Should Missionaries Change Culture?

Miguel is at it again. In his post “Christian Missions, Making Disciples, and Cultural Contamination,” in light of his recent discussions with a scholar of African Indigenous Spiritual Technologies, he asks whether or not its appropriate for missionaries to change another culture.

Here is the crux of the question:

If we bring the good news of that Kingdom into a culture that does not have it, will forever have an effect. Ukumbwa asked, “why does the christian missionary initiative seek to popularize/generalize its own creation story above others?  It is an honest and poignant question which every missionary should ask themselves. As best as I could respond on twitter, I said, “because Christians believe that Christ commands them so. It is a necessary component of the Christian faith.”

How would you respond? Read through his post and jump in the conversation. It has the potential of being a very good conversation, but only if you keep it going! I have posted my response there in the comments.

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  1. It would be great to hear more from people on this issue…it is one that does not only belong to christian missionaries, but to people of the world. The work of christian missionaries, good or ill, must have light shone upon it and that light must come from the world community as it impacts the world community. The embodiment of our beliefs must have harmonious outcomes in the world, not just be done because we feel we are commanded to do so. That premise has led to much exploitation and cultural destruction over many, many years, intrinsically connected to present missiological work and other social dynamics.

    • Ukumbwa,

      I sincerely apologize for taking two weeks to respond. I have not been online much lately due to other responsibilities.

      I think the spirit behind what you say is right on. I think we may disagree on what a harmonious outcome may look like, but any cross-cultural endeavor must have the best interests of both (or more) parties involved, as far as that is possible.

      Unfortunately, history hasn’t always seen that happen.

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