For too long we have been guilty of making church planting a ministry for only the high capacity, high caliber leaders. These are the individuals that I describe as the 8-, 9-, 10-caliber leaders. Now, while I am all for equipping and mobilizing such church planters (I have done this many times over the past decade.), the reality is that such leaders are a minority in the Body of Christ. They are greatly needed for Kingdom advancement-but still a minority...We have created a table for the 8-10-caliber leaders, with little room for anyone else.
It is time to enlarge the church planting table to make room for the majority of potential missionaries who are just as biblically qualified and called, but unable to support strategies, methodologies, and ecclesiologies developed by high-caliber church leaders.
What is most unfortunate is that while we would never turn away potential church planters who fall into the 1-7-caliber range, we ask them to come to the little table that is in place and pull up a chair...It is time to enlarge your church planting table, making room for the majority of potential missionaries in the Body of Christ.
Pastors, you need to stop looking elsewhere for the high-caliber church planters you don't have to send from your churches, and start equipping and mobilizing the 1-3′s and the 4-7′s that the Lord has entrusted to your care. Be faithful with what you have. If you have the 8-10-caliber leaders, then be faithful with them as well.
About a week and a half ago, Pastor Mark Driscoll appeared on the Piers Morgan show on CNN. While the taped interview went on for nearly an hour, only 15-20 minutes made it to the airwaves.Trevin Wax provides the transcript for the part that aired. I'd be very interested to see what was cut out since it was quite obvious that the interview was significantly edited.
Wycliffe Bible Translations and the Bible Translations in Muslim Contexts -- Various Reports
The Internet was ablaze recently over accusations that Wycliffe Bible Translators had altered the terminology for the Godhead in a translation of the Bible geared specifically toward Muslims.Christianity Today originally reported the story back in the Fall of 2011 (and you can read my interaction with that article here). Vern S. Poythress, Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary weighed in once Wylciffe had released the following statement on the issue:
The Wycliffe Global Alliance organisations and their personnel are not omitting or removing the familial terms, translated in English as "Son of God" or "Father," from any Scripture translation. Erroneous information and rumours on the internet have recently raised questions concerning this issue.
Wycliffe never has and never will be involved in a translation which does not translate these terms. To say that we are removing any familial terms from the Bible is simply not true. Wycliffe continues to be faithful to accurate and clear translation of Scripture. The eternal deity of Jesus Christ and the understanding of Jesus' relationship with God the Father must be preserved in every translation.
Wycliffe personnel from nations around the world are committed to working alongside language communities and other partners to translate God's Word with great care from the original languages of Scripture into the languages of the world's people so that all may know the redeeming love and glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then, just last month they provided another statement:
Wycliffe USA remains committed to the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture in the original languages, and therefore is committed to translating the Scriptures in ways that communicate accurately. Wycliffe USA is committed to preserving the eternal deity of Jesus Christ and His relationship with the Father in every translation in such a way that communicates accurately and clearly.
In recent weeks, the debate over the translation of the divine familial terms (words translated into English as Son of God, Son, andFather) has grown. It is the policy of Wycliffe USA that the literal translation of divine familial terms be given preference. If the accuracy of the meaning would be lost when using a literal translation, Wycliffe USA, along with SIL, has sought to provide clear guidance for the translation teams. It is this allowance, in rare cases, that is the point of debate. While Wycliffe USA believes this approach has allowed for accurate and clear translation of the divine familial terms, the concerns that have been raised in recent weeks deserve prayerful consideration.
Wycliffe USA applauds the decision by SIL International leaders (06-Feb-2012) to "put on hold our approval of publication of translated Scripture around which this criticism is focused" for a season, while intentionally seeking "a fuller dialogue with our many partners globally and benefit from their input to [SIL's] approach in Scripture translation related to this issue."
Wycliffe USA and SIL have agreed to submit to a review of these specific Bible translation practices. Both organizations will participate in this conversation, but neither will control it. The formal review will be led by respected theologians, biblical scholars, translators, linguists, and missiologists from the global Church. We expect this review to produce a report that will guide future Wycliffe USA and SIL translation efforts.
Wycliffe USA and SIL are committed to transparency in this process, and to keeping our partners, supporters, staff, and the public apprised of its progress. Please see our commonly asked questions at http://www.wycliffe.org/SonofGod/QA.aspx for more information.
We are grateful for the many people who have raised questions and concerns about this issue, as they have provided an opportunity for Wycliffe USA and our partners to ensure that our commitment to accuracy and clarity is being fulfilled. Doing so has demonstrated their love for God's Word, for Bible translation, and for those who do not yet have access to God's Word in the language and form that will serve them best. We invite others to participate by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
I've actually had a robust discussion about this issue on the blog, first based on the article by Collin Hansen in Chrisitianity Today and then a proposal by an anonymous guest on the subject here.
Report on Missions and Church Planting in Europe -- EuroChurch
Eurochurch.net is happy to announce the culmination of a year's research with the release of our report on missions and church planting in Europe. Over 600 people in 35 countries have responded to our questionnaire, making this the largest project of its type ever carried out in Europe. The report contains a country by country directory of people involved in church planting, together with an overview of church planting activity in that country and some useful reports and analysis. We hope that the database will help people network, collaborate, and avoid duplication of effort.
Some of the fascinating information contained in this report includes:
· In the last 30 years the number of evangelical churches in Bulgaria has increased by 500%
· 100 churches have been planted in Oslo in the last 10 years
· There are now hundreds of churches in Albania which once was officially an atheist country
· A new congregation has been planted in France every week for the last 30 years
· There are now over 100,000 charismatic Roman Catholics in Italy
· One denomination in Greece has planted over 100 new churches in the last 15 years
Additionally, the report contains informative articles on evaluating the effectiveness of church planting and a review of the different models of church planting that are available.