WCIU is particularly involved with perspectives # 12, 11, 7 (through the curricula), and 6 (empowering leaders of other countries to have the knowledge and influence, that comes with graduate studies, that will enable them to lead their people in making a difference in their society, as a demonstration of the power of the Gospel).
Here’s something from Dr. Winter himself, related to the 12th “perspective”:
A. W. Tozer has said, “The most important thing about you is what comes to your mind when you think of God.” When people get to thinking that our God does not mind violence, cruelty and suffering, whether among animals or man, we are not presenting the most appealing kind of a God to the people we want to win Christ, His Son.
We can’t win the remaining unreached peoples without destroying the works of the Devil in that very process. As long as hundreds of millions of believers in the developing world have eyes running with pus and incipient blindness, as long as such horrors are blamed on God (for the lack of a Satan), WE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN MANY MORE PEOPLE. And, all those hundreds of millions of rural people and uneducated recent believers are eventually going to lose their faith just as they have in Europe and much of America. We are not winning very many educated people.
It is not enough to explain suffering and tragedy as merely the result of “God’s mysterious purposes.” We must acknowledge that Augustine allowed Neo-Platonism to obscure his understanding of the on-going activity of Satan. The Bible tells us that “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8).” Jesus also said, “In the way my Father has sent me, in that same way I send you (John 20:21).” This is the Biblical definition of our mission. Most believers have not yet discovered that they are all called of God to fight the works of darkness and thus to glorify God. “Let your light shine in this way: your good works will glorify your Father in heaven (Matt 5:16).” I am talking not about individuals, but about teams of people working together, accepting responsibility for engaging major evils in the Name of Christ. We must, it seems to me, accept it as our true mission to fight these horrors in the name of Christ. That is essential if we are to glorify God in all the earth, and that glorification is the basis on which we invite people to accept God as their Father in Heaven—and recruit them to help fight this war.
The 12 Barriers, listed here, which Dr. Winter identified and kept insisting were worth surmounting, are arguably the most important issues in communicating the Gospel across cultures today and tomorrow. We would rightly say that they flowed from Dr. Winter’s mind, but we are more right when we say that they flowed from Dr. Winter’s reading of the Bible, of engineering, of anthropology, of linguistics, of history, of medicine, of geography, of a dozen sciences, of other religions, and of his ten years of cross-cultural experience in Guatemala, and his ten years on the faculty of the Fuller School of World Mission, and all the rest. One Sunday, early in his life, his father, Hugo Winter, asked Ralph not to read in church any more “because”, Hugo said, “I want you to listen to the sermon.” Young Ralph asked if it would be alright to read if he could also remember the content of the sermon, which he proceeded to do. Hugo relented, and that is how Ralph was allowed to read in church. Happy Birthday to you, Dr. Ralph Winter.
I met Dr. Winter in the summer 1978. I was immediately impressed by his sharp wit, his frugal lifestyle and focus on the mission of the church. Now some 33 years later, I remember him for his love of learning, his love of the Scriptures, his love for all those under-served and overlooked. Lately, I’ve found myself remembering his writings, in working my own doctoral students, and they have found them helpful. Thank you WCIU for forwarding his work.—- Jay Gary, http://www.jaygary.com
Almost everything I know about cross-cultural communication I learned from Dr. Winter. Working with him on the FMF’s journal over the span of 2 decades has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I so much appreciate his keen mind and his constant analysis of the church and its mission so that we can identify and overcome all the barriers to the gospel going forth to every person, tribe and tongue. I continue to promote that legacy in each issue of MF.
The 12th frontier and its relationship to the reign of God reminds me of the enthronement Psalms (47, 93, 96-99). The LORD, of course, reigns over the universe, but the LORD’s reign is established in righteousness and justice, which, especially in Psalm 97 and 98, involves the defeat of the LORD’s enemies. The LORD reigns, but his reign is made evident through the defeat of his enemies, in which his people play a major part, as he has enlisted us in bringing about the fruits of his kingdom in his good pleasure. I must admit that at one time, the existence of Satan really was not necessary in my theology, but was there because the Bible clearly taught that. There is an active Devil that God has defeated on the cross and the empty tomb of his son, through which God’s eternal victory and kingdom will be established, and is even being established now. This Devil resists and subverts God’s will, and through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, we are called to help the fruit of the Kingdom grow and shine forth.
Dr. Winter constantly challenged me to think, read widely and then carefully analyze the most strategic use of my time and talents. I often say to myself, “What question(s) would he ask about this particular issue or subject.” Whenever my zeal would falter, an article, a phone call, a discussion by and with Dr. Winter had this way of calling me higher and deeper with the Lord and open up some new insight, challenge or action point that would re-energize me. He was a most amazing teacher. I don’t know of anyone with his caliber of intellect that demonstrated such humility and gentleness in getting down to my level and pushing me with just the right touch. I loved his sense of humor!
I am encouraged to read the fifth frontier in the perspective of Missio Dei, “ Reverse contextualization, the recontextualization of our own tradition.” … “ which means being willing to find major philosophic or Biblical or theological flaws in our own tradition … even … into our home culture.”
I have been training students of cross-cultural ministries in what I call “person formation”. This is an intentional education in equipping the students with cultural, social, emotional and spiritual wholeness. I contend that we must first understand how our own cultures molded us to be who / how we are before we enter to our hosting cultures in ministries. We must analyse what are the unbiblical impacts on us personally from our own cultures and restore shalom (wholeness / peace) in ourselves personally. Then, we enter our hosting cultures with cultural, social, emotional and spiritual wholeness. We will be able to even be a change catalyst in our hosting cultures in order to restore shalom as how God the creator intend it to be in His kingdom. Therefore, I would like to add the cultural dimension to the fifth frontier in the perspective of Missio Dei.
I remember driving with Dr. Winter somewhere and he said he was thinking about where volcanoes fit in the grand scheme of things. To me, this was quintessential Winter - attempting to integrate his scientific mind with the biblical record. His voracious appetite to pursue such questions impressed me most. He was singly focused and seemingly unimpressed and untempted by the many trivialities of life. Yes, he was brilliant, but he was also indefatigable and relentless. My favorite memory of him is standing up to speak in a morning meeting with his hair messed up, his glasses visibly in need of a cleaning and his brow furrowed in contemplation. A great mind on such a small frame.
I met Ralph Winter around 1977. Two years after joining the U.S. Center for World Mission (which Winter founded) felt an unusual call to serve him as Jonathan’s armor-bearer had served Jonathan (1 Sa 14:7).
The next 22 years of working with Dr. Winter profoundly shaped my own life in ways which I have attempted to distill at <http://www.missionfrontiers.org/uploads/documents/rdw-booklet-r-butler.pdf>.
development, Evil, journal environment, disease, environment, Christmas, education, Old Testament, shalom, Roberta Winter Institute, faith, journal communication, journal education, justice, peace, women, prayer, Africa, poverty, journal william carey, scripture series, call for papers, church, journal africa peacemaking, journal leadership, leadership, journal orality, editor's note, greg boyd, crowdsourcing
All content copyright 2011 WCIU