Editor’s Note

Journal
06.30.2009

A country can only export what it manufactures. That's a pretty basic principle. But now apply that principle to the topic of missions: if generations of American churches have been characterized by pragmatic church growth principles, what would you expect to see characterizing their overseas missions endeavors?

Okay, so maybe American missions work is driven by the same kind of pragmatism that characterizes so many American churches. Is that really such a big deal? Well, stop and consider the differences between planting pragmatically-driven churches in America versus planting them in most Majority World contexts. Such churches in America have the luxury of building themselves upon the foundations of a culture imbued with several hundred years of Christian influence and ethical norms. Fill a room with nominal Christians, as pragmatically-driven churches do, and you still have a dame that looks half way decent. She'll dress up alright.

Now build that same church with those same pragmatic principles, yielding once again a room filled with nominal Christians, but do it in a country with strong traditions in polygamy, or animal sacrifice, or ancestor worship, or Islamic chauvinism, or Hindu castes, or nepotistic social structures, or so on. Build it on the shoulders of leaders who didn't grow up in Sunday School and were not groomed in seminary classrooms with tall genealogical trees, where orthodoxy, even if it's doubted, has been defended in book after book after book. What should we expect of this church? I've been around the Majority World block enough times to suspect something very different, indeed.

Philip Jenkins and now others have checked the stats and told us that global Christianity is moving South and East. But are they talking about "Christians" saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone? Some would probably tell me that these questions are rooted in arrogant, West-centric assumptions. But am I allowed to raise questions?

Andy Johnson kicks off this 9Marks eJournal by pointing to the problem of pragmatism in missiology today, which is the primary concern we want to raise. The pseudonymous "Ed Roberts" and "Doug Coleman," both workers in sensitive contexts, review popular but problematically pragmatic resources. Yet another anonymous overseas worker thoughtfully engages the related subjects of contextualization and lying. Both of these articles are highly recommended.

More practical matters are described in the articles on partnerships and what three churches are actually doing. Really practical matters are provided in the tool kit. Conrad Mbewe's especially is a must read.

In all this, we pray that these articles and the recommended resources help your church more faithfully engage with God's work around the world.

By:
Jonathan Leeman

Jonathan Leeman is the Editorial Director of 9Marks, and an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Cheverly, Maryland. You can find him on Twitter at @JonathanLeeman.

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning

December 2019

The Heart of the Gospel: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

August 2019
Purchase a Print Edition
Church Membership: Following the Lord Together

Church Membership: Following the Lord Together

May 2019
Purchase a Print Edition

Ecclesiology for Calvinists

February 2019
Purchase a Print Edition
The Pastor and Pornography

The Pastor and Pornography

October 2018
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoral Burnout: Its Causes & Cures

July 2018
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Life: Our True Political Witness

Spring 2018
Purchase on Amazon

Church Discipline: Medicine for the Body

January 2018
Purchase on Amazon

The Reformation and Your Church

Fall 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Mergers and Plants

Summer 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Singles

Spring 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Healthy Churches around the World

Fall / Winter 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Authority: God’s Good and Dangerous Gift

Summer/Fall 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

The Church Praying

Spring 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Confessions, Covenants, and Constitutions: How to Organize Your Church

Winter 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Missions: Adding Wisdom to Zeal

December 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Multi-Ethnic Churches

Summer/Fall 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Expositional Preaching

Spring 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Complementarianism & the Local Church

Winter 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Vanishing Church?

Fall 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Biblical Theology: Guardian and Guide of the Church

Summer 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

The Church Singing

May–June 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Prosperity Gospel

January–February 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Evangelism – Part 2

November–December 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Evangelism – Part 1

September–October 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Is Scripture Enough?

July–August 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Church and Churches

May—June 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Christians for the Workplace

March—April 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide—Part 2

Jan—Feb 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide – Part 1

November—December 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Discipling in the Church

September—October 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Mercy Ministry in the Church

July—August 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Wanted: Apostolic Pastors

May—June 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

The Underestimated Doctrine of Conversion

March—April 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Don’t Be Too Cool for Sunday School

January—February 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Revitalize: Why We Must Reclaim Dying Churches—and How

November—December 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

The Pastor and his Staff, Part 2

September—October 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

The Pastor and his Staff, Part 1

July—August 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Membership: Holding the Body Together

May—June 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Church and Parachurch: Friends or Foes?

March—April 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoral Moves

January—February 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Book Reviews on the Mission of the Church

November—December 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

Hell: Remembering the Awful Reality

September—October 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Women

July—August 2010
Purchase a Print Edition
Journal about Deacons

Deacons

May - June 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

A New Evangelical Liberalism

January—February 2010

Church Discipline (Part 2)

November—December 2009

Church Discipline (Part 1)

September—October 2009

Missions

July—August 2009

Multi-site Churches

May—June 2009

Young Pastors

March–April 2009

Raising Up the Next Generation of Pastors

January–February 2009

Counseling in the Church

November–December 2008

Family & Parenting

September–October 2008

Marriage & Pastor’s Wives

July—August 2008

Living As a Church

May–June 2008

Cooperation

March–April 2008

Corporate Prayer

January–February 2008

Church & Culture

November–December 2007

Race and Ethnicity

September—October 2007

The Gospel

July–August 2007

Preaching

May–June 2007

Elders (Part 2)

March–April 2007

Hospitality & Friendship

January 2007

Elders (Part 1)

February 2007

Biblical Theology

November–December 2006

The Church’s Mission

October 2006

The Emerging Church

September 2006

Miscellaneous Articles

December 1999