The Pentecostal movement as represented in breakthrough international : an expression of Missio Dei? : a contribution to an experiental pneumatology of mission.
Meyer, Lutz Eugen Robert.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis critically evaluates the experiential missionary practice of Breakthrough International (BCI), an African charismatic Church, from a perspective of Missio Dei, a modem paradigm of mission conceptualized by ecumenical missiology. BCI, within its African world view, where the spiritual is tangibly real, has grown out of its experience of the Spirit, the divine principle of origin and normal experience of faith. Theological academic discourse, bound to an enlightenment concept of truth within a modem Cartesian world view, can reasonably access and evaluate BCl's experience of the divine as proper source for theological discourse through BCl's narrative. Missio Dei, a response to the old church centered paradigm of mission, redefines mission as an activity of God, in which the mission centered church participates. God's mission unfolds in (post)modern history transformed through Christ's coming to an eschatological reality. It is realized as such by the local congregation in (post)secular times, acknowledging God's preferential option for the poor and aims to humanize and liberate the world. God's mission is mediated through culture, and through contextualization creates a polycentric cultural identity of the gospel modeled after Christ's incarnation. It is in as much contextual as it is culture critical. BCI resembles Missio Dei in a very limited fashion. The difference in world views, and its focus on personal experience, creates an uncritical paradigm of mission aiming to save the believer not the world. With little regard for the history of mission BCI wants to rewrite personal (hi)story without involving itself in world history imposing a spiritual agenda upon the world from the perspective of those who are victimized by history. Though it represents the poor it doesn't grasp Christ's incarnation and its implications for an understanding of the struggle of the poor as an issue of theology proper. Poverty is spiritualized to a matter of personal piety. BCI does not appreciate the contextuality of the gospel but understanding it as above culture. It creates a Christian subculture in limited corrilliunion with the church universal, very reluctant to involve itself in the public domain. Our dialogue with BCl's narrative form of theology acknowledges that modem, ecumenical missiology needs to rediscover the experience of the Spirit as source of mission; yet BCI needs to develop a theology which makes use of scripture, tradition, and reason in order to find a broader and sustainable understanding of its experience of the divine. As required by university regulations, I hereby state unambiguously that this study, unless specifically indicated to the contrary in the text, is my own original work. In accordance with the regulations of the University I request to take note that this thesis exceeds the recommended length for a doctoral dissertation. This has been unavoidable since the central question of this study deals with the experience of the Spirit in an African world view and assesses this experience from a modem Cartesian academic world view with special reference to Missio Dei. I have spelled out in detail (cf. pages 11-15 "The plan of the thesis") how incompatible those two world views are and that this incompatibility requires an intensive discussions with respect to the central issues of this thesis (especially Epistemology and Missio Dei). I therefore request the reader to bear with me as I try to move through the problems posed by the complexity of the main question.