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June 14, 2011

Why We Don't Care About Global Missions

Scot McKnight wrote a provocative and helpful post about American evangelicals and their lack of engagement in global missions. You should read the full article at Out of Ur. He expressed his general concern with a specific example-- the lack of engagement with the Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and Call to Action (you should click the link and read the document).

He gave four reasons why he believes we are unengaged.

1. "America's insularity and willful choice to ignore anything that is produced by Christians from other parts of the world."

2. "American evangelicalism's numbness about the vibrancy of gospel leadership in other parts of the world."

3. "American evangelicalism has become tribal, and this silence reflects that what isn't from our group isn't important."

4. "American evangelicalism's lethargy about missionary gospel expansion. Yes, I said that exactly as I wanted: many today simply don't think we need to spread the gospel or declare the gospel in other parts of the world. This is the impact of pluralism, and it is leading to a missionary malaise."

Though I took some issue with equating the Cape Town Commitment with the title, "Why Don't We Care About Global Missions," I thought it was a helpful article and I agree with most of it-- and thought it worth your time.

Here is a comment I left at the Out of Ur blog:

Scott,

An interesting (and provocative) thesis.

I agree that American Evangelicals don't care (much) about Global Missions. I am regularly frustrated by that disengagement and write/ speak on it regularly (on my blog yesterday, for example). My article on "Why Missional Churches Don't Do Global Missions" is not as erudite, but contains some of the same ideas.

However, it is also fair to say that the lack of acknowledgment of the CTC does not mean that many are not passionate about global engagement. I just returned from Central Asia with a group of pastors from 4 denominations and networks to connect them for global mission engagement. To my knowledge, none of them have heard of CTC, no one in their network or denomination was involved with Lausanne, yet all ARE involved in global missions.

I am a believer in where Lausanne "stood" in Cape Town and where it is "going" now. Yet, the good folks at Lausanne struggled (or made mistakes, depending on your perspective) in regards to engaging some of the mission leaders in the West in the lead up to Cape Town. (I am not referring to attendance at Cape Town which was, rightfully, balanced by global region.)

Thus, I think that there are many who are pressing on with global engagement, but are not connected with the CTC or Lausanne.

So, I agree-- many don't care much about global missions. Yet, I think that CTC is not the best barometer of that engagement.

But, keep holding up the banner of God's global mission.

God bless,

Ed

Your comments are always welcome...

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Why We Don't Care About Global Missions