David Bosch and the South African emergence (part 2)
March 31, 2009
I started blogging a response to Mark Sayers’ important post of last week yesterday. I’m attempting to answer what the South African conversation would look like from the network (look at Brother Maynard’s post to see how I’m using this concept) where I find myself, while using David Bosch as the theologian that I believe is more and more influencing my own thought, and maybe that this network as well.
What about the neo-missiologists? Well, I haven’t seen the house-church movement really taking off in the South African emerging scene. Maybe it’s just me, but House Churches in South Africa seem to be connected with a very conservative theology, and links strongly to the charismatic movement. This might be because of the dominance of mainline churches, and that house churches was a convenient way for the charismatics of couple of decades ago to break away. But OK, I’m no expert on this, so please correct me.
There might however be another way in which the neo-missiologists is surfacing in South Africa: The Partnership for Missional Churches. Alan Hirsch is an important guy for those in this network, and I have a feeling growing in importance. These guys have a great respect for the work of David Bosch. Nelus Niemandt in his book Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede (Chapter 1 – only available in Afrikaans) seem to make a very strong connection between them and the Emerging Church. If Matt Stone is correct that the neo-missiologists have the same thinking on Lausanne than the blenders, then looking at how people think on this document might help us in understanding them. I’ve written on David Bosch’s thoughts on Lausanne here.
Reggie Nel recently wrote quite a harsh critique of the partnership, because of it’s close ties with the denominational and white Dutch Reformed Church, and the way that it’s managed hierarchical, with money that needs to be paid to become part etc. Maybe someone want to write some more on the relationship between our own partnership, the neo-missiologist and David Bosch. At this stage I can’t really see our interpretation of Bosch, or the emerging conversation in South Africa as it plays out on blogs and the internet, going the neo-missiologist direction.
I’ll ignore the Digital Pentacostals and the Blenders. Sayers’ himself consider the first not to be part of what he call the emerging missional conversation (which, might I add, is difficult to know what he mean with this in light of an earlier post he wrote). Our own conversation has not developed far enough to allow a significant number to go back to their former evangelical roots. Neither Kimball nor Mcmanus seem to have much of an influence in South Africa. Furthermore, I’ve already written about the understanding of Bosch on Laussane, and the Blenders have made it clear what they think about this.
OK, so I’m not really sure what to make of the neo-missiologists. And I’d like to see where this fits in with our Dutch Reformed Partnership for Missional Churches. But somehow I have a feeling that working with the theology and missiology of Bosch, will be taking us in a different direction.