Monday, July 24, 2006

Anyone seen Copernicus?

Where's Copernicus when you need him? Apparently on the mind of an African Reverend and on the pages of Christianity Today magazine. Ben Wright asks: Is America the centre of God's activity in the world?. Sitting here in the UK its obvious that that's not the case... and before you bite back the UK isn't the centre either.

He quotes Reverend Niringiye from the Church of Uganda:
If you really want to understand the future of Christianity, go and see what is happening in Asia, Africa, Latin America. It's the periphery—but that's where the action is.
All of this quoted from an article in Christianity Today

Wright concludes:
This seemed rather God-centered to me, and I'm grateful to be reminded that American Christianity is not the once-and-for-all apex of the history of the Church.
To start the global thinking IVP in the UK have a series called The global Christian Library, edited by David Smith and John Stott:

Stott obviously is an Englishman with a lifetime of global vision. Joe Kapolyo is Zambian, Samuel Escobar from Peru and Roland Chia is from Singapore.

Niringiye ends:
Whether in Africa or America, the Cross is not an easy place to be—it is the symbol of our faith, but we do not love the Cross. "Come down from the Cross" is the cry not just of the Jewish leaders; it's the cry even of us Christians. We want Christ to come down from the Cross. We don't like the Cross.
That's where we'll find the centre of God's activity. At the cross, whereever men and women glory in the cross the fame of God will surely spread. Stott's book pleads that we do that. Calling us to stand together at the foot of the cross.

HT: Thabiti Anyabwile


  1. I've read some of the chapters of Escobar's book - its quite helpful.

    As one born in Africa and currently training for a lifetime of ministry in Africa I'm delighted at the amount of evangelical academic work, from Africa, that is beginning to spring up everywhere.

    With the center of the church moving to the 'global south' it is an absolute imperative that we make sure that that future is a church with depth in terms of our understanding of the Gospel and faithful Bible teaching in the transmission of the Gospel within our cultural setting here in Africa. At present the church is big in Africa, but very shallow in many parts. We need thoughtful workers to take up the task of equipping the leaders of this enormous church - so that it will lead faithfully.

  2. Thanks for the rec' on the IVP titles. Will try to get my hands on these. Also, any other recommendations for good theological work done by our Latin, African, Asian brothers?

  3. Langham Partnership have just brought out a new Africa Bible Commentary - 1 volume commentary written by 70 'confessionally evangelical and culturally African' African Bible scholars. I don't know if it's available outside Langham's distribution in Africa though.

  4. Pete Lowman paints a bigger picture in this snapshot of IFES from 1983: IFES

    Small goes big: When the British Inter-Varsity Fellowship had its first conference in 1928, most of the groups were still tiny. They were facing academic scorn. Some of the groups had just started. During this first conference a message came from Canada. Canada had one evangelical student group in the whole country involved in evangelism, in Vancouver. The group asked, “Could you send somebody to tell us what you’re doing and how you’re doing it?”

    Now the British fellowship could have answered, “We’re small, we’ve got enough problems, we’ve only got an annual guaranteed income of about one hundred dollars.” In fact, they kept their income in an Ovaltine tin because they had so little. That wasn’t much of a basis for doing anything about Canada.

    And yet they cared. So they had an auction. They sold sports equipment, books and so on. And they got enough money to send one of their members, Howard Guinness, to Canada. He took off with a one-way ticket, a list of names in a notebook, a map and a lot of faith, and the Lord used him: the IVCF-Canada was formed within twelve months, in 1929.

    And from there... around the world...

  5. I have also read 'A time for mission'. I highly recommend it, and think it is important to be reading and learning from our brothers and sisters around the world.
    'Fellow elder' - see if you can get your hands on any books by Rene Padilla and Samuel Escobar.
    Emma Balch