Monday, July 20, 2009

I was being suspected plagiarizing...

This morning during Mission & Evangelism class, our lecturer Andrew Peh went through with us the chapters that examine the views on 'mission' from Old Testament books. The sessions was designed to lay a biblical foundation starting from the OT to the NT. Our articles were taken from Perspectives on the World Christian Movement.

I didn't managed to finished reading today's required articles because my time was too limited last week. And limited time not because entertainment or leisure activities.

During the question and answer time, I shared my struggles on the 'biblical foundation' provided by John Stott, Walter Kaiser, and Stanley Ellisen in their respective articles.

But before jumping to write my critiques, to be fair, those articles are except taken out from their monographs. So some of my critiques might have been taken into consideration in their books. So my views are based only on those articles.

Basically these 3 articles attempt to provide a 'biblical foundation' for mission from the OT. And their presentation goes somewhat this way (p.3-20):

1) The good creation screwed up (the Fall).

2) Mission started from God's covenant with Adam and Eve after the Fall, and later on with Abram. Then through the calling of Israel to be the blessing and light to the world, to bring the world back to its intended order.

3) But that very corrective agent Israel screwd up too.

4) So Christ was sent to right the situation, as promised in the post-fall covenants.

Sounds biblical, right? And not only that, it's a neat framework to articulate the theology of mission and evangelism. So what's my perspective on these perspectives?

My only question and critique is simply this: Where is Christ in the framework?

At most, that framework points to Christ. But the fact that this framework points to Christ presupposed the absence of Christ in it.

The implication of this is important:

1. The point 4 above makes Christ an after-thought. It's only after the world screwed up, that Christ has a place in the picture.

2. Christ became a contigent solution rather than how Colossians 1.16-20 puts it, that Christ is the very blueprint of the creation.

3. God's sovereignty is doubtful for he was to play into the contingency of the creation (this point is clearest in Ellisen's essay, that 'Lucifer' rebelled and caused God to react).

4. And if point 4 is an after-thought in this framework, then what is so distinctly Christian about it? A Jew would have no problem with this framework through Judaism.

Hearing my critiques and seeing that I read from a note, Andrew asked if these are my perspective or reading from somewhere else. I lifted the piece of paper which these points were scribbled on during the lecture. Then he, being also our acting dean of student, was relief that I was not plagiarizing.

So in response to my critique, he suggested that the authors of these articles were uncovering a theology of mission from the OT, hence their focus was on the OT's perspective. And all the authors are commited Christians, so they are not being less Christian or negate the NT in their articles.

But my critique was not on their personal belief, but on their OT theology on mission. Is their biblical foundation on mission from the OT in anyway distinctively Christian?

If it is, certainly I've missed it.

The election of Abram is for Christ's sake, not the other way around. Christ was not sent because of the covenantal obligation to Abram. Abram was sent because of Christ.

"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." (Col 1.16)

And that is the Christian biblical foundation on mission. Not necessarily from OT's perspective, but it highlights why the creation, why Adam and Eve, why Abram, why Israel, why Exile, etc.

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