Seventh rule for dialogue: Expectancy
Max Warren’s last rule for dialogue is focussed on hope. When two people enter into dialogue, the Christian may and should have a certain expectancy – but not only the expectance of the other person’s conversion, although we can surely have this hope and expectancy as well. But there is much more that is happening while the dialogue is taking place. Some of the things which Warren mentions are the following:
- I am going to learn something about the other person. The other person is not a representative of a certain religion or even atheism in the first place. This is a person and the longer we speak, the more I learn about him / her and the more I learn about myself.
- The more I speak the more I learn about God
- I will learn more about the Bible
- I will learn more about the Holy Spirit as I have to become totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit within this dialogue. The author of the article mentions something written by the famous missiologist, Lesslie Newbigin, (which I have used in a sermon on Acts 10 myself). When Peter meets Cornelius to explain the gospel of Christ to this man, something happens in both of their lives. Cornelius comes to faith in Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit causes a breakthrough in the life of Peter which literally changes the world when Peter realises that God makes no distinction between man.
- I will also realise that God is truly in control of the world. It is not by chance that we have started this dialogue. This was part of a much bigger plan which God has and I have become part of this plan
- Throughout the dialogue I also have the hope of the returning of Christ. In more academic language: Mission and eschatology always goes hand in hand.
For the time being I will end the topic on dialogue. I would like to write something about partnering (or “twinning” as it is also known) in mission. Our family lives are still a bit hectic, following the death of my mother in law, but I will try and post something on this tomorrow. This seems to be quite a hot topic in other mission blogs as well.