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Mirror site of our Last Installment: Late December 2014 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links
Posted in Apologetics, C. Peter Wagner, Charismatics, christian apologetics, Christianity, contextualization, Insider Movement, missiology, Missions, Strange Fire, Theology on December 18, 2014 | 14 Comments »
For a few months now I have been blogging about my concern with some of the disturbing trends with recent Christian missionary methodology. One such concern I have is the fact that some seem to be against good reasoning.
An example of this can be seen in the case of C. Peter Wagner. He is a former professor at Fuller Seminary’s School of World Missions (it has since been renamed the School of Intercultural Studies). In a previous post I looked at some of the problem found in Wagner’s essay “On the Cutting Edge of Mission Strategy.”
One of the things that Wagner said that I didn’t get to unpack in my previous post is Wagner’s view that Jesus prefer a demonstration of miraculous power rather than a”carefully reasoned argument” which he sees as a sign of Western “secularizing influence.” I quote Wagner in his own words:
One of the more disturbing things we are beginning to discover is that, in more cases than we would care to think, our missionary messsage in the Third World has been having a secularizing influence. I first realized this when I read an article by my colleague, Paul G. Hiebert, called ‘The Flaw of the Excluded Middle’ in 1982. He begins the article by citing the question that John the Baptist had his disciples ask Jesus: ‘Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ (Luke 7:20). Hiebert emphasized that Jesus’ reply was not a carefully reasoned argument, but rather a demonstration of power in healing the sick and casting out of evil spirits” (Wagner, 581).
As one can see, Wagner came to his position through the writing of another professor at Fuller Seminary’s School of World Mission: Paul Hiebert. The relevant quote that Wagner read is quoted below:
The disciples of Jesus asked Jesus, ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Luke 7:20 RSV). Jesus answered, not with logical proofs, but by a demonstration of power in curing the sick and casting out evil spirits. This much is clear. Yet when I once read the passage from my perspective as a missionary in India and sought to apply it to missions in my day, I felt a sense of uneasiness. As a Westerner, I was used to presenting Christ on the basis of rational arguments, but by evidences of his power in the lives of people who were sick, possessed and destitute” (Hiebert, 407).
Note how both Wagner and Hibert appealed to Luke 7:20. Here is Luke 7:20-23 in context:
20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the[o]Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’” 21 At that [p]very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, thepoor have the gospel preached to them. 23 Blessed is he [q]who does not take offense at Me.”
There are problems with what these two Professors of Fuller Seminary has to say against “reason:”
Hiebert, Paul. 2009. “THe Flaw of the Excluded Middle.”Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., 407-414.
Wagner, Charles Peter. 2009. “On the Cutting Edge of Missions Strategy.”Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., 574-582.