Anthropology (DM837)

Leader: Michael A. Rynkiewich

Dates: 9/15, 9/17-9/19, 9/22

Description: Missiology is the application of theology and anthropology to the study of mission.  The mission in question is the mission of God (missio Dei), to which the mission of humanity, the mission of Israel and the mission of the church are subservient.  In this class, instead of looking primarily at overseas missions, we will apply the perspective of missiology to the American church.  The reason is that Americans not only have a culture; they have a variety of cultures and must relate to a variety of cultures.  Not only can cultures be defined by race (a social category in our culture, not a valid biological category) and/or ethnicity (White, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and various subsets), but also by region (the East, the South, the Midwest, the West Coast, etc), and by age (Boomers, Busters, Gen-Xers, etc).  Sometimes whole eras can be captured in meta-cultural terms (Pre-modern, Modern, Postmodern).  Whatever the reality of the divisions and definitions (each can be contested), we believe that every culture (ethnic group, region, generation, era) deserves a fresh reading of the eternal gospel in their own language.  In our time together, we will consider the concept of culture, the idea of contextualization of Christianity, the concept of worldview, the impact of values and ethics, the effect of social organization, and the force of economic organization on the American way of life and the life of the church.  The goal is to recall the church to God’s mission, to make disciples of all nations, to reconcile all things to Himself in Christ Jesus, and to bring into the present era the Kingdom of God.


Joy Hendry (2008)  Other People’s Worlds: An Introduction to Cultural and Social Anthropology, 2nd edition.  New York University Press.

Edward Stewart & Milton Bennett (1991) American Cultural Patterns. Brooks Peterson

William Dyrness (1989) How Does America Hear the Gospel? Eerdmanns

Dean Flemming (2005) Contextualization in the New Testament.  InterVarsity Press.

Paul Hiebert (2001) Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch (2003) The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church.  Hendrickson Publishers.


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