Summer 2010, Vol.
J. Philip Hogan’s Spirit-led Vision and the Globalization of Pentecostal Missions in the Twenty-first Century
Ivan Satyavrata, Ph.D.
Assemblies of God Theological
2009-2010 J. Philip Hogan Professor of World Missions
The Wind and the Wave
If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind. Seneca
A Leader is someone you choose to follow to a place you wouldn’t go by yourself. Joel Barker
In an article that sets forth the critical issues facing Assemblies of God missions toward the turn of the century, J. Philip Hogan draws attention to the movement’s greatest responsibility: “Perhaps the most important thing we must remember in addressing the future ... our greatest responsibility ... is to continue to seek God for discernment, that we might be aware of the times and listen to the wind which in a sovereign way ‘bloweth where it listeth.’”1
The most difficult task a leader has is to lead. Leaders have the formidable assignment of taking people to places they have never been before. As a leader, you ask people to follow you to a place they have never been to before; you also ask them to follow you to a place that you yourself have never been before. That’s why the kings of the Old Testament had prophets to help them. The prophets were people of the Spirit who could look into the dark and read the signs of the times and indicate the way ahead.
Great leaders are, however, not just kings or generals; they are prophets—men and women of exceptional vision able to look into the future and see dangers and opportunities long before others see them. J. Philip Hogan was just such a statesman leader with rare prophetic insight. The worldwide growth of the Assemblies of God and the global Pentecostal movement as a whole owes its existence in no small measure to J. Philip Hogan’s far-reaching Spirit-led vision.
In selecting a theme for the J. Philip Hogan lectures, I have been drawn to focus on a phenomenon which has begun to occupy centre stage in much of both Christian and secular scholarship—the fascinating convergence of two global mega-trends. Two inescapable realities of the times in which we live include the movement of cultural, socio-political, and economic interconnectedness sweeping across the globe and the exploding growth of the Pentecostal movement. Harvard scholar, Harvey Cox, refers to them as “globalization and Pentecostalization.”2
The spectacular growth of the Pentecostal movement has captured the interest not just of missiologists and theologians, but growing numbers of historians and social scientists as well.3 We need hardly belabour the point, but a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that the Pentecostal movement comprises one-quarter of the world’s two billion Christians, making one out of every twelve people on planet earth Pentecostal-Charismatic.4 This growth has made Pentecostalism the most dynamic and fastest growing segment of Christianity today; Pentecostalism is on its way to becoming the predominant global form of Christianity in the twenty-first century.5
The phenomenal expansion of the Pentecostal movement has coincided with momentous changes in the international political and economic order during the last decade of the twentieth century, resulting in the emergence of a new international system called “globalization.” The globalization wave represents a fundamental transformation of the world socio-economic and geopolitical order—a new reality here to stay and with serious implications for our mission theology, strategy, and praxis. To quote just one informed opinion: “There is scarcely a Christian organization, alliance, or individual writer in the new millennium who discounts the reality of globalization. This applies to Catholics ... Protestants ... evangelicals ... and organizations such as the World Evangelical Alliance. ...”6
While the significance of these two mega-trends for the future of global missions can hardly be overemphasized, their convergence continues to intrigue scholars, especially since the Wave of globalization and the Wind of Pentecost both appear to be growing most rapidly in the same geographical areas—the global South and East.7 Are these trends interconnected, or is the overlap merely coincidental?8 Recent studies have drawn attention to the inherently globalizing nature of Christianity, placing the modern missionary movement—of which Pentecostalism is a prominent part—in the forefront of the globalizing process.9
Cox, rather than seeing any political or economic cause and effect relationship, prefers to explore a subtler psycho-social affinity between the two. He arrives at the interesting conclusion that the Wind of Pentecost continues to gather momentum because it enables millions of people to stay in touch with the “primal” experiential spirituality of their traditional cultures while coping with the pressures of modern life intensified by the rising Wave of globalization.10
Our interest in considering the convergence of the Wind and the Wave in this lecture is, however, from a different direction. As those standing within the Hogan tradition of Pentecostal mission, we are less concerned with cause-effect theories as with trying to read the “signs of the times”—gauging how the forces of social and economic change will impact the future of Christ’s mission in the world. We do not view social change in purely naturalistic terms. We see the hand of divine providence, as the sovereign Lord of history orchestrates the flow of world events in order to further His purpose for the universe. Our theology, thus, compels us to recognize that there is a sense in which the Wind and the Wave are both ordered by God: one is transcendent—having its source in the mighty rushing wind which comes directly from heaven, the other immanent—built into the complex interplay of political, social, and economic forces which control the movement of history. Responsible stewardship requires that we attend to both of these: we must fan the Wind and we must manage the Wave.
In taking time to explain the selection of this theme, I have a broader concern in view as well. Pentecostal pragmatists like me constantly struggle with the value of exercises in scholarship such as this. Why should we be devoting time, energy, and money to academic research and scholarship? Why not just get on with the job of reaching the lost, going to the unreached people groups, planting churches, feeding the poor—all of the things passionate Pentecostal activists love to do so well? For me personally, what am I doing here presenting this lecture, away for my home in Kolkata, reaching millions of unreached people in India?
The world of academic research and scholarship can often seem very remote from the hard realities of church life and the mission field. God forbid that we should ever let the cold armour of theological research and reflection crush the chest of fiery Pentecostal passion. But we tend to forget all the revival movements that were sidetracked, dissipated, and those that died because of bad theology or no theology. There is only one thing more important than saving lost souls today—ensuring the enduring vitality of a missionary movement that will continue to carry the burden for lost souls and unreached people groups of future generations.
Stewarding our legacy is a responsibility that both the organizational and prophetic leadership of any movement must take to heart. This is why the mission and role of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) is so critical. Even as we fan the flame of Pentecostal passion, we must continue to nurture a tradition of Pentecostal scholarship. Both are essential for the future of our movement. If Pentecostal mission is to survive and grow even more vibrant in the twenty-first century, Pentecostal scholarship of the knowledge on fire vintage must continue to be both guarded and grown. This is critical to shaping our ability to ride the Wave even as we continue to follow the Wind.
The principal assumptions undergirding our approach to this topic are twofold: (1) the formation of the Assemblies of God (AG) as a missionary movement in 1914 was a key factor in the globalization of the Pentecostal movement in the previous century; (2) during the thirty crucial years of his tenure as chief architect and administrator of the Assemblies of God World Missions program, J. Philip Hogan played a pivotal role in shaping missionary policy and practice that impacted the worldwide growth and expansion of the Pentecostal movement. But an important clarification is in order here: this is not an attempt at another comprehensive assessment of Hogan’s contribution.11 Our concern rather is to examine how Hogan’s far-reaching vision and Spirit-led insights can inform an approach to the unique challenges facing the Pentecostal missionary movement in the opening decade of the twenty-first century.
The main thesis of this lecture is grounded in the conviction that the Hogan legacy gives the Assemblies of God a robust foundation and fresh impetus for Pentecostal mission in the twenty-first century. Hogan’s Spirit-led vision provides the essential basis needed for a fresh, revitalized approach that is both consistent with the Pentecostal heritage and relevant to changing conditions in an era of rapid globalization. The globalization of Pentecostalism in the previous century could thus become an effective prelude and precursor to the globalization of Pentecostal missions in the second Pentecostal century. Thoughtful and discerning application of the Hogan legacy can help the Assemblies of God remain at the forefront and cutting edge of Pentecostal missions in the twenty-first century.
Our treatment of this theme requires us first to focus on the globalization Wave, looking for some correlation, if any, with the Wind of Pentecostal Missions. We then go on to briefly consider Hogan’s contribution, examining the underlying basis for his success in advancing the Pentecostal movement and confirming its potential for enhancing the future effectiveness of Pentecostal missions. We conclude by outlining some recommendations for strengthening and revitalizing Pentecostal global mission strategy. This lecture will help set the stage for our response to the broader question this series seeks to address: What should be the priorities for Pentecostal mission as we follow the Wind of Pentde the Wave of globalization to remain on the cutting edge of missions in the twenty-firsecost and rit century? The two subsequent lectures will expand in greater detail what this lecture proposes in outline form, presenting further justification and spelling out the implications of what is being proposed.
A World in Motion: The Wave of Globalization
Globalization12 is without question the buzzword of the moment—some would say “the most talked-about and perhaps the least understood concept of this new millennium.”13 Globalization is historically complex, encompassing several large and multidimensional social processes.14 It refers broadly to the expansion of global linkages, the organization of social life on a global scale, and the growth of a global consciousness, leading to the consolidation of world society.15 The literature on globalization is voluminous, and descriptions of the phenomenon so profuse that our attempt to define it here may seem superfluous. However, the term is not neutral; approaches to defining globalization are extremely diverse and variously nuanced depending on whether the author’s slant is primarily economic, political, or sociological.16 Hence, while a detailed analysis remains outside the scope of this paper, it is important that we clarify our use of the term.
Thomas Friedman’s influential popular definition highlights the most common feature associated with globalization—global interconnectedness:
… the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states, and technologies to a degree never witnessed before—in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before. … Globalization means the spread of free-market capitalism to virtually every country in the world.17
In a similar vein, Inda and Rosaldo view globalization in terms of transnational spatial-temporal processes, which are increasing the flow of capital, people, goods, images, and ideas across the world through heightened interconnectedness, resulting in “a world in motion ... a shrinking world.”18 This global interconnectedness or interrelatedness that marks globalization manifests itself in different areas of human life, including economics, politics, and the media and is transforming world affairs by linking capital, technology, and information across national borders.19 Some people too easily identify globalization with westernization, viewing it as the inevitable logical outcome of the impact of modernization. Globalization, however, is not exclusively about western culture but a new form of culture that knows no boundaries and is spreading from everywhere to everywhere. Its interconnectedness is multi-directional, and includes the trans-national corporations and western governments that ride the economic globalization wave as well as the global anti-capitalist movements that oppose it.
Second, globalization involves not only the fact of interconnectedness, but also a heightened awareness of global interconnectedness, a fact that is highlighted in Roland Robertson’s understanding, based on careful sociocultural analysis: “The compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole ... concrete global interdependence and consciousness of the global whole.”20 Robertson insists that the relationship between the universal and the particular must be central to our understanding of the globalization process and its ramifications.21 An important corollary of Robertson’s conception is his belief that by bringing distant cultures into closer proximity, globalization inevitably generates a heightened awareness as a reflexive response, giving rise to a corresponding response of “localization” by which local cultural traditions are reinforced. Consequently, when ideas get to their new destination, they are not imbibed as they are—they are adapted to fit the local situation. Thus, rather than eliminating cultural differences, globalization includes localization as an essential feature.22
It is at this point that we are able to observe a fascinating correlation between these two essential impulses of globalization—universalization and localization—with corresponding features in the Pentecostal movement, which have helped shape its unique appeal and widespread popularity. While this has been pointed out by numerous analysts, Byron Klaus was among the earliest Pentecostal scholars to express this lucidly in a volume devoted to investigating its nature as “a religion made to travel:”
Pentecostalism has been the quintessential indigenous religion, adapting readily to a variety of cultures. As a religious movement it has taken on the likeness of a particular culture of people. In one sense, Pentecostalism—with its autochthonous character—is a regionalized Christian movement. ... In another sense, it can be argued that while regional differences are real, Pentecostalism has generated a global culture which shares a common spirituality.23
The seminal insights of Andrew Walls and Lamin Sanneh, two leading Christian historian-missiologists, are of crucial significance in this regard. For Walls, the universal relevance of the Christian faith is grounded in its central constitutive event—the Incarnation—and ensures its translatability. Christianity is, thus, essentially a vernacular faith, the most local of global faiths, and must always be rooted in the vernacular languages to be authentic.24 Sanneh argues convincingly that in Christianity no individual culture or language has absolute normative status. Instead, diverse cultural forms are upheld in their plural diversity without being absolutized in their unique particularity.25 Sociologist Paul Freston draws an important application of this idea to Pentecostalism from the Acts 2 narrative. He views this passage as the basis for Pentecostalism’s “polycentric globalization,” since it shows God reversing Babel by employing many languages, not by restoring a common language. Pentecostal Christianity is, thus, a universalism which affirms the particular, in contrast to modernity (a universalism which denies the particular) and post-modernity (particularisms which do not have universal application).26
This convergence of Robertson’s sociocultural analysis of globalization with Freston’s description of Pentecostalism as “polycentric globalization” has momentous implications. Not only does it help explain why Pentecostalism is meeting with such spectacular success, but it also provides us with reasonable grounds for hope as we look into the future. It seems as though the Spirit of God, who birthed the modern Pentecostal movement, has been active both transcendently—blowing across the Church, igniting revival fires, and raising up a massive missionary movement of the Spirit—and also immanently—in orchestrating world events and social processes which have given rise to the globalization phenomenon. We turn now to look more closely at the contribution of the chief instrument the Holy Spirit used in the Pentecostal missionary movement of the previous century, J. Philip Hogan.
J. PHILIP HOGAN’S VISION: “ANCHORED TO THE ROCK, BUT GEARED TO THE TIMES”
In his foreword to Hogan’s missionary biography, East European Pentecostal leader, Peter Kuzmic, quotes Hogan’s words in offering this summary of Hogan’s mission philosophy: “Hogan was not afraid to face new challenges and to adapt to change. ‘The world has changed and so must we—anchored to the rock, but geared to the times.’”27 Hogan was rock-hard in his commitment to what he believed was the source of Pentecostal missionary passion, a stewardship received from the founding fathers of the movement. Pentecost and mission are inseparably related, and mission is dependent on the Holy Spirit from start to finish:
Make no mistake, the missionary venture of the Church, no matter how well planned, how finely administrated, or how fully supported, would fail like any other vast human enterprise, were it not where human instrumentality leaves off, a blessed ally takes over. It is the Holy Spirit that calls, it is the Holy Spirit that inspires, it is the Holy Spirit that reveals, and it is the Holy Spirit that administers.28
On the other hand, Hogan was a strategic thinker who constantly sought out the power of creative and innovative ideas. His principal biographer notes: “Beyond simply affirming a tradition ... he demonstrated the relevance, adequacy, and universality of Pentecostal convictions.”29
As a visionary leader whose eyes were always scanning the horizon, as far back as 1963, Hogan was making statements such as: “We cannot evangelize the world until we are willing to appraise the current world situation and fit our methods and message to these times. ... We cannot evangelize this world until we are ready to adapt and be mobile.”30 His singular gift, as a Pentecostal missionary statesman, lay in his ability to hold in constant tension the need for strategic planning and absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit. There are many ways we could approach an assessment of Hogan’s contribution to Pentecostal missions, but the genius of his mission legacy is best revealed when evaluated against the transmission of faith, a framework developed by Andrew Walls.
In his classic, widely-cited treatment of the issue, Walls takes an imaginary journey through time from the perspective of an extraterrestrial visitor, conducting an empirical study of Christianity. Walls’ construct includes vivid descriptions of this visitor’s observations of Christianity in Jerusalem in 37 AD, Nicea in 325 AD, Ireland in 650 AD, London in the 1840s, and Lagos, Nigeria in 1980. The observer from outer space is understandably perplexed by the contrasting features of these different communities, all of which claim to be Christian. If that visitor were to look closely, however, he or she would observe significant continuities as well: convictions regarding the centrality of Jesus and the Scriptures, the ritual use of bread, wine and water, and consciousness about a historical connection with ancient Israel and other Christian faith communities world-wide and down through the ages.
Walls employs this illustration in a penetrating theological analysis of the missionary task of gospel transmission. He shows that it involves holding together in tension two opposing tendencies—the “Indigenizing” principle and the “Pilgrim” principle. The “Indigenizing” principle, rooted in the fact of the incarnation, keeps converts connected with the particulars of their local culture, so that Christ and Christianity are at home in any culture. The “Pilgrim” principle, also grounded in the gospel, is the universalizing factor which critiques the convert’s local culture and unites him or her with the universal faith community, all the people of God at all times everywhere.31 As we have observed earlier, this relationship between the universal and the particular is central to our understanding of the globalization process and a prominent feature of Pentecostalism as well. To what extent do we observe these two tendencies— the “Indigenizing” principle and the “Pilgrim” principle—in Hogan’s missiology?
Although Hogan was a strategic thinker with a brilliant mind, he was primarily a mission statesman-practitioner, not an academic theologian. He did not have access to the conceptual framework of Professor Walls and, hence, this important caveat: in what follows, we do not suggest that Hogan’s approach concurs precisely with Walls’ framework or that it anticipates its finer points. However, we do believe, evidence exists to indicate that the Spirit-led essential impulses of Hogan’s mission philosophy, policy, and practice resonate deeply with Walls’ main thesis.
J. Roswell Flower and Noel Perkin, Hogan’s predecessors in the executive office of AG Missions, strongly advocated the policy of indigenous missions and national autonomy. Melvin Hodge’s book, The Indigenous Church, published in the mid-century, reinforced the movement’s commitment to raising national churches under national leadership. Hogan, however, pursued this ideal with passion and tenacity. In the March 1974 issue of Advance, after repeating the standard “three-self” formula, he rehearses the goal of the Foreign Missions department as follows: “... to evangelize the world, establish churches after the New Testament pattern, and to train national believers to preach the gospel both to their own people and in a continuing mission to other nations.”32 He then goes on to give illustrations of how this policy has been effectively implemented in several regions of the world while asserting: “This means we have handed the torch of evangelism, training, and administration to nationals—where it belongs! There will never be enough American dollars or American missionaries to complete the job of evangelizing the world and discipling the nations. God never intended it to be done that way.”33
Hogan clearly went beyond some of his predecessors and peers in his vision of the local church overseas. Where others saw poor, shallow, powerless, and unattractive congregations of native Christians, Hogan’s confidence in the power of the gospel helped him to see enthusiastic believers, rooted in their own culture with a capacity for self-renewal and growth. “The church so born may not have a building; it may meet under the trees. It may have only the weakest of leadership; it may know nothing of Western forms of worship. But if it is a community-identified testimony of Jesus Christ, it is worth everything.”34 There is distinct resonance here with the “indigenous” principle of Walls’ framework.
Hogan’s strong emphasis on the indigenous national church was, however, balanced by a clear vision of the global Church. As the Pentecostal movement began to grow exponentially in different regions of the world, Hogan began to fulfil the role of mission executive, religious diplomat, and mentor-encourager to national leaders all over the world. During this time, he devoted much of his time and energy to trying to connect national Pentecostal tributary-movements with the ever-widening river of the emerging global Pentecostal movement.
The massive convocation at the Seoul meeting of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship in October 1994 represented the climax and fulfillment of Hogan’s global missionary vision. In less than a century, Assemblies of God missions had facilitated the emergence of a truly global movement, which, as Wilson notes, was largely due to Hogan’s vision. Many of the national leaders present at the World Assemblies of God Fellowship were friends Hogan knew, loved, and with whom he had worked for over thirty years. Some of these leaders oversaw powerful movements larger than the Assemblies of God (USA).35
Hogan’s instinctive appropriation of the “pilgrim” principle also evidenced in his active movement toward fellowship links with other Pentecostal and evangelical organizations from across the spectrum of biblical Christianity. He was concerned that the AG missionary movement remain connected to the wider Church, so he often drew expertise inter-denominationally and co-ordinated activities with other evangelical church and mission agencies when appropriate.36
Walls’ framework sets forth a robust theological basis for the missionary transmission of faith. The striking resonance of Hogan’s mission philosophy with this framework is clearly a key factor that explains the widespread success of Pentecostalism as “a religion made to travel.” Consequently, today Pentecostalism has become both an “indigenous” movement, embedded in local cultures, as well as a “pilgrim” faith that is interconnected globally. Hogan’s earnest and reflective dependence on the Holy Spirit guided the Pentecostal movement to a place of strategic influence, in step with the essential impulses of globalization and well-positioned to respond effectively to the emerging missionary challenges of the twenty-first century.
PRIORITIES FOR PENTECOSTAL GLOBAL MISSIONS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
If the Wind of Pentecostalism and the Wave of globalization appear divinely synchronized as our analysis seems to suggest, and if the march of Pentecostal missions is in step with the drum beat of contemporary missions scholarship, haven’t we arrived? Why don’t we just get on with the job—continue to do missions the same way as we have done before? God forbid! To lazily maintain the status quo, to continue business as usual, is to betray our legacy. For inherent in our legacy is a commitment to Follow the Wind ... scanning the horizons, reading the signs of the times, listening to the voice of the Spirit even as we continue to be nourished deeply by the Word.
Following the Wind in this second Pentecostal century means that we seriously evaluate the potential impact of “globalization” upon the twenty-first century Pentecostal mission enterprise and strengthen our strategy accordingly. This concluding section of this paper will delineate briefly some priorities for Pentecostal missions emerging from necessary strategic responses to significant globalization trends.37
Massive Human Migration: Focus on Urban Centres
Migration is an irrepressible human urge, but people movements since the 1960s have been so extensive that the present period has been characterized as “the age of migration.”38 Large-scale migration is the most identifiable feature of contemporary globalization—people everywhere are on the move. While large-scale migration impacts several other trends of globalization, it clearly affects the missionary task in ways to be considered separately; urbanization is a critical consequence of migration.
In the 1700s, two percent of the world’s population lived in the cities. This figure grew to nine percent in 1900, but since that time has grown to over fifty percent today. The United Nations, which offers the most conservative growth estimate, projects that by 2025 over sixty percent of the world’s estimated 8.3 billion people will live in urban areas. By 2020 the urban population of Asia alone will be around 2.5 billion, having doubled in twenty-five years. Hogan observed this trend four decades ago. In a passionate plea to focus on the cities, in keeping with Pauline strategy, he writes: “... we must not neglect the teeming, seemingly impenetrable metropolises from which the truth of the gospel can radiate into all corners of the nation.39
The “Deterritorialization” of Culture: Radically Rethink our Understanding of “Indigenous” Culture
Mission theology in the twentieth century has paid much attention to the idea of “culture,” employing concepts such as indigenization, inculturation, and contextualization to distinguish between the eternal truth of the gospel and its temporal expression in human culture. This understanding has helped clarify the task of mission and is an undergirding assumption in much contemporary missiology and strategy. In their anthropological critique of globalization, Inda and Rosaldo have shown that in a globalizing world, the notion of culture itself needs to be revisited. They point out that anthropology ordinarily associates “culture” with a group of people (a nation, tribe, or ethnic group) and the idea of a fixed geographical territory. We, thus, see culture as rooted in the soil and take for granted that each nation-state embodies its own distinctive culture and society.40
Today, however, it seems almost anachronistic to think of culture in such localized terms. Globalization has pulled culture apart from place; culture has been deterritorialized, and we now live in a world of “culture in motion.” Take the notion of “Indian” culture. Indian Tamils have more cultural commonalities with Tamils in Malaysia or Sri Lanka than they do with other Indians who live in adjoining Indian states. Bengali Indians have more in common with Bangla Deshis than other Indians. Young Indians in Bombay or Calcutta have more in common with youth in Hong Kong or New York than they do with their peers who live fifty miles away out in the village. Our traditional framework and categories for cultural analysis are no longer relevant and need radical revision. Some sociologists are convinced that political globalization is taking us toward a borderless world in the twenty-first century in which the modern concept of nation may become redundant.41
Culture Shock and Religion-quake: Respond Responsibly to Multiculturalism and Religious Plurality
The plurality of religions and cultures has always been an integral feature of the human race, but the shrinking world of globalization has forced a new experience of cultural and religious pluralism upon people everywhere. The massive migration of peoples that has accompanied globalization has brought about a degree of cultural diversity in societies today without parallel in the history of civilization. This has resulted in what Stackhouse calls “the shock of deprovincialization”—a sudden introduction to world religions and cosmopolitan cultures through the media and social engagement, which makes traditional certainties less stable.42
This unprecedented proximity to different religions and cultures can sometimes produce a strong, sometimes violent rejection of the alien “other.” Or it can lead to a loss of confidence in one’s faith, when growing familiarity leads to acceptance, even embrace of the cultural “other.” Both responses are woefully inadequate. The greatest test facing the Christian global witness in the twenty-first century has to do with its ability to cope with the fact of cultural and religious plurality. What do we do with the “other”? Do we have only two ways to deal with difference: to either eliminate it coercively or to cave in to it tamely and uncritically?
The Shifting Centre of Christianity: Work Toward Partnership/Covenant Relationship in Mission
The most significant demographic phenomenon in twentieth- and twenty-first century Christianity is the southward shift in the centre of gravity of global Christianity. This southward shift has been thoroughly documented, statistically validated, and carefully analysed by Walls, Sanneh, and others.43 In 1800, ninety percent of the world’s Christians were in Europe or North America. Today northern Christians are in the minority for the first time in more than a thousand years. Sixty percent of the world’s two billion Christians now live in the global South, and that proportion is rising.
We will side-step the huge theological and cultural implications for now and focus on the possible impact on mission strategy. In a careful study, Pate and Keyes observe that the mission movement emerging from the non-Western world, growing at a rate more than five times that of Western missions, will inevitably change the nature of the world missionary enterprise.44 They convincingly conclude their assessment by arguing that the most mature response is that of partnership expressed in international networks devoted to interconnectedness and cooperation in evangelistic efforts, research, formulating strategy, training, and developing support structures.
Global networks and fellowship structures, which emerged during the Hogan era of missions, still continue to reflect New Testament patterns of covenant relationship and friendship in many areas of our movement. The Pentecostal movement will need to weigh thoroughly the implications of a firm commitment to this notion philosophically, and find ways to express this strategically. The potential benefits of such a south-north partnership are incalculable as we together face the twin challenges of “a post-Christian West and a post-Western Christianity” resulting from the southern shift of Christianity.45
The Rise of Global Poverty & Threat to Human Life: Develop a Theology of Integral Mission & Interdependence
Huge technological advances that have accompanied globalization in the twentieth century have facilitated the emergence of a truly global economy. Free market capitalism and the spread of multinational corporations have had an enormous positive impact on the global economy, providing employment to millions and creating significant middle class populations in some regions of the world.46 On the other hand, economic globalization has also accentuated social disparities, widening the gap between the rich and the poor and driving a significant proportion of the world’s population into extreme forms of poverty.47
A few painful globalization realities: (1) One out of five people in the world today do not have access to basic human needs of safe drinking water, adequate nutrition, health care, and basic education; (2) 1.3 billion people live in grinding poverty (less than $1 per day), and twenty-five percent of them are Christians; (3) the total assets of the world’s 225 richest people ($1 trillion) equals the combined wealth of the three billion who comprise the poorer half of the world’s population; (4) a Nike quilted jacket costs $150 in a London shop, but less than seventy-five cents of that goes to the Bangladeshi women who make it.48
In addition to poverty, globalization has also brought with it various other threats to human life. It has increased the risk of infectious illnesses and epidemics, HIV-AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Human life is also endangered by human trafficking, cross-border terrorism, and environmental disasters due to humanly-engineered ecological imbalance. Latin American evangelical leader Samuel Escobar draws attention to the growing recognition among responsible evangelicals of the importance of the social component in mission before declaring “in the coming century, Christian compassion will be the only hope of survival for victims of the global economic process.”49
A strong case can be made for Pentecostalism’s close alignment with the poor from its earliest inception.50 Pentecostals who constantly live in the world of the Bible have always instinctively practiced what we today refer to as “integral” mission—that the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel should go together. However, a clearer articulation of and commitment to this theology of “integral” mission is needed. The problems of global poverty and threats to human life are formidable, but the global presence of Pentecostalism—north and south; rich and poor; red, yellow, black, white, and brown—provides a unique opportunity of a truly global movement of witness against these forces of evil in our world. The key to success is to live out the New Testament ethical model of interdependence.
Political Resistance to Traditional Missionary Activity: Pursue Creative Avenues of Access
In many regions of the world today, globalization finds a mixed response. While the economic benefits are universally welcomed, many resent what they view as its powerful tendency to homogenize cultures, akin to the cultural imperialism of the colonial era. In many parts of the world, earlier missionary efforts were frequently regarded as “religious” imperialism and closely associated with the colonial enterprise.51 Consequently, the closing years of the twentieth century have seen many nation-states closing the doors to vocational missionaries. The rise of religious fundamentalism in many Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist majority countries has resulted in frequent hostility, even violent opposition to the missionary presence in these countries.
In response to this challenge, Pentecostal missions will have to seriously consider redefining the function of missionaries and creative diversification of their role. Should all missionaries always have to be theologically trained and ordained vocational ministers? Can we have missionary-doctors, missionary university-professors, missionary-professional consultants, and missionary business-entrepreneurs who could have more free and privileged access to “closed” countries on the communication highways globalization provides?
The Explosion in Information-Communication Technology: Innovate Creatively
A prominent feature of globalization is the explosion of travel and communication. Human beings have maximized growing advances in technology in expressing the inexorable urge to communicate. The interconnectedness that the steam engine, telegraph, telephone, radio, automobile, and television provided for the previous generation has been heightened with the introduction of the computer, cell phone, Internet, cable TV, and jet travel. The only difference is the multiplied speed and efficiency of these vehicles of communication.
The Christian global mission enterprise has always benefited from enhanced communication and transportation systems, but many of the tools of information technology and the media are a double-edged sword with huge risks as well as advantages. We must be boldly creative in innovations that can enhance the Pentecostal missionary enterprise without compromising our cherished values.
FOLLOWING THE WIND AND RIDING THE WAVE . . .
Pentecostal Missions is poised at a critical kairos moment. This extraordinary convergence between the Wind and the Wave that we have observed in this lecture is no accident of history. Christianity is inherently a globalizing movement, and the Christian missionary movement is at the forefront of the globalizing process. The twentieth century has seen the Pentecostal movement emerge as a powerful catalyst and facilitator of globalization. In Galatians 4:4 we read: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.” Scholars are in general agreement that the fullness of time referred to here points to the ideal cultural conditions provided by the rise of Greek civilization, the pax Romana and the ethical monotheism disseminated by the Jewish Diaspora that helped promote the spread of the gospel in the first century.
Are we living in a similar time today? Does the rise of the globalization Wave suggest that heaven is gearing up for the final push to reach the world before the return of Christ? I am convinced this is so, and if we respond as we should to the leading of the Spirit, we will see a fresh surge of global Pentecostal missionary passion and power that will reach the gospel to every person in the farthest, unreached corners of our world. The Christian globalizing movement will only reach its consummation with the fulfilment of the Christian kingdom vision of all things in heaven and on earth coming together under Christ:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb … The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever (Rev.7:9a; 11:15b).
Will globalization prove to be a friend or foe in this great venture? I believe the answer depends upon our response. We need both courage and discernment the Spirit alone can give. In other words, we must be passionately Pentecostal! If we pursue the Spirit-led vision of J. Philip Hogan, we must be anchored to the rock—careful to eschew features of globalization which are at cross purposes with Kingdom principles and values. But, we will also be geared to the times—fearless in exploring where God is at work in globalization and exploiting the opportunities it offers to advance Christ’s Kingdom mission. For a movement of the Spirit, following the Wind and riding the Wave is not an option, but a necessity—critical to our future ... essential for our survival!
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_______. The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith. New York: Orbis, 2002.
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. The J. Philip Hogan World Mission Series (Springfield, MO: Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, 2006), 88. His principal commentator notes: “Hogan knew that a leader must keep his eyes on the horizon to discern emerging and often fleeting opportunities.” Everett A. Wilson, Strategy of the Spirit: J. Philip Hogan and the Growth of the Assemblies of God Worldwide, 1960-1990
(Carlisle, Cumbria: Paternoster Press, 1997), 127.
2. See Harvey Cox, “Spirits of Globalization: Pentecostalism and Experiential Spiritualities in a Global Era,” in Spirits of Globalization: The Growth of Pentecostalism and Experiential Spiritualities in a Global Age, edited by Sturla J. Stalsett, 11-22. London: SCM Press, 2006.
3. Sturla J. Stalsett, ed., Spirits of Globalization: The Growth of Pentecostalism and Experiential Spiritualities in a Global Age (London: SCM Press, 2007), 1.
4. A decade and a half earlier, Peter Wagner made this astute observation: “My research has led me to make this bold statement: In all human history, no other non-political, non-militaristic, voluntary human movement has grown as rapidly as the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement in the last 25 years.” Vinson Synan, The Spirit Said “Grow,” Innovations in Mission 4 (Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1992), ii.
5. Robbins provides an excellent summary review of the anthropological and other scholarly literature dealing with the global spread and impact of Pentecostalism. Joel Robbins, “The Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity,” Annual Review of Anthropology 33 (October 2004): 117-143.
6. Michael Pocock, Gailyn V. Rheenen, and Douglas McConnell, The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 24.
7. There appears to be no standard way of denoting this region of the world. Various terms used include: third world, two-thirds world, majority world, non-western world, and so forth. While these can sometimes be confusing, all have a context for their emergence, and for the most part, are used interchangeably in the relevant literature. While our preference is for the geographical categories: east-west, north-south, western-non-western, we are not averse to using the others terms when contextually appropriate.
8. Among the explanations offered, some look for an underlying multinational-sponsored, market-driven, capitalist conspiracy in this convergence; others see a correlation with Max Weber’s hypothesis linking the emergence of capitalism to the Protestant Ethic of Calvin following the Reformation. Stalsett, 13-15.
9. Pierard perhaps shows this most lucidly in Mark Hutchinson and Ogbu Kalu, eds. A Global Faith: Essays on Evangelicalism and Globalization (Sydney: Centre for the Study of Australian Christianity, 1998), 140-143. Also, Paul Freston, “Evangelicalism and Globalization”, 69-88 in the same work. See also David Martin, “Evangelical Expansion in Global Society,” in Christianity Reborn: The Global Expansion of Evangelicalism in the Twentieth Century, ed. Donald M. Lewis, 273-294 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 273-294; Paul Freston, “Globalization, Religion, and Evangelical Christianity: A Sociological Mediation from the Third World,” in Interpreting Contemporary Christianity: Global Processes and Local Identities. Studies in the History of Christian Missions, ed. by Ogbu U. Kalu (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 24-51.
10. Stalsett, 1-22. Although we cannot concur with the naturalistic reductionism implicit in Cox’ analysis, right-thinking Pentecostals can celebrate his implicit affirmation of the effectiveness of Pentecostal spirituality in meeting human needs at their deepest level, and its relevance to turbulent times in the twenty-first century.
11. Everett Wilson has already done this service for the Assemblies of God and the Church at large. There will doubtless be subsequent in-depth studies in days to come—necessary “alternative” readings which help us draw from the rich wisdom and seminal insights of Hogan. But this does not purport to be a study of that nature.
12. Although the term “global” is more than four hundred years old, the word “globalization” appears to have entered the English language only in the 1960s and came into common use only in the 1980s; Hutchinson and Kalu, 26. Osmer notes that the term and its cognates became academically significant in sociology, political science, economics, and communication studies only in the mid-1980s, after which it has significantly influenced the fundamentals of many academic disciplines. Max L. Stackhouse and Don S. Browning, eds. God and Globalization: The Spirit and the Modern Authorities, vol. 2 (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 2001), 37-38.
13. Wayne Ellwood, The No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization (London: Verso, 2003), 8.
14. How and where did globalization begin? Various theories exist. Some see its advent at the dawn of history itself. Others see its emergence in the modern period with the emergence of capitalism, or more recent in the post-industrial era. All, however, agree that there has been a sudden acceleration in globalization in recent years due to opportunities created by advances in technology. Richard Tiplady, ed., One World or Many? The Impact of Globalization on Mission. Globalization of Mission Series (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2003), 2-3.
15. Hiebert lists five main carriers of globalization: business and finance, global and regional governing bodies [UN, NATO, ASEAN, etc.], the academy, people movements, and popular culture; Paul G. Hiebert, Transforming World Views: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 243-246.
16. Manfred B. Steger, Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 13. For instance in Huntington’s classic work, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, he seems to view globalization in primarily cultural terms: “culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilizational identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration, and conflict in the post-Cold War world.” Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 20.
17. Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), 8-9.
18. Jonathan X. Inda and Renato Rosaldo, The Anthropology of Globalization: A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 9.
20. Roland Robertson. Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (London: Sage, 1992), 8.
22. While suggesting that the term “glocalization” may describe the end result of the process more accurately, Robertson does not want it to replace globalization; Stackhouse and Browning, God and Globalization: The Spirit and the Modern Authorities, vol. 2, 64; Hiebert does not hesitate to use the terms “glocal”/ “glocalization” to describe the world view emerging at the convergence of the globalization-localization movements; Hiebert, 241-255.
23. Murray Dempster, Byron Klaus, and Douglas Petersen, The Globalization of Pentecostalism: A Religion Made to Travel (Oxford: Regnum, 1999), 127.
24. Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith (New York: Orbis, 1996), 32.
25. Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture (New York: Orbis, 1989), 117-151.
26. Freston, “Evangelicalism and Globalization,” 72. Support for this observation can also be found in anthropological studies, such as Robbins’ description of Pentecostalism as a homogenizing cultural force that is at the same time most susceptible to indigenous appropriation and localization, although his assumption that the homogenizing impulse is western is open to debate; Robbins, 127-130.
28. Klaus and Petersen, 32.
30. Klaus and Petersen, 66.
32. J. Philip Hogan, “The Great Commission: A Continuing Mission,” Advance (1974) as quoted in Klaus and Petersen, 114.
37. These will be elaborated in greater detail and argued more closely in the subsequent lectures.
38. Andrew F. Walls and Cathy Ross, eds. Mission in the Twenty-first Century: Exploring the Five Marks of Global Missio (New York: Orbis, 2008), 118.
39. Klaus and Petersen, 77.
40. Inda and Rosaldo, 10-14.
41. Steger, 56-68; also Ohmae Kenichi, “The End of the Nation State,” in The Globalization Reader, ed. Frank J. Lechner and John Boli (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004). The next lecture will address this issue in greater detail, for it has enormous implications for the future of missions.
43. David B. Barrett, “A.D. 2000: 350 Million Christians in Africa,” International Review of Mission 59 (1970): 39-54; David B. Barrett, G. T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, eds., World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World, AD 1900-2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002); Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History; Andrew F. Walls, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith (New York: Orbis, 1996); Sanneh, Translating the Message; Mark Laing, “The Changing Face of Mission: Implications for the Southern Shift in Christianity,” Missiology: An International Review 34 (April 2006): 165-177.
44. Larry D. Pate and Lawrence E. Keyes, “Emerging Missions in a Global Church,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 10, no. 4 (October 1986): 156-161.
45. Walls, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History, 65.
46. Stackhouse and Browning, 40-41; Pocock, Rheenen, and McConnell, The Changing Face of World Missions.
47. William D. Taylor, ed. Global Missiology for the Twenty-first Century: The Iguassu Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 32; Craig Ott and Harold A. Netland, eds. Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 20-21; For a brief analysis of why and specific illustrations of how economic globalization is widening the gap between the rich and the poor, see Ellwood, 90-106.
48. Tiplady, 21; Pocock, Rheenen, and McConnell, 48.
50. Freston is one of those who sees its success as largely due to its essential quality as a counter-establishment movement which thrived among the poor and marginalized, by-passing the usual channels of wealth and power—a movement of “globalization from below.” Freston, “Evangelicalism and Globalization,” 72-74.
51. For a glimpse into the ambiguities of the relationship between the missions and colonial powers, especially examples of collusion, see Dana L. Robert, “Shifting Southward: Global Christianity Since 1945,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 24 (April 2000): 50-53.
Thursday, March 3, 2011 11:25 AM