, missiology was usually seen as a part of practical theology and
viewed as a way of self-realization of the church in a mission situation. On the other hand
there are good examples of establishing departments of missiology on different
universities in Europe and America. Nevertheless, as David Bosch said, missiology was
pushed to the side and turned into “a secretariat of foreign affairs” that concentrated on
other countries, not the home country. 13 Even today some theologians do not understand
why they should think about their work in connection with missiology. In reality, all the
disciplines of theology need to incorporate the missionary dimension in their fields.
6 KASTING, H.: Die Anfänge der urchristlichen Mission. Chr. Kaiser Verlag, München
1969, p. 127
7 Compare: CERNY, P.: Kristovo dílo spásy jako základ a imperativ misie. (Christ’s Work
of Salvation as a Foundation and Imperative of Mission) L. Marek, Brno 2006, p. 15
8 HENGEL, M.: Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest Christianity. Fortress
Press, Philadelphia 1983, p. 64
9 KÄHLER, M.: Schriften zu Christologie und Mission. Chr. Kaiser Verlag, München
1971, p. 190
10 Ibid, p. 189
11 KIRK, J. A.: 2002, p. 11
12 Compare ibid, p. 14
13 BOSCH, D. J.: Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Orbis,
Maryknoll 1991 (9. ed. 1995), p. 492
Every theological specialist ought to be challenged to look at his or her discipline from
the point of view of mission. The main reason is the fact that God makes himself known
as the God of mission. The Bible grew over time as a book about God’s mission. It was
written by missionaries and the reason of its creation was the continuing mission of
God’s people and the church.
The study of each theological question is put in a new light when we look at how it
relates to God’s purposes. Christology gives us a normative understanding of God’s
historical project – establishing his rule over the created world in justice, reconciliation,
peace and compassion. Theology of missionary acts can be used for evaluating,
correcting and setting up better foundations for the motives and actions of those who
want to participate in responding to the request: “Your will be done on earth as it is in
heaven”. Missiology helps to check both theory and practice in relation to the gospel and
to comprehend history from an eschatological point of view. 14 The church cannot
consider itself to be apostolic and catholic (universal) in the sense of “church for
everyone” without mission. Mission is not just an activity of the church. It is the very
expression of the existence of the church. It was gradually recognized for example by the
mission conference in Willingen (1952) and then at the assembly of the WCC in New
Delhi (1961), where the International Mission Council was incorporated in the
organization. The church realized it cannot exist “above” the world or “against” the world
but it must exist for the world.
4. Missiological hermeneutics
Recent studies of the biblical texts from a mission point of view suggest some serious
facts. Mission is not just an emphasis on the so called Great Commission at the end of the
Gospel of Matthew. Mission is far more than just a task to be performed by the followers
of Jesus. That would be a serious narrowing of what we call Missio Dei.
The missiological hermeneutics is founded on the very existence of the Bible. The whole
canon of the Scripture is a missiological phenomenon, especially for those Christians
who admit an existence of a relationship between the Bible texts and self-revelation of
our God and Creator. 15 The Scripture suggests that God Himself acts in a self-giving way
to His creation including us, human beings, who were created to His own image and yet
were self-willed and rebellious. The writings that constitute our Bible are a product and
testimony of God’s mission. The different processes that lead to the writing of the
biblical texts are deeply missionary in their essence. Many biblical texts came out of the
struggles, crises and conflicts in which the people of God tried to live on the basis of their
understanding of God’s revelation and His redemptive act. Sometimes they were internal
battles, and at other times highly polemic struggles face to face with offers and demands
of other religions and world-views.
14 Comp. ibid, p. 21
15 Comp. WRIGHT, C. J. H.: Truth with a Mission: Reading Scripture Missiologically.
Grove Biblical Series, Ridley Hall, Cambridge 2005, pp. 5-7
Missiological reading of such texts is certainly not a matter of looking for the true
meaning through an objective exegesis. Yet their missionary meaning is not just a
homiletic post scriptum. The text itself often stems out of a problem, a need, a
controversy or a threat that the people of God had to deal with in the context of their
mission. The biblical text itself is a product of mission in action.
The most systematic answer to the question of missiological hermeneutics was provided
and summarized by Christopher Wright in his comprehensive book “The Mission of
God”. As an Old Testament scholar and a mission theologian he presents persuasive
evidence that the individual parts of the Old and New Testament clearly reflect a
missionary context. Even biblical ethics derives its meaning in the context of the mission
of Israel and the Church of Christ. The dynamics of the hermeneutic process it then
provided by the great story of the Bible (meta-narrative) itself. Mission is about what the
Bible is about. 16
Wright considers the story about the disciples on the road to Emmaus to be a very apt
example of the missionary hermeneutics. Luke 24:45-47: “Then he opened their minds so
they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ
will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of
sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” The
introductory sentence of Jesus – “This is what is written,” is not based on one text in
particular. The whole Scripture gives a testimony to the command that the mission of
preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins must go to all nations in the name of Jesus.
It shows that for Jesus the whole Old Testament concentrated on the life and death and
resurrection of the Messiah of Israel and on a mission to all nations. Luke suggests that
Jesus opened the minds of the disciples by these words so that they were able to
understand the Scriptures. We can say, in our contemporary theological language, that the
Messiah Himself showed his disciples what hermeneutics they should apply. The
disciples of the crucified and resurrected Jesus were to read the Scriptures messianically
and missionally. 17
The hermeneutics of the apostle Paul expresses a similar dual emphasis. When speaking
with Festus Paul claims (Acts 26:22b-23): “I am saying nothing beyond what the
prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to
rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” This
hermeneutical approach shaped Paul’s ministry as apostle of the Messiah Jesus to the
Wright could not keep from remarking that in most of history Christians have been good
at their messianic reading of the Old Testament but inadequate (and sometimes utterly
16 Comp. WRIGHT, C. J. H.: The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative.
IVP, Nottingham 2006, p. 29
17 Comp. ibid, pp. 29-30. (Misional reading or hermeneutics are Wright’s terms. – transl.
lind) at their missional reading. 18 The promised Messiah was incarnated in the identity
and missionary calling of Israel as a representative – King, Leader and Savior. It was
already part of the Abrahamic Covenant: Israel was to be a light to the nations and a
means of the redemptive blessing of God to them. Christ gives us a hermeneutical matrix
for our reading and interpretation of the Bible. Besides the Christological matrix there is
also the missionary matrix. This approach shows the meaning and reason for the
existence of the Bible: God who is presented by the Bible, and the people in whose
identity and mission we are to join. The story of the Bible talks about God, people, the
world and the future.
5. Multicultural Hermeneutical Perspective
The Western academic world is very slow in accepting theologies from other parts of the
world and does not seem to be too keen to do it. Nevertheless, the influence of missiology
presented the theological community of the West with a wide range of theological and
hermeneutical perspectives which (at least in some cases) are a product of the missionary
success of the past. Mission changed the map of global Christianity. In the beginning of
the 20 th century, 90% of all Christians lived in Europe and North America. In the
beginning of the 21 st century, at least 75% of the world’s Christians live in Latin
America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific region. The whole center of gravity of Christianity
moved south. We hear about the phenomenon of “the next Christendom”. We live in an
age of a multinational church and multidirectional mission. The multicultural
hermeneutics is developing on top of that. People will insist on reading the Bible for
themselves. Wright thinks it is a great irony that the Western Protestant theological
academy, which has its roots in the hermeneutical revolution of the Reformation
(separation and independence from the authoritative scholastic theology), has been slow
to give ear to those of other cultures who choose to read the Scriptures through their own
eyes. The phenomenon of hermeneutical variety goes back to the Bible itself, though. The
New Testament was born out of a hermeneutical revolution in reading the Old Testament.
It can be demonstrated that even the early church interpreted the same passages from the
Scriptures in different ways. For example the Jewish and the Greek interpretations of the
Christian identity were different according to the mission situation. The apostle Paul
deals with these differences in Romans 14-15. He identifies himself theologically with
those who called themselves “strong” but in general encourages the reader to accept
others without condemnation and contempt. The uniting elements for him here are Christ
and the gospel.
The missional hermeneutics must include the multiplicity of perspectives and contexts in
which people read the biblical texts. It is possible to speak about the hermeneutical
richness of the global church. Wright in this context quotes a statement of James
Brownson about the diversity of contexts and perspectives: “I call the model I am
developing a missional hermeneutics because it springs from a basic observation about
18 Comp. WRIGHT, C. J. H.: The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative.
IVP, Nottingham 2006, p. 30. For a christological interpretation of the Old Testament,
See also: HELLER, J.: Bůh sestupující: Pokus o christologii Starého zákona. (God
Descending: A Tentative Christology of the Old Testament) Kalich, Praha 1994.
the New Testament: namely, the early Christian movement that produced and canonized
the New Testament was a movement with specifically missionary character.” 19
This approach is in many ways similar to the well-known hermeneutical spiral
emphasizing the necessity of reading the Bible passages not only in the context of other
passages but also in light of the relations between the authors, the original readers and
contemporary readers. It is also necessary to consider the world of a given topic and the
problem of speech as the medium of communication. 20
Since we place a strong emphasis on the space for the diversity of the contextual readings
of the missionary hermeneutics we must also point out that it does not equal relativism.
Both Brownson and Wright argue strongly for a hermeneutics of coherence. 21 The Bible
provides a point of orientation that goes with the plurality of certain interpretation
emphases. Jesus himself provided the hermeneutical coherence within which all disciples
must read these texts, that is in the light of the story that leads up to Christ (messianic
reading) and the story that leads on from Christ to ministry and service and fulfilling the
missionary calling (missional reading). This is the story of the gospel that flows from the
mind and purpose of God in all the Scriptures for all nations. It is the missional
hermeneutics of the whole Bible. This hermeneutics has certain sympathy for the postmodern
emphases on diversity but includes safeguards against exegetical license and
disregard for the context of the great meta-narrative of the whole Bible.)
When we put all this perspective of “missional hermeneutics” together we can summarize
that we need to read all the parts of the Bible:
• “in the light of God’s purpose for all of creation, including the redemption of
people and creation of a new heaven and a new earth.
• “in the light of God’s purpose for the human life on this planet in general and in
the light of what the whole Bible teaches about the human culture, ethics,
relationships and behavior.
• “in the light of God’s historical election of Israel, its identity and role in relation
to the nations and in the light of the requirements on their worship, social ethics
and the overall system of values.
• “in the light of the central position of Jesus of Nazareth, his Messianic identity
and mission in relation to Israel and the nations, his cross and resurrection.
• “in the light of God’s calling of the church as a fellowship of believing Jews and
Gentiles who make up an extended people of the Abrahamic covenant to be a
19 BROWNSON, J. V.: Speaking the Truth in Love: Elements of a Missional Hermeneutic.
In: HUNSBERGER G. R. and VAN GELDER, C. (Eds): The Church Between Gospel and
Culture. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids 1996, pp. 232-233
20 Comp. e.g. OEMING, M.: Úvod do biblické hermeneutiky: Cesty k pochopení textu.
(Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutice: Way to Understanding of Text) Vyšehrad, Praha
2001, pp. 17-18. Nebo: OSBORNE, G. R.: The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive
Introdudiction to Biblical Interpretation. IVP, Downers Grove 199. pp. 321-326
21 BROWNSON, 1996, pp. 257-258; WRIGHT, 2006, pp. 40-41
means of God’s blessing for the nations in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and
for his glory.” 22
The Bible itself is a missionary document which developed over centuries as a message
and a testimony about the Missio Dei. God has been engaged in a mission towards man
and man received a mandate to care for the creation (an environmental, economical and
cultural mandate). God’s election of Israel is a missionary act leading to a blessing for all
nations. Jesus was sent by God to fulfill his mission. The Church is here to continue in
the mission of God’s servant.
The ethical dimension of the life of God’s people – to be the light to the nations - is a
solid part of the mission task as well. The agenda of the world is not a credible
hermeneutical key to the text of the Bible. As Leslie Newbigin and Stanley Hauerwas
emphasize, the church is the hermeneutical community charged with the interpretation of
the gospel both by words and life. A number of words of the gospel get their meaning on
the background of the struggle for faith and social work and in the context of the church
fellowship. 23 Hermeneutical coherence is tightly connected with the messianic
(Christocentric) reading of the Bible text in relation with the Missio Dei. 24
• Missionary (missional) hermeneutics flows out of a right relationship
between theology and missiology.
• Missionary hermeneutics provides us with an interpretation key which
respects the divine inspiration of the biblical text and gives us a freedom and
variety of authors at the same time and also takes into consideration the
different contexts of the readers.
• Missionary hermeneutics makes plurality possible but does not allow for
• Missionary hermeneutics of the Scriptures provides enough space for the
diversity of human cultures and interpretation approaches wherever it is
possible. The interpretation variety is possible on the basis of two matrices:
messianic (Christocentric) and missionary.
This Paper has been delivered in the International Conference of the Central European
Centre for Mission Studies, Prague, Czech Republic, June 20, 2007
22 WRIGHT, 2005, pp. 15
23 Comp. CERNY, 2006, pp. 211-212
24 Comp. WRIGHT, 2006, p. 41
Page 110 of 137
Scripture, Culture and Missions
Page 111 of 137
Journal of Theology
Southwestern Journal of Theology • Volume 55 • Number 1 • Fall 2012
A Biblical Theology of
Missions and Contextualization 1
Terry L. Wilder
Professor of New Testament
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, TX
When I first saw the title of the conference at which this address for
pastors and students was delivered—Sola Scriptura or Sola Cultura?—it
seemed presented simply as an either/or type of question. My next thought,
I confess, was “Is that a trick question or something?” The answer to that
question seemed so blatantly obvious, especially for Baptists who claim to
be a people of the book, the authoritative word of God. Unfortunately, the
answer is not as obvious to many as it is to us.
I am not a missiologist and have no particular expertise in the discipline
into which I now trespass. I do have an interest in the field, but I
am no specialist. 2 So, anything I might have to say on this subject will be
based upon Scripture, the word of God, and particularly the New Testament,
which, frankly, is how I think it should be, even for a specialist, because our
authority is the word of God. Scripture should dictate and govern our faith
I have the challenging task and enjoyable assignment of looking at
the biblical text to see what we might learn about evangelism, missions, and
contextualization, particularly the latter issue as it relates to the former ones.
Though others in this journal issue will describe “contextualization” for you
better than me, I would like to offer some brief definitions: “Simply put,
contextualization is taking into consideration the cultural context in which
we are seeking to communicate the gospel.” 3 Tim Keller puts it this way:
Adapted from an address delivered at the Sola Scriptura or Sola Cultura? Conference
held at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, April 14-15, 2011.
This is very similar to what John Stott expressed when he, a pastor-scholar trained
in New Testament, wrote the first edition of his book on Christian ethics. See John Stott,
Issues Facing Christians Today, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), Preface to the First
Edition (1984), 9.
This definition is one put forward by Juan Sanchez, “To Contextualize or Not to
Contextualize: That is NOT the Question,” The Gospel Coalition (Dec 13, 2009). See http://
(accessed: 15 Oct 2012).
Terry L. Wilder 4
Contextualization is “giving people the Bible’s answers, which they may not at
all want to hear, to questions about life that people in their particular time and
place are asking, in language and forms they can comprehend, and through appeals
and arguments with force they can feel, even if they reject them.” 4
I am grateful to Dr. Paige Patterson, who wrote the article in this issue
covering the four Hebrew children in the Old Testament book of Daniel.
He identified the four Hebrew children as prime examples of those who
followed the Lord God, even when they encountered and lived in a culture
other than their own. Despite the king’s edict to the contrary, e.g., Daniel
still kneeled three times daily to pray and give thanks to God, as was his
habit (cf. Dan 6:10). By looking at such texts, President Patterson lent a hand
to me in that I do not now have to cover passages on their contextualization
experience, which I had originally planned to do.
It is impossible in the space allotted to look in detail at every biblical
passage that touches on missions and contextualization. However, some
often cited, key New Testament texts that do touch on the subject will be
examined—for example, Matt 28:19-20, Acts 17:16-34, and 1 Cor 9:19-
23—to derive some theological and methodological principles to help believers
as they engage in evangelism, missions, and contextualization. I am
not under any delusion that this address will solve any problems concerning
contextualization issues, but as we take a fresh look at these texts in their
biblical contexts, we may discover some truths that are overlooked, or at least,
At a conference that was subtitled, “Reasserting the Biblical Paradigm
for the Great Commission in the Twenty-First Century,” it seems only proper
that any look at the biblical text start with Matt 28:19-20. Perhaps like me
you tire of hearing people say we need to come up with a “vision” for doing
missions. Now, I think I know what people mean when they say such things,
but I always want to reply, “You know what? Aren’t you fortunate?! God has
already done that for you in his word. We have the Great Commission.”
Indeed, Matt 28:19-20 is Christ’s Great Commission to his church,
the command of the resurrected Lord to his disciples before his ascension
into heaven. And in his Gospel, Matthew presents Jesus as the rejected Messiah
of Israel, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, the ever-present, divine
Son of God who has all authority and power to establish his rule and reign.
One can see something of Christ’s authority, for example, in the Sermon on
the Mount when he often says in a section known as the Antitheses, “You
have heard that it was said . . . but I say to you” (5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34,
Timothy J. Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your
City (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 98.
5 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
38-39, 43-44). 5 At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount one reads the
words, “The crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them
as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” 6 Jesus did not teach like the
scribes did. To support their statements they would say, “Rabbi so-and-so
has said,” or “Rabbi ben–Jonah has said,” but Jesus said, “I say to you.” And
in Matt 28:18 the resurrected Christ, who, according to Rom 1:4, “was declared
[to be] the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,
according to the Spirit of holiness,” issued this command. Christ is God; he
is the Son of God; and as such, he possesses all authority in heaven and on
earth. Therefore, in light of the fact that Christ is God and has all authority,
he is able to commission his church.
Christ commanded his church to “Go and make disciples.” The main
verb in the text is the aorist imperative μαθητεύσατε (“make disciples”).
Aorist imperatives, in general, convey a sense of urgency and immediacy
of action. The main verb μαθητεύσατε is modified by the aorist participle,
πορευθέντες; not “as you go,” as is frequently explained, but “Go and make
disciples.” 7 Πορευθέντες is an attendant circumstance participle; that is, the
action “go,” in some sense, is coordinate with the action of the finite verb,
“make disciples.” 8 And as such, the participle takes on imperatival force as
well. Further, the action of the participle is “something of a prerequisite before
the action of the main verb can occur.” 9 That is to say, no making of
disciples will take place unless you go: “Go and make disciples!”
The object of the main verb “make disciples” (μαθητεύσατε) is πάντα τὰ
ἔθνη (“all the nations”)—every nation on the face of the earth, every people
group on the planet—red and yellow and black and white, all are precious
in his sight. Followers of Jesus are to make disciples of everyone everywhere,
regardless of color or locale. Thus, the Great Commission involves not only
sharing the gospel (i.e., not just missions and evangelism: “Go”), but another
great responsibility: “make disciples.” A disciple is basically a follower of
Christ and his word/teachings. He is a learner, adherent, and follower of the
Lord Jesus Christ, someone who seeks to spread the gospel and its teachings
to others. Believers in Jesus are to train those with whom they have shared
the gospel and led to the Lord. They are to do “follow-up.” They are not to
leave converts to Christ unchurched, untrained, and undiscipled.
The text contains two participles of means, βαπτίζοντες and διδάσκοντες
(“baptizing” and “teaching”), that define the action of the main verb “make
Emphasis added. Unless otherwise noted, translations of the biblical text are my own.
Though Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1996), 640, 645, places the attendant circumstance participle “go” into the
“disputed examples” category in the latter book, he rightly presents it as a clear example in
his abridged The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Grammar (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 2000), 280-81.
Wallace, Basics of NT Syntax, 280.
Terry L. Wilder 6
disciples.” 10 In other words, they make more explicit what Jesus intended to
convey with the command to “make disciples.” Participles of means convey
the means by which disciples are made, namely, by baptizing, then teaching.
First of all, disciples are to be baptized/immersed. Before they are baptized
they have no doubt to come to an understanding that as Christ’s followers,
they are dead to sin, buried with Christ in his death, changed and raised
to walk in a new way of life. When they are baptized, they are immersed,
notice: “in the name [sg.] of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”
(εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος; the triune
God). 11 Baptized followers of Christ will need to be trained, and so another
crucial means by which Christians make disciples is teaching. They are to be
taught “to keep/obey all things as many things as Jesus commanded” (τηρεῖν
πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν). In other words, they are taught the teachings
of Christ, the things that Christ commanded, the word of God; and, not only
are they trained, they are taught to obey the commandments of Jesus.
Jesus concluded the Great Commission with the words: “And behold
I am with you always to the end of the age” (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθʼ ὑμῶν εἰμι
πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος). 12 Earlier in Matt 1:23 his
readers were told of the promised Savior, the Messiah to be born to Mary,
Jesus, who will be called Immanuel, “God with us.” God himself through
the person of Jesus was promised to be present amongst humanity. And, he
was present on the earth through the Incarnation. In these climactic verses
of Matt 28:19-20 the resurrected Lord who commissioned his followers also
promised to be ever-present, with them always to the end of the age. That
truth ought to be a comfort and an assurance for believers in Jesus as they are
engaged in missions and making disciples.
Several principles can be derived from this text. First, followers of Jesus
are vested with an authoritative message from the authoritative Christ.
Second, they are commanded to go and make disciples. Third, they are commanded
to make disciples of the people of all nations. Fourth, they are commanded
to make disciples by means of baptizing (in the name of the Triune
God) and teaching (which includes teaching them to obey Christ’s commandments).
Fifth, the authoritative Christ through his Holy Spirit always
accompanies and empowers believers as they do.
When considering the book of Acts, one first needs to consider the
Gospel of Luke. Scholars treat these biblical books together as Luke-Acts
because they are believed to be written by the same author, Luke, and because
Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. In his Gospel, Luke used eyewitness
reports and written accounts to provide his own orderly, trustworthy
See Wallace, Greek Grammar, 645.
7 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
version of Christian origins (Luke 1:1-4). The purpose for the good doctor’s
Gospel is specifically found in Luke 1:4. He writes to Theophilus (and no
doubt others like him) so that he/they might know of God’s pledge-promise
(ἀσφάλεια; most often translated as “exact truth”) to him/them with respect
to Jesus Christ and the preaching of the gospel. He/they were given a pledge
assuring him/them of the truthfulness of Christ’s passion and the certainty
that the gospel will spread in spite of opposition.
Luke wrote with the above theme and purpose in mind; his Gospel is
indeed one of promise and fulfillment. For example, God promised Zechariah
through an angel that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son whom
they would name John (1:13). That promise was fulfilled with the birth of
John the Baptist (1:57-66). Through this same angel God promised that John
the Baptist would be the forerunner to the Christ, the Messiah (1:16-17).
That promise came to pass in the ministry and preaching of the Baptist (3:1-
20; esp. 3:3-6, 16-17). The angel Gabriel promised Mary that she would give
birth to a son named Jesus (1:26-38). That promise was fulfilled of course
when Jesus was born (2:6-7). An angel of the Lord proclaimed Christ’s birth
to shepherds and gave them a sign: they would find the baby lying in a
manger (2:8-12). Later, the shepherds found the infant lying in the feeding
trough (2:16-17), just as the angel promised. Jesus stood in the synagogue at
Nazareth to read Isa 61:1-2, an OT promise about the Messiah (4:16-22),
then sat down and told those attending that particular Scripture was fulfilled
in him that day (4:21). When his disciples asked about future things to come,
Jesus gave them a climactic promise concerning the preaching of the gospel,
viz., as they preached Christ as the Messiah they would be brought “before
governors and kings” because of him, leading to an opportunity for witness
(21:12-15). Christ’s promise to them is fulfilled throughout the book of Acts
as the disciples are engaged in ministry, persecuted, seized, and brought before
the magistrates. The resurrected Jesus also gave his disciples the promise
par excellence, the Holy Spirit, telling them to wait in the city of Jerusalem
until they received power from on high (24:49). The fulfillment of that
promise occurs in Acts in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13).
Acts shows the sovereign spread of the gospel with all “bold speech”
amidst great opposition. Key terms in Acts are παρρησία (“boldness; bold or
frank speech”), παρρησιάζομαι (to preach boldly, fearlessly), and their cognates.
Jesus’ disciples practice this kind of speech throughout the book of
Acts. In addition to bold proclamation, other themes found throughout Acts
include prayer and persecution. All three of these themes are perhaps best
exemplified in Acts 4:23–31 and its context. Peter and John have healed a
man and were preaching that salvation comes through no one else but Jesus
Christ (4:12). Consequently, they were brought before the Jewish leadership,
examined, threatened, and released, but told never again to do these things.
They replied to those who tried them “we are unable to stop speaking about
the things we have seen and heard” (4:20). Subsequently, Peter and John go
back to their own people and report what had happened; then, they do not
Terry L. Wilder 8
pray for deliverance, but instead lift their voices in one accord in prayer to
God asking him to do great works through the name of Jesus and to give
them boldness (παρρησία) to keep preaching Jesus fearlessly (4:29-30).
In the book of Acts, Paul had also been boldly preaching. He was
preaching in Thessalonica (17:1-9) until a mob riot of jealous Jews caused
him to leave for Berea (17:10-15). In Berea, Paul’s preaching was warmly
received until the Jews from Thessalonica followed him, discovered he was
preaching Christ, and caused trouble for him there as well (17:13). Consequently,
Paul was escorted by believers to the city of Athens (17:15).
In Athens Paul was greatly distressed (παροξύνομαι; “provoked”) seeing
that the city was full of idols (17:16). This word is often used in the LXX
to describe the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, who is “provoked” to
anger when he sees idolatry. 13 Paul was “provoked” in spirit by the idolatry
he saw and no doubt had a desire to convert the Athenians from idolatry to
belief in the true and living God. This provocation is sometimes described
as “jealousy.” 14 Exod 34:14 states that “the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a
jealous God” (LXX). The Lord God resents competition; he brooks no rivals.
When Paul saw the idolatry in Athens, his very soul revolted at the sight of
people giving to others and to things the worship that rightfully belonged
to God. 15
Seeing others give their worship to idolatry, i.e., God-substitutes,
should move the followers of Christ in a similar fashion because people’s
worship should go to the Lord God Almighty. Motivation for doing missions
and evangelism should be obedience to the Great Commission, and
compassion should motivate believers to action as well, but so also should
jealousy or zeal for God’s glory and Jesus Christ his Son. Paul’s response to
the idolatry he saw resulted in witnessing to others: bold preaching. In other
words, Paul’s reaction compelled him now to give gospel testimony (17:17).
First, he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and God-fearers (Gentiles
who sought after God in the synagogue). No doubt he would have proclaimed
there that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Messiah of their Old Testament
Scriptures. Second, he also witnessed daily to anybody who happened
to be present in the ἀγορά (marketplace). Third, he also encountered and
conversed with some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers (17:18). The Epicureans
were philosophers who “considered the gods to be so remote as to take
no interest in, and have no influence on, human affairs.” 16 They believed that
the world came into being through chance, a random coming together of atoms.
17 They also thought there would be no continued existence after death,
John R.W. Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today, gen. eds. J.A. Motyer
and John R.W. Stott (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 278.
9 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
and thus, no judgment. 18 Pleasure was their aim in life, and they sought to
live free of pain and fear. The Stoics, on the other hand, acknowledged a
supreme being but did so in a pantheistic, God-is-everything, sort of way. 19
They believed in fate, self-sufficiency, doing their duty, and living in accord
with reason and the natural world. 20 Several of these philosophers would appear
on the Aeropagus council before which Paul would later appear.
The philosophers with whom Paul had been sharing the gospel reacted
to his message in a couple of ways. First, some insulted him, “What does this
scavenger of information (σπερμολόγος) wish to say?” (17:18). They thought
he had no original thoughts or ideas of his own. “But others said, ‘He seems
to be a proclaimer of strange/foreign deities’ (ξένων δαιμονίων)” (17:18).
Luke tells us that they made that remark because Paul was preaching Jesus
and the resurrection. Stott suggests that they thought Paul was introducing
to Athens a new male God named Jesus with his female consort, Anastasia
(ἀνάστασις, the Greek word for “resurrection,” also a lady’s name), to add to
their pantheon of gods. 21 If so, notice Luke did not record in Acts a response
by Paul that we might imagine as contextual and cultural-friendly: “Well,
I’ll just let them keep on thinking that for the sake of culture. That’s part of
their culture and now that I’ve got a foothold amongst them with their idea
of the resurrection, I’ll just let them keep thinking that, and then later on
when they are ready, I will explain to them more fully what the resurrection
No, Paul’s preaching instead led to his being taken and having to give
an account for his teaching before the supreme council of Athens: the Aeropagus
(17:19). 22 The members of the council wanted to know what this new
teaching was that Paul was proclaiming (17:19). They explained they wanted
to know what these astonishing things meant (17:20). This reaction is understandable
because to them, what Paul was preaching seemed to be a trendy
thing (cf. 17:21). So, standing before the Aeropagus council members, and
in response to their request, Paul masterfully guided them to an explanation
of the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. The verses that follow are at the
heart of matters regarding contextualization.
As Paul began to address the council he told them that he had observed
they were “religious in every way” (17:22). This observation was no understatement
because of the rampant idolatry in the city. He next explained that
as he was looking at their objects of worship throughout the city, he had even
seen inscribed upon an altar the words: “To An Unknown God” (17:23). He
then “eagerly seized on this inscription as a way of introducing his proclamation
of the unknown God. There was, to be sure, no real connection
Literally: “the hill of Ares” (Roman: Mars). At this point in time, however, it referred
to the council of Athens and not the place.
Terry L. Wilder 10
between ‘an unknown God’ and the true God; Paul hardly meant that his
audience were unconscious worshippers of the true God.” 23 In other words,
Paul was not acknowledging the authenticity of their unknown God nor
their pagan worship. Rather, he took advantage of the Athenians’ knowledge
of an anonymous altar he had come across while in their city and used their
acknowledgment of an unknown God to enlighten their ignorance. As Marshall
explains, he drew “their attention to the true God who was ultimately
responsible for the phenomena which they attributed to an unknown God.” 24
Christ-followers engaged in missions and evangelism ought also to
look for similar items to pique the interest of their hearers, i.e., ways to connect,
conversation starters if you will, as they present the gospel to those who
do not know Jesus. I can remember sharing the gospel with an orthodox Jew
on one occasion as I returned from the country of Turkey. After exchanging
pleasantries, my initial bridge or way to connect with him was to discuss not
only Isa 7:14 but also the role of the Ten Commandments in Judaism. These
subjects are important to believers in Jesus, but they are especially important
to Jews, and out of that discussion, with that way to connect, I was able to
share the gospel. Or, I think of the illustration that President Patterson once
gave in a Southwestern Seminary chapel service when he told how he had
met on a flight a man who obviously had an interest in hunting. The man
had observed, as I recall, that Dr. Patterson was reading something related
to hunting, and he asked the president, “Are you a hunter? He replied, “Why
yes I am; I hunt goats.” The man thought about it for a moment and then
said, “Okay, I’ll bite,” and Dr. Patterson then shared the gospel with him after
that conversation starter.
Paul next began to describe the God of the gospel for the members
of the Aeropagus (17:24). When he did, he focused on only a few points
of agreement between their different religious systems/worldviews and the
Christian message. Mostly, however, and this is important to note, he drew
out the contrasts between their beliefs. Paul used a contrastive bridge, if you
will, as he presented the gospel. First, Paul preached that God is the Creator
of the universe (17:24). 25 This proclamation struck at the heart of building
structures for idols for “a God who is Creator and Lord clearly does not live
in a temple made by human hands.” 26 The apostle pointed out a difference
between the Athenians’ manmade idols and the true and living God. Second,
Paul preached that God is the source and sustainer of all life (17:25). 27
Thus, “such a God has no need of men to supply him with anything; on the
contrary, it is he who is the source of life.” 28 Third, Paul preached that God is
I. Howard Marshall, Acts: An Introduction and Commentary, TNTC, gen. ed. Leon
Morris (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1980), 286.
Stott, Acts, 285.
Marshall, Acts, 286.
Marshall, Acts, 287; Stott, Acts, 285.
Marshall, Acts, 287.
11 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
sovereign over all the nations (17:26–27). He created from one man (Adam)
everyone on the face of the planet, fixed their days and time, and even determined
the boundaries of their countries and where they would live. God’s
purpose in all of this (according to 17:27) was that people “might seek after
him in the hope of touching and finding him.” 29 Paul relayed that seeking
and finding him should not be difficult because God is not far from each one
of us (17:27). This line of thought was apparently current in Stoic philosophy
but only in an impersonal, intellectual sense. As a follower of Christ, Paul of
course meant it in a personal sense. 30 Fourth, Paul proclaimed that God is the
Father of all mankind (17:28–29). He used some truth that he found in pagan
philosophy and applied it to God. He spoke out against their idolatry on
the basis of the fact that mankind is God’s offspring. 31 Fifth, Paul preached
that the God is the Judge of the world (17:30–31). 32
If one reviews several of the contrasts that Paul pointed out as he proclaimed
the gospel, he will see that the ideas that he preached exposed the
false ideas about God that the Council, these philosophers, had. The gospel
Paul preached as he spoke about God goes against ideas like men should
be self-sufficient. Paul taught that God sustains life. Paul’s preaching goes
against the idea that the world was created by chance. He taught instead
that God is the Creator. Paul’s preaching about the God of the gospel went
against all of their idolatry, and then he zeroed in on the fact that God will
judge them (17:30–31). It is difficult to argue that such preaching is seekersensitive
and contextualization friendly. Paul has just met these men, and
shortly later he started preaching judgment. He told them that God, in his
mercy, had been very patient with them up to this point; he had overlooked
their ignorance and idolatry, and had not yet visited it with the punishment
that it deserved (17:30). But now, Paul told them, you have no excuse because
God commands all men everywhere to repent—to make an “about-face,” to
change their minds and make a 180-degree turn away from sin and towards
God—because of the certainty of the coming judgment (17:31).
Indeed, he has fixed a day when he will judge the world—everyone
will be judged; it is all-inclusive in scope; no one is exempt. On that day,
God will judge the world righteously, with justice. And that day is fixed; it
is definite, and the judge has already been appointed. The Judge is the Man
whom God has appointed—Jesus Christ. God has committed the judgment
to his Son Jesus, and he has given proof of this judgment to come by raising
Christ from the dead. Verse 32 says that when they heard of the resurrection,
some sneered, some said—whether they meant it or not—we will hear you
again sometime, so Paul left their midst. A few (Dionysius the Areopagite,
Damaris, and some others), however, became followers and believed (17:34).
Despite the rejection, those who were saved made it all worthwhile.
Stott, Acts, 287.
Terry L. Wilder 12
Principles that might be learned from this passage in Acts that touch
on evangelism, missions and contextualization include the following. First,
followers of Jesus need to ask God to burden them for the souls of people,
i.e., to feel the way that he does toward them, and that is, to grieve for those
who reject Jesus as Savior and Lord, seeing them as sinners, people precious
in the sight of God who stand in need of salvation from the penalty and
judgment of sin. God forbid that the reason that Christians do not witness to
others as they should is because they do not feel the way that God does about
people. Second, followers of Christ need to develop and sharpen their skills
in proclaiming the gospel. They should learn to seek out common interests
with people so that they can be used to share the gospel with them. These are
things to take advantage of so as to present the gospel message. Compromise
here is not an option. Believers in Jesus do not accept or acknowledge, even
for a short period of time, the false ideas or designations of worldviews contrary
to the gospel. Third, believers in Jesus need to learn to expose false ideas
that are contrary to the gospel. This is indeed bold preaching. And, as you
explain the gospel, you do not focus so much on any similarities as you do instead
pointing out the contrasts between Christianity and the belief systems
of others. That is part and parcel of being a gospel preacher. Christ-followers
are distinctively different and so is their doctrine. Believers in Jesus need to
know Scripture well enough to deal with false ideas whenever they encroach
upon the gospel and the truth of God’s word. Likewise, they ought to be
familiar with some other belief systems outside of Christianity, particularly
if they become involved in missions to a specific locale. For instance, if one is
going to serve in India, he should know the beliefs of Hinduism fairly well.
With the latter religion, if a preacher does not point out contrasts and spell
out the gospel clearly, the Hindu will simply incorporate Jesus into his belief
system as one of his many other gods. Similarly, if one is going to serve in
the Middle East, then he should know the beliefs of Islam well, and so forth.
1 Cor 9:19–23
First Corinthians 9:19–23 is probably one of the clearest and yet most
controversial texts of all when it comes to discussing evangelism, missions,
and contextualization. Some background information is necessary before we
plunge into this passage. The occasion behind 1 Corinthians goes something
like the following. Paul’s founding visit to Corinth is in Acts 18 (c. A.D. 50-
52). A couple of years later, while Paul was in Ephesus, he wrote the “previous
letter” (5:9). Though the contents of this letter are unknown, it surely
must have dealt with the problem of sexual immorality in the church. Paul’s
words in 1 Corinthians 5 suggest that the Corinthians had misunderstood
his directives in this letter. This misunderstanding led to the writing of 1
Corinthians (c. A.D. 55). This letter was occasioned by several events: (1)
Paul heard from Chloe’s people (1:11) that a factional party spirit had de-
13 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
veloped in Corinth; (2) he also received a letter from the Corinthian church
to which he began to respond in 1 Corinthians 7. He took up the items in
the church’s letter one by one, most of them introduced by the words “now
about” (cf. 7:1, 25, 8:1, 12:1, 16:1, 12). Most likely, this letter from Corinth
was written as a response to Paul’s “previous letter” and was carried to Paul by
three men (Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus) from Corinth (16:15-17).
This Corinthian delegation may also have brought oral reports to Paul about
the problematic situation in Corinth; things were not going so well.
Paul wrote to chide the Corinthian church into acknowledging the
Lord’s “ownership” of them and the implications of that ownership in the
different areas of their lives (cf. 6:19-20). The Corinthian church was chock
full of problems. As Paul penned this letter, he critiqued the division within
the church (1:11-15) and the errant beliefs which led to this split. He taught
them that they did not belong to Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and others (cf. 1:12),
but rather they belonged to Christ. They were not their own and had been
bought with a price, thus they were to glorify God with their bodies (6:19-
20), i.e., their slave-bodies (σῶμα). 33 Paul also sought to address the questions
raised by the Corinthian church. 34 They had questions about spiritual
gifts; they had questions about marriage, and in 1 Corinthians 8 they had
questions about meat offered to idols.
Whenever idol worshippers offered sacrifices, the shares of what was
left of the animals that had been burned up was given first to the priest, then
to the families who had presented the offerings. The leftover meat was eaten
at dinners in the pagan temple or its vicinity, or at home by their families,
guests, and friends, or it would end up in the marketplace to be sold. So
you can see how this situation might become difficult. The Corinthians had
some questions about eating this kind of meat. Does a follower of Christ eat
meat offered to idols? Some of the Corinthians said, “Yes, it doesn’t violate
our conscience; it doesn’t hurt our testimony, no problem!” Whereas others
thought it was a sin to eat meat like that. Someone, somewhere along the
way, must have said, “I know! Let’s ask the apostle Paul.” So they did.
Paul told the Corinthians that there really is no such thing as an idol
(8:4); however, he went go on to say that not everybody knows this fact (8:7).
For Paul, idols are of no significance because there is only one true God (8:5-
6). But in the matter of meats offered to idols, he said, love must regulate
your knowledge that there is no such thing as an idol by giving up rights
which will cause a weaker brother to stumble (8:7-13). Some Christians
did not realize that there is nothing wrong with this, and they would defile
their consciences by eating the meat (8:7-8). And if you eat the meat, Paul
said, you are going to ruin your weaker brother and cause him to sin against
Christ (8:9-12). And so, Paul told the church in 1 Cor 8:13 that the liberty of
believers in this matter should be limited by concern for their brother’s well-
First Corinthians contains much slavery language, of which this is but one example.
He also instructed the Corinthians to participate in the offering for the Jerusalem
Terry L. Wilder 14
being: “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat
again, so that I may not cause my brother to stumble.” So, some important
principles of Christian liberty are found in chapter 8 that need review before
proceeding to chapter 9.
After warning the church in chapter 8 how improperly exercising one’s
liberty in Christ might lead to the ruin of those who are weak in faith and
conscience, Paul then illustrated how he was more than willing to exercise
restraint, even when it came to the liberties he had as an apostle of Jesus
Christ. And Paul’s relinquishing of his privileges as an apostle in order to
preach the gospel illustrates the attitude towards Christian liberty that gains
God’s approval (9:1-27).
Paul started chapter 9 with a series of four questions that each anticipate
the answer “Yes.” He demonstrated he was a true apostle who had certain
rights that go with his office. His position as an apostle was based on his
vision of the resurrected Christ and the evidence of his apostolic work (9:1-
3). He had the right to eat and drink as he was involved in his missionary
endeavors (9:4). He had the right to take along a believing wife, as did others
(9:5). Paul also taught that he had a right to refrain from working with his
hands; his apostleship entitled him to financial support because any worker
is deserving of his wages as the Lord had commanded (9:4-14). Nonetheless,
he had not used these rights and was also not trying to secure them for himself
(9:15). Apparently, some critics in Corinth criticized Paul for not taking
support (cf. 2 Cor 11:7-12). He pointed out, however, that rather than using
that right, he endured all things—(catch this if you catch nothing else)—so
that he would cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ (9:12). That is one of the
extremely important, key operative principles for Paul as he lived out his life
and engaged in ministry. Paul put up with anything rather than hinder the
gospel of Christ.
For Paul, the gospel put the importance of his apostolic work into perspective.
He had used none of his apostolic rights to support. He gave up
those rights in order to gain a reward for going beyond his duty (9:15-18).
He did not want his reason for preaching the gospel to be suspect. Paul knew
that he had to preach the gospel without thinking about compensation. He
belonged to the Lord and was indebted to preach (9:16). He knew he would
receive a reward from God if he willingly preached the gospel apart from
the praise of men and remuneration. 35 Even when he did not feel like it,
nonetheless God had still entrusted him with the gospel, a stewardship in
trust (9:17). Stewards (chief household slaves in those days entrusted with
the affairs of their masters) did what their masters told them to do whether
they liked it or not. Paul’s reward involved offering the gospel he preached
without cost; he did not want to use or abuse his right to financial support;
offering the gospel to the lost without charge was his reward (9:18). 36
Robert G. Gromacki, Called to be Saints: An Exposition of I Corinthians (Grand
Rapids: Baker, 1983), 112.
15 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
Paul also taught that the gospel puts the methods of his ministry into
perspective (9:19-23). Now remember, the context of this passage has Paul
refraining from the use of his rights/liberty in Christ. So, we need to be careful
here. The point here is not to stress how much liberty I have and what all
I might do and get away with as I am engaged in missions and contextualization,
but rather, from what should I refrain as I am attempting to reach
others for the Lord/gospel. That distinction is an important one. Paul gave
up personal rights in other areas as well in order to win more to the gospel.
Notice that this text begins in 9:19 with Paul’s remark that though he is free
from all, he has “made himself a slave [a slave has no rights] to everyone,” 37
and then he fleshed that statement out with some concrete examples of the
type of people whom he serves as such when engaged in mission. In the examples
that follow in 1 Cor 9:19-23 Paul’s words are not without restriction.
He never meant something like, “To the adulterer, I became as an adulterer.
To the embezzler I became as an embezzler. To the cannibal, I became as
a cannibal.” He would not say such things. What about to the New Ager?
“I became as a New Ager?” “To the Hindu, I became as a Hindu?” “To the
Muslim, I became as a Muslim?” Would Paul say that? What did he mean?
Paul said, “I made myself a slave (δουλόω) to everyone” (9:19). First,
“To the Jews, I became as a Jew that I might gain Jews” (9:20). How did Paul
do that? We have some concrete examples in Scripture. He preached in the
synagogues on the Sabbath (throughout Acts). He had Timothy, a half Jewish
and half Greek co-worker, circumcised so that his mission team might
be more effective (Acts 16:3); as a witness to Jerusalem Jews, Paul agreed to
the request to associate himself with Jews who had undergone purification
vows (Acts 21:20-26). 38 So, there are ways in Scripture that Paul “became as
a Jew to the Jews.” Second, “To those under the law I became as one under
the law” (9:20). This phrase may be epexegetical and refer to the Jews he just
mentioned in 9:19, or it may refer to Gentile proselytes to Judaism. Third,
“To those without law I became as one without law” (9:21), i.e. Gentiles (we
have already seen an example of an approach to Gentiles in Acts 17), though
Paul did not want anyone to misunderstand; he made it clear that he was not
without morals. He was not without God’s law for he was still under the law
of Christ; indeed, he was a slave to Christ and his teachings. Fourth, “To the
weak I became weak” (9:22). We have already seen an example where Paul
became weak to the weak. This reference either refers to unbelievers or likely
back to 1 Corinthians 8 where Paul spoke of the weak. In the latter case, if
eating the meat caused his weak brother to stumble he would not eat meat;
he would not do anything to hinder the gospel of Christ. It is important to
note that Paul is not in any of these categories. He is no longer a Jew under
the law; he never was a Gentile; he is not a weak brother—no; he has accomodated
his weak brother in Christ. But, he “flexes,” as many have put it,
Examples borrowed from Gromacki, Called to be Saints, 113.
Terry L. Wilder 16
to communicate the gospel.
Paul became “all things to all men” (9:22). He was a slave to all. On
Paul’s words here Tullian Tchvidjian aptly remarks,
Becoming ‘all things to all people’ does not mean fitting in with
the fallen patterns of this world so that there is no distinguishable
difference between Christians and non-Christians. While
rightly living “in the world,” we must avoid the extreme of accommodation—being
‘of the world.’ It happens when Christians,
in their attempt to make proper contact with the world, go out
of their way to adopt worldly styles, standards, and strategies.
When Christians try to eliminate the counter-cultural, unfashionable
features of the biblical message because those features are
unpopular in the wider culture—for example, when we reduce sin
to a lack of self-esteem, deny the exclusivity of Christ, or downplay
the reality of knowable absolute truth—we’ve moved from
contextualization to compromise. When we accommodate our
culture by jettisoning key themes of the gospel, such as suffering,
humility, persecution, service, and self-sacrifice, we actually do
our world more harm than good. For love’s sake, compromise is
to be avoided at all costs. 39
Yes, Paul engaged in contextualization, but only up to a point. He never
compromised the gospel message; he never compromised his morals, nor did
he ever contradict the teaching of Christ and the will of God as found in
the teaching of the word of God. He clearly operated within boundaries. He
was flexible, yet firm, accommodating his lifestyle and the methodology with
which he shared the gospel to the group he was aiming to reach for Christ. 40
Paul willingly gave up the exercise of his rights “on account of the gospel”
and by doing so saw himself as participating in it (9:23). The example par
excellence of one who gave up his rights is found in Jesus and the Incarnation.
He is the basis for our mission and contextualization efforts. Though he is
God he did not take advantage of that right; rather he forsook the glory of
heaven to become a slave, taking on human form, amongst us. He did so in
order to save humanity through the cross (Phil 2:5-8; cf. Heb 2:14-18).
Paul went on to say that the gospel puts the discipline of his life into
perspective (9:24-27). Within boundaries, he did whatever it took to share
the gospel with others. In this passage, Paul explained that he gave up his
rights to gain God’s approval in the same way that an athlete disciplines himself
in order to win the prize. Athletes would constantly train under oath ten
months prior to the games, eat the right diet, and abstain from indulgences.
Tullian Tchvidjian, “Contextualization without Compromise,” Resurgence (online at
http://theresurgence.com/2010/04/22/contextualization-without-compromise; accessed: 13
Gromacki, Called to Be Saints, 112-13.
17 Biblical Theology of Contextualization
Paul used the illustrations of running and boxing, probably taken from the
Isthmian games held at Corinth, to underscore the need for self-control in
the Corinthians’ Christian lives (9:26). He declared that he himself did not
run without a definite goal in mind and did not box as one “beating the air.”
This statement referred to the image of when a boxer threw a punch in a
fight. The opponent would do his best to dodge the blow so that it would
be uselessly thrown in the empty air. To connect with one’s punches was extremely
important in antiquity because the ensuing momentum of a missed
punch would make the boxer extremely vulnerable to his adversary’s brutal
blows. Greek boxing gloves (himantes) were leather straps wrapped around a
boxer’s hands and wrists in such a way to become like a club. The Romans in
turn modified the leather thongs by adding a metal insert so that the boxing
gloves (caestus) were even more deadly. Paul maintained that every punch
that he threw connected. He did not throw empty and meaningless punches
in the air when it came to the preaching of the gospel and the contextualization
of that gospel to others.
Several principles may be derived from this passage and its context.
First, for the sake of Christian love and the propagation of the gospel of
Christ, we need to be willing to refrain from the exercise of any rights that
we may have as believers or individuals. Second, we must do nothing to hinder
the gospel of Christ. Third, we need to be flexible and firm as we operate
within boundaries and accommodate our lifestyles and methodologies to
share Christ with different peoples. Those boundaries would include never
violating the word of God as we do so. We should also never compromise
the Christian message of the gospel nor our morals. Once we do, we lose our
credibility and further, the blessing of God. Fourth, we must be disciplined
and exercise self-control as we are engaged in evangelism and missions being
as effective as we possibly can, making our opportunities count. Fifth, in all
of this, we keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus, who is the basis for our
contextualization (Phil 2:5-8).
A Concluding Prayer
Father, burden us for the souls of people and empower us through your
Holy Spirit and by your grace not to do anything that might hinder the gospel
of Jesus Christ as we are engaged in mission. The gospel of Jesus puts all
of our evangelistic, missionary, and contextualization efforts into perspective.
Help us to remember that fact. Protect us, we pray, from the evil one. Let
us neither compromise the gospel, nor compromise ourselves. Instead, let us
lead holy, disciplined lives, and be distinctively different so that the world
sees the love of Christ in our lives and in the message of reconciliation with
which we are entrusted. God help us and bless us as we seek to be effective
and faithful stewards. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen.
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The e-Advocate Quarterly
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Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. I 2015 The Fundamentals
The ComeUnity ReEngineering
II The Adolescent Law Group Q-2 2015
Landmark Cases in US
Juvenile Justice (PA)
IV The First Amendment Project Q-4 2015
Vol. II 2016 Strategic Development
V The Fourth Amendment Project Q-1 2016
Landmark Cases in US
Juvenile Justice (NJ)
VII Youth Court Q-3 2016
The Economic Consequences of Legal
Vol. III 2017 Sustainability
IX The Sixth Amendment Project Q-1 2017
The Theological Foundations of
US Law & Government
XI The Eighth Amendment Project Q-3 2017
The EB-5 Investor
Vol. IV 2018 Collaboration
XIII Strategic Planning Q-1 2018
The Juvenile Justice
Legislative Reform Initiative
XV The Advocacy Foundation Coalition Q-3 2018
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for Drug-Free Communities
Landmark Cases in US
Juvenile Justice (GA)
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Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. V 2019 Organizational Development
XVII The Board of Directors Q-1 2019
XVIII The Inner Circle Q-2 2019
XIX Staff & Management Q-3 2019
XX Succession Planning Q-4 2019
XXI The Budget* Bonus #1
XXII Data-Driven Resource Allocation* Bonus #2
Vol. VI 2020 Missions
XXIII Critical Thinking Q-1 2020
The Advocacy Foundation
Endowments Initiative Project
XXV International Labor Relations Q-3 2020
XXVI Immigration Q-4 2020
Vol. VII 2021 Community Engagement
The 21 st Century Charter Schools
XXVIII The All-Sports Ministry @ ... Q-2 2021
XXIX Lobbying for Nonprofits Q-3 2021
Advocacy Foundation Missions -
Advocacy Foundation Missions -
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2022 ComeUnity ReEngineering
The Creative & Fine Arts Ministry
@ The Foundation
XXXIII The Advisory Council & Committees Q-2 2022
The Theological Origins
of Contemporary Judicial Process
XXXV The Second Chance Ministry @ ... Q-4 2022
Vol. IX 2023 Legal Reformation
XXXVI The Fifth Amendment Project Q-1 2023
XXXVII The Judicial Re-Engineering Initiative Q-2 2023
The Inner-Cities Strategic
XXXVIX Habeas Corpus Q-4 2023
Vol. X 2024 ComeUnity Development
The Inner-City Strategic
XXXVXI The Mentoring Initiative Q-2 2024
XXXVXII The Violence Prevention Framework Q-3 2024
XXXVXIII The Fatherhood Initiative Q-4 2024
Vol. XI 2025 Public Interest
XXXVXIV Public Interest Law Q-1 2025
L (50) Spiritual Resource Development Q-2 2025
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In The Age of Big Data
LII Interpreting The Facts Q-4 2025
Vol. XII 2026 Poverty In America
In The New Millennium
LIV Outcome-Based Thinking Q-2 2026
LV Transformational Social Leadership Q-3 2026
LVI The Cycle of Poverty Q-4 2026
Vol. XIII 2027 Raising Awareness
LVII ReEngineering Juvenile Justice Q-1 2027
LVIII Corporations Q-2 2027
LVIX The Prison Industrial Complex Q-3 2027
LX Restoration of Rights Q-4 2027
Vol. XIV 2028 Culturally Relevant Programming
LXI Community Culture Q-1 2028
LXII Corporate Culture Q-2 2028
LXIII Strategic Cultural Planning Q-3 2028
The Cross-Sector/ Coordinated
Service Approach to Delinquency
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Vol. XV 2029 Inner-Cities Revitalization
Part I – Strategic Housing
(The Twenty Percent Profit Margin)
Part II – Jobs Training, Educational
and Economic Empowerment
Part III - Financial Literacy
LXVII Part IV – Solutions for Homelessness Q-4 2029
The Strategic Home Mortgage
Vol. XVI 2030 Sustainability
LXVIII Social Program Sustainability Q-1 2030
The Advocacy Foundation
LXX Capital Gains Q-3 2030
LXXI Sustainability Investments Q-4 2030
Vol. XVII 2031 The Justice Series
LXXII Distributive Justice Q-1 2031
LXXIII Retributive Justice Q-2 2031
LXXIV Procedural Justice Q-3 2031
LXXV (75) Restorative Justice Q-4 2031
LXXVI Unjust Legal Reasoning Bonus
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Vol. XVIII 2032 Public Policy
LXXVII Public Interest Law Q-1 2032
LXXVIII Reforming Public Policy Q-2 2032
LXXVIX ... Q-3 2032
LXXVX ... Q-4 2032
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The e-Advocate Monthly Review
Transformational Problem Solving January 2018
The Advocacy Foundation February 2018
Native-American Youth March 2018
In the Juvenile Justice System
Barriers to Reducing Confinement April 2018
Latino and Hispanic Youth May 2018
In the Juvenile Justice System
Social Entrepreneurship June 2018
The Economic Consequences of
Homelessness in America S.Ed – June 2018
African-American Youth July 2018
In the Juvenile Justice System
Gang Deconstruction August 2018
Social Impact Investing September 2018
Opportunity Youth: October 2018
Disenfranchised Young People
The Economic Impact of Social November 2018
of Social Programs Development
Gun Control December 2018
The U.S. Stock Market January 2019
Prison-Based Gerrymandering February 2019
Literacy-Based Prison Construction March 2019
Children of Incarcerated Parents April 2019
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African-American Youth in The May 2019
Juvenile Justice System
Racial Profiling June 2019
Mass Collaboration July 2019
Concentrated Poverty August 2019
De-Industrialization September 2019
Overcoming Dyslexia October 2019
Overcoming Attention Deficit November 2019
The Gift of Adversity December 2019
The Gift of Hypersensitivity January 2020
The Gift of Introspection February 2020
The Gift of Introversion March 2020
The Gift of Spirituality April 2020
The Gift of Transformation May 2020
Property Acquisition for
Organizational Sustainability June 2020
Investing for Organizational
Sustainability July 2020
Biblical Law & Justice TLFA August 2020
Gentrification AF September 2020
Environmental Racism NpA October 2020
Law for The Poor AF November 2020
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Biblically Responsible Investing TLFA – January 2021
International Criminal Procedure LMI – February 2021
Spiritual Rights TLFA – March 2021
The Theology of Missions TLFA – April 2021
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The e-Advocate Quarterly
Crowdfunding Winter-Spring 2017
Social Media for Nonprofits October 2017
Mass Media for Nonprofits November 2017
The Opioid Crisis in America: January 2018
Issues in Pain Management
The Opioid Crisis in America: February 2018
The Drug Culture in the U.S.
The Opioid Crisis in America: March 2018
Drug Abuse Among Veterans
The Opioid Crisis in America: April 2018
Drug Abuse Among America’s
The Opioid Crisis in America: May 2018
The Economic Consequences of June 2018
Homelessness in The US
The Economic Consequences of July 2018
Opioid Addiction in America
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The e-Advocate Journal
of Theological Jurisprudence
Vol. I - 2017
The Theological Origins of Contemporary Judicial Process
Scriptural Application to The Model Criminal Code
Scriptural Application for Tort Reform
Scriptural Application to Juvenile Justice Reformation
Vol. II - 2018
Scriptural Application for The Canons of Ethics
Scriptural Application to Contracts Reform
& The Uniform Commercial Code
Scriptural Application to The Law of Property
Scriptural Application to The Law of Evidence
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Legal Missions International
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Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. I 2015
God’s Will and The 21 st Century
III Foreign Policy Q-3 2015
Public Interest Law
in The New Millennium
Vol. II 2016
V Ethiopia Q-1 2016
VI Zimbabwe Q-2 2016
VII Jamaica Q-3 2016
VIII Brazil Q-4 2016
Vol. III 2017
IX India Q-1 2017
X Suriname Q-2 2017
XI The Caribbean Q-3 2017
XII United States/ Estados Unidos Q-4 2017
Vol. IV 2018
XIII Cuba Q-1 2018
XIV Guinea Q-2 2018
XV Indonesia Q-3 2018
XVI Sri Lanka Q-4 2018
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Vol. V 2019
XVII Russia Q-1 2019
XVIII Australia Q-2 2019
XIV South Korea Q-3 2019
XV Puerto Rico Q-4 2019
Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. VI 2020
XVI Trinidad & Tobago Q-1 2020
XVII Egypt Q-2 2020
XVIII Sierra Leone Q-3 2020
XIX South Africa Q-4 2020
XX Israel Bonus
Vol. VII 2021
XXI Haiti Q-1 2021
XXII Peru Q-2 2021
XXIII Costa Rica Q-3 2021
XXIV China Q-4 2021
XXV Japan Bonus
Vol VIII 2022
XXVI Chile Q-1 2022
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The e-Advocate Juvenile Justice Report
Vol. I – Juvenile Delinquency in The US
Vol. II. – The Prison Industrial Complex
Vol. III – Restorative/ Transformative Justice
Vol. IV – The Sixth Amendment Right to The Effective Assistance of Counsel
Vol. V – The Theological Foundations of Juvenile Justice
Vol. VI – Collaborating to Eradicate Juvenile Delinquency
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The e-Advocate Newsletter
Genesis of The Problem
Strengthening Assets v. Eliminating Deficits
2012 - Juvenile Delinquency in The US
Philosophy/Application & Practice
Expungement & Pardons
Pardons & Clemency
2013 - Restorative Justice in The US
2014 - The Prison Industrial Complex
25% of the World's Inmates Are In the US
The Economics of Prison Enterprise
The Federal Bureau of Prisons
The After-Effects of Incarceration/Individual/Societal
The Fourth Amendment Project
The Sixth Amendment Project
The Eighth Amendment Project
The Adolescent Law Group
2015 - US Constitutional Issues In The New Millennium
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2018 - The Theological Law Firm Academy
The Theological Foundations of US Law & Government
The Economic Consequences of Legal Decision-Making
The Juvenile Justice Legislative Reform Initiative
The EB-5 International Investors Initiative
2017 - Organizational Development
The Board of Directors
The Inner Circle
Staff & Management
Bonus #1 The Budget
Bonus #2 Data-Driven Resource Allocation
2018 - Sustainability
The Data-Driven Resource Allocation Process
The Quality Assurance Initiative
The Advocacy Foundation Endowments Initiative
The Community Engagement Strategy
2019 - Collaboration
Critical Thinking for Transformative Justice
International Labor Relations
God's Will & The 21st Century Democratic Process
The Community Engagement Strategy
The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative
2020 - Community Engagement
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The Nonprofit Advisors Group Newsletters
The 501(c)(3) Acquisition Process
The Board of Directors
The Gladiator Mentality
The Collaborative US/ International Newsletters
How You Think Is Everything
The Reciprocal Nature of Business Relationships
Accelerate Your Professional Development
The Competitive Nature of Grant Writing
Assessing The Risks
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About The Author
John C (Jack) Johnson III
Founder & CEO
Jack was educated at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Rutgers
Law School, in Camden, New Jersey. In 1999, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue
greater opportunities to provide Advocacy and Preventive Programmatic services for atrisk/
at-promise young persons, their families, and Justice Professionals embedded in the
Juvenile Justice process in order to help facilitate its transcendence into the 21 st Century.
There, along with a small group of community and faith-based professionals, “The Advocacy Foundation, Inc." was conceived
and developed over roughly a thirteen year period, originally chartered as a Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Educational
Support Services organization consisting of Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling, Character Development, Community Change
Management, Practitioner Re-Education & Training, and a host of related components.
The Foundation’s Overarching Mission is “To help Individuals, Organizations, & Communities Achieve Their Full Potential”, by
implementing a wide array of evidence-based proactive multi-disciplinary "Restorative & Transformative Justice" programs &
projects currently throughout the northeast, southeast, and western international-waters regions, providing prevention and support
services to at-risk/ at-promise youth, to young adults, to their families, and to Social Service, Justice and Mental
Health professionals” everywhere. The Foundation has since relocated its headquarters to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and been
expanded to include a three-tier mission.
In addition to his work with the Foundation, Jack also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law & Business at National-Louis
University of Atlanta (where he taught Political Science, Business & Legal Ethics, Labor & Employment Relations, and Critical
Thinking courses to undergraduate and graduate level students). Jack has also served as Board President for a host of wellestablished
and up & coming nonprofit organizations throughout the region, including “Visions Unlimited Community
Development Systems, Inc.”, a multi-million dollar, award-winning, Violence Prevention and Gang Intervention Social Service
organization in Atlanta, as well as Vice-Chair of the Georgia/ Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership, a state-wide
300 organizational member, violence prevention group led by the Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University and The
Original, Atlanta-Based, Martin Luther King Center.
Attorney Johnson’s prior accomplishments include a wide-array of Professional Legal practice areas, including Private Firm,
Corporate and Government postings, just about all of which yielded significant professional awards & accolades, the history and
chronology of which are available for review online. Throughout his career, Jack has served a wide variety of for-profit
corporations, law firms, and nonprofit organizations as Board Chairman, Secretary, Associate, and General Counsel since 1990.
Clayton County Youth Services Partnership, Inc. – Chair; Georgia Violence Prevention Partnership, Inc – Vice Chair; Fayette
County NAACP - Legal Redress Committee Chairman; Clayton County Fatherhood Initiative Partnership – Principal
Investigator; Morehouse School of Medicine School of Community Health Feasibility Study - Steering Committee; Atlanta
Violence Prevention Capacity Building Project – Project Partner; Clayton County Minister’s Conference, President 2006-2007;
Liberty In Life Ministries, Inc. – Board Secretary; Young Adults Talk, Inc. – Board of Directors; ROYAL, Inc - Board of
Directors; Temple University Alumni Association; Rutgers Law School Alumni Association; Sertoma International; Our
Common Welfare Board of Directors – President)2003-2005; River’s Edge Elementary School PTA (Co-President); Summerhill
Community Ministries; Outstanding Young Men of America; Employee of the Year; Academic All-American - Basketball;
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…a Compilation of Works on:
Mark 16:15 | Acts 1:8
Romans 10:13-14 | Revelation 14:6
1 Chronicles 16:24
“Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential”
Special Edition| TLFA – April 2021