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REACHING THERAVADA BUDDHISTS

Article by ALEX G.SMITH: INSIGHTS FOR FRONTIER MISSIONS TO THERAVADA BUDDHISTS

Missiological weaknesses
1. Mission Strategy. Often under the colonial period, the “mission station approach”
was common. In its time, it may have been the only viable way to help Christians
survive and to get the Church started. But the “gathered, conglomerate,” often
separates converts from their people and society and seldom has had a major
impact on the core of Buddhist people groups. Christian missions and their churches
were seen as outside intrusions and foreign imports to be avoided like the plague.
Frequently, converts were considered traitors.

Another weakness common to the late 19th and early 20th century was in
philosophy of ministry. To “civilize” and to “Christianize” were thought to be
synonymous, so mission was deeply involved in both. In the process, a major
tension arose between evangelism and education. Which should come first?
Which should have priority? In my book, Siamese Gold, I give a case study of what
happened in Northern Thailand 1914-1940.6 A change of priority in policy and
strategy emphasized schools, education and institutions to the detriment of a
growing movement of the churches among the Buddhist population. The strong
movement was arrested, or rather, a ripe harvest was largely neglected and died
on the vine for lack of pastoral care.

The new policy, to educate the Buddhists first so they may be better evangelized
later, curtailed reaping the already receptive harvest in progress. As funds, personnel,
and even national evangelists and pastors were transferred into the institutional work,
the churches struggled on, but the harvest of over 16,000 newly baptized people was
lost. While the Church could have tripled its 1914 membership in the North by 1940,
its growth rate dropped and plateaued.

Please click here to read the complete INSIGHTS FOR FRONTIER MISSIONS TO
THERAVADA BUDDHISTS – BY ALEX G.SMITH HERE……

Posted by on May 10 2013. Filed under Missions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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