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ព័ត៌មាននិងរឿងផ្សេងៗ

Personal and Practical Reflections on People Group Thinking

Les Taylor

Les Taylor (pseudonym) lived and worked in Southeast Asia for 20 years. In March 2020, he relocated to his country of birth, but continues to work (remotely) for one of the largest government universities in his country of service. In addition to conducting a number of research projects, he continues to publish his findings, and supervise his cohort of post-graduate students sharing his passion for making sense of their world.

Mission Round Table 18:2 (Jul-Sep 2023): 40-45

To read articles in this edition, visit this post on Mission Round Table 18:2.

Introduction

I never turn down the opportunity to contribute to an OMF mission research consultation in person and Mission Round Table in print, as both can impact fellow reflective practitioners in our Fellowship and beyond. I have no interest in presenting pedestrian and predictable positions on ethnicity. Working as I do as a religious anthropologist/historian in Southeast Asian universities, I am aware of many introductions to this topic. Google it! Some of these unpack the role of “religion” (ethnoreligious dynamics), language (ethnolinguistic dynamics), and power (including ethnonationalism) in creating difference. Whilst I briefly deal with these as they represent a useful framework, I will not attempt to float the enormous (figurative) iceberg of ethnic studies, after which I pontificate on this before it melts, making it impossible for even Singaporean air conditioning to prevent. There would not be enough time, I’d lose the attention of most, and it would flood the floor of the meeting room. Worst still, I would never be invited back to share again. On a more serious note, reproducing what others have written could come across as me weaponizing my privileged access to knowledge as a not-so-subtle power-play.

Rather than predictable and pedestrian, I want to be personal. My mission practice has been radically transformed by grappling with complexity. This is followed by the equally important task of boiling complex concepts, such as ethnicity, into easier to understand bumper stickers. I want to be clear and fair—not clever and fancy. All of us have specific callings and gifts. Some work in relatively culturally, religiously, and linguistically homogeneous corners of Southeast, East, and Central Asia. As such, some of you have not had to grapple with the issues that some others have. Some might be familiar with “complexity on the far side of complexity.” There is a (perhaps apocryphal) story of the famous Swizz theologian Karl Barth being asked at a Q & A session at the end of his tour of North American theological seminaries about the most important theological insight he could make. His answer was “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I hope that by keeping things personal, others will understand why I have landed where I have.

Why did Matthew’s account of the twelve called by Jesus conclude with his comment that Matthew was a tax-collector and Simon a zealot? Did Jesus send these two out together?! Those who know me are aware that I am a zealot. Yet, I do not want to alienate any “Matthews” who are more conservative than myself. Ours is a diverse, international, and inter-denominational fellowship seeking a fulfilment of God’s kingdom coming to Asia’s ethnically diverse billions.

Another thing you need to know about me is that I can’t help myself updating any and all operating systems I employ as tools.[1] These include my mobile phone, computer, and software. But I want to remind us of the importance of our theological and missiological operating systems. Those who know me well are aware that whenever I stumble across books and articles containing insights offering potential improvements, I not only take these on board, but share them with others. We all work in contexts where language use, religious affiliations, cultures, and political ideologies are constantly changing. I am not writing to change your mind. I have many weaknesses, but this does not include having some sort of misguided academic savior/messiah complex. I will leave it up to God’s Spirit to guide you about whether some ideas (how you think) and operational decisions (what you do) related to ethnicity now no longer serve you where you serve and/or strategize as well as they once did. In addition to being personal, I will do the best I can to make my reflections on ethnicity as practical as possible. I do this by answering some specific questions that I have either been asked—or wished that I had been!

Personal concerns about missiological consumerism

How we think, and what we do, has been formed in both (a) the seminaries we studied in before relocating to Asia, and (b) the training programs we have attended while working here. Most of us received a (one- to three-year) formation in a range of theological stables. I view this diversity as one of the many strengths of our Fellowship. I am running the risk of stating the obvious, but the default word most employ when referring to ethnic collectives is “people groups” (based on the Greek noun ethnos). Reproducing David Datema’s summary of the most important Hebrew and Greek terms referring to a range of collectives in the Holy Scriptures below (in Table 1) is one of the ways of keeping this paper short. Datema’s work is important for a number of reasons. He is responding to some recent critiques of the concept of “people groups.”[2] He also raises the important point that some “human groupings” relate to language and nations that I have referred to above. Finally, he includes other important—but often overlooked—smaller collectives, such as families (oikos).[3]

There is no need to document the history of the concept of “people groups”, who championed them, and both when and how it became as influential, as it has been over the past half-century. I wish, however, to point out that some of those involved in proposing the concept of “people groups” and the related “Homogeneous Unit Principle” were people of their time. Some were from the Jim Crow (American) South, whose season of service was in the Indian subcontinent at a time when the caste system cast a longer shadow than it does now. OMF members will be aware of how Fuller Theological Seminar’s School of Global Mission and Ralph Winter’s U.S. Center for World Mission have influenced how we think and what we do.

Less than one week after beginning to write these words, I attended the centenary celebration of the Bible college that my wife and I attended in the late 1990s. As one does, I talked to one of the faculty who I studied with. He related that while he was teaching as a guest lecturer at a large evangelical seminary in the Indian subcontinent, his course coincided with a large Christian event in the nearby city. Hundreds of Christian pastors from this provincial capital and surrounding districts descended on a large church where they received a bundle of Christian books that had been funded by an American initiative. My friend—who is a staunch Calvinist—was invited along. He had a look at what was being distributed. He noted that this included Wayne Grudem’s reformed Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. He was less enthusiastic about some of the other items. This included a large hardback, high-quality, color handbook to dispensational theology! He then opined that the best ideas don’t necessarily become the most popular. This is because theologians, biblical scholars, pastors, preachers, and missionaries all need to work harder than ever against the head winds created by publishers of Christian fiction and non-fiction. Some of these have inspired producers of Christian films and TV series. These include those riffing on the theological tropes of the Left Behind book and movies. Many Christians are consumers. You are what you eat. The same is true for what you watch and read.

I am grateful that my three-year season in an evangelical theological seminary included interacting with Perspectives on the World Christian Movement—the reader edited by Ralph Winter and Steve Hawthorne.[5] This has had an incalculable impact on the recruitment—I can’t bring myself to refer to the military metaphor of “mobilization”—of thousands of people to relocate and serve overseas. Ideas such as “unreached people groups” and “contextualization” led my wife and me to decide to relocate to Southeast Asia in 2000. We joined a team engaged in a highly contextualized ministry of “show and tell” embedded in an ethnoreligious/ethnolinguistic minority that were meat in the proverbial sandwich of competing ethnonationalist ideologies. Fear not, dear reader! I explain what I mean by these terms below!

However grateful for these ideas getting us to Southeast Asia, my personal experience was that these did not sustain me well. I suggest that anyone using Perspectives—and there are thousands that do in all sorts of ways—should emphasize that this is primarily a recruitment tool. Its effectiveness is related to Ralph Winter—who rightly deserves the reputation of a religious entrepreneur par excellence—appreciating that Christians and would-be missionaries are consumers and subscribers of religious products. Perhaps he concluded, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” On numerous occasions when I pointed out ideas included in Winter’s reader that have either not aged well or don’t work well where we minister, I have encountered significant resistance. These usually began with, “But it says in Perspectives…!” I want to be fair about my concerns about this missiological product. It is therefore important for me to acknowledge that the 2009 edition of Perspectives is its fourth, and that I have not analyzed changes between these editions. That said, all books age. This is why reading journals—like Mission Round Table—is so important. Since Perspectives was first published, many things have happened. I am thinking of the following: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the remaking of Eastern Europe; Genocide/ethnocide in Bosnia and Rwanda; 9/11 and the “War on Terror”; progress in Mindanao; ups and downs in Myanmar; developments in digital authoritarianism in China and other parts of communist Indochina; and the flowering of liberal democracy in Indonesia and its demise, following coups in Thailand.

Too many of us are overly loyal consumers of well-produced and promoted content. We are all busy, and the headwinds are sometimes intimidating, but many appear to have lost the vision of creating our own ideas. The problem is that the best ideas don’t always win, and most find security in simplicity. In recent decades, this has been exasperated by the algorithms powering our use of web browsers and social media. Both feed us what we already read, and our exposure to alternatives are often polemics of alternatives. All this encourages theological and missiological tribalism. In the late 1990s, I heard that the church that had been supporting an outstanding missionary couple chose to stop their support. The reason given was that they were not working within the “10/40 Window.” A mate who led the missions committee at his church mentioned that one Sunday when he had the microphone, he said that the missionaries they supported were in the “8/50 Window.” This was intended as a way to respectfully poke fun at this missionary gimmick. Someone who had recently completed a Perspectives course cornered him immediately after the service asking whether he could point him to a website where he could read more about this new concept.

Becoming students of both Word and world

I have shared my journey elsewhere, but let me share something more of my personal journey.[6] This answers some questions about why I completed a PhD in anthropology at a government university under Muslim supervision almost exactly ten years after completing my degree in biblical studies and (mission) theology. I am extremely concerned that many who relocate to corners of East, Southeast, and Central Asia arrive biblically and theologically underbaked. I know that others share my concerns. After four years of presence and service, I came to the following conclusion. Having given three years of full-time study of God’s word, I needed to give as many years to “study” my new “world.” While I was working on my PhD, I continued reading theology and biblical studies during the weekends. My theological library that grew over these years is now at the Mekong Centre in Chiang Mai. Help yourself! One of the unexpected outcomes was learning to read the Scriptures as an anthropologist.

What came out of this? Firstly, I saw with new eyes how multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious Galilee was. Jesus would have been comfortable where we were living. There were Samaritans to the south. Syrophoenicians lived to the north-west. There were ten Greek cities on the northern shore of the Lake of Galilee. God was at work in the hearts and heads of all sorts of non-Jews. Some miracles performed in Jewish parts of Galilee were repeated on the other side of the lake. Power and politics were also of enormous importance in first-century Galilee. The same was true where I was living at the time of my PhD studies. The Romans had conquered this part of the world. There was such a thing as the Pax Romana, but only after locals had been subjugated and malleable Jewish elites co-opted. Sounds familiar.

What about the Acts of the Apostles? This presents Jews and Gentiles as being far from homogeneous. There were the elites in Judea, Samaritan apostates, Zealots, the “Herodians”, Greek-speaking “Hellenized” Jews from the large diaspora, and Gentile “proselytes.” Some, like Paul, were Roman citizens. Some Diaspora Jews, like Timothy, were not even circumcised! The Jews present at Pentecost spoke a wide range of languages, but nonetheless were privileged to hear the “wonders of God” declared in their own tongues. Some Jewish disciples, like Peter and James, appear to have only supported the work of God amongst Diaspora Jew after sometimes traumatic events they experienced at the house of a Roman God-fearer or in Antioch. Like Jews, the Gentiles were also a diverse bunch. I have already alluded to Cornelius. Many other God-fearers attended diaspora synagogues. Some remained God-fearers. Others became Jewish proselytes through a process that was completed through circumcision. Anyone who has memorized the who, what, where, and when of Acts will know that Paul and his mate Barnabas were mistaken for Hermes and Zeus in Lystra (Acts 14:8–18). Serious students of Acts must not miss both facts that their gospel identifying King Jesus as “Lord” meant the head honcho in Rome was not lord, and that the most important sites were cosmopolitan cities between Jerusalem and Rome. I will return to the relevance of the centrality of cities below.

I could write more about the ministry of Paul (or Saul, as he was called while he was in Judea). Since the late 1990s, my mission thinking has been shaped by some of the evangelical scholars involved in some of “new perspectives” approaches to Paul. Please note the small “n” and “p”, and the plural “perspectives.” For me, this approach to Paul’s words—that many working with reformist theological operating systems are unconvinced about—highlighted the relevance of these first-century texts to the twenty-first century. Paul travelled along Roman roads and commercial sea lanes. We also need tracks that our kingdom locomotive can run along, or (for those of us without the funding) the means to buy a third-class ticket. Paul wrote many memorable words, such as there being neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, or male nor female. This was so, as all were now one in Christ Jesus. This most definitely did not mean that social class in the diaspora synagogues incubating new ways of being Diaspora Jews and Gentile God-fearers miraculously disappeared decades after the Passover and Pentecost festivals recorded at the end of the Gospels and beginning of the book of Acts. Diaspora Jews and God-fearing Gentiles did not become androgenous. In addition to class and gender, Paul proclaimed the coronation of King Jesus at his resurrection to both Jews and Gentiles. They were one. Remember that unity and uniformity are not the same.

What about the equally important project of making sense of our new world? I was living at the time in the provincial capital of a Muslim-majority province. Most of the Muslims I interacted with spoke the mother tongue of the “people group.” This was a dialect of language spoken by millions. Some barely understood what was being said when they travelled in countries across the region. Some spoke the local dialect but were illiterate. These could read in the national language that most in town also spoke with a thick accent, influenced by their mother tongue. Some Muslims in town only spoke the national language, having attended national schools. Some were pious. Others were not. One of my biggest regrets about my priorities and preferences is that I mostly hung out with the most observant and did not see the importance of hanging out more with “bad Muslims.” Language use and religious observance were both very different in rural Muslim communities. Few spoke the national language if they were presented with an option. Muslims living further to the north spoke one of the many dialects of the national language that I found almost incomprehensible. Their practice of Islam was also different than the “Islam” that I had become familiar with. There were more changes as one approached the national capital.

In recent decades, there have been some encouraging developments in mission anthropology that are related to the growth in the anthropology of Christianity in the academy.[7] As someone who works as a professional religious anthropologist and (in recent years) historian, whenever I re-read what Paul Hiebert and Charles Kraft wrote decades ago, I am left with the impression that mission anthropology resembles the Galapagos Islands of the social sciences. By this, I mean that concepts that had currency before WWII and as former colonies were de-colonialized appear to have migrated and evolved in unusual isolation.[8] I am not being unkind—we are all people of our time. In a few decades, some who read what we have written will come up similar criticisms. That said, I am grateful that my grappling with issues of ethnicity has been with relatively up-to-date operating systems provided by mainstream religious anthropologists and historians, and Area Studies specialists.

Personal (and hopefully practical) answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ethnicity—“People Group” thinking

Below, I want to be both personal and practical by answering some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ethnicity—“People Group” thinking—that I have either been asked, or wish I had.

FAQ 1: Tell me about how some “people group” thinking has operationally not served you well?

Some years ago, I was approached by someone from the Joshua Project.[9] They wanted some advice on whether their database should specifically refer to two Muslim “people groups” in the country we worked in. At the time, I scored low on the graciousness index. I wondered what was behind this. Was this request associated with a church-planting initiative amongst Muslims in another part of the country who spoke the national language near the national capital, or the (aforementioned difficult) dialect? Before this work could get off the ground, had someone said that some sort of official recognition was needed about the “people groups”? I remember local discussions about whether we should avoid going too deep with Muslims who were not members of one particular Muslim “people group”. What prompted this angst? Many of us were engaging with descendants of Muslim migrants from the Indian subcontinent and Muslims who were citizens but only spoke the national language. Would doing so mean that we would not see a “people movement” of Jesus followers in our “people group”?

My interactions with members of the Fellowship involved in urban ministry confirm my suspicions that we are not the only ones to be grappling with these issues. You know who you are! This has led some committed to their “people group” products from not engaging in local universities. We are familiar with the “WWJD” products. Perhaps OMF should brand “WWPD” (What Would Paul Do) bracelets? Paul based himself in markets and synagogues where he interacted with a wide variety of Jews and Gentiles as I have described above.

In short, those of us ministering in cosmopolitanism, urban contexts are least well served by conventional “People Group” thinking. The diverse individuals impacted by Paul came from households. This was where they continued to follow some cultural practices—but changed others. They related to political power in different ways. Finally, they taught and worshipped in the language(s) employed in their oikos.

FAQ 2: Where does conventional “People Group” thinking work best?

The simple answer is that it is in contexts that are less linguistically and culturally cosmopolitan—most of which are rural. This is where Bible translations, tracts, audio Bibles, vernacular versions of Christian films, gospel radio programs, and hymns in the languages of their “people group” could be used effectively. The reason was simple, as everyone could read and understand these. Fantastic!

FAQ 3: Why use complicated terms such as ethnolinguistic and ethnoreligious dynamics, and ethnonationalism?

Ethnicity relates to culture. Culture contains stuff we can see (material culture) and, equally important, unseen stuff (such as cultural values). Ethnicity is concerned with creating commonality and difference. It’s important to remember that people are more emotional than rational. This is true both collectively and individually. Wherever we work, religious affiliation (or non-affiliation), language use/loyalty, and power influence how ethnic identities are created, maintained, and changed. It is important to add that these dynamics change in different ways and at different rates in different nation-states. I have summarized some of the most important relationships between these in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Ethnicity, religion, language, and power

FAQ 4: Should we think/talk more about “language groups”?

Yes! From Figure 1, it is hopefully now clear that the relationship between language, power, and religion is extremely close and intertwined. In most of the corners of Asia where we work, the language(s) people speak are amongst the most important ways that people create commonality and difference. There are countless maps that graphically portray Asia’s linguistic landscape. What these cannot visualize are the multiple languages that most speak. Furthermore, modern nation-states have national languages and policies. Discrimination against low-status minority languages is common. For some governments, making decisions about what language road signs are written in, can be controversial. Some church-planting initiatives sweat long and hard about how their literature, media, preaching, witnessing, and discipleship communicates. All of us have to decide what languages to learn, and which to emphasize. Languages also change. Those of you working with ethnolinguistic minorities will be aware about how common it is that second-generation believers who attend state schools are no longer proficient in their “mother tongue.” This is a huge issue in the Asian diaspora where children resent having to attend church services conducted in their parents’ languages. We should also talk more about language, as the inability to communicate in or loyalty to mother tongues contributes more to “ethnic” conflict than religious affiliation.

FAQ 5: How can Christian “People Group” thinking feed into ethnonationalism?

There are others in the Fellowship better qualified than I to analyze some of the unintended consequences of “People Group” thinking. Ethnonationalism is widespread across our region. It takes many forms. Some ideologies are led by governments in positions of power. Other ethnonationalist ideologies have been forwarded by ethnolinguistic and ethnoreligious minorities—some of which converted to Christianity years ago. Governments do not have the monopoly on violence, although they possess most of the weapons. A wide range of armed ethnic groups are active in our region. Some of these are led by Christian ethnic minorities. As people who preach a gospel of peace, what should our response be to Christians being both the perpetrators and victims of violence? I appreciate that most will feel constrained by the apolitical position that our Fellowship has taken in its handbook.

Continuing the conversation

In lieu of a conclusion, I would like to continue the conversation. I hope that I have not lost anyone while presenting this personal and (hopefully) practical critique of the “People Group” thinking that has become increasingly influential in our organization over the last few decades. Someone once said that gourmet burgers require the slaughtering of holy cows, but I trust that I have not come across as being unconstructively critical and inappropriately iconoclastic. I would like to think that those popularizing new ideas would not be disapproving. After all, they had set to improve what had been passed on to them. Perhaps I am the first to have raised concerns about uncritically consuming missiological products that were originally conceived as a recruitment tool. I would be surprised if mine was the first suggestion that, in some contexts, “People Group” thinking might not always be the best conceptual tool for you to work with. Some might have concluded that they need to be more grateful for this paradigm, as it is still fit-for-purpose in their ethnically homogeneous context. Please bear in mind that the dynamics involved in ethnicity are always changing—although the pace of change in some contexts is slower than in others. I have done my best to boil down the complex concept of ethnicity into some bumper stickers. Nevertheless, I want to reiterate that my personal story about how I personally grappled with complexity (by engaging with both the Word and the world) is as important as my critiques and conclusions. May God guide us all.

 

Reflection questions

  1. What were the most important ideas and who were the most influential thinkers that led to your involvement in what God is doing in Southeast Asia? How and why did these affect you?
  2. While “people groups” have received a lot of publicity during the last few decades, what other missiological ideas should be engaged at a deeper level and which might need to be replaced?
  3. How would you compare your curiosity toward and understanding of God’s word and the world in which you work? Which is in need of improvement and what could you do to improve it?
  4. Upon what do you base your understanding of your specific context (e.g., spiritually, culturally, politically, etc.)? What kind of materials do you read about the people? When it comes to really understanding the people, how does what you read from missionary thinkers and activists compare with what you read from academic scholars, government documents, and other sources?

 

 

 

[1] Les Taylor, “From Toys to Tools: Reflections on Redeeming Our Screens,” Mission Round Table 16, no. 3 (September–December 2021): 11–15, https://omf.org/mrt-from-toys-to-tools-reflections-on-redeeming-our-screens (accessed 16 May 2023).

[2] His article specifically responds to Peter T. Lee and James Sung-Hwan Park, “Beyond People Group Thinking: A Critical Reevaluation of Unreached People Groups,” Missiology 46, no. 3 (2018): 212–25. See also David W. Pao, “Family and Table-Fellowship in the Writings of Luke,” in This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, ed. Robert J. Priest and Alvaro L. Nieves (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 181–93; Jenell Williams Paris, “Race: Critical Thinking and Transformative Possibilities,” in This Side of Heaven, 19–32; Leonard N. Bartlotti, “Reimagining and Re-envisioning People Groups,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 37, no. 3–4 (2020): 133–40, https://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/37_3_4_PDFs/IJFM_37_3_4-Bartlotti.pdf (accessed 16 May 2023); Tite Tiénou, “The Samaritans: A Biblical-Theological Mirror for Understanding Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Identity?” in This Side of Heaven, 211–221.

[3] On oikos, see Paul R. Trebilco, Outsider Designations and Boundary Construction in the New Testament: Early Christian Communities and the Formation of Group Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017) and “οἶκος: Households in Focus,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 34, no. 1–4 (January to December 2017), https://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/34_1-4_PDFs/IJFM_34_1-4-EntireIssue.pdf (accessed 16 May 2023).

[4] David Earl Datema, “The Universal Particularism of Panta Ta Ethne: A Biblical Case for the Continued Viability of the People Group Concept in Mission,” Missiology 50, no. 2 (2022): 142.

[5] Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed. (Pasadena: William Carey, 2009), https://www.perspectives.org/.

[6] Les Taylor, “Bivocationalism in Southeast Asia: Stories from the Past and Thoughts about the Future,” Mission Round Table 13 (2018): 12–18, https://omf.org/bivocationalism-in-southeast-asia (accessed 16 May 2023).

[7] Arguably, the two most important Christian anthropologists working in theological seminaries who are also contributing to the anthropology of Christianity are (1) Brian Howell: “Practical Belief and the Localization of Christianity: Pentecostal and Denominational Christianity in Global/Local Perspective,” Religion 33, no. 3 (2003): 233–248; “The Anthropology of Christianity: Beyond Missions and Conversion—A Review Essay,” Christian Scholar’s Review 34, no. 3 (2005): 354–62; “The Repugnant Cultural Other Speaks Back: Christian Identity as Ethnographic ‘Standpoint’,” Anthropological Theory 7, no. 4 (2007): 371–91; “Contextualizing Context: Exploring Christian Identity in the Global Church Through Six Contemporary Cases,” in Power and Identity in the Global Church: Six Contemporary Cases, ed. Brian M. Howell and Edwin Zehner (Pasadena: William Carey, 2009), 2–25; “Local Language and Global Faith: Choosing Church Language in the Philippines,” in Power and Identity in the Global Church, 81–106; Christianity in the Local Context: Southern Baptists in the Philippines (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); “Anthropology and the Making of Billy Graham: Evangelicalism and Anthropology in the 20th‐Century United States,” American Anthropologist 117, no. 1 (2014): 59–70; Brian M. Howell and Jenell Williams Paris, Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011); and (2) Robert J. Priest: “Anthropologists and Missionaries: Moral Roots of Conflict,” in Current Concerns of Anthropologists and Missionaries, ed. K. J. Franklin (Dallas, TX: The International Museum of Cultures, 1987); “Missionary Elenctics: Conscience and Culture,” Missiology 22, no. 3 (1994): 291–315; “Christian Theology, Sin, and Cultural Anthropology,” in Anthropology and Theology: God, Icons, and God-Talk, ed. Walter R. Adams and Frank A. Salamonein (New York: University Press of America, 2000), 59–75; “Missionary Positions: Christian, Modernist, Postmodernist,” Current Anthropology 42, no. 1 (2001): 29–68; “‘Experience-Near Theologizing’ in Diverse Human Contexts,” in Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity, ed. Craig Ott and Harold A. Netland (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006): 180–95; “Anthropology and Missiology: Reflections on the Relationship,” in Paradigm Shifts in Christian Witness: Insights from Anthropology, Communication, and Spiritual Power—Essays in Honor of Charles H. Kraft, ed. Charles Edward van Engen, Darrell L. Whiteman, and John Dudley Woodberry (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008), 23–32; “Paul G. Hiebert: A Life Remembered,” Trinity Journal 30, no. 2 (2009): 171–75; Robert J. Priest, Thomas Campbell, and Bradford A Mullen, “Missiological Syncretism: The New Animistic Paradigm,” in Spiritual Power and Missions: Raising the Issues, ed. Edward Rommen, Evangelical Missiological Society Series vol. 3 (Pasadena: William Carey, 1995), 9–87; Priest and Nieves, This Side of Heaven.

[8] Lest the reader needs to be reminded, there is a difference between accepting the theory of evolution and being a believer in evolutionalism.

[9] https://joshuaproject.net/.

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