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Page 1

A BIBLICAL

APPROACH TO
SOCIAL

TRANSFORMATION




BY GEORGE
ROBERT

BELLINGHAM

Page 2

PART II


A TRAINING MANUAL ON

A BIBLICAL APPROACH TO SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION


Introduction for Students and Teachers
Description
Student
Alternative Patterns for Studying the Course
Guidelines for Course Leaders

Old Testament Themes for Social Transformation Studies

Study 1. The Foundation of Creation: God's Intention for the World
Study 2. The Exodus Event: Liberation Then and Now
Study 3. The Legislative Model: Making Good Laws
Study 4. The Equality Model: Helping the Poor Participate
Study 5. The Bureaucratic Model: Problems and Potential in the Top-Down
Approach
Study 6. The Justice Question: Biblical Perspectives and Current Issues
Study 7. The Wisdom Literature: Perspectives on Poverty
Study 8. The Issue of Culture: Discovering roots and Retaining Identity
Study 9. The Reconstruction Model: Rebuilding Cities and Communities
Study 10. The Messianic Vision: Dreams and Dreamers

New Testament Perspectives on Social Transformation

Study 11. The Incarnation Approach: Radical Identification
Study 12. The Kingdom Model: Priorities in Mission
Study 13. The Discipleship Model: The Training Methods of Jesus, Paul,
and Paulo Friere
Study 14. The Sharing Model: Eliminating Poverty
Study 15. The Servanthood Pattern of Leadership: Foot-washing and
Feasting
Study 16. The Democratic Model: Using Spiritual Gifts in Community
Study 17. The Strategy of Mission: How to Spread the Good News
Study 18. The Holistic Approach: Marrying Evangelism and Social Action
Study 19. The Ecclesiastical Question: Church and Parachurch Roles
Study 20. The Eschaton: Anticipating the Future

Case Studies in Social Transformation

1. East of Eden: People as Participants or Pawns
2. The Rag Pickers: Options for the Urban Unskilled
3. Evangelism and Social Action: Thirsty Souls and Drilling Wells
4. A Parish Among Prodigals: The Story of Divya Shanti
5. When the Sky Falls Down: Responding to Disasters








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Page 110

TRANSFORMATION: THE KINGDOM MODEL


STUDY 12: PRIORITIES IN MISSION


The Centrality of the Kingdom in the Teaching of Jesus

"I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God, for I was sent for this purpose" (Lk.
4:43).

"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching
the gospel of the Kingdom" (Mt. 9:35).

"It is well known that Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God. According to the Synoptic
Gospels, the Kingdom was the major theme of His sermons and parables" (CRESR Report,
1982).


One writer describes the importance of this theme with the words:

The central aspect of the teaching of Jesus was that concerning the Kingdom of
God. Of this there can be no doubt and today no scholar does in fact, doubt it.
Jesus appeared as one who proclaimed the Kingdom; all else in His message
and ministry serves a function in relation to that proclamation and derives its
meaning from it.

'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand' (Mt. 4:17)...with these words the
first two evangelists sum up the whole message of Jesus. (Bornkamm, 1960, p.
7)


The message of Jesus centers upon the Kingdom of God. Altogether, the three Synoptic
Gospels contain approximately 114 references to the Kingdom of God.


The Signs of the Kingdom


At the consultation of the relationship between evangelism and social responsibility in 1982
(CRESR), evangelical scholars suggested seven signs of the presence of the Kingdom. They
are:
1. Jesus in the midst of His people.
2. The preaching of the gospel.
3. Exorcism.
4. Miracles of healing and control over nature.
5. The miracle of conversion and new birth.
6. The "fruit of the spirit": in the lives of Christians.
7. Suffering.

These features therefore should be present in programs seeking to extend and demonstrate
the presence, reality, and priority of the Kingdom in human communities. In the development
program you work in or know, state how much these signs feature in the planning and practice
of the organization or project. State your assessments as percentages.

Page 111

Images of the Kingdom

There are three basic contexts for the stories Jesus told. Some parables are set in the
marketplace, others in the countryside, and yet others in the home.

1) Commercial Images
a) A hidden treasure (Mt. 13).
b) A valuable pearl (Mt. 13).
c) A catch of fish (Mt. 13).
d) A king settling accounts (Mt. 18).
e) A rich man challenged to share his wealth (Mt. 19; Mk. 10; Lk. 10).
f) House builders (Mt. 7).
g) A reward for faithfulness and fruitfulness (Mt. 21).
h) Managers (Mt. 25; Lk. 19).

2) Agricultural Images
a) A farmer sowing seeds (Mt. 13; Mk. 4; Lk. 8)
b) A field of wheat and weeds (Mt. 13; Mk 4)
c) Mustard seeds and shrubs (Mt. 4; Lk. 13).
d) Helpless sheep (Mt. 9).
e) An abundant harvest (Mt. 9).
f) Tenants of a vineyard (Mt. 21).

3) Family Images.
a) A housewife preparing bread (Mt. 13, Lk. 13).
b) A child with implicit faith (Mt. 18, Mk. 9, Lk. 9).
c) Conflict between service and status (Mt. 20, Mk. 10)
d) Offering a cup of water to the helpless (Mt. 10, 25; Mk. 9).
e) A marriage feast (Mt. 22; Lk. 14).
f) Guests at a wedding (Mt. 25; Mk. 13; Lk. 12;).
g) Providing food, shelter, and clothing (Mt. 25; Lk. 12).

Choose one image from each group and, beginning with the words, "The Kingdom of Heaven
is like..." write a parable in your own words. Repeat the exercise with another image not in
the above list.

Another analysis of the parables notes that there are 61 in total, highlighting 34 persons (the
Good Samaritan etc.), 156 things (four soils etc.), seven plants (mustard seeds etc.) and four
animals (lost sheep etc.).


Stories as a Medium for Conveying Truth


Having recognized the centrality of the idea of the Kingdom in the teaching of Jesus and the
range of image He used to describe the Kingdom, this study now looks briefly at the form in
which this teaching was given.

The characteristic beginning for Jesus' instructions about the Kingdom was, "The Kingdom of
Heaven is like..." This was the literary form for a parable. Today the term "illustration" or
simply "story" would be used to describe the same thing. Jesus was a master story teller. He

Page 219

Yoder, J.H. (1972). The Politics of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.



PERIODICALS

Bangladesh Quarterly. Dhaka: BRAC

India Cultures. Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur, M.P.

Indica. Heras Institute of Indian History and culture, Bombay: St. Xaviers college.

Indian Church History Review. Bombay: Asian Trading co.

Indian Journal of Theology. Calcutta: Bishop’s College.

Indian Missiological Review. Bombay: Asian Trading co.

Indian Theological Studies. Bangalore: St. Peters Pontifical Institute.

International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Ventnor, USA: Overseas Ministries
Study Centre.

Mustard Seeds. Bangalore: EFICOR Training Unit.

Sojourners. Washington D.C.

Transformation. Exeter: Paternoster.



CONFERENCE REPORTS

An Evangelical Agenda 1984 and Beyond. (December 1979( Wheaton: Billy Graham
Center: Continuing Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns.

Christian Conference of Asia. 1984 meetings report, Singapore: CCA.

Christian Mission and Social Transformation. (January 1985) Zimbabwe: sixth
International Association of Missions Studies.

Global 2000 Report to the President. 1980 Washington: U.S. Government.

The Gospel and Urbanization. 1980 Ventnor: Overseas ministries Study Center.

The Encounter of the Church with Movements of Social Change in Various Cultural
contexts. 1975m 1977, 1979. Switzerland: Bossy Ecumenical Institute Geneva.

The Future of the Missionary Enterprise. 1970 to 1980 New York: IDOC

Page 220

Is Liberation Theology for North America? The Response of First World Churches in
America. 1975, 1977, 1979. Switzerland: Bossy Ecumenical Institute Geneva.

The Future of the Missionary Enterprise. 1970 to 1980 New York: IDOC

Is Liberation Theology for North America? The Response of First World Church in
America. 1975



THESES

Cook, W. (1982). The Expectation of the Poor: A Protestant Missiological Study of the
Catholic “communicades de base” in Brazil. Pasadena: Fuller Theological
Seminary.

McPherson, J.T. (1985). John Mason Peck: A Conversionist Methodology for Social
Transformation of the American Frontier. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, South
Western Baptist Seminary, Louisville.

Ruiz, L.E.J. (1985). Toward a Transformative Politics: A Quest for Authentic Political
Subjecthood. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Princeton Theological Seminary.

Stevens, R.J. (1985). Suffering as a Key to Social and Political Transformation in South
Africa. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Princeton Theological Seminary.

COURSES

A Biblical Basis for Development. (1982). Dhaka: Heed.

Biblical Models for Social Transformation. (1984). Bangalore: Evangelical Fellowship
of India Commission on Relief.

Jesus the Liberator. (1978). Bangalore: TAFTEE.

Poverty and Development. (1980). Bangalore: TAFTEE.

Understanding the Bible Today. (1983). Bangalore: TAFTEE.

Working Together for Health. (1984). Bangalore: TAFTEE.



UNPUBLISHED PAPERS

Azariah, L.V. (1986). Indian Perspectives on Tomorrow’s Mission. Read at O.M.S.C.
Ventnor, January 20, 1986.

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