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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Acta theol. vol.29  suppl.12 Bloemfontein  2009

 

Reversing the biblical tide: What Kuruman teaches London about mission in a post-colonial era

 

 

S. de Gruchy

School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209. E-mail: degruchys@ukzn.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

Through a case study focusing on the shift from the London Missionary Society (LMS) to the Council for World Mission (CWM) this essay argues that there is a hermeneutical circle between the Bible and mission. A particular reading of the Bible led the missionaries of the LMS to Africa, and their concern to promote the Bible led to the translation and printing of the Bible in indigenous languages - most famously into Setswana by Robert Moffat at Kuruman. Inevitably, the availability of the Bible in indigenous languages led to new ways of understanding the church and mission from the perspective of the South. This post-colonial dynamic led to changes in the LMS and to the emergence of CWM in 1977. The essay then pursues the argument by showing how over the thirty years of CWM's life there continues to be the development of a biblical vision for mission that takes seriously the perspectives of the post-colonial world.

Keywords: Mission, Bible, Hermeneutical circle, Post-colonial


Trefwoorde: Sending, Bybel, Hermeneutiese sirkel, Post-koloniaal


 

 

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bosch, D. 1991. Transforming mission: Paradigm shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll: Orbis.         [ Links ]

Butler, A. 1999. Kuruman: The work of the LMS in Bechuanaland. In: S. de Gruchy (ed.), Changing frontiers: The missionary story of the UCCSA (Gaborone: Pula Press), pp. 38-47.         [ Links ]

CWM 1975. Sharing in One World Mission. London: CWM.         [ Links ]

CWM 1984. Handbook of the Council for World Mission. London: CWM.         [ Links ]

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De Gruchy, S. 1999. The alleged political conservatism of Robert Moffat. In: J.W. de Gruchy (ed.), The London Missionary Society in Southern Africa: Historical essays in celebration of the bicentenary of the LMS in Southern Africa, 1799-1999 (Cape Town: David Philip), pp. 17-36.         [ Links ]

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McKelvey, J. 1999. Mission then and now: Reflections on the founding of the LMS. In: S. de Gruchy (ed.), Changing frontiers: The missionary story of the UCCSA (Gaborone: Pula Press), pp. 199-210.         [ Links ]

Sanneh, L. 1989. Translating the message: The missionary impact on culture. Maryknoll: Orbis.         [ Links ]

Thorogood, B. (Ed.) 1994. Gales of change: Responding to a shifting missionary context. The story of the London Missionary Society 1945-1977. Geneva: WCC.         [ Links ]

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WCC 1973. World Council of Churches Bangkok Assembly 1973: Minutes and Report of the Assembly of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches. Geneva: WCC.         [ Links ]

 

 

1 The research for this paper was undertaken whilst I was Scholar in Residence at the CWM offices in London, August-December 2007. The support and assistance of the Council and the staff in London is humbly acknowledged.

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