0n October 31 of this year Christendom celebrates the 450th anniversary of an event that decisively altered the religious climate of the Western world: Luther’s posting of the ninety-five theses on the castle church door at Wittenberg.
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DELEGATES at the Congress on the Church’s Worldwide Mission (April, 1966) came down solidly against syncretism in their “Wheaton Declaration,” insisting that the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ be maintained. At the same time they urged missionaries to seek greater effectiveness in communicating the Christian faith, avoiding unbiblical cultural accretions.
In an interview with a missionary candidate I asked, “Specifically, what do you expect to be doing when you get to the field, and how do you believe you will go about it?”
That many missionaries are heroic and do make sacrifices is undeniable, but it is not for Christian propagandists, surely, to make too much of this in the lifetime of those concerned.
At the Congress on the Church’s Worldwide Mission at Wheaton, April, 1966, it was declared: “we will engage in periodic self-criticism in the light of the Scriptures and contemporary insights and seek more effective ways to obtain our objectives.”
As soon as I saw the title of Betty Elliot’s first novel, No Graven Image, I prepared myself for a good dose of iconoclasm. This is a favorite disposition for many of us who have spent our adult lives on the mission field and who have shared Mrs. Elliot’s urge to smash the golden calves around which we at times have found ourselves dancing.