MISSION AS FRONTIER-CROSSING AND IDENTITY FORMATION: AN INTEGRATING CONTEXTUAL MISSIOLOGY

Xolile Simon

Abstract


This paper introduces preliminary parameters of an integrating contextual
missiology (ICM). It develops the thematic and methodological aspects of cultural,
ethnic and religious frontiers and identities in mission and missiology: mission as
frontier-crossing (MCF) and mission as identity formation (MIF). The themes and
methods have evolved in classical, contextual and ecumenical mission orientations
and praxes under one or more of the four sub-fields of missiology. ICM proposes a
three-fold shift to describe and map MCF and MIF, connect the sub-fields, and
allude to the integration of aspects from other disciplines. The first shift is from a
‘missional theology’, which tends to be all encompassing, a-contextual and pragmatic,
to a missional ‘theology-crossing frontiers.’ The approach is grounded on,
amongst others, (1) a theology of mission and (2) a theology of religion. Both subfields
wrestle with the tension among mission Dei, MFC and MIF. The second shift
is from a history of mission which duplicates themes from church history and
focuses exclusively on missionary or denominational histories to (3) a missional
hermeneutic as a critical mission historiography. It can be applied to delineate and
analyse historical and contemporary case studies of MFC and MIF in three
important phases of a historical theology of mission: ‘mission history’, ‘World
Christianity’ and ‘Global Christianity.’ The last shift is from general theories of
mission practices and pragmatic strategies of congregations to (4) theologicalhermeneutical
and empirical-missiological approach. It focuses on the patterns of
events and narratives in mission praxes of social, ethnic and religious strangers
(e.g. indigenous or migrant witnesses) in local and global contexts. New directions
from this approach, an integral part of the ICM of the future, have emerged from the
past and current patterns of MFC and MIF – the hubs of missional education and
formation of individuals and congregations.

Keywords


Contextual Missiology, Theology of Mission, Theology of Religion, Missional Hermeneutic

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/100-0-657

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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