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Mission and World Christianity

Contemporary Missiology

When: June 9, 2022, 1:45 pm - Thursday

Where: Ezell 205

Session 4

Session Abstract

This session hosts critical engagement with important issues in contemporary missiology.

Paper Abstracts

Mark Thiesen, Hazel Dell Church of Christ, WA, “Unity or Truth? How Different Missionary Understandings of Restoration Led to Divergent Churches of Christ in Malawi”

This paper highlights Churches of Christ in Malawi when competing visions of what it means to restore the New Testament church set the course for the development of distinct church bodies. In the early 1930s, new missionaries representing the Restorationist emphasis of Christian unity clashed with those who had been taught that the goal of restoration involved returning to the true doctrine of the original church. This paper argues that the various branches of Churches of Christ in Malawi today—which have long since gone their separate ways theologically and organizationally—reflect the same differences in understanding of what it means to restore the church described in the New Testament.

 

Evans Lartey, Heritage Christian (Univ) College (Accra, Ghana), “Ecological Degradation: Examining the Theological Impact of Community Activities on Atiwa Forest, Ghana”

Designated as a Forest Reserve in 1926, Atiwa forest is an evergreen rainforest in the Akyem Abuakwa region of Eastern Region, Ghana. This forest contains significant bauxite and gold mineral deposits and is a sacred forest to many, regarded as the home of ancestral spirits that protect and improve life. However, mining, logging, and poor farming significantly threaten these traditional gifts of the forests. Ghanaian theologians have been slow to engage these destructive activities. This paper explores the dynamics of Christian creation care by examining the resources—both local and theological—to preserve and sustain ecological responsibility to the Atiwa rainforest community.

 

Brad Cawyer, Texas Tech University, “A Medi-Cultural Call for the Multi-Cultural Congregation”

The livability of this world is reinforced through partnerships. Increasingly these partnerships are being formed across diverse cultures. Those contrasting cultures are not just across oceans. They are across cities and streets. In the church, they are across pews. This paper calls for the church to think differently about multi-culturalism, based on the bilingual experience. It will draw on Paul’s image of the church as a body and on the personal adaptability reflected in his missional statements, paired with modern psychology and personal narrative, to offer the bilingual experience as a lens for congregational identity—a perspective from which we will consider the strength that is to be found in a shift beyond accepting other cultures and toward being irrevocably changed by them.

Speakers

Chris Flanders, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • Mark Thiesen, Hazel Dell Church of Christ, WA, “Unity or Truth? How Different Missionary Understandings of Restoration Led to Divergent Churches of Christ in Malawi”
  • Evans Lartey, Heritage Christian College, “Ecological Degradation: Examining the Theological Impact of Community Activities on Atiwa Forest, Ghana”
  • Brad Cawyer, Texas Tech University, “A Medi-Cultural Call for the Multi-Cultural Congregation”
  • Aaron Wheeler, Ozark Christian College, Respondent

2023 CSC Info Coming Soon

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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