Mission Issues for CMS

December 2009

Response to Questions from CMS Australia

Suggested Questions:

1.       Where do you see Mission going in 21st century?

Among thinking Evangelicals emphasising mission there is a move away from emphasising proclamation evangelism and a trend towards defining mission in terms of what used to be known as “presence.” Many who talk of Holistic mission do not include proclamation in their description of it. Or they give it such a small place that is almost gets subsumed in a lot of missiological thinking. Your emphasis on proclamation is to be commended. I think however that mention on the social mandate in point 5 sub point 5 on holistic development is commendable but could be stronger but also take into account the fact that sometimes social action cannot be combined with clear gospel presentation. Sometimes some will have to do the action and others the proclamation because of government regulations.

2.       What missiological questions and trends are likely to need attention in the next 20 years?

1. A move away from proactive proclamation evangelism initiatives to a more holistic approach to mission which subsumed to such an extent that is becomes virtually non-existent. “We share with those who come to us.” I believe this is a bi-product of the rapidly growing consensus among thinking evangelicals that people do not need to hear the gospel in order to be saved.

2. How can we do evangelism in an age when people are very suspicious of social action initiatives which are done by the same people who do evangelism. They say we are bribing people and winning converts by giving them material inducements. Unethical conversion is a commonly used term these days.

3. How to maintain a firm commitment to foreign mission, the absolute uniqueness Christ and evangelism in an age when these things are associated with western arrogance. The past decade saw the growth of resentment over western global initiatives. Sadly the Bush Administration in the USA contributed a lot to the growing resentment against the west. Are people get angry at anything that suggests that they are being humiliated by westerners.

3.       What unique contribution do you see CMS Australia able to make in this time frame?

Modeling true holistic ministry which presents intellectually alert message, is involved in aggressive evangelism, demonstrates a servant spirit (which Australians outside the church are perceived as severely lacking), and is committed to justice issues. Intellectually alert evangelicals are generally not very positive about aggressive evangelism/

4.       Is there anything else you would like to say to us?

Please respond by email to bwhite@cms.org.au by February 2010.

Thank You:  For what you have already contributed to us, and in anticipation of what is to come, we thank you as we share this great commission of making disciples of Jesus the Lord in all the nations.

Yours in Christian fellowship,

Peter Jensen, President of CMS Australia
John Thew, Federal Secretary CMS Australia.