It’s difficult to think of a Christian denomination or organization that has not started down the path of Marxist-inspired social justice. Lately, the Southern Baptist Convention has stolen most of the headlines. However, the Presbyterian Church of America is not far behind. Here’s a syllabus from Covenant Theological Seminary’s Mission’s course “WM 310: God’s World Mission,” revealed by a concerned student.

Two purposes for the course are: “To discern the role of sociological categories of identity (race, ethnicity, culture, class, nationality) in the spiritual formation of our community and that of others,” and “To lament the Western, white cultural captivity of the Church and to place ministerial priority on the socially and culturally marginalized.” Several “woke” books are used in the curriculum including “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James Cone and “Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation” by Jennifer Harvey. Students even go on a “privilege walk.”

This is what young idealistic future Christian leaders are being told is part of missions. May God have mercy on us and preserve His gospel, which applies equally to all men, because all men are guilty.

The syllabus first appeared here:

Instructor: Vince L. Bantu (No longer at CTS)

Class conducts the privilege walk midway during the semester.


WM 310: God’s World Mission

Course Purpose

God’s World Mission is a required course in the MDiv and MA core at Covenant Seminary. This course of study is designed to offer disciples of Jesus Christ an understanding of God’s mission to create a chosen people that is comprised of every tribe, nation and tongue. The course explores methodological and historical sources to develop effective missional partnerships and cultural competence that is both faithful to Scripture and relevant to our increasingly multiethnic world. The course will proceed thematically in three central components: missional methodology, missional history, and missional practice. 3 credits.

Course Objectives

· To relate to God more deeply in understanding the role of cultural identity as a celebrated part of being create in His image.

· To understand the relationship between theology and culture and the missiological importance of contextualization.

o Theology Is a human response to God.

o Theology is culturally mediated and filtered.

· To value indigenous leadership in Christian missions and to cultivate meaningful and strategic partnership across cultural and national borders.

· To acquire familiarity with the fullness of God’s world mission as it has played out across two-millenia of world Christian history.

· To discern the role of sociological categories of identity (race, ethnicity, culture, class, nationality) in the spiritual formation of our community and that of others.

· To lament the Western, white cultural captivity of the Church and to place ministerial priority on the socially and culturally marginalized.

o Residue of this social phenomenon.

· To identify cultural blind spots and to cultivate cross-cultural intelligence for the sake of intercultural friendship in the global Body of Christ.

· To explore best practices in missions in both intracultural and intercultural ministry through the witness of contemporary missiological models of contextualization and indigenous leadership development.

Required Texts

Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture, revised and expanded

(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2009).

· Leading Missiologist at Yale University. Anglican. From Ghana.

Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How it Died (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2009).

Soong Chan Rah, Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2010).

· Mentor from North Park University, “White cultural supremacy” came from him.

Other files and links as posted in Weekly Lessons on the left panel of your Sakai course page.

Recommended Texts

Brian Bantum, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010).

Kwame Bediako, Jesus and the Gospel in Africa: History and Experience (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004).

David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991).

Christena Cleveland, Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013).

James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2013).

William A. Dryness & Oscar García-Johnson, Theology without Borders: An Introduction to Global Conversations (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015).

Paula Harris & Doug Schaupp, Being White: Finding Our Place in a Multiethnic World (Downers Grove,

IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004).

Drew G.I. Hart, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism (Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2016).

Jennifer Harvey, Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014).

Paul G. Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008).

Brian M. Howell & Jenell William Paris, Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011).

David A. Livermore, Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009).

Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988).

_____________, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989).

Luis L. Pantoja Jr., Sadiri Joy Tira & Enoch Wan, Scattered: The Filipino Global Presence (Manila: LifeChange Publishing, 2004).

Soong-Chan Rah, M. Sydney Park & Al Tizon, Honoring the Generations: Learning with Asian North American Congregations (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 2012).

______________, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009).

Dana L. Robert, Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion (Oxford: Wiley-

Blackwell, 2009).

Lamin Sanneh, West African Christianity: The Religious Impact (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1983).

___________, Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003).

Scott W. Sunquist, Understanding Christian Mission: Participation in Suffering and Glory (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013).

Timothy C. Tennent, Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan,


Richard Twiss, Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015).

Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014).

Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996).

Randy S. Woodley, Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012).

Amos Yong, The Future of Evangelical Theology: Soundings from the Asian-American Diaspora (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014).

_________, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005).

Course Requirements

Attendance, Participation and Reading – You will be evaluated on your level of participation in class discussions that will engage class lectures and readings. Each student is expected to contribute to class discussions through activities and small group conversations. The content of this course may challenge the student’s preconceptions about missions, theology, race and culture; therefore, students are encouraged to express opinions that differ from the professor or other students in a graceful manner (Eph. 4:15). It is important for you to lovingly engage the professor and fellow students (both in and outside the classroom) in areas where you disagree rather than ignoring the disagreement, only expressing it in course evaluations or only among like-minded company (Matt. 18:15). Class attendance is also crucial; one class absence will be excused without penalty; any additional absences (with the exception of severe medical emergencies or major life events- e.g. weddings, funerals, childbirth or others cleared by professor) will incur a 4% overall grade reduction per absence. Your participation grade will also be comprised of your completion of the assigned course readings by the beginning of each class period. In order to have fruitful and informed class discussion, it is important for students to complete each reading assignment before each class session. Students will indicate the percentage of completed weekly readings each week on Sakai. 20% of grade

Theology of Culture Reflection – In order to more deeply engage the course readings and reflect on the role of culture in spiritual development, each student will write a 3-page reflection that responds to two questions:

1.) what is the nature of culture and its role in the life of the Church and

2.) how have the racial, ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, gender and national elements of your identity affected (positively and negatively) your theology, worship and ministry.

Reflections should be 3 typed, double-spaced pages and should include significant engagement with at least 5 sources from the required reading, supplemented articles, items from the recommended reading list or other relevant missiological sources. Be sure the make the paper balanced, giving equal attention to both reflection questions (roughly 1.5 pages per question). Reflections must be submitted electronically via Sakai by 5pm (Central Time) 20% of grade.

Missions History Reflection – Each student will select a primary text or object from global missions history to reflect on. The subject of reflection may be textual in nature (sermon, theological treatise, poem, letter, inscription) or artistic (painting, architecture, liturgical instrument). The primary text or object must be from the pre-colonial period (pre-fifteenth century) and from a non-Greek or Latin source emerging from Africa, the Middle East or Asia. Students will write a one-page description of the text or object reflecting on the degree of theological contextualization it represents to its context.

In the one-page reflection, students must answer the following questions:

1.) what is the nature and purpose of the text/object under discussion?

2.) in what ways does this text/object represent significant degrees of cultural contextualization to the cultural context from which it emerges?

And 3.) How might this text/object and its cultural significance relate to similar products in the modern context of the student’s socio-cultural community? Reflections should properly cite at least one academic publication (monograph, journal article, volume edition, field-specific encyclopedia, etc.) that discusses the text/object under discussion. Be sure to make the paper balanced, giving equal attention to all three reflection questions (roughly one paragraph per question). Reflections must be submitted electronically via Sakai by 5pm 10% of grade.

Inter-Contextualization Project – Students will be gathered into ICP groups and will collectively adopt a local congregation (“home church”) to study. The ICP group will imagine itself to be the Missions Committee of the home church—discipling the congregation in its own contextualization process, outreach and cross-cultural partnership. Each group should choose a home church that is culturally representative of at least one of the group members. Each group will also choose a church that is predominately of a different ethnic/racial make-up than the homes church—this second church is the “host church.” If possible, groups should choose a host church that is also culturally reflective of other group members (see the list of church suggestions on Sakai).

The Inter-Contextualization Project (ICP) will consist of two parts: 1.) A five-page analysis reflecting on each group’s home church and 2.) Engagement between the home and host churches. The first half of the assignment will be the same for every group; the second half of the assignment can be completed via two options that each group may choose from.

1.) Home Church Analysis: The first part of the analysis will begin with the groups’ home church. If no student in a particular group is yet a member of a local church, said group may choose a home church that they are not an active member of. Each group should coordinate an interview with a pastor, elder or church leader from the home church (see suggestions for interview questions on Sakai). The focus of this analysis will be the four primary areas of missional engagement: cultural intelligence, contextualization, indigenous leadership and prioritizing the marginalized. Each group will write a five-page paper (one paper per group) consisting of ways in which their local church is engaging in each of these four areas of missions as well as suggestions for how the church can advance in these areas. The paper should be evenly spread across the four areas and should not exceed five typed pages. Each paper should include engagement with at least 3 missiological, academic sources that are cited in conversation with the contextual reality of the home church.

2.) Cross-cultural partnership with the host church— the second part of the assignment can be done in two ways: a.) a joint event between the home church and host church or b.) a research paper analyzing and comparing the two churches. In either option, each group is required to visit the host church for one of its weekly worship service or bible study and conduct an interview with one of the church leaders.

A.) Groups may choose to execute a joint event between their home church and host church. The magnitude of the event may range anywhere between a joint gathering (worship, prayer, fellowship) between both congregations or be as small as a joint conversation between one representative from each church. Whether it is one person from each church or large groups from each church, the point of a joint event is to physically gather members from culturally distinct churches and for the student group to be participant-observers. The nature of the gathering (e.g. potluck, joint service, prayer service, panel discussion, joint interview, etc.) is at the discretion of the group. For groups who choose this option, using existing relationships between churches is typically optimal. However, there may be desired connections to be made that home church leaders can indicate to the student group. The focus of the interaction should be the comparison of what contextualized missions looks like in each cultural community (differences/similarities). Each group must summarize the event in a one-page summary attached to their Home Church Analysis. The one-page summary should indicate 1.) a basic description of the history, ministry and demographics of the host church 2.) what the nature of the event was and 3.) what are some of the key comparison points regarding contextualization in the two churches (roughly one paragraph per question). Each group must indicate their proposed plan to the professor via Sakai by

B.) Groups may choose to write a research paper on a culturally-different church instead of doing a joint event. Still, each student must select a host church that is of a predominately different cultural-make up of their home church. Groups choosing this option will visit and study the host church and write a 15-page paper summarizing their findings. Groups choosing the paper option must visit the host church for one of its weekly worship services, small groups or Bible studies as well as conduct an interview with one of the leaders of the church. In the visit and interview, students will seek to understand how Christian worship, theology and ministry are contextualized in the cultural context of the host church (groups may use the same interview guide as the host church interview). The paper should be evenly divided to explore the following questions: 1.) what is the historical, demographic and cultural background of the host congregation, its surrounding community and the cultural group(s) represented in the church; 2.) how are the worship, theology and outreach of the host church contextualized to its cultural context; 3.) what are ways in which the home church could partner with and learn from the host church and 4.) how are the missiological analyses of the churches and their potential partnership reflected in and informed by the missiological literature of this course (and additional reading. Each paper should include relevant research from at least 12 academic (non-website) sources from the disciplines of missiology, anthropology, theology, Church history, sociology, etc.

The final product of the ICP will include: 1.) The five-page home church analysis and 2.) either a.) the one-page summary of a joint event or b.) the fifteen-page research paper. Each group must submit their Inter-Contextualization Project (ICP) electronically via Sakai by 5pm (Central Time) 30% of grade.

5. Inter-Contextualization Presentation – Each group will present the findings of their cross-cultural analysis while synthesizing their case study with the course readings, lectures, discussions. Group presentations must articulate a clear mission statement and core values for your congregation’s missions ministry that is embodied in local and international partnerships, budgetary commitments (including financial support, etc), a missions education program (small groups, preaching series, conference, etc.), and short or long term projects that articulate the gospel to cultivate shalom near and far. Presentations should include an ethnographic and historical analysis of each church, neighborhood/community demographics/history, a description of the project, and a summary of the lessons learned for the home church with recommendations on how to move forward in cross-cultural partnership. Each group will have 15 minutes to present your plan to the class, who will offer affirmation and feedback “as your church officers.” Be sure to evenly involve each group member in the presentation and to budget time appropriately to include all the components of the presentation in 15 minutes. The integration and application of class themes, readings, and discussions along with clear, creative, culturally appropriate communication will bolster your group’s grade. Each group will conduct their group presentation on the last day of class, 20% of grade.

Note: Assignments submitted late will be penalized 2% points for each 24-hour period after the stated deadline with the exception of major medical emergencies or life events (e.g. weddings, funerals, childbirth or others cleared by the professor).


Missions Theory

(Week 1): Seeing in Color; No readings

(Week 2): What is Culture?; Read Rah 1 (textbook); Geertz; Alexander/Seidman (Sakai)

(Week 3): Theology and Culture; Read Sanneh chp. 1 (textbook); two articles by Bediako; Walls; Jennings (Sakai)

(Week 4): Engaging Privilege; Read Jenkins 1; Rah chp. 2 (textbook); Rah, Next Evangelicalism; Hart (Sakai) ICP proposal due

Missions History

(Week 5): The Rise of Western Christendom; Read Brown chp. 2; Pirenne pp. 210-235; Robert (Sakai); TOC Reflection due

(Week 6): Survey of African Christianity; Read Sanneh chps. 4 (begin p. 142) & 5 (textbook); Davis (pp. 85-98); Welsby; Faraji; Issac (Sakai)

(Week 7): Early Asian Missions; Read Jenkins 2, 3, & 4 (textbook)

(Week 8): American Mission History; Read huei tlamahuiçoltica; Devastation of the Indies; Newcomb; Twiss chp. 5 (Sakai)

Missions Practice

(Week 9): Building Cultural Intelligence; Read Rah chapters 8 &10 (textbook); Althen; Livermore; Cleveland (Sakai) Turn in Missions History Reflection

April 16 Scattered; Crespo; The Sacred Road Book; Kei Thong; Bediako; Harris & Shaupp (Sakai)

(Week 11): Partnering with Indigenous Leaders; Read Rah, chp. 6 (textbook); Shin chp 8 (pp. 153-156); Barber chp. 6; Deymaz; Beltran (pp. 57-62); Muriu (Sakai) Turn in Inter-Contextualization Project

(Week 12): Prioritizing the Marginalized; Read Sanneh chp. 8 (textbook); Sider; Hill (Sakai)

(Week 13): No readings; ICP Presentations

*Reading assignments, papers and forum responses are due on the date next to which they are listed above. Audio, PowerPoint and lecture notes content posted in resource folders on Sakai and are to be read/listened to by each assigned date. Additional articles and videos may be posted via Sakai.

Grade Scale

98-100 A+ 80-83 B – 60-64 D –

95-97 A 77-79 C + 59 or below F

93-94 A – 74-76 C

90-92 B + 70-73 C –

84-89 B 65-69 D


Academic Honesty Statement

As part of our purpose to train servants of the triune God to walk with God in all of life, we expect godly integrity in the academic work done at Covenant. At the heart of this integrity is the commitment to accurately represent our work to others. This means that members of Covenant’s community will not engage in representing the ideas of others as their own (plagiarism) or in violating the rules under which papers, projects, and examinations are to be completed (cheating). Please refer to the Student Handbook for a complete explanation of this policy. For tutorial help through the writing center, please contact the Dean’s office. The first violation of academic honesty standards will result in failure of the assignment or text in question and could, depending on the assignment, result in failure of the class. A second violation will result in dismissal from the institution.

Course Evaluation

Course evaluations function as crucial feedback loops for the courses provided at Covenant Seminary. The administration and the faculty read the evaluations carefully. The evaluations also help students discern their progress toward Covenant’s missional outcomes. Course evaluations are administered through the student portal and are completely confidential unless you choose to disclose your name. Please complete one at the end of each course you take. They are required. Therefore, you will not be able to see your course grade on the portal until that course’s evaluation has been completed.