Learning from Africa

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 13, 2004

I just read a great article by Geoff Holsclaw. I get a bit skiddish around “fulfillment” theologies in which Christianity is seen as the fulfillment of the deepest desires of a culture (there is some pitfalls in this thinking that need to be avoided), but Mr. Holsclaw seems to be aware of the pitfalls and is able to offer a well-needed corrective for the emergent church. Here’s a tidbit of the article, I heartily recommend you read the rest:

Unfortunately, while seeking to reform and transform the modern Church, the Emerging Church movement many times continues to fall prey to the tyranny of the new and the drive toward relevance undergirded by a missionary theology of contectualization which in a Western setting ends up creating more and more niche market Christian consumers rather than a subversive unified church.

So, what resources might be available to the emerging church seeking a way beyond modern relevance? As we will see, the ancient church fathers/mothers and current African thinkers were/are not seeking to be relevant to their surrounding culture, but were/are seeking a definition and expression of their own particular Christian identity amid their cultural situation.

If this whets your appetite, read the rest here.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the general editor of Jesus Manifesto. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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