Topics: Jesus, Christianity, Christianity in the 1st century Pages: 14 (5591 words) Published: April 23, 2013
The purpose of this paper is as stated: “Doing Missions in a Pluralistic Society,” to be specific, the concept of strategy in mission works where Christianity is one religion among many. It is the intention of this writer to examine such purpose in light of Scriptures that deals in this area, namely the book of Acts, with the focus of establishing factors that hope to contribute to the success of Christianity. To this we wish to simply state that doing missions within a pluralistic society is nothing new in the overall picture of church history, in the overall demography of the world, and especially during the time of the apostles. In fact throughout church history and through many mission endeavors, “pluralism” has been present the whole time. A pluralistic society is nothing new to Christianity. Given, it is possible that the apostles were not necessarily aware of engaging any strategy in a premeditated accord to evangelize their world, nevertheless, conclusions can be drawn out that such strategies were inherent in their works by divine providence. This, we seek to establish. But first, what is pluralism? It is important to note the definition of pluralism in this context. Leslie Mark provides this definition: “A pluralistic society is one in which diverse ethnic, racial, religious or social groups live and maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture within the confines of a common civilization.” Wong Wai Ching Angela, of the world council of churches Asia plenary, provides another definition: “It describes an attitude of accepting difference and diversity across a very broad possible range of value and practices in different cultures across diverse communities. It does not only join Marxist, feminist, post colonialist critique of class, gender, imperial, racial, and religio-ethnic oppression, it is also an exercise of freeing from fixed positions or judgment, and refraining from seeking universal or totalizing explanation of people and the world.” The Indian philosopher and historian, Raimundo Panikkar, defines pluralism as existential acceptance of the other as the other, i.e. without being able to understand or to co-opt her or him. It is important to note the uniformity of these definitions: diversity within a community, plurality of ethnic practices and cultures, respect and toleration, and the freedom to exercise and maintain different traditional cultures within the confines of one society. When we talk about pluralism, though, it is important to note that there are different senses of its usage. First of all, there is empirical pluralism, a simple reference to the fact there is a plurality of culture, ethnicity, religion, and life style within one society. It is reference to a fact that is a reality with or without our awareness or approval. Essential to this pluralism is religious toleration. Without toleration, there can be no pluralism. Secondly, there is cherished pluralism, a celebration of the reality of empirical pluralism for the sole reason that it increases the individual’s freedom of choice and upholds the basic human right of freedom. Cherishing and encouraging this kind of pluralism is seen as leading to more tolerance and less conflict between differing groups. What this outlook does not tolerate is a claim to have universal truth. Thus religious proselyting especially Christian evangelism is frowned upon. Thirdly, there is what is known as philosophical pluralism. This term covers a variety of views, but they are united by their denial that any particular religious or ideological view is superior to others, or can claim to be absolute truth. The philosophical basis for this has become known as post-modernism because it promotes that each of us can constructs our own narrative, or reality. The “meta-narratives” of old which gives an explanation to the world are denied. There is no one narrative that is superior. In fact, there is no objective meaning....
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