Vinodh Ramachandra has produced another excellent polemic. In Reformed Amnesia? he presents another side of Calvin, even proposing him as “the first liberation theologian” as well as praising the way in which the Catholic Church (for all its failings) has become a voice for justice and peace.
The part of the post most Western Evangelical Christians will find most difficult is his blistering critique of “missions”. The example he gives is distant from most of my readers, but he neatly skewers the arrogant cultural imperialism that stains the story and the present of Western Missionary activity.
I was interested to read Richard, a commenter, claim that Langham is different. I suspect most Christian missionary and aid organisations in the West would swiftly claim to be different. (Though surely they can’t all be out of step ;) From what I have heard and seen Langham1 is indeed less imperialistic. They certainly (like many other agencies) try to minimise the inherent risks. But rather than (as Richard wants to do) seeking to exonerate “our” mission it would be so much better to listen to Vinodh and seek to identify the places and actions where we are in danger of falling back into colonialist ways. (Or in the case of Koreans, neo-colonialist ways ;)
Is it appropriate to point to Vinodh’s post on Good Friday? Surely a time when we remember all that God sacrificed (gave up) to be our saviour is just the time to examine ourselves and ask how far we cling to our petty wealth and the power it gives us? The cross is the ultimate sign of mission as weakness and gift.
- I am picking on Langham partly because “Richard” raised their banner in his comment, and partly because I have had direct and indirect contact with their work recently. [↩]