Monday, May 12, 2008

Professed Agreement

There’s a fascinating object lesson of the difference between Global North and Global South in Global Missiology for the 21st Century (Taylor W D 2000). It is the contrast between the introductory paper of Samuel Escobar (a South American), and the response of Jonathan Bonk (a North American). Escobar highlights eleven major themes. Bonk then follows up with professed agreement on all of them: Escobar is “right”, he is “absolutely appropriate”, and so on. But on closer examination, a different picture emerges. Here are just three examples which go to the core of the differences: Escobar emphasises the need for "spiritual power " among Christians (:38). Bonk responds that, yes, Christians need to be "powerful advocates of ... values" (:49). Escobar proposes that poverty will be solved “only [by] the redemptive power of the gospel” (:33). Bonk replies that, yes, the gospel is the solution through the “sharing of resources” (:52). Escobar considers that, in all its diversity, the Church has unity through "the work of the Holy Spirit" (:28). Bonk responds that, yes, the Church is united through various “elements” in its midst (:48). Bonk, as a matter of interest, does not refer to the Holy Spirit even once, where Escobar does so many times. And so the fundamental contrasts pile up. In the very process of “agreeing” with Escobar, Bonk demonstrates just how far he is away from him. QUESTION: Do you see the incongruities here? If so, why Bonk’s professed agreement on all points? What is happening here?

No comments: