Ralph Winter’s Missiology in 8 Short Lessons

January 23, 2019

By Ralph D. Winter with Beth Snodderly

 

FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT

A Short Version for Personal Development

 

History of The Foundations Course

This course was finalized in 2007 when Ralph Winter gave the Lecture-Introductions for each of the original 20 lessons for a 2-unit graduate level course (3 units undergrad). The course condenses the M.A. curriculum, World Christian Foundations, offered by William Carey International University in their International Development degree program.

 

Course Purpose

     The content of this course provides a chronological overview of the historical and cultural aspects of the global development of the biblical faith and the Christian movement, with special attention to the biblical foundations for addressing the roots of human problems around the world. Students examine the impact of the Christian movement on culture and human development as well as principles for effective cross-cultural communication of biblical faith.

 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. Explain a biblical perspective on God’s purposes for the nations.

  2. Present an historical overview of the global development of biblical faith that reflects biblical and missiological principles.

  3. Compare the progress of biblical faith in different times and places.

  4. Demonstrate an appreciation of the expressions of biblical faith in various cultural contexts.

Course Readings

Click on the links provided for each reading.

You can download the complete Foundations Reader for the original course here.

The full set of Lectures is found here.

Listen to the Lectures here.

You may need to log in to the Foundations website to access these materials:

www.foundationscourse.org

      Username: student

      Password: rdwcourse

 

Lesson Titles

1. God’s Purposes and the Distortion of Those Purposes

2. The Biblical Plan: Announcement of the Great Commission

3. The Gospels and Christ: A Global Perspective

4. The New Beginning of the Global Mission

5. Western Renaissance: 0 CE–1200 CE

6. The Evangelical Renaissance: 1600–2000

7. “Beyond Christianity”: The Rise of Globalism and the Expansion of

     New Missions

8.  Frontiers of the Kingdom

 

Lesson One – God’s Purposes and the Distortion of Those Purposes

Theme: God is committed to fulfilling His purposes which have been distorted by evil.

 

Readings:

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 1.

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

            7-23 Winter: The Kingdom Strikes Back
            25-31 Winter and Snodderly: The Story of the Battle for Our Planet     

 

Reflection Questions:

 1. What are the main features of the unfolding drama of the Kingdom?

2. What are some of the ways God’s purposes have been accomplished throughout history?

3. In what ways is this statement true: “The conferring of the blessing brings sober responsibility, dangerous if unfulfilled” (“The Kingdom Strikes Back.”) How does this relate to the nature of the mission task?’

4. Why does Winter believe understanding evil in the world is foundational to reclaiming God’s reputation? What are your thoughts about his arguments for the role of the believer in this mission?

 

 

Lesson Two – The Biblical Plan: Announcement of the Great Commission

 

Theme: What God chose to do about the distortion of His purposes.           


Readings:

Read Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 3.

Pierson: The Dynamics of Christian Mission; 19-20 Chapter 2

 

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

          47-49 Winter, Ralph: The First Chapter of the Bible

          51-56 Winter, Ralph: “Historification” of the Big Picture

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. Who are some of the people and events God selected to begin correcting the distortion of His purposes?

2. How does the term “blessing” apply to the mission of God’s people? How can you participate in fulfilling God’s plan?

3. How would you explain 'the story of the Old Testament' which you can read without hurrying in 60 seconds employing missiological perspective?

 

 

Lesson Three – The Gospels and Christ: A Global Perspective

 

Theme: Through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, God defeats evil and redeems and restores humanity and creation.

 

Readings:

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 7.

Pierson: The Dynamics of Christian Mission

            20-23 Chapter 2

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

            101-105 Winter: The Gospels from a Global Perspective

            107-115 Wright: The Challenge of the Kingdom

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. How would you compare Pierson’s explanation of the essential elements of the Good News with Winter’s and Wright’s discussions of the nature of the Kingdom of God?

2. How did Jesus express and demonstrate His concern beyond the Jewish nation to all the peoples of the world?

3. In what ways did Christ demonstrate his power over the kingdom of darkness?

4. How did Jesus break down sinful cultural practices and social barriers? Can we apply His method to mission situations today?

5. What is your vocation and task in the challenge of the Kingdom?

 

 

Lesson Four – The New Beginning of the Global Mission

 

Theme: The growth of the church and related missiological principles.

 

Readings:

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 8.

Pierson: The Dynamics of Christian Mission

            22-27 Chapter 2

            41-49 Chapter 4

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective
            117-20 Winter:

The Growth of the Church in Judea and

Samaria

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. What examples can you give of the shifts of biblical faith throughout history, including biblical times?

2. What parallels do you see in mission work today to the shift from Jewish to Greek culture?

3. How does true heart faith contrast with faith based on religious and cultural traditions and assumptions? What are the differing results in individual lives as well as societies?

4. Why do you think the Holy Spirit chose a person like Paul to provide leadership in first-century missions?

 

 

Lesson Five – Western Renaissance: 0 – 1200 CE

 

Theme: How Christianity renewed the Roman Empire and Influenced the Development of Western Civilization.

Readings:

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 11

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 12

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

            153-58 Winter: The First Four Hundred Years

            173-78 Winter: The Second Four Hundred Years

            189-93 Winter: The Third Four Hundred Years

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. What are the main features of the 400-year time periods Ralph Winter talks about? How did a faith starting with a child born in a stable end up in palaces, exerting authority, transforming individuals, tribes, kingdoms and nations as Satan’s domain was at least temporarily pushed back again and again?

2. What cultural/religious tensions exist when faith flows from one culture to another?

3. Why was the Islamic version of biblical faith successful? What were some of the flaws in the early days of Islam, from a biblical perspective?

4. What was the state of the church in Medieval Western Europe? What correlation, if any, do you see between the state of the church in general and the degree of chaos within a society? (Consider the social chaos caused by the Vikings, and the social chaos in parts of the contemporary global world.)

5. What people and structures did God use during the Medieval period to bring about positive social and spiritual change?

 

 

Lesson Six – The Renaissance Proper and The Evangelical Renaissance: 1200 – 2000

 

Theme: Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical global mission

 

Readings:

Read the Introduction for Lesson 13

Read the Introduction for Lesson 14

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

            211-14 Winter: The Fourth Four Hundred Years

            215-18 Winter: The Fifth Expansion

            219-21 Winter: The Evangelical Awakening

            229-35 Winter: Four Men, Three Eras, Two Transitions: Modern Missions    

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. What cultural forces were at work in the dynamics of the Reformation?

2. What were the factors that led Protestants to reject not only the influential monastic movements of the first millennium, but also the monastic structural vehicles?

3. In what senses does the “Evangelical Awakening” move beyond a describable movement?

4. What are the characteristics of the three eras of Protestant missions?

 

 

Lesson Seven – “Beyond Christianity”: The Rise of Globalism and the Expansion of New Missions

 

Theme: The continued Western influence, despite the collapse of Colonialism, in the rise of globalization, the international surge of new missions and biblical faith bursting the bounds of cultural Christianity.

 

Readings:

Read the Introduction for Lesson 15

Read the Introduction for Lesson 16

Read the Introduction for Lesson 17

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

            253-256 Winter: The Kingdom Era Is Now

            267-281 Winter: Twelve Frontiers of Perspective

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. What are some examples of the miracle of missionary churches continuing in the midst of the collapse of colonialism?

2.What important new insights for the mission task did the focus on Unreached Peoples bring?

3. Given the Bible as supra-cultural truth, to what forms in your own culture should you be sensitive when transmitting the Biblical message to another culture?

4. What differences would you predict in the way traditional mission work is done if one of the 12 Frontiers of Perspective that are relevant to this lesson, were taken seriously?

5. What is meant by the terms “churchless Christianity” and “Christianity-less church”?

 

 

Lesson Eight – Frontiers of the Kingdom

Theme: Missions goes beyond only “saving souls,” to the restoration of God’s glory.

 

Readings:

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 19.

Read the Lecture/Introduction for Lesson 20.

Winter, ed: Foundations of the World Christian Movement: A Larger Perspective

            313-318 Winter: Join the World Christian Movement

            373-382 Winter: The Unfinished Epic

            33-35 Snodderly: A Summary of Ralph D. Winter’s Warfare Missiology

 

 

Reflection Questions: 

1. How does the Lord’s prayer relate to international development?

2. What are the main features of Ralph Winter’s story of history in four acts, and what implications does this story have for the way evangelicals do mission?

3. How would you explain to a friend the concept of expanding mission beyond the redemption of souls to the destruction of all things that mar the glory of God?

4. What will you do to participate in demonstrating God’s character? In what ways can you enlist others to fight against evil and bring glory to God?

 

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