Expert Answer:The missionary movement in Christian history

  

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Midterm Prompt
Your midterm paper will be a minimum of 3-4 pages long. It can be longer! It should use 11 or 12 point
font, be double-spaced or one and a half spaced, and have standard margins. You must turn in your
paper on SafeAssign through iLearn. You do not need to print a physical copy of your paper. Grades for
late papers may go down up to half a letter grade per day after the due date.
As you are writing, please remember that your final paper will build on your work in the midterm, so you
should pick a topic that you would like to build on. For your final, you will add at least 5-6 pages so that
you end up with an 8-10 page paper. This paper will form the core of your thesis while the rest of our
class will fill in more details and specific case examples for the final paper.
1. Especially when they cross the boundaries of cultures, peoples, and languages, missionaries have
always been implicated in complex relationships with power, conversion, and coercion. Make an
argument about the ways in which cross-cultural and other kinds of missionaries have interacted with
power and authority. You may define power broadly, including, for instance, coercive force, institutions,
social hierarchies, gender, economics, social influence, or prestige. Use one or two specific examples to
illustrate your model of Christian mission and power. Some examples of an argument might include:
“Missionaries are most effective when they resist the power of their own, home communities in the
mission field,” or “Missionaries are most effective when they can skillfully use the overwhelming power
of their home communities in the mission field.”
2. Andrew Walls has suggested that the Christian message is always carefully balanced between two
principles. One the one hand, there is a “pilgrim principle” which pushes Christians to consider the ways
in which they are separate from a particular culture in order to critique it from universal or ideal
standpoint. Thus, the Christian is a heavenly pilgrim that does not belong to the earth. On the other
hand, the “indigenizing principle” pushes Christians to consider the ways in which they are embedded in
particular cultures, to make them their home, and show how existing principles reflect the Christian
message. Thus, the Christian is always “indigenous”—belonging fully to one’s own time and place. Make
an argument about the ways the pilgrim and indigenizing principles have interacted. Use one or two
specific examples to illustrate your model of Christianity and culture. Some examples of an argument
might include: “When Christian missions apply the pilgrim principle, they open themselves to criticism
by illuminating gender disparities in both their own home culture and others,” or “Christian missions
that successfully indigenize inevitably end up sanctifying the ‘home’ culture in a way that becomes
oppressive to others.”
If you don’t like either of these prompts, feel free to write your own. Just be sure that you are making an
argument that requires the careful use of evidence from our readings and doesn’t just make an obvious
point.
Due date: February 13

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