Exploring a Paradigm Shift in Evangelical Mission with Particular Reference to Microfinance
The Lausanne congress of 1974 marked the widespread adoption of integral mission as essential to the evangelical witness of Christ in our world. Ever since there has been ongoing debate as to the roles of evangelism and social action. In this book Oddvar Sten Ronsen argues that instead of the priority of evangelism over social action there should be the anticipation of evangelism as a result of social action. Although evangelism and social action may not occur at the same time, the author warns of the possibility of “mission drift,” where projects begin with the intention of meeting the social and spiritual needs of the people, but fail to proceed to evangelism. In succumbing to this mission drift, projects cease to be true to the principles of integral mission.
Combining theological reflection with case studies of microfinance enterprises in the Philippines and Thailand, Ronsen evaluates the sustainability of, and social good delivered by, these Christian projects to the communities they serve. The research sheds light on the causes of a drift from integral mission, how these can be managed and whether microfinance can be a bridge for the gospel.
This fine and important study provides readers with a first-class treatment of the role of microfinance in Christian mission. Ronsen is very well placed to write this, as someone with long experience and strong expertise in microfinance. He has given us a thoughtful and engaging book which locates microfinance within a holistic view of Christian mission, rooted in the Lausanne Movement’s concern for integral mission. He also provides two excellent in-depth case studies of the strengths and challenges of Christian microfinance in developing world contexts. This book will inform, engage, provoke and inspire readers: I commend it most warmly.
Professor of New Testament,
St Mary’s University, Twickenham
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 A Theological Perspective
- 2.1 Brief Background to the Development of the Integral Mission Concept
- 2.2 The Process toward a Concept of Integral Mission in Evangelical Theology
- 2.3 Issues Related to Proclamation in Integral Mission
- 2.4 Some Effects of the Lausanne Process
- 2.5 The Need for a Final Clarification of the Integral Mission Concept
- 2.6 Conclusion
- 3 Microfinance in Christian Mission and Perceived Effects on the Poor
- 3.1 Microfinance
- 3.2 A Biblical Context for “the Poor” in Microfinance
- 3.3 The Nature of Poverty
- 3.4 Targeting Material Poverty Reduction in Microfinance
- 3.5 Microfinance: Does It Help the Poor?
- 3.6 Christian Microfinance
- 3.7 Conclusion
- 4 The Viability of Microfinance as a Platform for Christian Integral Mission
- 4.1 The Philippine Microfinance Industry and the Issue of Mission Drift
- 4.2 Thailand and “Step Ahead”
- 4.3 Summary of Case Studies
- 5 Summary and Conclusions