Paternal or Fraternal Relationship?

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by MikeinGhana, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    Have you noticed either one of these ralationships between missionaries and foreign nationals on the field? In other words, do you see most missionaries treating the nationals as brothers in Christ on equal footing or as a Father to his weaker child?

    In my opinion, this is a crucial matter to consider when talking about effective missions endeavors.
     
  2. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    No experience here - but which relationship do you think would be better? In truth, I see advantages in both. Is it possible to exercise both relationships at the same time - until they're off and running on their own?
     
  3. Mexdeaf

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    In our area of fellowship in Mexico, definitely as brothers. We have a national fellowship and the leadership is composed of both missionaries and national pastors. The current president of the fellowship is a national, and we would like to keep it that way.

    The fraternal relationship will never build indigenous churches, IMO.
     
  4. Mexdeaf

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    Nope. They must be taught to rely on the Father in heaven. Anything else is the arm of flesh. They must be taught their responsibility is to Christ as the head of the church, not the missionary. If they never get that they never get 'off and running on their own'.
     
  5. Squire Robertsson

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    I think you mean paternal. The root of my foreign missons philosophy has always been:
    Not that I've ever been able to put it into practice.
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    Double post!
     
  7. Mexdeaf

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    Squire,

    You are quite correct, I did mean 'Paternal'. Clutch slipped a little bit as I engaged the gears there. Thanks for setting me straight and- our missions philosophies concur.
     
  8. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    The only problem is, depending on the field, working yourself out of a job takes longer in some places than in others. So, your Mileage May Vary.
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    Squire,

    Truth- however, I would say that more than the field, it depends on what type of people group you are working with. With the deaf on any given field it will take longer to train laborers and become unemployed than it will with the hearing. Will take longer with a tribe in the lagoons of the Philippines than with a group of urbanites in Manila.
     
  10. USN2Pulpit

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    Nope. They must be taught to rely on the Father in heaven. Anything else is the arm of flesh. They must be taught their responsibility is to Christ as the head of the church, not the missionary. If they never get that they never get 'off and running on their own'. </font>[/QUOTE]These are all good thoughts - and I heartily agree with them. But still, doesn't saying "they must be taught..." implicate something a father would do for his child? Do you see what I'm saying? And didn't even Paul consider Timothy his "son" in the ministry - so to speak? I speak of the instruction, protection, and guidance a father would give a son here - not that we should set ourselves up as authority. Are there any among us that would even hesitate to provide these things for new believers - or new pastors? As a relatively new pastor (3 years) I would welcome *some* of the elements of a "father" relationship.

    Please understand what I'm saying.
     
  11. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    USN, I do understand what you are saying. Doctrinally we are all brothers in Christ. Sometimes because of accountability the relationship tends to take on a life of its own, not always for the best either. In the home the husband is to lead and take certain responsibilities. That does not make him any more important or better than the wife. Without the wife there would be no marriage. The same goes for the missionary/national relationship, to a degree. The responsibilities are different in some cases and some fields of service.

    I work with some very young men and some very old men. Some of the men I work with I treat them as father because they are older and in some cases much more experienced than I. Some I treat as sons because they need my guidance and sometimes my chastening. Some I treat as a brother because they are my peer in almost every way.

    How do you men see this?
     
  12. John of Japan

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    I understand what you are saying, USN2Pulpit. Paul also wrote in 1 Cor. 4:15, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."

    The term paternalism brings up the idea of arrogance when it is used in connection with missions. But there is a Biblical paternalism in which the national feels a debt of love to the missionary for winning him to Christ, teaching him the Word, etc.

    Japanese has a word, "onshi," which means loosely, "the teacher I have a debt to." It is used by the Japanese to refer to a mentor they owe a debt of love to. If we as missionaries imitate Paul, we will mentor such nationals. If this is fraternalism, I'm all for it.

    "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved" (2 Cor. 12:15).
     
  13. Mexdeaf

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    Nope. They must be taught to rely on the Father in heaven. Anything else is the arm of flesh. They must be taught their responsibility is to Christ as the head of the church, not the missionary. If they never get that they never get 'off and running on their own'. </font>[/QUOTE]These are all good thoughts - and I heartily agree with them. But still, doesn't saying "they must be taught..." implicate something a father would do for his child? Do you see what I'm saying? And didn't even Paul consider Timothy his "son" in the ministry - so to speak? I speak of the instruction, protection, and guidance a father would give a son here - not that we should set ourselves up as authority. Are there any among us that would even hesitate to provide these things for new believers - or new pastors? As a relatively new pastor (3 years) I would welcome *some* of the elements of a "father" relationship.

    Please understand what I'm saying.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Okay, Brother USN2Pulpit, I get your meaning here. I was thinking MikeinGhana was referring to those few (I hope) overbearing missionaries who think God and the nationals could not do their job without them.
     
  14. MikeinGhana

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    Yes, Mexdeaf, I really do believe there are few who practice that over bearing John Wayne mentality among missionaries. I was just interested in generating some discussion on it. I really think all that has been said so far has been very profitable. A lot of thought has gone into the answers. Thanks guys.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    One of those "John Wayne" types I know who was here previously in Japan ended up doing some financial shenanigans with church money, being fired from the church he started and let go from the mission board. Great damage can be done.
     

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