Author Archive for Amos Yong

Amos Yong
Dr. Amos Yong is Professor of Missiology at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Global Pedagogies: Renewing Theological Education Today

Monday, August 12th, 2013 by Amos Yong

pedagogyI have recently finished a five-week, six-country whirlwind trip around the world. It was an honor to have preached in small and mega-churches during my trip, a privilege to have lectured in diverse venues ranging from Bible institute and established college settings to scholarly conference environments, and a blessing to have had the chance to renew old friendships while gaining many new ones. My travels have prompted reflection on many aspects of global renewal (my weekly thoughts from New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia/Singapore, Indonesia, and England can be found here). But as I return to my regular “day job” as dean of a theological school, I want to pause to briefly focus on theological education amidst the dynamics of contemporary globalization. Against this latter horizon, a number of considerations deserve mention. Read the rest of this entry »

Living and Active: Renewing Evangelical Theologies of Scripture in the 21st-Century

Thursday, August 1st, 2013 by Amos Yong

biblical scholarsThere are at least two sides to this question about the relationship between evangelicalism and the modern study of scripture. On the one hand, how to navigate the fine line between historical-grammatical approaches and historical-critical perspectives? Most evangelicals are comfortable with the former while some are concerned about the latter because it leads to skepticism and presumes to undermine the authority of scripture. The posture of faith suggests that Christian readers and interpreters, no matter how learned, ought to approach the Bible in a submissive rather than critical stance. The historical-grammatical study of scripture is helpful for such servant-readings of the Bible since it helps the community of faith understand the world behind the text better, which in turn illuminates the world of the text by providing assistance in discerning an original intent of the scriptural authors. Thereby, readers are edified when they understand the biblical text in its original context. Read the rest of this entry »

From the Clash to the Renewal of Civilizations: A View from Jakarta

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 by Amos Yong

JakartaThat the “clash of civilizations” thesis regarding the coming Armageddon between Islam and the West, including Christianity in the most apocalyptic scenarios, remains an ominous possibility is no less felt in Indonesia than it is in various pockets around the world. Yet my recent visit to Jakarta, including stops at International English Service, Harvest Theological Seminary, Seminari Bethel (affiliated with the Church of God, Cleveland), and Gereja Bethel Indonesia GLOW Fellowship (in the Serpong suburb), suggest to me that the church in Indonesia may be poised to make a substantive contribution to the next generation of renewal theology. Here are two major reasons for my cautious optimism. Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Renewal: A Malaysian-American Reconnaissance

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by Amos Yong

map-malaysiaI left Malaysia, my place of birth, about 37 years ago, when my parents immigrated to the USA as missionaries to Chinese speaking immigrants in California. I spent this past week in Kuala Lumpur (KL) – only my third trip back to my homeland, all since 2001 – enjoying visiting with my family, feasting (practically non-stop – forgive me Jesus!) on the distinctive Malaysian foods, enduring the humidity, and marveling at the incredible urbanization and modernization of this city (there are probably as many skyscrapers per square mile in the KL metropolitan area as anywhere, with many more to come). Having lived in America since 1976, I felt as if I was coming back to the ends of the end; in reality, I had gone as a 10-year old to the ends of the earth, and now have tasted home again. Read the rest of this entry »

From the Areopagus to Alphacrusis: Down Under Renewal

Monday, July 15th, 2013 by Amos Yong

Australian flag continentalMy first visit to the continent of Australia was a memorable one. It included preaching at the Wesley International Congregation in the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney (underneath the Westfield mall and the Sydney Tower) to a pan-Asian/multicultural, youthful, and charismatic congregation, and being hosted by Alphacrusis College in the Sydney suburbs for an Empowered 21 scholars’ consultation on Asian Pentecostalism and then a two-day conference on “Pentecostal Theology & the Marketplace.” I also got to visit my auntie (my mother’s sister) who I had not seen in over forty years: she had come to Sydney from Malaysia as a teenager in a nursing program in the early 1970s (when Australia had a shortage of nurses and sponsored them in from around the Pacific Rim), and my family emigrated from Malaysia shortly thereafter to the USA. The initial forces of globalization had taken her southeast and me and my family to America. Migration for us both at that time seemed to have taken us to the ends of the earth, although my trip Down Under this time around can be seen also as going from one end to another. Read the rest of this entry »

From Azotus to Auckland: Renewal at the Bottom of the Earth?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 by Amos Yong

KiwiAs Philip found himself transported suddenly from the Gaza road to Azotus (Acts 8:40), so also I went to sleep on an airplane out of LAX & awoke in Auckland last weekend. I was here for the “Theology, Disability & the People of God” conference sponsored by Laidlaw and Carey Baptist Colleges, but also preached at Titirangi Baptist Church and then spent half a day meeting with pentecostal scholars, pastors, and leaders here in New Zealand’s largest city. My hosts, Andrew Picard and Myk Habets at Carey and Graeme and Linda Flett and Fiona Sherwin at Laidlaw (among many others), were wonderful blessings, all on top of an already incredibly rich conference. But what about global renewal close to the bottom of the world?

Two major trends emerged for me in discussing the state of renewal here in Kiwi-land. First, the charismatic movement which arrived in the late 1960s has permeated much of the church. It is fair to say that there has been a widespread pentecostalization and charismatization of the churches in the last forty plus years, so much so that there are as many bapticostals and baptismatics – for instance (my nomenclature) – as any other type of Christian. One might even talk about a “Hillsong-ization” of the churches, given the adoption of its music and worship genres in many churches on both islands. On the other hand, the palpable presence of megachurches like Hillsong, particularly through the telecommunicative and other exchange networks of globe-trotting apostles, evangelists, and other “superstar” pastors and preachers, has also brought about a homogenization of renewal in this part of the world. So on the one hand, there is a proliferation of renewal among the different churches, but on the other, there is a growing standardization of these streams according to a few megachurch templates.

Yet I also think there is a wild card that might provide a prophetic edge for Kiwi renewalists to lead global renewal from the bottom of the world, and that relates to if and how the hearts of Maori New Zealanders can be revitalized by the Holy Spirit. The Maori initially became Christians with the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 which gave the indigenous islanders rights as British subjects; however, over the next century, more than 90% of Maori abandoned their Christian faith in large part because of what they felt were breaches of the Treaty by the European settlers. The issues remain hotly contested, even today. However, the fact is that the Maori constitute up to 15% of the Kiwi population and may be in the best position of any indigenous or native groups around the world to not only make a substantive contribution to their own future, but also work toward the common good of their country.

Although I am neither a prophet nor the son of one (cf. Amos 7:14), I would not be surprised if it is but a matter of time before the Maori embrace some form of renewal Christian expression, in part because of the depth of their spirituality. When that happens, they will further transform the religious landscape of New Zealand and, perhaps more importantly, rejuvenate Kiwi Christianity so it can become a prophetic exemplar of a post-Western and post-secular way of Jesus as Messiah for the middle of the 21st century. If renewal continues to expand within and across the majority world, why might it not also be reinvigorated by Spirit-filled Maori at the bottom of the earth?

My friends at Laidlaw and Carey are alert to the possibilities and also working hard along many challenging fronts; but perhaps the Spirit of God has some surprises left even here in a thoroughly secular New Zealand – would it be unimaginable if such unfolded along some of the lines intuited above?