Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Fourth rule for dialogue: Identification

My friend, Piet Meiring, who wrote the original article which I am using as basis for what I am writing here, is of the opinion that this may indeed be the most difficult thing to do should you wish to go into dialogue with someone of another religion. With “identification” Max Warren means that you should put yourself into the person’s shoes that you are speaking with so that you can really understand how such a person thinks. Max Warren refers to the prophet Ezekiel who was sent to his own people, yet we read in Ezekiel 3:15: “I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days – overwhelmed.” First of all Ezekiel entered into the presence of the exiles and then he became overwhelmed by what he saw there – he started feeling what they were feeling.
Max Warren puts it in these words: “You and I cannot bring men to Christ by whistling to them at a distance. We have to go and meet them, as God does, and psychologically speaking this means coming to them imaginatively where they imagine themselves to be.” Or in the words of the apostle Paul we have to become a Jew for the Jews if we want to win them for Christ.
Obviously I often wonder how my friend in Russia is doing. I haven’t heard from him for some time, but then I know that he is extremely busy (he is an engineer) and very often not able to reply to email. His circumstances is that he grew up in communist times in Russia. His mother is a “believer” and he considers his father also to have been a believer. His father was an officer in the Soviet army. One evening my friend entered a room in their apartment in which his mother had placed an “icon” in front of which she prayed. That evening he found his father kneeling in front of this icon and his father was also praying. He got a great fright when he saw this, because he realised that, if his father was seen doing this, he would probably be captured and sentenced as army officers were not allowed to be “believers” – they were supposed to be atheist. After he finished school, his mother advised him to forget about religious issues. “Believers” were not allowed to go to university and she wanted him to get a good education – which he did.
After listening to this story I realised that a great miracle would have to take place in his life if he should come to faith in Christ. Of course, faith is always a miracle, but when listening to him I realised that I have no right to condemn him for not believing yet. Hopefully my attitude would one day be remembered by him, should he ever come to the point of accepting Christ as Saviour.


Thursday, May 17, 2007 - Posted by | Dialogue, Theology

1 Comment »

  1. […]      Fourth Rule:  Identification:   Click Here […]

    Pingback by 7 Rules of Dialoguing – MMM — Munson Mission Musings | Thursday, July 21, 2016 | Reply

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