The Acts 15 agenda
AbstractIn this paper we argue that the missional renewal of the church is integrally linked to its cross-cultural diffusion. The cue for this hypothesis is taken from Acts 15 and the letter to the Ephesians. After explaining what the Acts 15 agenda implies, the paper argues that the decline of Christianity in the West is linked to the absence of a multi-cultured Christianity caused by the long period in which the Christendom paradigm deformed Christianity’s theological DNA structure. The question is then asked what the missionary movement can teach us about the decline in typical mainline denominations and in Western Christianity. Three more specific hypotheses are then proposed to explain the growth and decline of typical mainline denominations anywhere in the world as well as in South Africa from 1911 to 1996. The point is then made that the situation can only be remedied if we look at the way we do theology and if we make room for the Acts 15 agenda and the Ephesian model. The continuing conversion of the church is linked to not making proselytes but by giving converts the freedom to inculturate the gospel. This should happen everywhere since culture is never static; it is always in a process of evolution.
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