Chris Wright, notes in The Mission of God, p40, that, ‘It is the common witness of those, including myself [Wright], who have lived and worked in cultures other than their own that reading and studying the Bible through the eyes of others is a challenging, mind-blowing and immensely instructive privilege’.

 

This year we have the privilege of welcoming Laurence Gatawa, a Filipino scholar and lecturer in New Testament Studies as our visiting scholar.  In his first lecture on Luke-Acts he challenged the class to read Luke 9:1-6, (Jesus sending out the 12 saying, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics….” (ESV)), from a position of someone from the Majority World/Global South.  Following this line of thought he asked ‘What would their interpretation be? Would they hear this as a call to mission, if so what would be their response?’

Is it easier for those from the Global South/Majority World to follow Jesus’ teaching here?

He further challenged the class to reflect on how we (the West) have a tendency to build resources first before embarking mission.  Do we neglect this passage in our Missional understanding?

How would you respond to both the lecture questions and the Biblical passage?

3 thoughts on “The Challenge of Luke 9:1-6 for Western Contemporary Mission

  1. Another interesting question would be if we from the West discourage converts from the Global South from doing mission with little. I just had a missionary and wonderful woman from a very poor country tell me that when she was a little girl, the Western missionaries around her told her that she could not be a missionary because the churches in her country were too poor! Lord help us when we try to stand in your way!

  2. I’d really like to get to grips with those questions; but I’m not sure I totally understand what is going on here in Luke 9. We were chatting about this in the MA study room and a colleague pointed out that in Luke 22:35-36, Jesus reverses these instructions! It’s always tricky with Luke-Acts that how much do we read it as descriptive and how much prescriptive. This command was given to specific people (12 disciples) at a specific time (proclaiming the Kingdom prior to Jesus death + resurrection). So I wouldn’t be confident in saying we interpret this that we should be undertaking ministry / mission / evangelism without even the most basic resources. However, perhaps we have neglected the principle behind this – i.e. the gospel comes with weakness + the spirits power not human excellence. What does it mean to do our best for God and strive for excellence in preaching / music making / cool & relevant gospel presentations whilst retaining the ‘foolishness’ of the cross, and that God’s power is made perfect in weakness – 2 Cor 12:9? Reliance on God through prayer? Necessity of partnership with others? Any comments from non-europeans/north americans?

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