It is just a week away from the first Southeast Asia Reformed Conference. We’re excited that a good number of missionaries will be attending from several countries in this part of Asia. We’re praying that we will enjoy good fellowship together, and will spur one another on in faithful service of our Lord.
The theme of this first conference is “Proclaiming Christ in Asian Contexts.” We chose this topic for two reasons:
1) We want to see Christ faithfully proclaimed.
That might seem to be a silly statement – what Christian doesn’t want to see Christ proclaimed. However, the sad reality is that many missionaries do not proclaim Christ, or at least do not proclaim Him as clearly as they should. This is seen in moralistic, allegorical or human-centred interpretations of the Holy Scriptures. Three plenary sessions have been given over to addressing this issue: both in helping us to think how we should rightly handle Scripture so that Christ is proclaimed clearly, but also in actually proclaiming Christ as we open up a Psalm, a passage from a Gospel, and one from an Epistle. The panel discussion on Reformed Evangelism will help us to consider what Christ-centred evangelism looks like, while the workshop on distinguishing between law and gospel will aid us in proclaiming Christ and not teaching the law in a legalistic manner.
2) We want to see Christ faithfully proclaimed in Asian contexts.
This also might seem to be a pointless statement – however, again, there are dangers to avoid. The first is that the cultural context can take precedent over the gospel, such that the gospel is changed by the context, and in reality the gospel is lost. Second, the local context can be ignored and we try to proclaim the gospel as if we were still in our home country. The danger here is that the gospel is unnecessarily alien and seems irrelevant to the people we are trying to reach and disciple. The solution of course, is to take the cultural context seriously whilst holding onto the gospel immovably. Some of the various workshops will attempt to help us in this endeavour, whether that be considering how we should reach people who are oral learners, what holistic mission might look like in Asia, or thinking about evangelism and discipleship within a particular Asian context.
Additionally, there will be a few other workshops to support and encourage us in our Christian lives and ministry. One workshop will think about the role of women in missions, and a second will consider what Biblical spiritually is and how we can be growing as Christians.
We’re excited by this first conference, and are praying that God might be pleased to use it for the good of his Church here in Southeast Asia and ultimately for His glory. Do please come and join us.