Area Studies

What can we learn by comparing practices and customs in different societies around the world?

Photo credit: Britt Reints - Flickr

Posts tagged Animism
A History of the Gospel in Papua New Guinea: Factors in Faulty Discipleship

by Chris Brittain

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), biblical discipleship has been handicapped by the way the gospel was presented to the people by early missionaries. In the past it seemed rare for missionaries to be aware that they had interpreted the gospel through their own cultural lens and that there were serious distortions as a result. They assumed that their task was to get natives to abandon their heathen culture and exchange it for theirs. As a result, the church they planted was not a truly indigenous church because tribal peoples were discouraged from finding answers to their own questions that arose from their animistic worldview. Instead Bible teachers encouraged them to adopt the values and arbitrary customs of Westerners with regards to music, dress, worship patterns etc. As a result, there is a need for a “Missional Discipleship Movement (MDM)” within the church to help believers to discover for themselves what it means for the “Word to become flesh” in the PNG setting.

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African Traditional Beliefs and Development

by Chris Ampadu

The African lives in a religious universe. Religious tradition influences thoughts and actions, determining practically every aspect of life, including moral behavior. This essay concludes with the observation that African indigenous cultures and traditions have generally not promoted scientific inquiry or the development and adaptation of new technologies. Because African cultures tend to emphasize communalism, the people have a hard time accumulating enough wealth to build large enterprises.

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