What is IGE about biblically?

It is trying to promote and protect a freedom that is given by the Author of life. You can think about it as pre-evangelization, but I see us as a non-proselytizing, evangelical organization.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul asks us to be ambassadors. An ambassador is someone who has been trained to engage a culture and its politics to advance the interests of his state. Well, our state is the kingdom. And you advance or build that kingdom by loving people in a language and logic they understand.

The local church cannot create discipled ambassadors, cannot serve society as salt across all sectors, unless it is free to do so.

What exactly is relational diplomacy?

Diplomacy is state-to-state relations between ambassadors who advance the interests of their king of president, and it's traditionally seen as a zero-sum game. Relational diplomacy comes from Christ in John 4 [Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well]. If I'm into traditional diplomacy, I'm not talking to a woman in a patriarchal society. I'm not talking to an ethnic group that I despise theologically. But if you are into transforming hearts, you let God be bigger than your imagination, and you go to a double minority and engage. And that double minority, that outsider, can be anybody in any culture, including secular fundamentalists, Communist atheists, and Muslim fundamentalists.



Related Elsewhere:

This sidebar accompanied "A New Day in Vietnam."

The Institute for Global Engagement's has an outline of its principles of engagement, a section on the fall 2006 relational diplomacy in Vietnam.

Christianity Today articles featuring the work of IGE include "Living with Islamists" and "Love Your Muslim as Yourself."

IGE founder Robert Seiple has contributed ...

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