• Compiled by Beth Snodderly

Random Quotes from Ralph Winter Seminars

Of Winter's "Twelve Frontiers of Perspective," these quotes reflect: • Reverse contextualization

• Earlier Recruitment

• Supplements to Secular Textbooks

• Gospel of the Kingdom

• Religion of Science

• Challenge of the Evil One


• Our contribution to the fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer is most likely to be accomplished by an effort intended to enhance the impact of the mission societies of the world. … Our destiny then is to be a mission society among mission societies working to enhance the impact of those societies, not just being one more mission society that sends out pioneer missionaries.



• The Intelligent Design movement isn’t as sensitive as Darwin was to violence in nature. Darwin at least has an explanation for why God can’t be blamed. Intelligent Design people don’t have an explanation for that. …Right now, only evolution has an answer to the problem of evil, but their theory is the shakiest there ever was. The most fundamental problem in Western Civilization is that even Christians are unwilling to even look at the problem of evil. We have no explanation for this.

• God works all things for good out of whatever evil deed Satan performs, but this is not the same as saying God works by sending evil.

• There is a massive fight going on and we are called to fight in it. The Son of God appeared for purpose to destroy the works of the devil. “As father sent me, so send I you.” WE have authority in physical realm to take authority, just as in the spiritual world (no dichotomy between spiritual and physical).



• What is God asking us to do? What ARE the works of the devil?

• God has called for a war but no one has gone. Missions is a fumbling attempt to prosecute that war. Missions should encompass all things to do with God’s glory.

• We need to de-contextualize the gospel in our own inheritance before we can contextualize it for others.

• Summary: We need to understand reality as best we can to be faithful to the purposes of God.



Random comments:

• Adjusting our lives and our thinking to the Bible is the name of the game.

• Our understanding of what the Bible is about and our understanding of theology is humanistic.

• McGavran said, “all evangelism is heresy.”

• RDW: People need the Word of God to grow past their initial understanding of Christianity

• Matthew 24: This gospel OF THE KINGDOM will be preached. … It is about people yielding to the authority of the Lord of the Kingdom.



• Education that does not interrupt the productive relationship of the student to society: This is the purpose of distance education and a goal WCF was designed to help achieve.



• If we are convinced the will of God always involves serene circumstances, there is no hope of going forward.



• The current major approach to mobilization is at the root of our mission problem.

• The future of missions depends on the quality of the people going into it.

• We need secular supplements to show the influence of the Gospel on history.

• Mission training has to begin before college graduation. Otherwise we'll have the re-amateurization of missions as with the Student Volunteer Movement which set missions back 40 years: eager, dedicated people, but unprepared for what they faced.



• Awareness of God's handwork enhances our sense of God's presence.

• The deepness and richness of our walk with God depends on the deepness and richness of our knowledge [of God's world].



• The key to unlocking many separate peoples to be addressed adequately with the gospel may be an over-arching affinity characteristic (such as ancestor worship) which needs to be addressed.

• Counterpoint to emphasis on individual peoples: instead of moving ahead with small minority peoples, turn instead to large majority groups where we haven’t achieved a viable Christian faith tradition within these major cultures.

• All groups of Muslims have same problem, but those working with individual groups can’t quite see it.

• Affinity Blocs

• Maybe 90% of the future of missions will be radically different from what we’ve seen.



• What would missions look like on earth if there were no human beings?

• The purpose of missions is to destroy the works of the devil.

• Human beings are not the goal of evangelism but the means of mission to help God vanquish the devil.



• “A person who can draw on wisdom from insights down through history can make better decisions today.”



• Man was created to participate in a battle already going on, to re-take Christ's dominion over Satan.



• Are human beings here on earth to watch God win the battle or here on earth to HELP God win the battle?



Re Business and Missions:

• Major problem: There is no normal meeting that brings together proponents of both types of ministry: business and traditional missions.

• A new “gap” identified by Dr. Winter in his seminar: The unsolved chasm between business and mission needs healing, with business being defined as ministry that is remunerative and pays for itself.



• Transform the mission industry to an earlier recruitment pattern. That could be launched at an ISFM seminar next Fall.

• Series of supplemental booklets to track with the public schools of America and get it into the Sunday Schools.

• Give the Bible in a language a people can understand: let them dig out what it means in their culture.

• Colossians 1:13: Christian life is a war. What does it mean to rescue people from the dominion of darkness? I have pondered this long and hard the last few years.



• Evangelicals need to reclaim science, the other book God wrote.

• The God of creation and the God of the Bible are the same person.

• All over the world people are studying God’s works through microscopes and telescopes.

• The most unifying phenomenon in the world is science.



• We’re not attracting the right kind of people by dangling the free gift of salvation in front of them.

• We deflect people from God to their own salvation. We attract people concerned about themselves.

• The missionary’s job is to glorify God (reflect the glory of God). It is God’s job to take care of people’s salvation and destiny in heaven or not.

• If people expect the wrong thing, they don’t recognize the right thing when they see it.

• The Book of Creation is being studied by thousands of devout, awed scientists who don’t know it is God’s book.

• We need to maximize the dazzling of the glory of God to people.

• The Bible itself is distance ed.



• A missions minded pastor can be ten times more strategic than a missionary. Pastors create missionaries.



• God brought human beings into the fight to assist Him against Satan.

• When missions from a human point of view succeeds, humans who are rescued don’t become soldiers (as intended) but often sit down and take their ease.



• We are not just disseminating information but are involved in the conquest of evil. Are we soldiers conquering evil or expecting God to do something for us? We are spectators, not soldiers.



• Someone has to mine the Bible for wisdom. Take a good look at the church in the world. What is needed is not U.S. culture.



• Our gospel is vitiated by our lack of awareness of God’s glory in creation.

• The true glory of God is rescued only if you postulate the existence of a spiritual adversary.



• Nothing that is not done daily will dominate your life



• Forming a permanent community of believers ready for any good work, in a commitment beyond church membership, is probably the most important thing I have ever attempted to do. I am open to advice from every side.

Warmly, Ralph



Re conventional attitudes to disease:

• It is not true that “the most important thing is prayer. God is still in charge.” If a baby was drowning in a bath tub this would not be true. The church has the audacity to be content to pray and let the world do the hard work in the lab. They want someone else who doesn’t love Christ to do the work.



• In the spiritual formation movement: how big is the component of military preparation?

• There needs to be a gearing up for battle: destroying the works of the devil.



Re WCF overarching theme of the glory of God:

• I really don't think God so much SEEKS glory (except in Calvin's thinking). He HAS glory. He possesses glory. We obviously must want to seek to understand more and more of His glory (not by singing repetitive songs), but we must also glorify God in great part as a means of setting the record straight in dealing with people deceived by Satan—as in the case of the father whose wife drowned their five children, he said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” It is perverted theology like that which stands in the way of rescuing people out of the hands of Satan. We must be able to blame the right person! Doing that requires removing a twisted-lens view of God's glory as a “means.” In this vein I see most “worship” as possibly very superficial if not almost totally sterile. You would think that true worship would involve discovering more and more of His glory not repeating platitudes. A church service could in my mind be redeemed if only for two minutes someone said something that revealed more of His glory. Much of that we wall off as secular “science.” This itself is because of diabolic deception.



• Complaining is the most creative force in history.



• Use the term “restoration” instead of transformation.

• Three stages in God’s plan:

Good (creation)


Restoration (see Isaiah where lion eats straw, the earth is full of

God’s glory)



Statement by RDW to Beth:

• The best way to explain Ralph Winter’s life is his increasing understanding of the Bible.



On spiritual formation:

• Living with ambiguity and the willingness to postpone the gratification of desires are aspects of maturity. Spiritual maturity doesn’t come by trying to be more holy. “He who seeks to save his life will lose it.” Spiritual growth comes from hundreds of little hammer blows that are responded to with acts of obedience.



• Poverty is not people with an absence of food, it is people with enemies.

• It is the impossibility of earning money beyond barely enough to survive.

• Social action is the empowerment of the gospel.

• There are hardly any evangelicals on the front lines of world problems.

• Jim Wallis: Social action without personal experience with Christ is useless.

• RWI: We need to broaden the scope of what missions is doing—the Kingdom Era/ the Fourth Era.



• We’re trying to enlist people to get INTO trouble, not keep them out of trouble.

• Go after evil in an organized way, not as individuals.



• I can’t think of anything more important than understanding what the Bible is really saying.

BETH’S NOTE: One of the last two articles Ralph Winter wrote/dictated was, “Let’s Be Fair to the Bible.” (The other was, “Who Is a True Christian?”)

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