Reformed World Introduction Jet den Hollander

Reformed World 157

What does a secretary–slave in first century Corinth discover when he visits the citizens‟ meeting of God? What happens to him as these citizens chant “Maranatha”, remember their Lord in bread and wine, translate Paul‟s admonitions into solidarity and protest action, and struggle with what it means to live and die with Christ in the complexity of a cosmopolitan, bustling harbour town in the Roman empire? In his classic story, “Conflict in Corinth”, reprinted here in abridged form, Walter Hollenweger takes us back to our roots. Notwithstanding a distance of 20 centuries, the scenes look strangely familiar: quarrels over the interpretation of the text; differences of class, race and gender; clashes of culture, temperament and musical taste. But there is also the search for identity, the need for community, the longing for a world that is radically different from the present. And then there is the Spirit who has empowered a diverse group of believers to become “body of Christ” in Corinth. What does “Conflict in Corinth” say about mission in unity? Like all good narrative, the story is open to many interpretations, and questions and answers depend on the reader as much as the writer. But two things may be noted. On the one hand, Chloe the ex–prostitute and Gaius the city administrator find each other in their common commitment to solidarity action. Mission engagement generates (comm)unity, though at times the opposite happens too. On the other hand, (comm)unity is required if the body is to function optimally, for how – Paul reminds the believers – can any member of the body carry out its mission if it is not integrally connected to the others. Revisiting eschatology As Bert Hoedemaker reminds us, however, mission and unity are not innocent words. In his contribution to this issue, he reviews the ecumenical learning process of the twentieth century in order to trace its effect on our contemporary understanding of mission and unity and the relationship between them. Given the present impasse in which much ecumenical and missiological thinking and practice finds itself, Hoedemaker suggests a thorough rethinking of the mission–unity connection in the context of


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Reformed World 159 fullness for all” requires a thorough rethinking of mission, a new practice of mission, and an urgent attack on all that keeps our myriad divisions alive.1 Years of research have made clear that in the Reformed family disunity is particularly prominent, and that some specific Reformed features, when overemphasized, can easily contribute to further splits.2 One of the current MIU programmes is an inquiry with Reformed theologians and theological colleges worldwide into which aspects of Reformed ecclesiologies and missiologies (for there are many – “semper reformanda”!) have been found to be helpful or to be a hindrance in maintaining the unity of the church in particular contexts. Other MIU programmes aim to assist groups of Reformed churches – in Bolivia, Korea, the Netherlands, Southern Africa, Uganda and the USA, for example – to develop new models of working together in mission. Included in this issue is the “Common Statement of the Southern Africa Association of Reformed Churches” which resulted from SAARC‟s recent consultation on mission in unity. Increasingly we realize that our search for mission in unity as Reformed churches is an integral part of a larger process, which has as its horizon the unity of all humankind, the oikoumene reconciled in God. The story from Corinth takes us – in more ways than one – back to our roots, and may provide us with new inspiration to be body of Christ in the place where we are, united in mission. It is not only our past, however, but also the beckoning perspective of the future we envisage – the new world already inaugurated in Christ – that inspires us to search for new expressions of mission in unity. If we really expect a world where all will live and work in true interdependence, in “reconciled diversity”, then we cannot but begin to practise that future today. The Mission in Unity Project hopes, in modest ways, to stimulate such practising of God‟s future today.3 You are warmly invited to respond to the articles that follow, thus contributing to the ongoing exploration of these issues. Jet den Hollander of the Uniting Churches in the Netherlands is the executive secretary of the Mission in Unity Project 1999–2002.
1 “That all may have life in fullness” is the theme of the 24th WARC general council, to be held in Ghana in 2004. 2 See the reports of the various mission in unity consultations published in the John Knox Series, cited below, p.198. 3 A phrase used in the 1980s by Fred Kaan in relation to the Council for World Mission‟s practice of partnership in mission.

postmodernism, pluralism and globalization, in which revisiting eschatology is crucial. This kind of rethinking is going on at present all over the world. In certain contexts it is intensified under the acute pressure of crisis. Thus André Karamaga reflects on Rwanda after the genocide and the subsequent violence, and how step by step the churches there develop new insights into what the new missional challenges are and how these can be approached cross–denominationally. Likewise, old divisions in Indonesia have become so explosive that Karel Phil Erari believes that a new understanding of unity – between Reformed churches, yes, but also between Reformed and Lutherans, Protestants and Catholics, and Christians and Muslims – is urgently needed if there is to be peace. More gradual processes of profound change also demand a reinterpretation of the old key concepts of the Christian faith. In her article, Claudia Währisch–Oblau describes elements of the exciting adventure she is involved with in the Rhineland. Prompted by the changing demography of Germany, the old–established Landeskirchen (territorial churches) and the newer immigrant churches are beginning to see themselves, one another, and their context and mission with new eyes. A whole range of missiological questions is involved: why mainline churches often seem more interested in the “other” who is far away than in the “other” who is living on their doorstep; lingering colonial perspectives and attitudes; and whether established churches are interested only in developing bilateral relations with individual immigrant churches, or whether they will be ready to become one of the many partners in a multilateral framework where all the churches, immigrant and established, relate on an equal basis. In Germany, as in Rwanda and Indonesia, new frontiers are being crossed with regard to “who do I consider as my partner in mission and whose partner do I need to be”. What is important is that the rethinking required should not occur in a vacuum, but in the context of doing things together, where reflection and action inform each other in a continuous process of reinvention. The Mission in Unity Project 1999–2002 It is in the context of this worldwide search for new expressions of mission in unity that the World Alliance of Reformed Churches has joined with the John Knox International Reformed Centre to set up the Mission in Unity Project 1999–2002. The project is meant to be a catalyst, a helping hand for those churches and communities which believe that “life in its

1 . pp.8. We have branches in Patrae and Athens and also in Rome. Of course Crispus. Theissen. and Erastus. On the whole there was a very relaxed atmosphere. pp. p. flattered me. the former chairman of the synagogue. but the new people of God.22. Strasbourg. Plutarch (mor.” he said. 4 Rom 16. originally published in Walter J Hollenweger. on Erastus in detail. As we walked and talked I was surprised to hear Tertius always refer to the Christians as “the citizens‟ meeting of God”. grapes and nuts. “Roman Greece”. JAD Larsen.236f (lit. “we are having a particularly important meeting.8 another client of our bank (of course I am not at liberty to say anything on the nature of his dealing with our bank) was an important member of the Christian sect. well. He did not know.23. p. Haenchen. ed.251. I would not have had the courage to go on my own. “Soziale Schichtung in der korinthischen Gemeinde. I have to admit. and I therefore took advantage of the opportunity of going with him. 1982). our story suggests the latter date.” This is an abridged version of the story “Conflict in Corinth”. “Soziale Schichtung”. cheese.” he said. For our work we both have to know not only the Greek but also the Roman trade language.5 He was a friend of Erastus. JBL 50. in An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome IV. p.14.). 3 To be exact.4 We met at the classes where we went to learn the Greek and Roman trade and commercial terms. the citizenry of God. It was Tertius who invited me to a religious service held by a sect called the Christians. He said that he was happy to see me there and offered me some wine. When we arrived at the house of Gaius there were already about twenty to thirty people there. I had never before heard anybody use this old–fashioned expression (which I had only come across in history books) for a religious society. and artisans. 7 Theissen (pp.6 the Chairman of the Department of Public Works in Corinth. Tertius called for me at the bank. Ein Beitrag zum hellenistischen Beamtenwesen. 1974). 8 Acts 18.3 We have a foreign exchange department for the many visitors who come to the great sports events and we also arrange credit for the heavy metal industry and occasionally for the provincial administration of Achaia. p. 1 Cor 1. Alexandria and Marseilles.237–246. I filed away the coins. Well. 1959). His name is Tertius. and added that he was quite sure that they were not just another religious society among the many in Corinth. between 7BC and 3AD (Theissen.472. Theissen. p. The latter greeted me with special attention which. olives or flowers. Epigraphische Untersuchungen über den Oikonomos. T Frank (Baltimore 1938). and today we intend to read and discuss part of his reply. pp. One afternoon after the offices had closed. 1 Cor 1. Diss. Crispus. 1908.232–272.23. 1931. a man by the name of Paul. Everything was put on a big table. Theissen. Conflict in Corinth & Memoirs of an Old Man (New York: Paulist Press. J Cadbury. More and more people gathered in the courtyard. I was a little embarrassed because I had not brought anything. “Today. like everybody else they do their best to sell themselves.42–58. I was interested in this sect which I knew only from hearsay.472. “Erastus of Corinth”. I knew that they had arrived even before I saw Rom 16. and I knew him as he was also a member of the board of directors of my bank. the latter–day saints.14. and then Tertius and I set out together. The last client had just left the building. The Corinthian Christians sent a letter to the founder of our congregation. One of my acquaintances is a secretary–slave with the provincial administration. I asked him why they used such a strange expression as a name for their society. After dusk some dock workers also came along.237–241) discusses in detail the translation and function of an “oikonomos tes poleos”.7 Tertius worked under him.263). Die Apostelgeschichte (Göttingen. was there too. Each new arrival brought some fruit. Ein Beitrag zur Soziologie des hellenistischen Urchristentums” (ZNW 65. 6 5 I am a secretary–slave at the great Corinthian Bank of Trade and Commerce.160 Reformed World Conflict in Corinth 1 Walter J Hollenweger Reformed World 161 The sect of the Christians On this particular evening the meeting of the Christians took place in the house of the well–known Gaius. Permission to print a shortened version in this issue of Reformed World was given by Walter J Hollenweger. P Landvogt. letters of credit and books under the supervision of the head slave. Rom 16.831A). very different from official receptions in Corinth. 2 G Theissen. either secretary–slaves or house upper–middle–management positions like me or free upper–middle–class civil servants.2 Our bank was founded about fifty years ago when the famous Isthmic Games were reintroduced. I also knew that the former chairman of the synagogue. bread. I thought. “That is how we are called. mostly well–off people from Corinth.

255. Sometimes one gets the impression that they are even proud of their spiritual and material misery. I did not understand what she was saying. 1963). Marana–tha”. The word was “Marana–tha”. 1 Cor 11.”10 Red Chloe prophesies The cup was passed around and the woman in the purple gown – I now learned that her name was Chloe11 – played the hand drum. festivities where the meat which is served comes from the temples here in Corinth. but I could not make out what they were saying. As he had greeted me so warmly at the beginning of the meeting.” he replied. “Before me. and. Der erste Brief an die Korinther (Göttingen. I could only understand those who were standing next to me. 1 Cor 1. It sounded to me as if she were speaking in a foreign tongue for the foreign workers.23–26. you see. 9 1 Cor 16. She looked to me like an oracle priestess of ancient Greece. who describes them as “representatives of the lower strata of society”. They repeated one word over and over again in strong. but they want to be treated as equals in the worship service – that seems pretty clear from their behaviour. And what you have heard is not the only controversy in the Christian community. They were obviously very thirsty! Crispus and Gaius now stood behind a table on which there were a number of flat breads and a large cup. p. a kind of tambourine. “Christians are basically different from other religious societies in Corinth. I was encouraged to ask him what this was all about.22. man and woman. after giving thanks to God. until he comes.” he said. These were a group of more affluent Christians. p. Greek. The dock workers rose and beat time with their feet. held it up. It is true they do not expect that the Christians will deliver them from slavery in society. But there was not sufficient wine to go around. When they stopped singing and shouting.162 Reformed World Reformed World 163 Chloe stood up and spoke violently and with closed eyes. which is for you.” He mentioned this on purpose as he knew that I was one of these. slave and freeman. Crispus took one of the flat breads. The foreigners and slaves who were gathered on the opposite side of the court gesticulated and sometimes shouted something over to our side. 11 10 . one of the foreigners spoke in broken. After a short while Crispus held up the cup and said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. After eight o‟clock a clique of unskilled workers arrived – all of them slaves. The Christians do not hold separate religious services for slaves and freemen. As far as I could see in the dim light of the torches which had now been lit. Do we have to listen Sunday after Sunday to this hoi polloi? Not to speak of the fact that their understanding of the Christian faith is a bit too rudimentary. as was obvious from their behaviour – some of them from Upper Egypt and other distant parts of the Roman Empire. The bread was broken into pieces and handed around. syncopated rhythms. Honour him or her as a saint of God. “We wonder how long Crispus and Gaius will put up with the noise of Chloe‟s people. and led by the foreign workers the Christians sang “Marana–tha. which would make it awkward for the better educated slaves who would not know to which group they really belonged. He was praying and was unaware of what was happening around him. “as you can see for yourself in this meeting. For each time you eat this bread and drink the cup.” I watched Erastus leave the court of the villa and saw him return carrying a scroll under his arm. I asked. Opposite me.” I nudged Tertius because I thought that this was rather a bad joke. “But does this mixture of cultures and social status not create a number of financial and psychological problems?” “It certainly does. she played on a small hand drum. When you drink it. a somewhat exotic woman had attracted my attention. this interpretation of “hoi Chloes” is based on Theissen.” As soon as the interpretation was over a general discussion broke out. you proclaim the death of the Lord. H Conzelmann. In God‟s people there are only saints. But when she had stopped speaking. just as he had for everybody else. broke it and said: “This is my body. You surely know that I as Chairman of the Department of Public Works in Corinth have to attend many banquets and receptions. Erastus greeted them too and poured wine for them. She had covered her hair with a veil which glowed red in the light of the torches. do it in remembrance of me. do this in remembrance of me. But to my astonishment his eyes were closed. She had short dark hair and wore a purple gown. As far as I can remember he said. “Well. on the other side of the courtyard among the slaves and foreign workers. all are equal. Jew and Greek.360. It was obvious that he was interpreting Chloe. nobody is more saintly than anybody else! Thus speaks the Lord. They did not speak Greek or Latin among themselves but some barbaric dialect.9 They emphasized the last two syllables: “Marana–tha”.11. mixed with simple archaic harmonies. According to Theissen the formula “hoi Chloes” excludes relatives and sons “almost certainly”. They said. and which them because of the typical smell of fish and salt water. but clearly understandable.

halle–. She says she knows that the Corinthian courtesans go to these banquets – business and political courtesans. 15 1 Cor 12. but many. . A Christian stood on either side of him holding a torch. Some nodded their heads in agreement or murmured softly. Erastus began.” the meeting responded. together make up one body. She spoke softly and slowly. Suppose the ear were to say.” “Prostitutes who are used to win certain contracts you mean?” I asked. Suppose the foot should say. joined in the shout. “And the women – has he forgotten the women?” Erastus looked at his manuscript. to one of the most important and instructive passages. “It is not necessary to mention women. “One is expected to drink a toast with these courtesans but otherwise one has no further obligations. 1 Cor 12. “as I am” – “whether slaves” – and when he uttered this word Chloe‟s people and the dock workers threw their hands in the air and shouted in a mighty chorus.” Tertius interrupted Erastus. We are immersed into one Holy Spirit.” Another woman. For many Sundays we have already read parts of this reply. but he mentioned in passing. We are here. “Just as Paul wrote a letter to the Romans while he was here in Corinth – you surely remember how he worked day and night – so he has written a long reply to us from Ephesus. We take part in the service.” The meeting of God’s citizens The two torchbearers drew nearer to Erastus and there was absolute silence in the courtyard. I do not belong to the body‟. Please read. God appointed each limb and organ to its own place in the body as he chose. in fact.” This was obviously a sign to end the conversation.12f. I do not belong to the body‟. “Halle–. Erastus continued. “Hallelujah.14–20. “A body is not one single organ. Rom 16. how could it smell? But. However. I wondered whether they knew enough Greek to follow this reading. hallelujah. Kyrios Jesous!” Then the shout took the form of a fugue or a hymn. “but listen to how he goes on: whether slaves or free men” – and now there was a hush.” Erastus said. Nobody can deny that. to boost her ego. but one body. They found a few grapes and were content to sit in a corner and eat them.1. whom I has been offered ceremonially to idols.” The topic was obviously embarrassing for him. not only the slaves. for the Christians born as free men or those who had been given freedom by their slavemasters stood in superior silence – “we have been immersed into one Holy Spirit. “It is not only the meat which has been offered to the idols that Chloe protests about. Gaius introduced him. which. “I do not find that he mentions the women.” Erastus continued. This somewhat exalted women‟s lib apostle has no family to help her feel important and wanted. I am of the opinion that for a Christian everything is allowed. „Because I am not a hand. how could the body function as a whole? That is why there are many different organs. “No comment. whether we are Jews” – and here he looked at Crispus – “or Greeks” – he stopped as if he wanted to say. “Jesus is Lord!” “You are right. He added. But they did not speak. hallelujah! Jesus is Lord!” And finally everybody. “Yes. how could it hear? If the body were all ear. If each organ had the same function. „Because I am not an eye. But now Chloe stood up again. and we come today. so it seems to me. that‟s right!” Titus Justus.164 Reformed World Reformed World 165 hallelujah! Jesus is Lord! Halle–. Phoebe from the port of Cenchreae. For indeed we were all brought into the one body by baptism in the one Spirit. From my work in the bank I knew that such things went on.” Some of the men around me sighed deeply. If the body were all eye. “For Christ is like a single body with its many limbs and organs. Erastus.14 rose to her feet. On the other side of the court attention grew.”15 During these somewhat difficult sentences I noticed that the dock workers and the slaves on the left–hand side of the court had let their attention wander. it still belongs to the body. “You must not take too seriously the criticisms which Chloe throws at us. many as they are.”13 “Amen. only her followers. the foreign dock workers and slaves. it belongs to the body nonetheless. including attending business banquets where political compromises are made. Erastus now went forward with the scroll and rolled it out. halle– 12 13 14 1 Cor 10.12 You are certainly aware that I would have to resign from my job if I did not take part in these banquets. Some of them began to walk around and to look on the tables for something to eat.

but we. His face shone in the awareness that he could communicate something important and helpful. They stood together for a while and talked.54ff. Plato.” Gaius replied. “If that be true then Erastus had better give the money he donated towards the paving of the main street in Corinth18 to us. The Inscriptions 1926–1950. “If one organ suffers. pp.”16 “Well. and when he took the scroll from Gaius‟ hands everyone applauded. The respectable parts do not need it. not Gaius. Corinth. whispered something. “Why could it not be one of us for a change?” “Very well.” I stood up and looked at the woman. It hurt him that his political life. and we the better–educated slaves could read. . “Which of you can read. so that there might be no split in the body and that the parts might care for each other. they all suffer together. That is why I kept quiet. for a recognized by his Jewish prayer bands. 18 Compare the reconstruction by Kent of an Erastus inscription “(praenomen nomen) Erastus pro aedilit (at) e s(ua) p(ecunia) stravit” (Erastus paid for the laying of this pavement out of his own pocket in recognition of his election to the office of an aedil).”17 “Amen. pp. in which. „I do not need you‟. He asked to be shown the passage where the reading should continue. in Greek translation of course. Result of Excavations VIII. But his letters.” shouted the slave who had just spat out the grape. I asked Tertius for permission to copy the passage which had been read to us. Josephus.166 Reformed World Reformed World 167 forward.” Erastus stopped. Bell. Where had I met that perfume. His letters are tremendous.21–24. the weaker ones.248. But he went Livius II 32. But that would have stirred up even more hostility against what some call the „women‟s regiment‟.”21 I realized that she could read.”19 When he said this. Gifts and Graces: A commentary on 1 Corinthians 12–14 (London. JK Kent. Discussion of the literature in Theissen. “You are astonished. was discussed in church. that eye shadow? I asked myself. He read.27.” she continued. for the respectable ones do not need it. in whom they obviously had confidence. 16 19 20 1 Cor 12. “Too many philosophical quotations. 46c–d. Livius and Plato. Only Phoebe from Cenchreae. To our unseemly parts is given a more than ordinary respect. At first he read with hesitation. we could make good use of it. While I was writing I felt somebody‟s eyes on me. „I do not need you‟. “You are right to copy this passage of our apostle Paul. he also quotes Josephus.” his neighbour whispered in reply. I did not want to mention this. Conzelmann. the slaves. When I turned around I discovered Chloe. Something about her appeared to me to be both familiar and strange. no. as he had told me. “But God” – and he emphasized the word “God” – “but God has put the various parts of the body together. He said. The community sang a Jewish psalm. State. “that a woman who is generally seen in the company of slaves and dock workers can read. 3 (Princeton. 4/VIII/406. That is how my friend Tertius came to be asked to continue the reading. nor the head to the feet. Erastus criticized Erastus continued. compromises were necessary. do not forget. Erastus went to the slave who had interrupted him.Jud. for she followed my writing with her eyes. 17 1 Cor 12. If one flourishes. Tertius continued. 1967).242. but the more he read the clearer and more distinct his voice became.”20 Tertius rolled up the scroll. they get right under the skin. I would have liked to read publicly when Tertius was asked to continue the reading. p.10.18–19. When he was with us he was not much of a public speaker. giving special honour to the humbler parts.12f 1 Cor 12. “No. Now you are Christ‟s body and each of you a limb or organ of it. 21 2 Cor 10.” the same slave shouted. He did not defend himself. 1966). that hair style.232. they all rejoice together. Then it dawned on me. for we want to continue our reading of Paul‟s letter?” It turned out that none of the dock workers or slaves could read. the Jewish writer. I could see that he trembled nervously when they chose him. sat next to him on the floor and engaged in a long conversation which of course I could not hear. “The eye cannot say to the hand. Quite the contrary: those organs of the body which seem to be weaker than others are indispensable” – and here I noted how one of the dock workers stopped chewing and spat out the grape which he had just put into his mouth – “and those which we regard as less honourable are treated with special honour. A Bittlinger. p. Her appearance bore a striking resemblance to the courtesans who enhanced the symposia of the directors of the bank. but asked Gaius to take over the chairmanship of the meeting.

But when Erastus. We have to inform the proconsul that we consider that to convict Christians of rioting is politically unwise and unjust and that we would not hesitate to appeal to Rome against the ruling of the courts in Corinth in order to stop what we consider this miscarriage of justice. Living with conflicts I arrived late at Gaius‟ house the following Sunday. Gaius and Chloe do then? I could not answer my question. and who was baptized with us together into one body. Although everyone sang his own melody so to speak. if you prefer. “Chloe is right. somewhat too curiously perhaps.168 Reformed World Reformed World 169 Does Paul not say that if one organ or limb suffers. brothers and sisters. a well–educated and well–paid prostitute. Erastus.7. “We must send a delegation to the proconsul. Do we not care about him?” Chloe sat down. we had to complete some urgent insurance transactions.‟23 Jason is in serious trouble. And if he is crucified according to the law. I do not need to repeat this.”25 I thought to myself: But suppose Christians were accused of undermining society because the very form of their worship service questions existing law and order? Would it not be a just accusation.” I did not want to ask further questions and so I took my leave. It was as if the Christians were building a temple of sounds. should lead that delegation. It is possible that Jason is justly accused according to Roman law. a social acoustic sanctuary under whose roof they could feel at home. True. “Yes. the harmonies fitted together. believes all things. Because of the riots in the port and the risk that some of the ships might be set on fire. whom the businessmen of Corinth used to influence their clients. I could not leave the bank at the usual time and arrived only about half past seven. A week ago Tertius read from Paul‟s letter. his crucifixion is inevitable. Nobody in his right mind can question these facts. “With respect. . This could be seen as a kind of spiritual revolution. That is what I was. but glanced also briefly at Tertius – “that if the accusation can be upheld in court. The torchbearers approached Erastus and he began to read again: “If I pray in tongues. Red Chloe and her people seemed to agree to Gaius‟ proposal.24. so that there might be no split in the body and that all the parts might care for each other. slaves and women are considered equal – or almost equal. giving special honour to the humbler parts.” he said. 25 1 Cor 13. She seemed to guess my thoughts and said. It seemed as if the whole citizens‟ meeting of the Christians was singing in ten or twenty parts. Their belief in a coming kingdom of God which will be inaugurated by the last trumpet surely relativizes and questions the existing holy Roman Empire. all suffer? And Jason suffers. it seemed to me. The distribution of wine and bread followed the pattern of the previous Sundays. „love endures all things. “I keep a local inn for dock workers and slaves. the Chairman of the Department of Public Works in Corinth.22 whom we baptized last Sunday in the name of Jesus. because in their services foreigners. my spirit prays courtesan at a Christian religious meeting – that was a little out of place. what will Erastus.” she said. or. went forward with the scroll from which he intended to read and when the two torchbearers took their positions at either side of him. Meanwhile Gaius had listened with great attention.6. Do we not suffer with him? Do you know that he has been unjustly accused of rioting? It is surely clear to the gentlemen and brothers from the city administration here present” – and she looked at Gaius and Erastus.21. sir. „God has put the various parts of the body together. Chloe – who else? – rose to her feet and protested. That way I can just make a living.24 but that does not mean that we accept without comment criminal breach of justice. In the meantime the excitement had died down. And it seems to me that you. “how can you just carry on with the reading from the learned texts of our brother Paul after all that has happened in our city during this week? Do you not know that Jason. hopes all things‟. This body of prostitution has become a temple of the Holy Spirit.” “How then do you now earn your living?” I asked. I heard strange singing. 1 Cor 12. I could not understand the words. When I entered his villa. I was a courtesan. Paul also says that love does not enjoy injustice but rejoices with truth. as Paul says – this same Jason is in prison? 22 23 24 Rom 16. Then I became a Christian and gave up my „profession‟. 1 Cor 13. but I soon realized that this must be the singing in tongues which I had heard mentioned several times in Paul‟s writings.

At least in the worship service we would like to do something for ourselves. Erastus continued.” said Quartus. To sing with the mind refers to that which we did last Sunday.” “To sing with the spirit. We are Christians without books.” “ I continue: If you sing with the Spirit how shall the one who is sitting on the seat of the idiot.” Erastus looked up from his manuscript and added.28 We think with 26 27 1 Cor 14. You think with a pen in your hand. We think in images and visions. sometimes almost primitive spontaneity of the Christian worship.” “That is right. “That is part of the body. and I will sing with the mind. especially in the evening when the bank is closed. one of the two slaves who had been baptized the previous Sunday. “refers to that which we did at the beginning of our meeting when all sang together in tongues in many harmonies. What then? I will sing with the spirit. But we shall always protest when we disagree. He thinks that our service must make a newcomer so understand his own innermost being that he will fall on his face. It is bad enough that for ten weeks already we have had to listen to Paul‟s letter. we should be grown up in our thinking.”26 “We do not sing and pray for the others.” he said. I had never felt like falling on my face and declaring that God was in our midst. This did not bother me.” Quartus interrupted again. On the other hand I was not disturbed by the singing in tongues and the emotional outbreaks from Chloe. To my way of understanding. Do you really think that my back does not think when the whip is dancing on it. as you say. or when I carry the heavy bags on the docks? Because we think with the whole of our bodies. the uninitiated” – and all looked over to me – “how shall he understand what you pray? You may go through a wonderful religious experience but it is of no help to the other man. but in the congregation I would rather speak five intelligible words for the benefit of others as well as myself. and I have to make sure that letters of credit and coins are always correctly filed and put away.15–17. He writes: Thank God. and their direct way of dealing with each other. Tertius and Paul think. 29 1 Cor 14. being punished and scourged for others. 1 Cor 14. Every day I go to the office in the bank. and speak in tongues for us. but I still found it strange that they believed that their crucified Jesus was both in their midst and that he would come again. I am responsible for checking transactions and general bookkeeping. The next sentence shows this very clearly. But we do not think as the scribes like Erastus. I have to work overtime.” shouted the slaves on the left–hand side of the gathering. but at least be grown up in your thinking. “Sure we want to hear it. He had been taken into custody on a charge of alleged rioting and he had been scourged.” “Amen. as has been the case this week. the human. but then released with a warning to mend his ways. However. that conflicts are not suppressed. when we sang the hymn which we all know. amen. Why can‟t you ever understand this? We can‟t afford the luxury of limiting thinking to reading and writing. On the contrary. There I keep the few things which belong to me – a second tunic. but my mind remains barren. 1974). these were two very obvious contradictions. worship God and recognize that God is in fact in our midst. always working for others. than thousands of words in tongues. Paul is concerned not only with Christians but with the world as a whole. “We sing and pray for us.”27 “Paul is unjust and he does not understand us. “There are certain things which we have to do for our own benefit as almost everything that we do is for others – for instance. „And yet abideth…‟ According to Paul both have their place in the service. sandals. Gaius. half–sad.” His hand touched his back and his face looked half–comical. Be as innocent of evil as babes.” “Do you not want to hear the rest of the letter?” Erastus asked. a bed and a lamp. my friends. part of thinking in the body. Pentecost between Black and White (Belfast: Christian Journals .170 Reformed World Reformed World 171 the whole body. not just with the head. “Paul is not against speaking in tongues. speaking in tongues helps us to grow up in thinking. Shall I become a Christian? We said goodbye and I returned alone through the night streets of Corinth.” Quartus replied. parchment. Do not be childish. Once or twice a year on the great public holidays we close Limited. 28 WJ Hollenweger. In uncertain times. You think in sentences and arguments.18–20. “We want to know what Paul has to say. “Certainly. “Always carrying bags for the rich people. I live in a small room in a villa belonging to one of the directors of the bank where I am employed.24–25. I speak more in tongues than all of you.”29 I found this argument a little strange.” Erastus said. There we sing for us. impressed me.

nor do I belong to the slaves and the dock workers who – so they say – think not merely with the head but with the whole body. he is currently a pastor of the Swiss Reformed church. I need Chloe‟s people and also Erastus and Gaius and my friend Tertius.172 Reformed World Reformed World 173 Mission. One could easily be identified with Chloe‟s people. That is because so many of the Christians are slaves. might be enriched by an eschatological emphasis. if I am lucky. He treats me well. And so I ask myself whether or not the citizens‟ meeting of the Christians is the right place for me. the modern missionary movement saw the world as one large field ready to be won and cultivated in the name of Christ. Christians run the risk of being regarded as nonconformist or even hostile to the state. and it originated not from a strong church consciousness but from a marriage between grassroots Christian revivals and a typically “modern” perspective on the unity of humankind. This sense of unity – oversimplified as it may have been – was one of its strengths. When I need anything I can go to him. and a way of speaking about church that is decidedly missionary. Numerically slaves are in the majority. The Corinthians drink so much that it is advisable to close and see that the bank is securely locked up. the scientists. and the bankers. But as I have already said. We will briefly analyse two impulses that led to this new ecumenical consensus. A just conviction or a miscarriage of justice produces the same result. It happens sometimes. Its point of departure is that it might be profitable to recall some aspects of this learning process. This is indeed what happened: through a series of comity arrangements on the mission fields. That mission and unity belong together has not always been self– evident. But they do not have as much influence as the minority of free and affluent Christians. it is not until halfway through the twentieth century that we come across a way of speaking about mission that is decidedly church– centred. the officers. and if one is arrested and convicted of conspiracy it does not really matter whether one is guilty or not. particularly the famous “Edinburgh . Finally we will consider what all this might imply for a contemporary approach to the mission–unity connection. to be a Christian has disadvantages. Perhaps. The unity impulse from the missionary movement Urged on by a spirituality of conquest. Membership in the body of the Christians means a tremendous increase in prestige for the slaves. I cannot be a whole human being all on my own. and through a series of regional and worldwide mission conferences meant to produce structures for efficient consultation. This short essay is an attempt to deal with the relation between mission and unity in the perspective of the ecumenical learning process that has affected the use of these terms so profoundly since the beginning of the twentieth century. and then raise the question as to how the various factors that contributed to it look from the point of view of the present experience of a world that is marked by pluralism and globalization. but it depends on the good will of one‟s master. I am a slave and my master is a director of the Corinthian Bank of Trade and Commerce. I will be given my freedom one day. In fact. Only I do not know where I belong. unity and eschaton: a triadic relation Bert Hoedemaker the bank for a whole day. Its aim is to consider how the MIU–approach to mission as credible and efficient witness of churches that are themselves reasonably united. I have enough to eat and a small room. It could not leave the divided state of Christendom unaffected: the new accessibility of the “ends of the earth” had to lead to a rediscovery of the church and of the importance of the search for its unity. One is dead. But being a Christian has great disadvantages. What shall I do? Is there any good reason for becoming a Christian? Do I need any reason for becoming a Christian? Prof. Dr Walter J Hollenweger is emeritus professor of mission at Birmingham University in England and a world–renowned scholar on Pentecostalism. particularly those aspects that help us to link the Christian keywords mission and unity to the vision of the coming kingdom of God. and its focus on the overcoming of church disunity for the sake of mission. I do not belong to the free businessmen.

The divine plan of salvation is realized in the gathering of the people of God (church) and the establishing of signs of the coming kingdom (mission). To put it briefly: modernity came to be conceived as a rival system. Even though the origins of the church unity movement can be traced indirectly to the missionary movement – one of the main architects of Faith and Order. The strong connection between church and mission that was the result of all this found expression in a variety of diverging theological approaches. Both mission and church were seen as embedded in divine action. and it saw the gathering of the first fruits of the pagan world as the sign of the consummation of history. but these agreed basically that mission belonged to the nature of the church. The strength of the missionary unity impulse was its eschatology. the movement became a major driving force behind the new ecumenical movement. overarching action of God in which “world” and “kingdom” are held together. but it was a different one from the church focus developed in Faith and Order. this led to a positioning of mission “between the times”: mission was not to be seen as an extension of church or Christianity but rather as an announcement of the coming kingdom.174 Reformed World Reformed World 175 an understanding of world Christianity as the paradigm of a world society in the perspective of the kingdom of God. In the reversed perspective. It was this broad vision of the eschatological coherence of church. It remains important to see that this strong connection is linked to a specific understanding of eschatology and modernity. and this became the logic of the integration of mission and church. Missio Dei sees mission as part of an encompassing. ecumenical communication among churches became the framework for the understanding of mission. On the other hand. there was the self–affirmation of other religions. In the course of the first half of the twentieth century. Twentieth century theology made an effort to recover original aspects of biblical eschatology and to redefine its relation to modern culture. came from the “mission field” – the missionary conferences were not interested in ecclesial consensus. They did develop a church focus. to the extent that this implied the unsophisticated projection of images of faith on a world naively conceived as a field of darkness waiting for light. this eschatology is no longer convincing in our day. world and mission that became the foundation of the “christocentric universalism” that characterized the ecumenical movement in its heyday. There was also a more theological side to this impulse. and that church and mission could no longer be conceived apart from each other. It remains important to see what this unity impulse is and what it is not. the emergence of a “secular” world civilization and economic inequality. nazism and communism raised the issue of “neo–pagan” ideologies. and this is precisely what the concept of Missio Dei intended to express. church unity is no longer regarded as a manifestation of a 1910”. Faith and Order rediscovered the church as tradition and community. the connection of Christian eschatology with the modern experience of history and with the messianic hopes raised by the modern age – even though this connection is also under fire in a “postmodern” age – remains significant. They aimed rather at practical cooperation and consultation without theological discussion. a definite church focus that eventually led to a certain loss of eschatological vision. Dialectical theologians in particular sought to define the eschaton as the “limit” of human existence. At least it helps us to hear some of the overtones in the early ecumenical link between mission and unity. In connection with an approach to biblical theology that emphasized the history of salvation. world and church together into one dynamic: it saw the coming of the kingdom expressed in the going of the missionaries to the ends of the earth. All this called for . At the same time it should be noted that this development gave the ecumenical movement. as it came to visibility in the World Council of Churches. Charles Brent. an alternative paradigm. The “ecumenical” connection between church and mission may have had a strong eschatological component. yet it also strengthened the tendency to reverse the perspective. The modern missionary vision brought God. In this perspective. Of course. Understanding church and mission in the perspective of Missio Dei The second major impulse that led to a close linking of mission and unity in ecumenical discourse is related to the effort to create a worldwide network of churches called to become centres of witness. for the missionary movement the churches remained strategic units in a worldwide project. each in its own context. the non–Christian world could no longer be defined in an undifferentiated way as “pagan”: the first world war had placed the world on the agenda as a problem of peace and justice. as the point where the sovereign God touches human history in judgment and challenge. and of missionary movement and ecumenical movement. that could only be kept in rapport with the eschaton through the presence of a witnessing church.

but it specifically touches the self–understanding of churches that seek to remain faithful to the ecumenical consensus regarding the connection between broader vision. on the contrary. of cultures – is basic. we observe the new dichotomies between rich and poor. and the colonization of the primary relations of life. globalization undermines the “modern” consciousness of clear identities and “missions”. rather than as a pluriform worldwide movement in which the church rediscovers and receives its identity. a serious challenge to any ecumenical conception of mission and unity. “mission” is understood as something that the church does among other things. globalization and a new. Assaults on the self–confidence of modernity Most current conceptions of the relation of mission and unity are construed out of the two impulses described above. It is full of unreconciled memories. This leads to the second point: pluralism is not just an interesting mosaic of differences. And we also observe the struggle of individuals and groups to create new cultural identities on the borderlines that have become insignificant in the process of globalization and in the gaps that this process has caused. in retrospect. The resulting uncertainty with regard to traditional ecumenical convictions manifests itself. Along this line. Pluralism – of traditions. but rather to give theological legitimation to the ecumenical emphasis on the church. social action) are now regarded as further items added to the agenda of church unity. contexts have become “deterritorialized. the final stage of globalization that we seem to have reached promises precisely that: a unity of humankind. it is the end–product of an extremely bloody history. The confident modern vision of an ultimate “unity of humankind” has become highly problematic. on the contrary. At the same time. both within Christianity and among the religions and cultures of the world. First: pluralism can no longer be made subordinate to a . Effects on the understanding of mission and unity The contemporary pressures of postmodern suspicion. various “postmodern” trends. hyperdifferentiated and hybridized” (Schreiter). religion or culture. the contemporary experience of the world is radically different from the experience that was dominant at the time of the impulses. In the second half of the twentieth century. alienation and hostility. The world is no longer made up of “contexts” that can be understood independently from each other. the contempt for democracy. In its outward appearance. The new technology of traffic and communication is its finishing touch. both in western culture as a whole and more specifically in western theology. Meanwhile. to these older approaches. Although itself a product of modernity. Behind this façade. strengthen this attack on modern ordering by encouraging distrust and suspicion with regard to “grand narratives” and by taking new experiences of pluralism as points of departure. therefore. in a crisis of the ecumenical movement as a whole. and we observe the social Darwinism. these theologies in fact undermine the “modern” desire for a rational ordering of reality from a given centre. and globalization make it possible. to assess the degree to which ecumenical thinking on mission and unity has been captive to the project of modernity from the beginning of the twentieth century. the so–called “wider issues” (mission. it multiplies itself. In other words. there is no hidden or final unity in view. the elite and the marginalized. disorderly pluralism seem to go together. of course. Inevitably. many varieties of third world theology developed that explicitly questioned the prevalence of western ways of thinking and the self–confidence of modern western culture in ecumenical theology. however implicitly and unconsciously. Two points can be made about this. Neither eschatology nor modernity can be dealt with in quite the same way as half a century ago. The postmodern treatment of pluralism is. and – it must be added – most of them are also characterized by loss of eschatological vision. Globalization presents itself as the secular realized eschaton of humankind: it promises universal and lasting salvation. pluralism. The Missio Dei concept turned out to be not strong enough to counter this tendency: its effect was not to link the church more strongly to the legacy of the missionary movement. except those unities that are one–sidedly imposed by one particular tradition. Even Missio Dei thinking becomes suspect from this point of view: it is exposed as an attempt to order a complex world with the aid of abstract categories and to lift church and mission above the complexities of a plural and ambiguous human history.176 Reformed World Reformed World 177 preceding or overarching conception of unity. with a new emphasis on pluralism. it has an underside of violence. of course. we will have to reconsider conceptions of the relation of mission and unity that are linked. of religions. however. By claiming attention for local cultural and religious traditions as legitimate sources for theological reflection. and in that respect it also signals the failure of the modern visions of unity which had been so important for the genesis of the ecumenical movement.

has been alive ever since the beginnings of the modern ecumenical movement. It is an effort to attack modernity with its own weapons and to conquer it in the name of an idealized religious tradition. The question is. Our sketch of these reactions is restricted to the Protestant churches. and in which a narrower focus on the church or on individual spirituality has become determinative. It seeks to emulate rather than to repudiate the project of modernity. inwardly. in various ways. it consists of a loss of missionary self–confidence. in his life. The third reaction – widespread particularly in the third world – is the spiritualization of the mission–church–eschaton triad. pluralism and globalization. In that way. and of the redemption of the faithful. it has the capacity to accommodate to the requirements of pluralism and globalization. the new pluralism – both within world Christianity and in the world of cultures and religions as a whole – and the postmodern experience of the world call for a new ecumenical theology: one from which the (Enlightenment) notion of the unity of humankind has disappeared. on the cosmic level it speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. Generally speaking. they implicitly understand this learning process to lead away from the peculiar combination of modern and eschatological thinking that has. in a sense. . therefore. we can discern three reactions to the new challenges. rather. of a final separation of good and evil. whether it is really impossible to stay close to the ecumenical heritage with regard to mission and unity and still do justice to the challenges of postmodernism. whether this is all there is. but it does weaken the strong sense of conviction associated with “heavy” words such as mission and unity in earlier times. It saves mission at the expense of unity and eschatology. According to this implicit understanding. This perspective is not annihilated by postmodernism. in that it refuses to accept the premises of both modernity and postmodernity and sustains an eschatology according to which the modern world as a whole will be brought to judgment. The (derivatively so–called) “eschatology” of modernity offers a perspective of universal understanding. The influence of postmodernism. it is. We can call this “fundamentalism” in a general sense. This reaction is characterized by identity problems. Or. All this has its foundation in the givenness of Christ. of a judgment. of course. individualizes eschatology: it replaces the traditional ecumenical Missio Dei coherence with an emphasis on the powerful witness of persons touched by the Holy Spirit. is not pre–modern. it becomes a profoundly significant alternative to more traditional understandings of the mission–unity connection. Unity of humankind as reconciled diversity The eschatology that is an inalienable part of the Christian faith speaks of the coming of God. more precisely. pluralism and globalization.178 Reformed World Reformed World 179 Saving the ecumenical heritage All three reactions sketched above break more or less openly with the learning process of the twentieth century ecumenical movement. On the level of the individual it speaks of resurrection and eternal life. First. what do these conditions imply for the understanding of mission? We will go briefly into each of these questions. It is worthwhile to explore it. Such an exploration will have to deal with two major questions. at least beyond a pluralism that keeps generating misunderstanding and violence. of a humankind beyond pluralism. rather. on what conditions can the vision of a unity of humankind be maintained? And second. it offers experiences that transcend the limitations of those requirements. The “other” – traditionally the object of mission – has come too close. The second reaction consists in the stubborn persistence in the truth of the given tradition and in the “missionary” calling to persuade others of this truth. This reaction. a possibility to do just that seems at least to be presupposed. Outwardly. of course. Fundamentalism. The first reaction is prevalent among the “older” churches in the western world. death and resurrection. not so much in relation to faith as such but in relation to the self–evident superiority of “our” faith. it proposes an alternative modernity. characterized the movement up to and including the Missio Dei consensus. however. prevalent in Pentecostal movements (but not only there). As long as churches or denominational families make use of the key words mission and unity in the hope of constructing a significant identity and a coherent world view on the basis of those key words. and of a tendency to redefine missionary work in the direction of projects of interchurch aid or “serving presence”. and globalization in the daily lives of people does not diminish the concern for other human beings or the desire to participate in a faithful community. implied with new urgency in the counter– experiences of unreconciled memories and continuing destructive mission and unity. of a final unambiguous divine self–revelation. pluralism. Fundamentalism. but analogies can easily be traced in other parts of Christianity. in the present situation of pluralism and globalization it obviously acquires a new strong appeal. has become too much like myself.

an argument for eschatology. rather. practising and encouraging communication in the perspective of ultimate unity. together with others. expecting and witnessing – and as such also a history of engaging in a pilgrimage.180 Reformed World Reformed World 181 awareness of the historical place and role of the Christian tradition in the present world of pluralism and conflict. as indicated above. with the establishment of a conspiracy of wisdom. it will seek to deal constructively with pluralism. violence. there is no eschatological faith without Christ. being drawn into a field that is already occupied by a host of meanings. for instance. reconciliation. Mission: a pilgrimage of learning and discovery Mission in the context of the unity of humankind will no longer place a major emphasis on the conquest of the world by the Christian world view. and which becomes visible in Jesus‟ self–relativizing references to the coming kingdom of God as well as in the distinctions between provisional. In addition. Rather. Does it account adequately for the biblical notions of judgment and separation? The notion that comes to mind here – originally generated in the church unity discussion – is “reconciled diversity”. only be conceived as an eschatological event that encompasses the whole world and all history. The Spirit is the connecting link between the unity of humankind and the world of today. For the Christian. in other words: as a divine initiative. For Christian theology. Acceptance of relativity corresponds. But it remains a precarious enterprise. in a permanent process of mutual learning. hostility. therefore. Using these words in an ecclesial or theological context means almost by definition. that the attainment of unity and reconciliation is an immanent historical process. Mission is the effort to make this connection visible and understandable. but precisely this eschatological faith – highlighted. It takes the insight seriously that final and decisive unity is unthinkable apart from a reality– transcending perspective that always implies judgment. partial believing and final. Unity. nor on determined witness over against the “rival systems” – even though these elements will continue to play a certain role. That will require an honest . including the Christian tradition. and in the disappointments generated by the misleading façade of new global unities. and. Understood in this way. misunderstanding. in which various cultural and religious traditions pool their resources for communication and reconciliation. from a Christian theological point of view the term “unity of humankind” is often associated with the assumption that humankind can redeem itself. between the redeemed communion of the human family and the many unredeemed and unreconciled communities – including churches and denominations – in which humankind lives. And in that sense – so the ecumenical movement would teach us – it is still indispensable for an adequate understanding of the mission and unity of the church. and remind each other of a higher destiny of the world and of human beings than the one presented by globalization. and in that way links them to ultimate unity and truth. Missionary thinking will illuminate the givenness of Christ from the point of view of an eschaton that engages all traditions. Faith in the “unity of humankind” is only realistic – so the Christian would argue – if it takes the form of surrender to the perspective of judgment and forgiveness. Combination of the two “eschatologies” has been attempted in various ways in modern Christianity. Jesus Christ has entered into the history of a community. complete seeing. of course. “Unity of humankind” should be understood to unite not only humankind in its present state. and an acceptance of the relativity of that tradition. it has to a large extent created and determined the ecumenical movement. mission in the sense of “making Christ known to the world” is not incompatible with keeping alive the vision of an ultimate reconciled diversity in a process of learning with and from others. the redemption of pluralism in this broad sense can. The term “unity of humankind” – in ecumenical discourse clearly a fruit of this enterprise – has become associated with the project of modernity and as such has come under suspicion. alienation. Pluralism of traditions. which is an ongoing history of remembering. towards Christ. emphasized and strengthened by the challenges of the contemporary experience of the world – precludes final answers to the question of his significance. and restructuring its own tradition and message in that light. That is not the same thing as relativism. but humankind including its complex histories of alienation. it has been used and still can be used to disguise attempts to “unify” the world on the basis of a particular ideology. It is not incompatible. interpreting. Relating mission and unity to each other Our glance at the learning process of the ecumenical movement has made clear that “mission” and “unity” are not innocent words. pilgrimage and dialogue is an argument for an emphasis on the Holy Spirit. to the notion of internal eschatological criticism which is present in the New Testament. cultures and religions contains these complex histories in itself.

the unity of a given community is not something that precedes missionary activity. not just for the church but for all actors in society. unity is given as communities get involved in the learning process of mission. and therefore were broken themselves. including the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda. Does a project such as this have any relevance in the current Rwandan situation? Do words like “mission” and “unity”. rather than the other way around. It is well known that before the colonization of Rwanda at the end of the 18th century. And so if you changed from herding to farming. More specifically. because through what happened in Rwanda we were confronted with ourselves again. were part of society. in which they rediscover Jesus Christ as the coming one and learn to appreciate pluralism as a promise. But then the myths were brought in that they come from different parts of the Prof. is how to heal this brokenness. Second. and a minister of the Uniting Churches in the Netherlands. the tendency to deal with mission and unity as items in a programme of ecclesial action or self–constitution. Tutsi and Twa. No. how to deal with the loss of self confidence. one is challenged to deal with the issues of ecclesial or denominational identity in the wider context of a learning process towards reconciled diversity that involves the whole of humankind. you changed from Tutsi to Hutu. but ended up being part of the drama. In this perspective. rather. In the past you were a Tutsi if you had cattle. for the perpetrators and for ourselves. so that one could say a firmly established unity enhances the efficiency of missionary work.182 Reformed World Reformed World 183 Facing the challenges in Rwanda An interview with André Karamaga discussions and references. people do talk of unity again. The main challenge. and being challenged to choose a position in that field. Rwanda is known and seen as a broken society within the wider African context. and instead begins to reflect on what is actually done or intended or implied when a community of Christians reaches out towards “others”. your country and church have gone through horrific experiences in recent decades. The facts are. Unity means relating the faith and action of a community to the unity of humankind. the amount of hatred. the Netherlands. both as victims and as perpetrators. unity is not a something that seems very real or realistic. and the churches are trying to rediscover their mission. And the churches saw themselves as churches with a mission. and a Hutu if you were in agriculture. the number of orphans and widows. And yet. that among those who have killed were also church members. make sense for people inside and outside of the churches in Rwanda? AK: I would say: yes and no. This implies first of all that one avoids ecclesial shortcuts in the definition of missionary work. it implies a critical look at the “church focus”. Jet den Hollander: Dr Karamaga. Using the words “mission” and “unity” in the sense in which they have been “charged” by a long ecumenical history means precisely that one is taken out of the limited framework of ecclesial or denominational organization. in the sense that we certainly cannot talk of “mission” and “unity” in any easy manner anymore. Last year the World Alliance of Reformed Churches together with the John Knox International Reformed Centre set up the Mission in Unity Project to accompany churches which are searching for new expressions of mission in unity. already heavy with historical overtones. culminating in the 1994 genocide. He has written extensively on mission in the context of secularization and globalization. In a situation where disunity among people exploded to this terrible extent. the three groups were social groups rather than ethnic groups. How does the faith in which the community lives relate to the ways in which the community experiences the world? How does it articulate a vision that can establish such a relation? These profoundly missionary questions impinge upon the identity of a community. Around the world we still cry with you for the victims. JdH: How has your own church approached this challenge since 1994? AK: We were very aware that the churches. Dr Bert Hoedemaker is emeritus professor of Ecumenics and Mission at the University of Groningen. . the churches have historically played a role in dividing the society into Hutu. that is. firstly.

we also try to witness in common action. but on the other hand. what brings life and what leads to death. We are not created in series but as individuals and that diversity needs to have space. Some churches were started in the refugee camps. we have limited resources so we need to steward these faithfully and make the most of what we have. So we need to work on our identity. and also for the perpetrators of the crimes. And we realized that people were still expecting the church to play a specific role. because they reinforce the many other divisions we have inherited: ethnic. directed to common action. JdH: What would you say are major stumbling blocks in this process? AK: One is that after 1995 many new churches came into being. the enormous problems of orphans. brokenness and humility. But we began our witness with a confession. therefore choose life. JdH: Following the joint statement. Therefore the first thing was for us to confess our failure.19: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day. That was of course a big question: will they continue to go to church? But the churches were full. We need to speak with one voice in the face of the evil that needs to be challenged. that people were indeed still going to the churches. Besides. Then. As you know. and for me that has been very important. but is stronger than just our tribal identity. We got together with all the Protestant churches and drew up a common statement. and so on. For all of us there is the challenge of Deuteronomy 30. the presence of different religions. as Rwandan. The crisis has shown the superficiality of our conversion. and when the refugees came back they continued that particular brand of church. I don‟t mean uniformity. unity is not easy with this mushrooming of new groups. We need to distinguish between what is good and what is bad. Some NGOs which came to help after the crisis also started new churches. and this needs to be cross–denominational.” We . ethnic tensions and so on. tribal. widows and widowers. especially as disunity is often a matter of human weaknesses: power games. as just one denomination. Tutsi or Twa. region. namely to be – so to speak – the glue in the midst of all these divisions and to build bridges between the different parts of that broken society. she was silent. prisoners. All of this means that today as churches we approach our mission from a position of weakness. which was important for the victims. I was surprised when I went back to Rwanda in 1995. has it been possible to continue working together as churches? AK: Yes. We did not have the spiritual resources to fight effectively the evil in our midst. for all of us inside and outside the churches.184 Reformed World Reformed World 185 need to find our common voice as churches. we have tried to do mission in unity. The crisis has also meant that many members and pastors lost their lives. apart from speaking out together. But I am convinced that the gospel perspective of mission is to have a common vision. our weakness in that sense. and here and there we are making some progress. blessing and curse. personality conflicts. on the one hand we drew together in the Protestant council and tried to develop a common mission. as Hutu. We cannot address. and the churches have been part of that process. that you and your descendants may live. and be clear as to what is good and what is evil. and several other things that carve up our societies. So. In Rwanda tribalization has been developed to the extent that being Hutu or Tutsi was more important than being Rwandan or being Christian. It will require a lot of prayer and struggle to learn to operate in a united way. We know that as Christians we are going in the same direction and can go hand in hand even if we are different. divisions because of the colonial languages. And a third painful fact is that during the three months of the genocide the church on the whole was not heard. that I have set before you life and death. So what was very much a social classification was turned into a tribal classification in order to divide and rule. But another stumbling block in this process of working together and pooling our resources is that we haven‟t fully recognized that our denominational divisions are in many cases the result of sinful processes. Others who had lived in exile abroad returned to Rwanda with the denomination that they had been attending there. though of course there are church buildings which hold such bad memories for people they cannot go back there. JdH: How did people respond to this confession? AK: We found that that confession was a very important element in the process of starting again. rape victims. Of course. whereby our Christian identity takes into account our identity as African. And for us in Africa these divisions are very serious at this time. many of the killings actually took place in churches. when I talk of unity. We need to work cross– denominationally. There was a mushrooming of new Christian movements. And this is true for all churches: all were implicated and all were victims. What made the statement credible was that a) it was common and b) it was a confession.

So. of healing the scars. Dr André Karamaga is the president of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda and one of the three vice–presidents of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. this mission movement was not noticed by the German churches. They did not feel the need for this: they have been called by the Holy Spirit to do this work. as Protestant churches and as Christians generally. just as we hope to learn from the wider family how mission in unity takes shape elsewhere. she had married a young theological graduate. When we dream of African unity. “We know that we have a calling to reach out and witness to the gospel.” she said about her congregation. but also to Germans. The African pastors were sitting down with the general secretary of the Association for Missionary Services. preaching the gospel and establishing churches. After all. not just to Koreans. Prof. The conference brought . “Can’t you see that we are like manna from heaven?” one of the African pastors asked the German. of breaking the barriers and rebuilding our nation. And we hope to share with others in the Reformed family worldwide how we in Rwanda are struggling to make this vision come true. So she came to offer German churches their help: “We have a good choir – we could go into old people’s homes and other places to sing. For a long time. then we need to practice mission in unity. She had been born and brought up in Germany. There. Why don’t you make use of us?” The young Korean German woman came to see me at my office. a large umbrella organization for churches and groups in Germany who are involved in evangelism. African and Asian missionaries are coming to Germany in ever growing numbers. Neither did they ask for the German churches‟ permission to start their work here. “We have to break out of our isolation. In May 2000. they gathered congregations of their own nationality and language background.186 Reformed World Reformed World 187 Together on the way in Germany Claudia Währisch–Oblau It is such divisions which need to be addressed by the church. that is enough. but then gone back to Korea for a while. We also have several retired nurses who are still fit and would like to volunteer their services where they would be needed. the United Evangelical Mission organized a conference under the theme “From reverse mission to common mission”. mission in unity in my view is vital. Mostly.” These are just two examples of the reverse mission movement that has been reaching Germany from both African and Asian countries. with the odd German member or two. “God has sent us here to help you evangelize Germany. They were not invited by the German churches. Only very recently have German churches started to take notice. Now she has returned to Germany with him: he was invited to serve as pastor of a Korean congregation in Essen. but by a uniting church rather than a church which just mirrors the divisions of the wider society. the evangelism work of the immigrant pastors and evangelists was not very visible.

Therefore. who is currently undergoing theological training at a seminary in Belgium. the churches in Oberhausen opened their buildings and their hearts. the response was enthusiastic. Black Pentecostal and white mainline churches have fundamentally different ways of doing theology and fundamentally different hermeneutical paradigms. Street kids who had never responded to the German street worker came in droves and just loved every minute of the sessions. an interest in Africa has long existed. while both the African and the Tamil congregations are neo–Pentecostal.188 Reformed World Reformed World 189 Haus set up an after–school programme. 2. It was not just given a place. new insights can be won. This summer. all four congregations have a joint worship service. Children and youth can do their homework at the church under supervision and get help if needed. Occasionally.” sighs one German church worker who nevertheless admits that she loves the intercultural contact with the Africans and the Tamils. did a month–long internship at the Weigle–Haus. A few years ago. when African congregations started to come into existence in the early 1990s. The Nigerians use the church for their together missionaries from Africa and Asia and church workers from Germany who wanted to explore ways of doing mission together. Difficulties also arise from the very different concepts about what the mission of the church is. consisting of Germans of all ages. in the words of its current pastor: “into one church with four congregations. understanding slowly grows while each church keeps its characteristics. After all.” First. The blue and white square building sitting between the highway and the railway tracks does not look like a church at all. Now the Tamil congregation has taken over the outreach to the Tamil parents: no more language problems! The cooperation of the four congregations at the Weigle–Haus is quite unusual. When he suggested running a drumming workshop. but the pastors and church workers are not quite ready for this yet: “Such services just take too much time to plan and prepare. an African congregation asked for rooms at the Weigle–Haus. or whether it is needed at all! How is mission in unity possible in such a situation? I believe that a practical approach is needed first. as most Tamil refugees speak little or no German. the German congregations are mainline evangelical (if with a strong evangelistic impulse). it has long since developed into a congregation of sorts. Rather than receiving it as a godsend. The Markuskirche is one of them. he established contacts with immigrant children and youth hanging out on street corners and game parlours. They are known throughout the region for their tireless anti–racism work and their long– term support of the WCC Programme to Combat Racism. about how evangelism should be conducted. Founded as an inner city youth ministry more than 100 years ago. Within the congregation. This way. But the Weigle–Haus in Essen. There was a reason for this: the Weigle–Haus has long been active in both social and evangelistic outreach to young people in Essen‟s inner city. is a church. Two examples from the Ruhr area 1. the Weigle–Haus is thinking of establishing a longer term “united in mission team” of immigrant and German street workers for this kind of outreach. But where common experiences are the basis of theological dialogue. And when the German pastor learned that a Tamil congregation was coming into existence. albeit a rather unusual one. So when Victory Christians Ministries. or. a church of mainly Nigerian refugees. too. Many of the youth living in the vicinity of the church are the children of Tamil refugees who have sought asylum in Germany. Dialogue without common praxis will just lead to misunderstanding. But the church also wanted to reach out to the parents – and failed. The differences in theology and style are acknowledged and talked about on all levels. To help them cope with their schoolwork and improve their language abilities. they were given a warm welcome. The congregation even has its own marimba group. there is the “normal” Sunday morning congregation. Then there is the youth congregation that meets on Sunday nights. The Evangelical churches in Oberhausen have long had partnership relations with churches in South Africa and Tanzania. The reason for this can be plain racism (“Why should our country be evangelized by blacks?”) as well as theological rejection (“Why should we be evangelized by Pentecostals?”). Together with the church‟s full–time street worker. All congregations love them and would like to have them on a regular basis. he specifically invited it to meet at the Weigle–Haus. and that theological dialogue should follow practical cooperation rather than precede it. But many German churches remain very critical of the reverse missionary movement. a black church worker from the African congregation. the Weigle– . named after its founding pastor. consisting mostly of young adults and older people. asked for a room to meet. they react with dismay. Some German churches have started out on this difficult path. it has become part of the whole set–up. Now.

trust and community were built before difficult theological issues were tackled. A church that does not belong to a denomination that is organized along institutional patterns can only be a sect. and that a people‟s church should reflect this. and generally seem to distrust people with darker skin. While both congregations remain independent – after all. the church is really rocking! There are common festivals.  Anti–Pentecostal prejudice adds to this. the German pastor did not know how to react. they jointly participated in the organization of a big rally at the Oberhausen city centre. When they feature the German marimba group. But this approach also needs a lot of tolerance on both sides. .  Racism is structurally inherent in German society. Such tolerance also means that both churches abstain from crude attempts to “convert” the other church to its own theology and practices. the Pentecostal churches had to learn that mainline churches are not necessarily dead. (This attitude has. they have actually become ethnic German churches that are only now beginning to realize that Germany is becoming more multicultural. together with her three small children. to be able to embark on a mission in unity with immigrant churches.) As former state churches and present “people‟s churches” (Volkskirchen). Nevertheless. Their other activities take place at one of the two church centres. the former state churches. German church workers worry about noise. where there is always room for a Bible or prayer group or a committee meeting. Both the black and the white church are very active in local anti–racism work. and the willingness to accept the other church as a sister church. There is generally very little knowledge and understanding of non–mainline churches. This coincides with the fact that German society has until recently denied the fact that Germany is a country of immigration. there seems to be an almost neurotic fear of worship services on Sunday afternoons. Hence. Especially among the theologically trained. also made life difficult for the so– called “free churches”. like Baptists or Methodists which are small minority churches in Germany where about 90% of all Christians are still members of the main Catholic or Protestant Church. To name just a few:  The German Landeskirchen. and the churches are not free of it. but that the Spirit nevertheless works in them in unexpected ways. the churches jointly organized a church asylum which has now already lasted five months. But their common mission does not just end with political statements: when a woman from the black congregation was. Conversely. German churches have a hard time understanding why the African church using their rooms has no “mother church” in Ghana that one could get in contact with. They define what a church should look like and how it should work. even if it expresses its faith in a totally foreign way. threatened by deportation. while at the same time they acknowledge that their contact and cooperation will eventually change them both in ways they may not foresee yet. Of course. even if nobody there speaks in tongues. dirt. their organization and their theology.190 Reformed World Reformed World 191 To come back to the scene at the beginning: when the African pastors offered their help in evangelizing Germany. Tolerance as a first step These two examples – the Weigle–Haus in Essen and the Markuskirche in Oberhausen – have in common that churches started out doing something together. even if they drive out demons during their night prayers. are still strongly influenced by an understanding that they are the church in Germany. This way. any accusation of racism is immediately denied by the churches. immigrant Christians often face it in their contact with German congregations: while Korean churches usually have little difficulty in renting church facilities for their own services. Joint Sunday services take place regularly. a member in the body of Christ. that each falls short of its calling in certain ways. Even a small office was found within one church centre which the Nigerian pastor has been using. African or Tamil congregations often find all doors closed in their faces. until quite recently. It is formed by the understanding that each church is a corpus mixtum. meals and even soccer games. The mainline churches had to realize that Pentecostals are not a sect. There are multiple stumbling blocks to a mission in unity between immigrant and indigenous churches. for their revivals and for their monthly night prayers. the German Landeskirchen have to recognize their own relativity.  Anti–free church prejudice is a big problem. Such tolerance is no liberal laissez–faire. the Germans are mainline Protestant and the Nigerians neo–Pentecostal – there is a sense that they are growing together. Just recently. This is not easy at a time when the churches are undergoing a deep financial crisis and struggling with dwindling membership numbers. It is based on the knowledge that it is Jesus Christ himself who builds his church through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Seminars and study days are being prepared by an international. while an African choir might be invited occasionally to add some colour to a special German Sunday service – but is then only allowed to sing two songs! – there is very little willingness to let an African Pentecostal pastor preach. speaking in tongues etc. Within these seminars. the pastor‟s work is usually confined to his own constituency. for example.2 “The Holy Spirit and the Pentecostal movement”. lead to rumours about how that particular church or leader has been “bought” by the Germans. Within the programme. At the same time. Pentecostal participation in this seminar was therefore almost non–existent. these stumbling blocks need to be rolled away one by one. They sometimes antagonize German churches with crass attempts at “converting” them to the “true faith”. meaning that there are few chances to pick up German. Mission needs contextualization. Many Pentecostal immigrant Christians are afraid that the power of the Spirit they see manifested in their own church will weaken if they adapt even a little bit to the ways of a mainline church. It is also clear that this is far from easy. are usually perceived as induced by manipulation and rejected without any closer understanding. of listening very carefully to try and understand what the other is saying. Hence. Seminars that were held recently or are being planned include topics such as “Reading the Bible through the Eyes of Another”. Programme for cooperation This is where the “Programme for Cooperation between German and Immigrant Congregations” comes in. Unity often remains elusive even among immigrant churches of . and of going back to the biblical text. But stumbling blocks to mission in unity do not exist only on the German side. to listen to each other and to learn from each other. The Bible has to be read with spiritual eyes. Formal language courses are expensive and take time. Pentecostal pastors are assumed to be without any “proper” theological training. which roughly encompasses the German states of North Rhine–Westphalia and Hesse as well as some parts of Lower Saxony. Among them are:  Lack of German language ability. Rhineland–Palatinate and the Saar area. we have started to develop a culture of speaking from one‟s own experience without assuming that one‟s own view must be shared by all. especially as closer contact with German churches can. It is clear that to achieve mission in unity among immigrant and indigenous churches in Germany.  Competition and antagonism among immigrant churches and church leaders. the Bible is the one thing we The United Evangelical Mission is an international partnership of churches in Germany. and therefore not taken seriously.192 Reformed World Reformed World 193 a shared background and culture as individuals set up new churches and “steal” members from existing congregations. And English–speaking immigrants realize that many Germans understand and speak English well enough. They perceive mainline churches as more or less dead – how can they have the Holy Spirit if there are no manifestations of that? – and individual believers as lukewarm at best. open working group which also identifies the topics that need to be treated. so there is less need for them to learn the language than there is for French– or Korean–speaking immigrants. Many Pentecostals fear cooperation with mainline churches because they are afraid that they will be controlled (this fear is not totally unfounded!). It was set up in 1998 by the United Evangelical Mission1 for its German region. After all. They can also be found within the immigrant churches. Cooperation in mission is difficult if there is little knowledge of the situation in which one operates.  Anti–mainline prejudice. this particular title sounded rather off–putting to Pentecostals. Africa and Asia. and cannot be done quickly. some publicity work about the reverse missionary movement to Germany. 2 Actually. we have started to create opportunities for immigrant and German pastors and church workers to meet. in the case of conflict with other immigrant churches or church leaders. While members of the congregation usually learn at least some German once they have found a job. 1 emotion in a worship service. trances. and that means that immigrant missionaries need to learn about and understand the context in which they operate. The first step was a period of research about the presence of immigrant churches. “Strange manifestations” of the Holy Spirit. the second step.  Lack of understanding of the German churches and society. Now the groundwork has been laid to go a step further. “Evangelism in Germany” and “Overcoming Racism within the Church”. and there are no other. This is a big problem especially for immigrant pastors. Churches and church leaders who feel threatened by such competition are usually not open to cooperation.

The constitution provides for religious freedom for members of the first five of the six officially recognized religions. Madura island and some other parts of the country. national unity. the Malukus. With the programme we are having the same experience as those churches which started to work together: cooperation is easier if a concrete. whose adherents may experience difficulties in civil matters like marriage. there are certain procedures to follow and conditions to meet. so it makes a good basis to develop contact. although there are some restrictions on certain types of religious activity. Many congregations have never been able to gain access to . unevenly distributed across the islands and island groups. North Sulawesi. Islam. Claudia Währisch–Oblau of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland coordinates the programme “Cooperation between German and Immigrant Churches” of the United Evangelical Mission. in the end.” We have started to walk together on the way. the discussion within the preparatory group might well have led to so much friction that no understanding would have come out of it. Citizens who are members of religions other than the six officially recognized may be obliged to register as Catholics. with the highest concentrations in Nusengattara Timor. About 87 per cent of the population of 200 million is Muslim. and the government generally respects these provisions. Catholicism. During President Suharto‟s New Order. The Pentecostal/mainline team of six people who prepared the seminar on the Holy Spirit and the Pentecostal movement started off with a session where everybody was trying to convince everybody else that they were reading the Bible in the wrong way. limited project is in view. It is neither a Muslim nor a secular state. Other religions are not forbidden.194 Reformed World Reformed World 195 The Crisis in Indonesia New context for the mission and witness of the church Karel Phil Erari really have in common. multicultural body of Christ in Germany – this is the vision that is shared by a slowly growing number of Christians in both indigenous German and immigrant churches. The Christian population is. Christians. however.. Her experiences as a migrant comprise more than a dozen years of living and working in different parts of Asia. humanity. Protestants. cooperation. Muslims etc. But as the Chinese proverb says: “Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. In order to erect a church building. This crisis can be seen in the unpredictability of our sociopolitical life and especially in the religious tensions which have led to violence in several areas. including that of unrecognized religions. North Sumatra and West Kalimantan. unity. Hinduism and Confucianism are officially recognized. Buddhism. the “five principles”. including the Jehovah‟s Witnesses. South Sumatra. But without the aim of preparing a seminar together. when we consider that for three decades Indonesia has presented itself as a model of religious harmony. number roughly 10 per cent. community and. Mission in unity – coming together as the colourful. spend a whole day in intensive discussion. Protestantism. This is ironic. including having the approval of 100 Muslim families in the neighbourhood. consultative democracy and social justice. Constitutionally. Many steps will still be necessary until this vision becomes reality. and trust grows where concrete projects are realized together. A few groups are banned explicitly. A government ministerial office oversees the religious life of the country. the government issued regulations concerning religious practice which contain restrictions on churches operating freely in Muslim strongholds like Aceh. which include belief in God. Only after the plan for a seminar seemed totally in tatters did the group pull together again. Indonesia today is in crisis. in order to obtain national cards or for other civil purposes. and come up with a timetable and a curriculum for the seminar which was highly appreciated by both mainline and Pentecostal Christians present. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim society. Rev. including Roman Catholics. the Republic of Indonesia is founded on the Pancasila.

The churches should become healing communities and work towards building peace. . This led to a wave of religious killings. an annual seminar on religious issues affirmed the urgency of reconciliation. This interreligious conflict in the Maluku islands presents an enormous challenge to the mission of the church in Indonesia. We should seek new grounds for dialogue with people of other faiths. A nurse in Hatiwe Besar was recently raped and brutally murdered while on duty in a government clinic to assist the injured people from her village. Betty died from inhuman treatment while giving humanitarian service. Karel Phil Erari of the Evangelical Christian Church in Irian Jaya is a member of the WARC executive committee. Two days later. 80 during BJ Habibie‟s presidency (1998–1999). more than 800 church buildings have been attacked and destroyed: 450 during the Suharto government (1965–1998). On Halmahera. Religious intolerance has led to violence in several regions. The majority of CCI member churches are Reformed (28) or Lutheran (10). We should commit ourselves to church unity and to addressing social crises as an integral part of our mission. Christian youth leaders organized a counter–attack and killed 100 Muslims. People no longer see religion as an institution of peace and justice. The assembly recommended establishing a joint secretariat for Protestants and Catholics. There were no reports that any perpetrators were punished. with the victims divided roughly equally between Muslims and Christians. churches in Indonesia are challenged to carry out their mission with new approaches and new themes. Indonesian churches are preparing various programmes to help Christians initiate activities within the congregations and in Christian educational institutions and enterprises to demonstrate justice and peace as a genuine Christian presence in the society. Migrants. or former Dutch Spice Islands. and Christians are afraid to associate with their Muslim friends. Over the past three decades. As part of the decade to overcome violence sponsored by the World Council of Churches. The violence was sparked by a petty dispute on an Ambon bus in January 1999. The Research and Development Board of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (CCI) has appealed to Muslim and Christian scholars to make a joint declaration seeking peace and justice. Christian communities are continually attacked by Muslim Jihad militias backed by partisan elements in the Indonesian military (the TNI) and the government. the need for sharing on common goals and the threat to national unity might provide entry points for such efforts. This interreligious and intercommunal crisis must come to an end. A handful of mosques were attacked. it is more like a monster. a young pastor called Risamasu is reported to have been assassinated in a local district office. predominantly Muslims from Sulawesi. The unity of the churches will be a new platform for reconciliation among the churches and make a strong moral contribution to mission for peace and reconciliation in Indonesia. with the result that many Christians are obliged to worship in private homes on Sundays. The Joint Committee on the East Timor Crisis has extended its mandate to cover other areas in Indonesia and we are now addressing the situation in the city of Ambon and the neighbouring islands. and the Christians of Indonesia are called to be a part of the movement for peace for all. the CCI called upon the churches to work for Christian unity in Indonesia by the year 2005. It proposed that reconciliation should become a church programme. changed the demography of the islands. In September. We are called to combat conflict in the society by embracing our Muslim friends who are seeking peace and the unity of the nation. and more than 300 during the first year of the administration of President Abdurrahman Wahid (“Gus Dur”). At least 4. Muslims hate their Christian relatives. in the north of Maluku. The contagion spread to the islands of Sulawesi and Lombok and on to other regions. get approval. Migration is a significant factor in the recent wave of interreligious strife in the Malukus. previously mainly Christian. Fifty Christian children on Halmahera were killed after Sunday school and their bodies dumped offshore at Tobelo.000 people in the Malukus and in Sulawesi have lost their lives. they are striving for unity with other Protestant groups and with Roman Catholics.196 Reformed World Reformed World 197 Churches seeking peace and unity In the context of the current movement of political reform. Many Christians were forced to convert to Islam. Houses and churches are targeted for arson and people killed while praying in church.000 people are internally displaced in these regions. At its 13th general assembly in March 2000. while 280 churches were burnt and destroyed. A total of 400.

which affirm that God intends abundant life for all and indeed invites us to share in God‟s mission as demonstrated in Jesus Christ. it is often our children who suffer most. Johannesburg. marginalized. – we met at a time when:  the effects of apartheid in South Africa are still deeply felt. the style and content of our worship. and as our present times demand.  economic injustice goes hand in hand with ecological degradation. Moreover.  That we have often failed to acknowledge and act on Jesus‟ preferential option for the poor. We affirm:  That Christ calls us to be one in his name and to form one confessing and witnessing communion. 3.  the scars of genocide in Rwanda have not yet healed. We confess:  That our tradition and the churches we represent have not fully engaged in mission in Christ‟s way. and denied full humanity. to reflect on our understanding and practice of mission in unity as it has been. especially to those who are impoverished.  That there has been a lack of Christ–like charity to one another and to believers of other traditions. the ways in which we prophetically respond to the needs of the societies in which we live. our young people are not taken seriously as the church of today. And we rejoice with the former Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of South Africa as they recently overcame past divisions and formed the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa. we recognize that.  in many instances. through all of this. We are grateful for the manifold ministries carried out by Reformed churches.  That we are guilty of the sins of disunity and have failed to overcome the status quo of Reformed divisions. 2. both African and Reformed. These realities challenge us to reclaim our heritage. affirmations and commitment.  unresolved land issues are leading to division and death and are crippling the economy in Zimbabwe. health work. A time also when:  many of our people have lost the hope and meaning which faith in God brings.  That our tradition challenges us. under the auspices of the Southern Africa Alliance of Reformed Churches (SAARC). to work and witness together in order to implement programmes that transform and contextualize: 1.  civil wars continue in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. education and the promotion of social justice. Celebration We began by recognizing and celebrating the times when the Church has played a significant role in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Invitation to our churches In the light of our discussions at this consultation. we invite our churches to endorse our common confession. We give thanks for the role churches have played in processes of political liberation of Southern Africa during recent decades.198 Reformed World Southern Africa Mission in Unity Consultation 2000 Common statement  Reformed World 199 many of our churches are incomplete as women are denied their place as equal partners in ministry and mission. and our realities force us. 71 delegates representing 19 churches of the Reformed tradition in Southern Africa. greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. . From October 19 to 22 2000 we met in Kempton Park. Challenges But we recognize that Christ‟s mission is not yet complete. the ways in which we train and employ our women.  and political instability and the pandemic of HIV/AIDS are devastating the lives of millions. We. including evangelism. men and young people for ministry and mission. Over the centuries the gospel of abundant life in Christ has flourished and taken deep root in our countries.

Youth ministry. We undertake:  To develop in our own communities or areas of work. 6.  To redress the past wrongs our work and witness have brought about. pastoral and medical programmes.  To reshape and strengthen our churches‟ critical engagement with state structures and civil society in order to bring about: 1. 7.200 Reformed World Reformed World 201 possible. job creation and redistribution of wealth.  To consider for further action in particular the projects for mission action that were developed by the interdenominational country groups during the consultation. and wherever  . 3. focus areas and target groups. as we are able. 2. 2. also in cooperation with the wider Reformed and ecumenical family. the good news of Jesus Christ. wholeness for individuals and communities affected by AIDS. Reconciliation. educational. political repression and dispossession of their land. we urgently seek to heal our divisions. To urge the SAARC Executive Committee and Secretary to monitor the implementation of common projects addressing these issues. Gender issues and partnership of women and men. HIV/AIDS – confessional.  To urge the relevant bodies in our churches to take up these issues in conjunction with other member churches of SAARC. responsible stewardship and redemption of the environment. 3. violated by sexual and other forms of abuse. 4. nationally and as the Southern Africa region of the Reformed family of churches. Theological education – new models. Poverty reduction. and disempowered by the uneven access to modern technology. and in ways appropriate to our time and contexts. economic justice and the eradication of poverty in the light of increasing trade globalization and the mounting debt burden of the South. displaced by war. South Africa. make restitution and reparation. Ways forward As participants we have identified the following issues requiring urgent reflection and action: 1. projects which address one or more of these issues. 5. October 22 2000 We commit ourselves:  To make known in word and deed. and where possible.  To give fuller expression to the oneness given in Christ as locally. Kempton Park. Evangelization.

.ch.. Claudia Together on the way in Germany ... 106 Introduction . 173 Hollenweger.. John Knox Series No.......... The project is guided by an advisory committee of eleven members........... agreeing unanimously that mission in unity should be a priority for the Alliance.... 89 International Pentecostal–Reformed dialogue Word and Spirit. 101 Dialogues and conversations ..... 157 The crisis in Indonesia . Jill Sebastian................ The executive secretary of the project is Jet den Hollander of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands.. 1 Lee.......9 (Geneva: CIRJK.. J Jayakiran Returning to the sources of life: Baptism and eucharist in Reformed perspective .... 1218 Grand-Saconnex.  Mission in Unity: Towards deeper communion between Reformed churches worldwide. migration and the unity of the church...... 1997) reiterated this call...... 160 Hutanuwatr...  Mission in Unity: Ethnicity...1995). 130 Karamaga.. initially for a trial period of three years.. Karel Phil Hoedemaker. John Knox Series No.... Chan–Keun Petprasert.............. Páraic Schaeffer.................... in Jamaica...................... Bert Introduction ..202 Reformed World The Mission in Unity Project 1999–2002 REFORMED WORLD Volume 50 (2000) Index Reformed World 203 How can Reformed churches credibly communicate God's gift of reconciliation in Christ? How can they overcome their present divisions and strengthen their common witness in today's world? The 22nd WARC general council (Seoul.................. 69 Introduction .....1993)......... 1989) called on member churches to engage in a movement towards a more visible expression of their unity....1998).... Narong Réamonn......... email: miuproject@iprolink.........  And the Net was not Torn: Report from a consultation on mission in unity......... 1999). 119 Währisch-Oblau.........8 (Geneva: CIRJK... John Knox Series No.................... on which the Alliance and the John Knox Centre are both represented.. Jet Erari. church and world ............ tel: +41 22 920 3385. 183 Post–crisis agenda for Korea and global civil society .............. An indispensable tool is the recent publication edited by Jean-Jacques Bauswein and Lukas Vischer..........................6 (Geneva: CIRJK................... The present mission in unity project (1999-2002) grew out of a series of international consultations organized over the ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the aegis of the John Knox International Reformed Centre in Geneva....... Pracha Globalization from a Buddhist perspective ........ 187 ... 27 chemin des Crêts-de-Pregny.. She has previously worked for the Council for World Mission in London and.....1989)........ The 23rd general council (Debrecen............ Switzerland..... more recently......... the Alliance agreed with the John Knox Centre to set up a joint project.......... unity and echaton: A triadic relation.......... who took up the post in September 1999..... Several reports on earlier consultations published in the John Knox Series serve as points of reference for the project:  Mission and Unity: The Reformed family and its mandate....... theological schools and international organizations (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans..... The project office is located at the John Knox International Reformed Centre.............. Walter J Conflict in Corinth .. 195 Mission........... The Reformed Family Worldwide.. André Facing the challenges in Rwanda: An interview ... fax: +41 22 747 0099............. Authors den Hollander..... 49...10 (Geneva: CIRJK........ 80 The crisis of the Thai economy and the IMF . Jill Schaeffer............... A survey of Reformed churches....... John Knox Series No... On the basis of a proposal submitted by the last consultation in this series (April 1998)...

................................ 101 Introduction Jill Schaeffer.... 195 The consequences of economic globalization .......... 48 Globalization from a Buddhist perspective Pracha Hutanuwatr .................... 198 Together on the Way in Germany Claudia Währisch-Oblau ..................... unity and eschaton: A triadic relation Bert Hoedemaker........ 9 Word and Spirit.......... 130 ............ 32 The crisis in Indonesia Karel Phil Erari............................................................. 69 Facing the challenges in Rwanda: An interview with André Karamaga ............................... 173 Post–crisis agenda for Korea and global civil society Lee Chan–Keun ............................................. 183 Georges Lombard prize .......... 119 Southern Africa Mission in Unity Consultation 2000: Common statement ............. 50 The crisis of the Thai economy and the IMF Narong Petprasert .................. 27 Conflict in Corinth Walter J Hollenweger ........................................... church and world Final report of the international Pentecostal–Reformed dialogue ....................................................................................................................................................................... 89 Introduction Jet den Hollander.......... Jayakiran Sebastian ................................................ 49................................. 1 The Mission in Unity Project 1999–2002................................. 106 The Caribbean workshop ............................................................................... 160 Dialogues and conversations Jill Schaeffer............................................. 187 The Togo workshop .......204 Titles Reformed World Reformed World 205 Bible studies (Togo) . 157 Introduction Páraic Réamonn.................................. 202 Mission.................................................................................................................. 80 Returning to the sources of life: Baptism and eucharist in Reformed perspective J.....