Sunday, November 11, 2007

Preach the gospel to "panta ta ethne"

I am enjoying and being instructed by Fr. Donovan. He points out that when Jesus commands us to "preach the gospel to all the nations of the world, to disciple, make disciples of, to evangelize all the nations" the Greek words for "all the nations" is pantha ta enthne. Rather than to nation states, Donavan writes, the words "would refer more to ethnic, cultural groups, the natural building blocks of the human race."

It is surely here in the midst of the cultures of the world, and not in the church, that the ordinary way of salvation must lie, the ordinary means of salvation, the very possibility of salvation for most of the human race. Or else it is a very strange God we have.

The gospel must be brought to the nations in which already resides the possibility of salvaton. As I began to ponder the evangelization of the Masai, I had to realize the God enables people, any people, to reach salvation through their culture and tribal, racial customs and traditions. In this realization would have to rest my whole approach to the evangelization of the Masai.

Pretty radical, no? Sounds a little missional to me, by that I mean the idea that God is already working in peoples outside the church, and it is our job as missionaries somehow to get involved with his work. Do I have that idea of what missional means right? Anyway, I'm reading on.

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