Original Research

Mission as the creation of a God-ward culture: A critical missiological analysis

Selaelo T. Kgatla, Derek G. Kamukwamba
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1911 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1911 | © 2019 Selaelo T. Kgatla, Derek G. Kamukwamba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 July 2018 | Published: 30 October 2019

About the author(s)

Selaelo T. Kgatla, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Derek G. Kamukwamba, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The traditional definition of ‘mission’ has always carried with it the salvation or redemption connotation, leading to the division of the world into two spheres: the world for the saved and the world for the unsaved. Thus, when the term ‘mission’ is used, it is primarily understood as the geographical extension of the Christian faith; it is understood as the planting of the church and the conversion of non-Christians to the Christian faith. The term still carries the concept of the geographical movement of the Christian faith, the crossing of seas from the ‘developed world’ to the ‘non-developed world’, such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and West Indies. While people have moved on from seeing mission as the crossing of seas or geographical boundaries, there still lingers the concept of the crossing of cultural boundaries or barriers. This article proposes the concept of mission as the creation of a God-ward culture, the creation of a God-ward cultured community or communities as God’s mandate to humanity. This concept acknowledges culture as a gift from God to humanity and that no two cultures can be identical as each culture is unique. This means that no one culture can be said to be a Christian culture, neither can names from one culture or region be said to be Christian names. The article tackles the subject matter by defining the term ‘culture’, differentiating the God-ward cultured community from Christendom and by considering God’s mandate to humanity.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article critiques the traditional understanding of Christian mission and proposes the concept of mission as the creation of a God-ward culture – that is, creation of a God-ward cultured community or communities as God’s mandate to humanity. It contributes to missiological, ecclesiology, church history and practical theology. The article provides new insights into the holistic understanding of God’s mission to the world.


Keywords

Christendom; culture; mandate; mission; kingdom of God; missionary; developed world; community; creation; salvation

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