My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

28 August 2007

The New Spirituality


I've been reading (slowly) David Wells' Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World. Wells sets out to give a thorough overview of the postmodern worldview and then address the church on how to live and worship in this world. It is, so far, an outstanding book, setting itself head and shoulders above other worldview analyses I've read. Here are some quotes I thought you'd like.

On missions:
The reality, however, is that America is the
world's most religiously diverse nation now and from a Christian point of view it is as fully a mission field as any to which churches now are sending their missionaries. This is true, not only because of the arrival of these new immigrants with their diverse religions, but also because of the postmodern decay in American culture.
On the new spirituality:

In religion of a Christian kind, we listen; in spirituality of a contemporary kind, we talk. In religion of a Christian kind, we accept a gift; in spirituality of a contemporary kind, we try to seize God. In the one, we are justified by the righteousness of Christ; in the other, we strive to justify ourselves through ourselves. It is thus that spirituality is
the enemy of faith.

...because the emerging worldview is not being engaged, the Church has little it can really say. Indeed, one has to ask how much it actually wants to say. Biblical truth contradicts this cultural spirituality, and that contradiction is hard to bear...Is the evangelical Church faithful enough to explode the worldview of this new spiritual search?

26 comments:

kurt said...

"The reality, however, is that America is the
world's most religiously diverse nation now and from a Christian point of view it is as fully a mission field as any to which churches now are sending their missionaries. This is true, not only because of the arrival of these new immigrants with their diverse religions, but also because of the postmodern decay in American culture."


Great points from this book, Jared.

I think it is even time to recognize the fact that foreign missions might even be better served by coming home and focusing on the foreign students here instead. God has blessed this land with prosperity so that those of foreign lands come to us! What better stewardship of funds the Lord provides and what better way to show by our example how we Christians live in our day to day lives. Then, upon graduation, they go back to their own countries and let them set the example for their own people. How many unnecessarily troubles, including hatred for Westerners and Christians, have we have brought upon ourselves in foreign lands because of military coercion and religious interference?

Jared said...

Kurt, I agree with your call to make disciples of the foreign students in our country. But I really think the church must always maintain an outward focus, a priority on international evangelism. When churches give up sending missionaries overseas for the sake of evangelizing those near to them, neither will happen. It's only when the church embraces the full call of Christ (local and worldwide discipleship) that she will grow.

This is why I maintain every church must be participating in some way in church planting. There is no middle ground: we are either growing or we're dying. Rather than retreat, we need more walking by faith, more vision.

kurt said...

Jared,

I think you may have missed my point. We would continue to "have an outward focus" to do "international evangelism" but God has given us the means to do it right here on our own soil!

There is no "magic" or Scriptural mandate in having to go to their own country to get the job done, especially when the Lord is laying them right in our laps! To continue to have Americans go overseas just because we've always done it that way is simply status quo thinking and lacks prudence.

If we can "make disciples of all nations" by doing it with everyday Christians in local congregations interacting with the thousands of foreign students right here in our country, and then, sending the newly discipled Christians back to their own ethnos, how cool is that? Why force hardship and martyrdom on Americans overseas while wasting resources when there may be no need to?

Jon said...

Hey Jared --

Although, I certainly don’t want to come between you and Kurt, I had a couple of peripheral questions to throw out on the book more broadly.

I should start off by saying I haven't read this book yet (it's on the short list), but, based on some of Wells's earlier work and my brief glance at this one, I have a few questions/concerns. Where I’m off-base on Wells or his arguments, please correct me and let me know. I think this topic is fairly important.

Q1: Does Wells distinguish adequately between popular and academic forms of postmodernism?

There’s a difference—not just superficially but substantively as well—between taking on MTV or Joel Osteen and engaging with Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, et al. It’s valuable to critique and consider the damage that pop culture, consumerism, and the profound apathy concealed in popular conceptions of “postmodernity” have done to the church and Christians. However, Wells damages his argument if he too quickly leaps from the popular to the scholarly understanding of that term. They share elements, but they are not synonymous. For example, does Wells imply that postmodernism leads to or supports consumerism and materialism? If so, he is flying in the face of many if not most postmodern theorists—particularly Derrida, whose work is intimately concerned with issues of poverty, hospitality, faith, and justice. Can you tell that from reading Wells’s book? Does Wells use the same critical tools to critique popular and scholarly culture? Does he adequately explain the differences between them?

Q2: Does Wells “straw-man” the postmodern position?

One fault of Wells in previous books is his tendency to reduce postmodernism to such a simplistic, silly set of propositions that no reasonable, thinking person could buy into it. That’s possible only if you don’t really engage with the position. I worried that Wells was adopting the same, reductive strategy in this book when I couldn’t find any references, in his bibliography, to books written by Heidegger, Derrida, Rorty, or Fish. He only briefly references Lyotard, and his references to Foucault are limited to what is called his “early” stage—after which he made some significant shifts in his thinking. In other words, the Foucault that Wells cites in his bibliography is the Foucault that Foucault himself would have critiqued. Is this clear from reading Wells?

Are “relativism” and “postmodernism” presented as though they were the same thing (they aren’t)? Is postmodernism presented as an “individualistic” conception of truth or reality (it isn’t)? Are Derrida and Foucault linked together and presented as though they shared the same ideas, theories, or beliefs (they didn’t)? Is the work of postmodern scholars analyzed seriously, or does Wells simply pull out “shock quotes” from representative figures and use them to support broad claims? In other words, as a reader, do you walk away with the sense that Wells has seriously and soberly engaged with the scholarly dimensions of his critique, or has he simply blown off “the postmodernists” as silly caricatures and moved on?

Evangelical and Reformed Christians should engage with, learn from, and critique postmodernism, but I’m worried that people will read Wells and assume they understand what postmodernism is. The postmodernism Wells has presented in his earlier books often appears as the stuff of immature, playground antics—isolated from life, faith, God, politics, and reality. The postmodernism of scholarship can be and has been all these things, but that is the exception—not the rule.

Q3: Does Wells take postmodern Christians seriously?

If postmodernism is presented as simplistically nihilistic, relativistic, and amoral, it becomes nearly impossible to take postmodern Christianity seriously, since, clearly, the Christians adopting or working within various postmodern frameworks are either deceivers or are themselves deceived. Does Wells adopt a position at all like this? Does he engage seriously and at length with “postmodern” evangelical and Reformed scholars, ministers, and theologians? Does he discuss the serious postmodern work on thinkers like Augustine? Does he demonstrate a humble and teachable spirit and encourage it in his readers?

------------------------
I am by no means a pure apologist for postmodernism. The postmodern position can and should be criticized on many fronts, but if Wells is just offering yet another book that reduces postmodernism to straw-man silliness and proceeds to beat the straw-man to death with an Aristotelian Bible, then he is only hurting his position. Ordinary, thinking Christians are likely to walk away believing they understand and “get” postmodernism and so—blinded by the beam in their own eye—arrogantly dismiss that which they think they now know. Meanwhile, evangelical and Reformed academics will have to continue to look elsewhere for serious, thoughtful work. Either way, we lose.

By the way, Jared, on a related thought, you should check out a recent book by James K. A. Smith called “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?” Smith is a Reformed philosopher, teaching at Calvin College. His book is by no means perfect, but it is a good, thoughtful attempt to engage postmodern thought.

Jared said...

Kurt, I don't think we're disagreeing much...but I do think there's a geographical emphasis to the Great Commission. That is, we definitely ought to be making disciples of international folks around us and building a vision for impacting the world that way. But that's not enough.

Christ told us to go into all the world. If we only sit back and let the world come to us, I do not think we are being faithful to His command. So we definitely take every opportunity to impact the world through local connections. But we have to go, proceed outward, send missionaries to other nations. And we have to do it regardless of how weak or anemic or problematic the American church becomes. We have to do it because it's commanded.

Jared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared said...

Jon,

Wow. Those are quite the questions. Let me say just a couple things.

1. I'm not through the book yet (I'm about halfway through - though I am past his discussion of postmodernism)

2. I personally am not familiar enough with postmodern philosophers to guage the accuracy of his interaction with them.

3. Re: popular & academic postmodernism: "Intellectuals like Foucault and Derrida are undoubtedly contributors to postmodern thinking, but what is often left unexplained is how we get from Foucault to MTV, from Derrida to the centerless young people whose canopy of meaning in life has collapsed..." Wells is more interested in the practical postmodernism of those we interact with. While some may balk at this, it is one of the reasons his book is helpful.

4. I don't think Wells treats PMism as a straw man (no "shock quotes"). You'd have to be the judge yourself (and I'd really like to hear what you think when you read the book), but I'm satisifed with his nuanced approach to the issue. He doesn't equate relativism and PMism, though they are certainly related. Again, his concern is to know and describe the practical PMism, in order to lead the church in engaging this world. You may disagree, but I don't feel he needs to engage each of the PM authors and books in order to know the culture well.

That, by the way, is something I am very impressed with - Wells' deep insight into the culture/society/whatever we inhabit. On this he clearly has done his homework for many, many years.

5. Re: postmodern Christianity, I cna't answer that question. He may deal with it later in the book. But it seems his direction is to lead the church to confront those parts of practical PMism which are antithetical to the gospel (i.e., spirituality vs. religion, meaninglessness, decenteredness)

Sorry I can't interact with you more on this topic!

p.s. - James K. A. Smith was on Mars Hill Audio last year. I'll have to go back and listen to that interview again.

kurt said...

Jared,

You’re right, we’re not far off. Maybe we can reason together so that we come to the truth. Your view is that if American Christians “only sit back and let the world come to us… we are [not] being faithful to His command… We have to do it because it's commanded.”

As we know, one principle of proper Scripture exegesis is considering the context. Jesus was speaking directly to his first century apostles, who were being specially singled out for a specific errand. Jesus directly told them that they, as apostles, must travel to the known world to make disciples in those other nations (ethos). The result, the “discipling of all nations” was accomplished as confirmed by Paul later in Colossians 1:23! This of course is nothing new as we Reformed Christians acknowledge this truth.

The next question, then, is what is the application of the Great Commission for us today? Is the meaning of the Great Commission command about traveling physically to other nations or is it really about “making disciples of all nations?" If nations can be discipled more effectively by means other than American Christians traveling there, wouldn’t it be wiser to principally pursue these? I’m not saying that American Christians can’t decide to travel to other countries for this purpose. But, to say that Jesus commanded Christians of all times and of all countries to physically travel to countries other than their own to spread the Gospel places a pharisaic burden on Christians that is just not Scripturally defensible.

Jon said...

Jared –

Thanks for your response. We’ll certainly talk more once we’ve both had time to read the book.

I just listened to the James K. A. Smith / Ken Myers interview on Mars Audio.

Ken Myers ends up adopting what could be called a “materialistic” perspective—essentially that processes like economics are the real drivers of ideas and culture. Smith, on the other hand, argues that ideas are the primary movers. If you push further in the direction Smith was going, you find language at the root of ideas, and, therefore, language becomes identified as the primary driver. That’s more or less what Derrida is arguing when he says, “There is nothing outside the text.”

Both of these positions have extremes. On the Myers extreme you have both 19th century Marxist idealism and, I would argue, something like Gary North’s radical reconstructionism. In both of these, you end up with some kind of Utopian vision rooted in the idea that, if you can change the material make-up of culture, you can change culture in particular, idealistic ways. On the Smith extreme, you have the radical post-structuralists/postmodernists (like Stanley Fish and Gayatri Spivak) who seems to take great pleasure in dismantling every establishment and every authority—by pointing out the “slippage” of interpretability that exists in language itself, and, therefore, in every text composed in language.

There is middle ground between these extremes—not in reconciliation, per se, but in the recognition that there is a constant, productive “tension” at work between the material and language. Neither are natural; both are corrupted. Christians should not be at peace with either one. Shouldn’t we be uncomfortable that we live in an economic system that encourages waste, requires debt to survive, and sustains itself by demanding that people covet more and more of what they don’t have? Shouldn’t we be uncomfortable with the imprecision of language—that, as Augustine points out, there is constant difficulty is differentiating the name and the thing? The problem, however, is not being uncomfortable but rushing too quickly to “solve” these imperfections—either through Utopian Marxism/dominionist reconstructionism or through radical deconstruction.

I think Smith’s book, despite some weaknesses, at least tries to engage the discomfort, while my general criticism of Wells, Sproul, Boice, Schaeffer, etc. on this issue has been what I see as an overly materialistic focus and, consequently, an overly simplistic, idealistic conception of language as repository of unproblematic "truth." Smith’s work, and “postmodern” theory generally, is not the end all and be all, but it serves as a good “corrective” for so much over-emphasis on the other side.

Jared said...

Kurt - Thanks for the good discussion.

I must disagree with your interpretation of both Mt. 28:19-20 and Col. 1:23. I have always understood the Great Commission extending (in detail) to the church founded upon the apostles. Also, Paul's statement that the gospel had been proclaimed "in all creation under heaven" is not a declaration of the fulfillment of the Great Commission, but a hyperbolic statement to present the God-blessed spread of the gospel.

So, yes, I do believe the church is required to send preachers to other nations and peoples as missionaries. Whether it's a Pharisaic command or not, you'll have to take that up with Jesus.

But again, I appreciate your emphasis on discipling those God has providentially brought to us!

Jared said...

Jon - thanks for the comment. I am clearly in over my head on these issues, so I will be content to read and learn as best I can. Admittedly, I have not yet been impressed by any author/figure claiming to be a "postmodern" Christian...

kurt said...

Jared,

The burden remains on you to show Scriptural support to extend Jesus' teachings past the context noted. Without Scriptural support, we can not take it as a command from Jesus for all Christians at all times. Looking forward to hearing more support for your position.

Jon said...

I usually feel like I'm way over my head most of the time too.

I guess my basic, practical question is: Has human language (not just the things we say, but speech and writing themselves) been corrupted by sin?

It seems as though the answer to that question strongly determines the way we preach, teach, think, and approach life in every area--from MTV and t-shirt ads to the way we read Scripture.

Jared said...

Jon - could you give me an example of what you're talking about (re: sin corrupting language). Biblical Christians understand the noetic effects of sin, that sin has corrupted/stained every part of our soul and mind. This includes our communication as well. ...but I don't know if that's what you're talking about.

Kurt - I would agree with Matthew Henry, that the commission was given primarily to the apostles but also to their successors, the ministers of the gospel.

Regarding interpreation of the passage, I think a good rule of interpreting Jesus' instructions to His apostles is to take everything upon ourselves which didn't have reference to their specific office of apostle. This isn't to deny the context, that the commission was originally given to the 12 - but it's part of understanding that the apostles were both the leaders of the church and the representatives of the church. As representatives, what they were commanded is what we are commanded. As leaders, what they were commanded is something we are not to take to ourselves.

The passage in question doesn't lead us in either direction, so we are left with the rest of Scripture to figure it out. In this light, I would point to the book of Acts and how the whole church was involved in fulfilling the great commission, not just the apostles. So we have from the apostles' own authoritative direction of the church into missions our key for interpreting Matthew 28:19-20 as a church-wide command, not simply an apostolic command.

More practically, I would simply point out that the Great Commission was not fulfilled during the lifetime of the apostles (and remains only partially fulfilled); if the historic church had used your interpretation to excuse themself from this command, the church would be confined to the areas visited by those original apostles. In the words of Paul, May it never be.

Oh, another point: the things Jesus told them to do while going (teaching, baptizing, making disciples) were all given to the church through the authority of the apostles. The light of reason would lead us to assume that if we are to take upon ourselves the actions of the great commission, we must also take the location of the commission.

I hope this helps.

MarkPele said...

One thing I've been impressed with in the Bible is how amazing prophecy is. Often you see the prophet placing a number of things together that are separated in time, but not separated in purpose. Thus we often talk about an "immediate" or near-term fulfillment and the "ultimate" fulfillment.

In that time, yes, the Roman empire was the "world", and Jesus, as we see in the work of Acts was commissioning the Apostles to evangelize Rome, but we can also see in those words an ultimate fulfillment, which sees the Apostles as the representatives of the visible church and the nations as all of the world, even beyond the Roman empire.

Supplementary (non-scriptural) historical texts have the Apostles going well beyond the Roman Empire as is summarized here http://www.shrinesf.org/apostles.htm so, it's quite possible that even the Apostles saw the fulfillment of this to be beyond solely the known world of the time.

MarkPele said...

My apologies for the obvious Roman Catholic bias of that site. :(

Kurt said...

Jared,

I’m currently reading The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins.

Here’s a couple observations I found very interesting in the book. Of the 2 billion professing Christians in the world today, the continental breakdown goes like this: Europe: 560 million, Latin America: 480 million, Africa: 360 million, Asia: 313 million, and North America brings up the rear with 260 million. Over the past century, the center of gravity in the Christian world has shifted…southward to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

So, to say that we North Americans have to try to plant churches in the very areas of the world which already have superior numbers of Christians from which can produce proportionally more missionaries, is the height of arrogancy, don’t you think? And, then to send missionaries out of our own country when our own fields are white with harvest in our neighborhoods borders on Christian malfeasance.

I hope I don’t sound too harsh. But, Christianity is a thinking faith. We need to use the wisdom God gives us and cease living in the past. We need to start fulfilling the intent of Jesus’ commands without getting hung up on the contextual letter of the commands.

Kurt said...

G.K. Chesterton, in his book Heretics, seems to address a particular desire in men that may be less about a noble goal, and more about a personal issue of these men. He said the following with my parenthetical applications interspersed throughout:

“Doubtless men flee from small environments (their own neighborhoods and towns) into lands (Middle East, Far East, Africa) that are very deadly. But this is natural enough; for they are not fleeing from death. They are fleeing from life (day-to-day difficulty of facing unbelievers at home)….It is perfectly reasonable that men should seek for some particular variety of human type (ethnic group that has not heard the Gospel nor has been made disciples), so long as they are seeking for that particular variety of the human type, and not for mere human variety (any non-Christian). But, if what he wants is people different than himself (non-Christian), he had much better stop at home and discuss religion with the housemaid (neighbors and people where we live now)."

Chesterton also has said that “we make our friends, we make our enemies, but God makes our next-door neighbors.”

If we Christians who would be missionaries (and isn’t that effectively and spiritually all of us in today’s age?) are “making friends and enemies” in places of our own choosing (far flung “exciting” lands across the sea) based on Jesus’ command to a small particular group of people at a specific time, rather than the spiritual effect of what he commanded by discipling the ethnos (ethnic groups, not political groups) that God has placed for us in the very location God has placed us - our own neighborhoods and towns - we may be missing a far greater opportunity the Lord is giving us than we currently realize.

Jared said...

Kurt,

Again, I appreciate much of what you're saying, but disagree with some of the applications.

I especially appreicate the quotes from Chesterton challenging us to put up or shut up in terms of reaching out to our neighbors if we are going to reach out to the world.

Yes, Christendom proper has gone South (southern hemisphere) in a big way. The numbers don't lie (this time, anyway). But I don't believe proper, Biblical, American missionary work is anything approaching arrogance. Real mission work is the very opposite; someone once said, "Evangelism is one beggar telling another where the bread is." There can be no arrogance in missionary work; it is (should be) the very essence of humility.

A couple reasons we must continue to send missionaries:

1. Jesus said so. "Go" is meant for the church. Always, everywhere. Every church is supposed to "go", both locally and worldwide. If we wait until we gain the moral upper hand once more, we may be waiting forever. Plus, if churches waited until they thought themselves "fit" to send missionaries, who would ever fit the bill? If we wait until our house is in order to send missionaries, that's when missions becomes arrogant.

1a - I do believe the American church, though lagging in numbers, has experience and wisdom to contribute to the newer churches in this world. Our denomination, and others, often receives requests from churches in China and Africa for teachers - not just money, but teachers. American reformed theology has a solid history and substantial girth to contribute to any new church in this world.

2. I personally believe that local and worlwide missions go hand in hand. When one lags, the other suffers as well.

3. On Sunday morning, I noted from Luke 4 that Jesus came for the oppressed, blind, captive and poor. Wise missiology follows His pattern: we look for the poor (Sudan) and send people there. We look for the oppressed (China) and send people there. One of the reasons the gospel is so ineffective in America today is that we don't need Jesus anymore: we're rich, free and healthy. Who needs a Savior? Better to go to those whose external circumstances lead them to a healthy evaluation of their spiritual condition.

kurt said...

Jared, I agree most of what you say is reasonable, but you still don’t present strong Scriptural evidence for your application being for all Christians for all time. You’re taking a general principle (discipling all ethnos) and chaining it to a specific textual application (travel to their countries) and making it a required application today. This simply is reading into Scripture what isn’t there.

Another troubling statement you made regards the harvest field here in America. You said:

”One of the reasons the gospel is so ineffective in America today is that we don't need Jesus anymore: we're rich, free and healthy. Who needs a Savior? Better to go to those whose external circumstances lead them to a healthy evaluation of their spiritual condition.

That kind of thinking sounds more Arminian than Calvinistic to me.

Jared said...

Kurt,

I have already given my exegetical comments about the Great Commission; you may not accept them, but I won't repeat them here.

I really don't know how my comments about the spiritual state of America are Arminian. I'm not suggesting we bring the gospel only to the poorest, most helpless folks we can find. But I am saying that's where the church should start, that's where our passion should be. And that's where logic should bring us. In other words, it's not Arminian to think logically about where we'll have the greatest success. We don't chalk everything up to predestination and never give two thoughts about who is most ready for Christ. We think about it.

If the church is exploding in other parts of this world, we should want to be a part of it, to help in any way we can. No Arminianism here, just logical Calvinism.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Kurt on this one. I've known missionaries flying to Yemen that have gone through Detroit Metro Airport. No doubt they could have shared the Gospel with more Yemeni in a couple of hours in the taxi line than they will in a lifetime in Yemen. I wonder if God will bless such inefficiency.

Jon H.

MarkPele said...

I think the argument is over the conclusions, not the points. We need to be ready at all times to explain the hope that is in us. However, the specific question is whether foreign missions should exist, or whether the gospel should be spread through local evangelism.

Kurt, the Bible does seem to support your point to a certain extent. Israel was purposefully founded at a crossroads between the superpowers. They had Greece and Rome to the north, Egypt and Ethiopia to the south and Assyria and Persia to the east. That created great opportunities for the gospel to spread throughout the world, and you see that in stories like when the Queen of Sheba visits Solomon.

However, to make your point, Kurt, you must also say that the Bible forbids the church from active evangelism. You have to prove that the Great Commission was meant solely for the early church and the Apostles and was not given to the church at large, but you also have to do the same for other passages. How about Jonah whom God sent to Nineveh and brought about revival? How about the little slave girl who brought Naaman to be healed? How about Elisha who anointed Hazael to be the king of a foreign country? David sent messengers to comfort those in grief in foreign lands.

If these are merely anomalies and not demonstrations of God's desire for some of His children to GO and be missionaries, then you must also reject any other arguments from scriptural example (e.g. any sort of church council by implication of Acts 15)

Kurt said...

"However, to make your point, Kurt, you must also say that the Bible forbids the church from active evangelism. You have to prove that the Great Commission was meant solely for the early church and the Apostles and was not given to the church at large, but you also have to do the same for other passages."

How so, Mark? I never said that we are not to preach the Gospel or disciple the ethnos (different ethnic groups), or even that North Americans couldn't travel overseas to doing these things in other countries. My point was if preaching the Gospel & discipling the ethnos could be done a better way than traveling to the country (and in many cases it can!), we would be wiser to do so. Jared's thinks that we are compelled to travel overseas and to not do so, would be unfaithful to Scripture. This treads on Christian liberty and turns the methodology of a NT application into a pharisaical burden for our day.

Jared said...

Double wow. Taking Jesus at His word and agreeing with the vast history of Christian interpretation of the Great Commission is a "pharisaical burden"...the mind reels.

Kurt & Jon - I don't believe you've made your argument strong enough to win. Yes, we must use wisdom in discipling the nations. But you've not countered any of my biblical arguments outlined above. I have the strangely familiar sensation of being talked past, instead of being talked with.

kurt said...

Jared,

Please forgive me. I didn’t quite grasp your biblical arguments. Maybe you can state them in another way so I can better understand them.

And, obviously I was not saying that Jesus was being “pharisaical,” it was your interpretation of his words that places an unnecessary burden not needed for Christians today. To say that Christians aren’t “taking Jesus at His word” or not “faithfully obeying this command” because we don’t necessarily need to physically send one ethnos into every corner of the world to fulfill the Great Commission ignores Providential ways given to us to better fulfull it!

To dogmatically say that any missionary must physically place himself in harms way at great human and financial expense when there are better ways to do it is just plain foolishness. I think we can all agree that the Great Commission is really about preaching the Gospel to and discipling all the ethnos, and not what methodology achieves it.