The Charasmatic Movement and Missions in Japan: Recollection and Reflection

A Research Paper by Alex Tan (Master of Divinity Program, March 2015)
Submitted to Rev. Dr. Wang Yiping in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for PT 6003
圣灵运行与普世宣教 | Ecclesia Bible College

 CONTENTS

Introduction

. The Background and Characteristics of Pentecostalism

A. The Rise of Pentecostalism

B. The Three Waves of Pentecostalism

C. The Characteristics of Pentecostalism

D. The Birth of Pentecostalism in Japan

. The Challenge of Mission in Japan

A. The Religious Thinking of Japanese

B. The Role of Liberal Theology

C. The Cultural and Social Obstacles

D. The Congregational Crisis in the Church

. The Theology of Mission in Japanese Context

A. The Motives of Mission

B. The Message of Mission

C. The Methodof Mission

D. The Model of Mission

Conclusion


Introduction

This paper attempts to explain the charismatic movement and missions in Japan, reflecting from the history of the rise of Pentecostalism in America and its various forms in the global context. Emphasis is given to the Asian context, mainly in Japan where the writer has interaction for 18 years.

In part of this paper, the background and characteristics of Pentecostalism andits birth and growth in Asia arepresented. An overview of the history of Pentecostalism in Japan, mainly the founding of the Japan Assemblies of God is provided. Since resources about Japan’s charismatic movement are scarce, the writer has focused only on the history and growth of the Japan Assemblies of God.

Part Ⅱ highlights the challenge of mission in Japan. Issues like the religious thinking of Japanese, the role of liberal theology, the cultural and social obstacles and the congregational crisis in the church are addressed in this section.

Part Ⅲ attempts to tackle the challenge of mission in Japan with the theology of mission. The motives, message, method and model of mission are discussed. Ideas and suggestions are taken from books of missiological content and journal articles by various missiologists who are famous in their respective fields.

. The Background and Characteristics of Pentecostalism

The Rise of Pentecostalism

Asia has witnessed an unprecedented resurgence of religious vitality over the past 50 years. The religions of Asia have ‘reawakened’ as countries regained their political independence, embarked on economic development and become enveloped by globalization. This effect has also encompassed the Christian world, the most dramatic upsurge taking place in the Pentecostal/Charismatic sector.1 Mission is central to Pentecostalism. The Pentecostal Movement has encouraged the church growth movement. Although only just over 100 years since its commencement, the evidence of the remarkable growth of Pentecostalism is clear.2

Pentecostalism represents a decisive structural break with religious cultures of Catholic, East Syrian, Orthodox and Reformation Christianity.The rise of charismatic movements within the Catholic and Protestant churches is creating social diversity, religious non-conformity and cultural pluralism within the urban parish and all sectors of society. The Pentecostal/Charismatic movements thrive inoral, narrative and inclusive cultures while conventional Christianity is rooted in literary, conceptual and exclusive traditions.3 Hollenweger describes that Pentecostalism is revolutionary because it offers alternatives to literary theology and defroststhe ‘frozen thinking’ within literary forms of worship and committee-debate. It gives the same chance to all, including “oral” people.

David Barrett’s statistics on world Christianity are well known, widely quoted and broadly accepted. David Barrett andTodd Johnson suggested that there were over 533 million “Pentecostal/Charismatics” in the world in 2001.5 This is more than all the Protestant Christians put together (342 million), only second to the Roman Catholics (1.1 billion).6 For instance, in Korea, 10 of 15 mega-churches are Pentecostal/Charismatic type.7 Since 1950 Pentecostal growth has outstripped the growth of all other branches of Christianity. During 1970-1990 alone Pentecostal numbers tripled. Some 43% of Asian Christians are Pentecostal/Charismatic.8

Table 1: Pentecostal Movements in Asia.9

Table 1

Prior suggests that Pentecostalism grew in Asia because there is a strong sense of God’s presence in everyday life; the meaning of life is emphasized; and the religious values of the weak, the sick, the poor and the marginalized are acknowledged.10 

Another statistic to highlight is it was estimated that Christians formed 8% of the total population of Asia (excluding the former Soviet Union and the Muslim Middle East) in 1990, some 229 million people. Of this number, there were at least 50 million Pentecostals/Charismatics, 22% of the Christian population.11 However, most of the recent growth has taken place in three countries: China, South Korea and Indonesia, and that mainly is among Pentecostals.12

The general socio-economic strata of early Pentecostals was among the poorest.When Hollenweger identified that Pentecostalism has a black root13, it also included this deprived social status of early Pentecostals in America. For example, the celebratedleader of Azusa Street mission was William J. Seymour, an African American who had minimal education.Ma explains that the general atmosphere of an average Pentecostal church in Asia provides an environment for the poor and marginalized to feel “at home”,especially in comparison with middle class well-built and properly furnished mainline churches.14

According to Yong, for Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians who live in religious contexts like in Asia, religious experience makes their Christian life and witness very relevant because they are in constant contact with other religions. A Spirit-oriented theology of mission and religions is needed for Pentecostals because of their openness to religious experience and the experience of the Spirit.15 

The Three Waves of Pentecostalism

Pentecostals are defined as ‘those affiliated to specifically Pentecostal denominations committed to a Pentecostal theology usually including a post-conversion experience of a baptism in the Spirit.’16 Pentecostalism has three distinct forms in the global context: 1) Classical Pentecostals; 2) the Charismatic Renewal Movement; and 3) Neo-Pentecostalism, “Pentecostal-like” indigenous churches in the Third World.17

There is a general agreement that the origins of the Classical Pentecostals can be traced back to January 1, 1901, and Bethel Bible College,a little Bible school in Topeka, Kansas. There, a clear connection was made between the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tonguesby Charles F.Parham.18 Later, ablack Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour was invited to speak in Los Angeles and these meetings on Azusa Street became the launchpad for projecting the Pentecostal revival around the World.19

Between 1906 and 1909, meetings were conducted at the Azusa Street Hall continuously. Striking during these meetings are the mixed-race character of the participants: blacks and whites worshipped together, united by the power of the Holy Spirit. Menzies points out that these new Pentecostals, often ostracized from their parent bodies, scattered to spread the gospel, sometimes with no credentials and no visible means of support.20 They had little except the joy of the Lord and a great sense of God’s providential care.

Until 1955, any church member in the mainline American denominations, who reported receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues voluntarily or involuntarily separated from the parent body. Thus, Pentecostal churches had received a substantial number ofpeople who came from other denominations.21 Menzies writes that the Charismatic Renewal should be understood as a renewal agency within older churchesand in this renewal mode, there was an expectation of manifesting gifts of the Spirit.22 In the Charismatic Renewal Movement alone exists three waves: 1) high church Protestantism; 2) Catholic Pentecostalism; and 3) the Third Wave.23

Hollenweger observes that it is the very same ingredients, namely, the Catholic and black spirituality, that account for the success of Neo-Pentecostalism in the Third World.24 Prior describes the Neo-Pentecostals as independent, post-denominational groups and indigenous churches such as the house churches of China.25 These churches are more ecumenical, experiential and pneumatologically oriented than Classical Pentecostals.26 Anderson comments on how Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea adapted the gospel to suit the Oriental religious and cultural context.27 The reason of the adaptation is any religion that does not offer at least the same benefits as the old religion did will probably be unattractive but Pentecostalism can offer more than the traditional indigenous religions.

The Characteristics of Pentecostalism

Several characteristics common in virtually all settings where Pentecostals could be found are identifiable.28 McClungnotes five major theologicalthemes in Pentecostal churches:1)a literal Biblicism; 2) an experiential Christianity; 3) the personality and power of the Holy Spirit; 4) a strong Christology; and 5) anurgent missiology.Theemphasis in missions stands out among other Christian bodies.

The presence of the Spirit makes ecclesial experience a truly living tradition. The living tradition of the Church may be defined as the transmission and development of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the on-going practices of the Church through the power of the Spirit.29 The Spirit is central for ecclesiology because He is the source of fellowship among humans in history and the bond of love between Father and Son in eternity. Fellowship on earth corresponds in a measure to fellowship in heaven.30

Besides the theology of communion in the church, the breathtaking growth of Pentecostalism is the result of the understanding that the mission of the triune God is inclusive.31 This holistic understanding of God the Trinity led the Pentecostals to see the work of God in creation and in the church and this brought about necessary renewal of faith, church and mission.32

Pentecostals have often been accused of majoring in Luke’s writing over Paul’s, when it comes to pneumatology. Marshall’s work has opened a new door for narratives including Lukan literature to be treated as legitimate theological books.33 The charismatic orientation of Lukan theology has long been assumed since the advent of the modern Pentecostal movement.According to Stronstad, the pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost is primarily to empower the disciples for their prophetic vocation as witnesses.34 The consecration by the Spirit is once-for-all, while, as the need arises, the equipping by the Spirit is repetitive.35 The charismatic feature of Lukan theology implies not only a drastic manifestation of God’s power, such as healing and miracles36, but also persevering persistence to fulfill the calling.37

In addition to the power for service through which the individual becomes a potential channel of great witness to the world, the baptism in the Spirit becomes the entrance into a mode of worship that blesses the believers of God.38 The baptism is the gateway into the manifold ministries in the Spirit called gifts of the Spirit, including many spiritual ministries.Pentecostals are growing because they understand they are not dynamos; they are merely conductors and wires. They simply have to remain attached to Christ and possessed by the Holy Spirit.39

Menzies writes that at Pentecost, this “baptism in the Holy Spirit” does not cleanse the disciples nor grant them a new ability to keep the law; rather it drives them forward in the face of opposition and enables them to bear bold witness for Christ.40 Lloyd-Jones points out that with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it was evident by looking at the disciples that something had happened to them.41 It is the goal of each believer to preach the good news in fulfilling the Great Commission and show forth the evident work of the Holy Spirit in missions.

For the Pentecostals, they read the Book of Acts differently from other Protestants. In general, Pentecostals have adopted the Evangelical historical critical methods along with its emphasis upon discovering the determinate meaning of a text by identifying the author’s intended meaning. Hence, Pentecostals have used methods similar to and common among other interpretive communities. What makes the reading or interpretation distinct is that it is being generated within a Pentecostal community.42 Mittelstadt in his book illustrates the centrality of Acts for the preservation and perpetuation of classic Pentecostal doctrine and experience.43

Pentecostalism as a latecomer in Asia,through their zealous evangelism have contributed exponential growth but it also invited much opposition from other religious communities and sometimes the government. Ma analyzes that their eschatological orientation tended to encourage them to be “separated from the world” as a mark of its spirituality.44

The Birth of Pentecostalism in Japan

According to Shew, the history and current status of the Pentecostal movement in Japan is almost entirely without scholarly research. One of the reasons he points out is early Pentecostals in Japan were independent and lacked clearly defined organization.45 Standard works about the history of Christianity in Japan either ignore Pentecostalism entirely or mention it merely as an aside.Another significant factor impeding research into the history of Pentecostalism in Japan is the pervasive prejudice against Pentecostals.46 But through the effort of Shew and Suzuki47, through existing secondary accounts and denominational histories48, a glimpse of the history of Pentecostalism in Japan is made possible.

There are three waves of Pentecostal missionaries to Japan: 1) the Apostolic Faith Movement (1907-1909); 2) independent lay missionaries (1910-1918); and 3) the denominational Pentecostal missionaries (1919-1941).49 The first known Pentecostals to arrive in Japan were from a group in 1907 led by Martin L. Ryan from Spokane, Washington. In 1906, Ryan had traveled to the Azusa Street Mission and experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. His group, composed of six families, called themselves the Apostolic Faith Movement in Japan.50 They worked mainly in Yokohama and the Tokyo vicinity while they were in Japan.

Independent and lay missionaries came over to Japan before the official formation of the Pentecostal organizations in theirhome countries. Once in Japan, these missionaries united together to form the mission called the Assembly of God in Japan by 1915. William Taylor and his wife, Estella Bernauer, CarlF. Juergensen, F. H. Gray were the members of this original mission.51 However, any memory of Taylor and Bernauer have been completely forgotten among the Japan Assemblies of God circle; only CarlF. Juergensen remains.It should be noted that the Juergensen family and Kiyoma Yumiyama, the prominent leader in the Japan Assemblies of God worked together during this period.52

In the third wave of missionaries, the General Council missionaries such as J. W. Juergensen, Jessie Wengler and Ruth Johnson arrived in 1919.This led to the forming of the Nihon Pentekosute Kyokai, a Pentecostal church holding a clear Trinitarian theology.53 After the forming of this denominational group, the Pentecostal mission shifted from being a loose fellowship of missionaries to a more narrowly defined denominational group.

During the Second World War, all the Protestant churches were merged into the United Church of Christ in Japan(UCCJ). After the war, the leaders of the former Nihon Seisho Kyokai desired to leave the United Church of Christ in Japan and establish a new Pentecostal church, which would unite the members of Nihon Seisho Kyokai and Takinogawa Seirei Kyokai led by Yumiyama54. As a result, the Japan Assemblies of God was founded on March 15, 1949 with the help of the General Council missionaries, uniting the Pentecostal Christians.55

. The Challenge of Mission in Japan

The Religious Thinking of Japanese

In order to win people to Christ, it is necessary to know their worldview, such as their religious thinking. Only when their religious thinking is studied, then the reason for the difficulties of evangelism in Japan could be probed. It is interesting to note that while about 70% of Japanese think of themselves to be “irreligious”, the gross number of religious organizations to which Japanese belong is well over the total population of Japan.56 According to Miyake, Japanese’s definition of “religious” is to believe in something supernatural or something awesome, but not belief in a particular doctrine like the Christian faith.57

According to Hajime Nakamura, a distinguished professor of philosophy and religion at Tokyo University, Japanese are not primarily interested in metaphysical theory and logical systematic doctrine.58 Japanese are attracted by truth embodied in a fascinating personality; they look for a way of life.59 But there is no concept of the absolute in the Japanese religious thinking.For most Japanese, a religious truth is not what they have to follow but what they can employ for their own benefit.60 Ordinary Japanese do not think it unnatural to have plural religions. They embrace both religions (Shintoism and Buddhism) without any qualms whatsoever.61

To understand the worldview of Japan, one must study the main features of polytheism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.62 Polytheism by its nature leaves room for more gods. All forms of worship of whatever god one may choose are legitimate. Such belief rejects absolute truth in favor of an irrationalism in which opposites can both be true.63 According to polytheism, all values are relative. Truth and falsehood, life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and evil, are all mixed together.This polytheistic sort of thinking recognizes the relativity of all values.64

Hesselgrave suggests some approaches65 to establishing common ground. He proposes that in a polytheistic environment like in Japan, the Christian rational presuppositionalism approach is effective.66 Whatever the worldview or ways of thinking, there is but one truth and one logic –both grounded in the person and nature of the Creator God. He is Truth and the Source of Truth.

Chan offers another solution in using the doctrine of the Trinity in evangelism in the Asian context because this doctrine addresses the problem of the high religions as well as the folk religions of Asia.67 The “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). He is both supremely transcendent and immanent because He is Trinity, the God in relation.He comments that the Trinity gives God a name and a face and this is the way Asians come to know Him.

The Role of Liberal Theology

When Japan became modernized in the early part of the Meiji period, the government forced the existing religious traditions to reorganize. Shinto became the national religion, as it provided the basis for emperor worship. As Christianity rapidly grew in the 1880s, resentment began to arise especially among Buddhists.68

Some leaders realized that as a political strategy, Japan needed to respect religion of the Western nations to find common ground for co-operation with the West. But they were not able to accept the supernatural ideas of Christian thought.69 Fumio Yano, a writer and politician introduced Unitarianism70 as a form of Christianity that had been freed from supernatural elements.Yet, the Unitarians never succeeded in establishing their church in Japan. The Japanese leaders merely used Unitarian ideas to fuel the moral and social progress of Japanese civilization.71

The influence of liberal theology not only gave birth to Unitarianism, but it also gave birth to “Shintoistic Christianity”, led by Danjo Ebina. In the stream of liberal theology, Ebina promoted a return to traditional Japanese religiosity and to an amalgamation of traditional religion with Christianity.72 For Ebina, he located Christianity as a lineal extension of Confucianism. Confucianism became a channel to approach Christianity and his Christianity was consequently characterized by Confucianism.73

As a result of this historical background and the influence of liberalism, even though the influence of Christianity is great in Japanese society, the Christian population in Japan is less than 1%. Nishihara finds as one of the characteristics of Japanese people, there are many writers and thinkers who recognize Christianity as part of the intellectual culture and express ideas influenced by Christianity, but they are not baptized.74

With this historical influence, many churches are liberalistic in their approach in preaching and mission in Japan. Radical liberals tend to equate the biblical notion of salvation from sin with the struggle of poor and oppressed people for justice.75 Unbelievers are attracted to such programs in the church but it is a waste that these liberal churches do not place a high priority in sharing the gospel to them in their activities. On the other hand, Pentecostals in Japan are often criticized for the lack of involvement in social outreach and they would be the key in revitalizing the social involvement of Protestant churches in Japan.

Another side effect of liberal theology is the use of too much theological language that is beyond the knowledge of laypeople and especially forbidding to newcomers.76 Japanese pastors are basically capable and earnest in teaching the Bible but the failure to link the meaning of the gospel to everyday life, to see the implications of Christian belief for the ethics and values of the workplace, itis not surprising that unbelievers feel Christianity has no relevance to their lives.Pentecostal’s high view of Scripture, the appeal to the poor and the emphasis in mission would be an antidote to the slow growth in Japan.

The Cultural and Social Obstacles

Niebuhr’s theoretical model77 is constructed to analyze different Christian attitudes toward culture. It deals with the relationship between Christianity and culture. Haraguchi points out that Niebuhr’s analytical model is focused on the relationship between Christian loyalty to Christ and his or her loyalty to the culture of the surrounding world. Christ is both the object of faith and the model of Christian life.78 After Japan opened itself to the outside world during the Meiji era, they perceived Christianity as a Western religion. This understanding belongs to the second type, Christ of culture.79

I believe this is still the prominent view among modern Japanese. When Japanese are interested in Christianity, they conceive the Christian faith as the training of men in their present social existence for the better life to come. Japanese tend to seek for worldly benefits (ご利益, goriyaku)due to the influence of many folk beliefs in their culture.80 Christ is often regarded as the great educator, sometimes as the great philosopher or reformer.81 Even though liberal theology is appealing to many Japanese and the churches in Japan, now in the twenty first century worldwide, classic liberal theology is becoming outmoded. Carson comments that its denominations are shrinking and its influence in the culture is declining.82

Kim suggests that spreading the Christian gospel in the multi-religious society of a non-Christian world like in Japan or Korea, the Western theology of mission that warns against syncretism might have gone too far.83 Pentecostalism which has roots in Christian fundamentalism is prone to denounce syncretism without any serious theological effort of exploring mission in a multi-religious cultural context.

Nishioka suggests to use both Kraft’s communicational and Hiebert’s symbolic approaches to communicate the gospel in a contextually sensitive manner, maintaining biblical truth for transforming the Japanese people’s life, including their culture.84 His reason is the younger generation in Japanese society does not hold strongly the linkage between traditional cultural forms and traditional meanings. It might be possible in the future to use these forms for creating new meanings.85

Harvey Cox concludes that Korea’s Pentecostalism was able to grow tremendously because it was able to include and transform certain elements of preexisting religions which still retain a strong grip on the cultural subconscious.86 Shamanism influenced Korean Christianity and its emphasis on the present and on material blessings was the point of entrance for David Cho to package the gospel of Christ in Korean context.87 Japan churches need to find their own methods to contextualize the gospel for their unbelievers.

The Congregational Crisis in the Church

Another challenge to mission in Japan is the shortage of clergy and the congregational leadership crisis in the church. In 1948, the total number of ordained clergy for all denominations was 6,789; by 2002, this number grew to 11,336. In 1948, the ratio was one clergy for every 50 laypeople; in 2003, it had become to one for every 100 laypeople.88 To make things worse, the aging of clergy also significantly impacts congregational leadership. The percentage of pastor over 60 years of age jumped from 23% in 1985 to 40% in 2001.

Table 2: Changes in Age Distribution of UCCJ Clergy, 1985-2001.89

Table 2

Table 3: Age Distribution of UCCJ Members, 1996 and 2000.90

Table 3

The aging of the clergy is mirrored by an even faster pattern of aging among lay members in UCCJ (see Table 3). In 1996, about 41% of UCCJ members were over 60; by 2000, this figure had risen to 47%.91 It could be said that UCCJ pastors and congregations are aging at about twice the speed of Japanese society in general. The decline in young people under 30 years old represents a loss from which potential ministerial candidates could be drawn.

Hastings and Mullins analyzes that clergy-centered leadership encourages passive dependency among members. They further conclude that the members’ concern for well-educated clergy, combined with a hierarchical Confucian leadership model that emphasizes the positional authority of the clergy has not encouraged an active role for the layperson.92 Many pastors are not empowering the laity to become followers of Christ.93

Dale analyzes the congregational crisis in Japan as a reflection of a cultural pattern.94 In this structure, the pastor attempts to do everything, leaving people as observers. This is another element that limits the scope of the church; leadership tends to be limited to the pastor. It is a waste that the great capabilities of the laypeople are largely unutilized. But lay Christians of Japan are known for their loyalty to the church. Many give unstintingly of their time and money for church activities. When Japanese pastors learn to train laypeople to be leaders in the church, the lay members would have a greater impact in their service to the church and their surroundings respectively. Hence, atheology of mission is important for the church.

. The Theology of Mission in Japanese Context

The Motives of Mission

There are two extreme views in the definition of mission. The traditional view defined mission as “to further the proclamation to the whole world of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to the end that all men may believe in Him and be saved.”95 Such an emphasis on the priority of evangelistic preaching left little room in some cases even for the building of Christian schools or hospitals. According to Stott, the biblical view is that God is at work in the historical process, and His purpose in mission is the establishment of shalom in the sense of social harmony.The church’s particular role in the mission Deiis to point to God at work in world history.96 Even though Jesus and Paul did mass evangelism, local church evangelism is the most normal, natural and effective method for spreading the gospel.97

The Japanese churches need to rethink the definition of the Great Commission if they are to uphold this mandate from the Lord. Hertig points out that in Matthew 28:20, if the disciples are to teach them to obey “everything” Jesus has commanded, then the mission of the disciples is to be holistic.98 Jesus’ teaching is an appeal to His listeners’ will, nor primarily to their intellect; it is a call for a concrete decision to follow Him; to submit to God’s will as revealed in Jesus’ ministry and teaching.99

One of the reasons Japanese churches are weak and slow in growth is that there is absence of discipleship programs to help young Christians grow in their faith.And many Japanese pastors are too lenient towards the young believers in confronting their old ways. Bonhoeffer writes that Christians are not expected to contemplate the disciple, but only the Master who calls, and His absolute authority.100 Warren states that while knowledge of the Bible is foundational to spiritual maturity, it is not the total measurement of it. Knowledge needs to be backed up by behavior. Pastors must help people not only learn the Word but also love it and live it.101

The presence of Jesus is promised to the church in the Great Commission. From first to last Matthew is the Gospel of ‘God with us’.102 With this confidence in mind, the church must be mobilized to bring the gospel to all nations. The church is given the task by Christ to finish the task to the unreached people of the world.103 It is comforting to know that even though early Pentecostal leaders were hesitant to do missions in a holistic fashion, almost from the beginning, Pentecostal missionaries participated in relief efforts and established charitable ministries.104 Struggling Japanese churches without a social outreach perspective need to be influenced by the Lausanne Covenant’s stance that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both necessary in mission.105

The Message of Mission

Japan is not a religious country but they are open to various forms of pantheism. They have no clear concept of sin and forgiveness, especially where there is no concept of God. Hesselgrave who was a missionary in Japan said that the Japanese understood sin (, tsumi) in Scripture and in Shinto differently. He finds it more effective to show the dissimilarities between Christianity and Shintoism when communicating Christ and the gospel.106

The message I would emphasize when preaching to Japanese is “the old has gone, the new is here. There is a second chance in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Many Japanese find it hard to accept this simple message of the gospel that God loves us even though we are sinners and imperfect. Elmer writes that in a shamed-based culture, it is bad enough to be shamed before one’s friends and colleagues, but to cause shame or to be shamed before a father, elder or Sovereign God is exceedingly worse.107 But the good news is that God has taken the initiative to restore this relationship.

The virtue of humility is highly deemed in the Japanese culture.108 Phrasing the gospel in this context is extremely crucial: that God of the universe have put Himself in a humble situation through the incarnation of Christ. God had become a man and took on the form of humility(Philippians 2:5-11). And God has sent His son to take away our shame and bring new life, life to the fullest to us (John 10:10).Pastors should imitate Paul by appealingto the spiritual needs of men, to the craving for pardon and the comforting assurance that in Christ,peace could be found.109 

Stott writes that the essence of the gospel isJesus Christ Himself.It is impossible to preach the gospel without talking about Jesus and in particular His death and resurrection, together with God’s offer through Christ of a new life of forgiveness and freedom and of membership in His new community to those who repent and believe in Him.110

Japan is very developed and advanced intellectually, financially and socially. But the pursuit of growth in intellect and wealth have broken many family relationships111 and families nowadays are less attached.The old communal structure of society has become more individualized and urbanized. The sense of purpose in life is fulfilled in the workplace and through achievements.Davis suggests that one key to doing ministry in a postmodern world112 is creating new communities that communicate the biblical metanarratives in terms that affirm the human quest for identity, community and significance.113

Pastors should focus the message more on the communal understanding of worshippingJesus Christ as Lord.God’s grace is available to anyone who criesout in desperation114; life is worth nothing without Christ(Acts 20:24).Japanese need to know that the ultimate goal in life is to show glory to God115; because from Him and through Him and for Him are all things (Romans 11:36).

The Method of Mission

Pentecostal missions have been fervent in developing indigenous churches.In many overseas situations the national Pentecostal churches have expanded rapidly, eventually absorbing and controlling the parent mission’s organization.116 Smalley describes an indigenous church is one in which the changes taking place under the guidance of the Holy Spirit meet the needs and fulfill the meanings of that society and not of any outside group.117 He further describes that it is impossible to “found” an indigenous church. They can only be planted, and the mission is usually surprised at which seeds grow.118

Another method worth mentioning that has contributed to the Pentecostal’s growth in Asia is that the Pentecostal movement began in a city and has continued to be at home in urban areas.119 McGavran’s research from 1978 in India also found that Pentecostals were taking advantage of the migration from villages to cities.120 Keller emphasizes the importance of city evangelism because cultural trends tend to be generated in the city and flow outward into the rest of society. He also points out the importance of planting new churches with new “DNA” built in from the beginning instead of expanding the existing institutional churches.121

The “DNA” that is important for churches to plant new churches naturally is the vision of connecting people to God (worship and evangelism), to one another (discipleship and community), to the needs of the city (justice and mercy), and to the culture (integrating faith to work).122

One of the pitfalls of emphasizing city outreach to city residents who are normally college educated is the intellectual approach. Many Japanese think of Christianity as a knowledge-centered religion. Japanese will not show an interest in the gospel if it is presented as no more than knowledge.123 Pentecostal ministries have the advantage in thismatter because besides preaching the gospel, they can proclaim the experience and the work of the Holy Spirit. The gospel that is preached must involve the experiences of biblical truth so that people will know that Christian faith is not merely knowing but also experiencing.

For people living in the city like most Japanese do, human conceptions of self-worth are basically based on two orientations:status focus and achievement focus.124 Jesus rejects both orientations as inadequate because each culture defines its own paths to recognition and self-fulfillment. This pursuit of prestige stands in opposition to the career of servanthood that God has for all believers. Affluent people are one of the hardest segments of society to reach with the gospel.125 Christians need to make city people realize that only Christ can offer them peace and purpose in life.

The church should train their believers to act like ambassadors of Christ and negotiate fervently for the kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). As Christians we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). City residents and the work they do have a huge impact on society. A center church theological vision promotes the centrality of the gospel as the basis for both ministries in the church and engagement with the culture.126 This will produce matured and distinct Christians who excel in their vocations and this will benefit the culture in which they live.

Paul spoke constantly of the provinces rather than of cities and he confined his work within the limits of Roman administration. From this fact, Paul deliberately consider the strategic value of the provinces and places in which he preached. And his method of evangelizing a province was not to preach in every place init by himself, but to establish centers of Christian life in two or three important places from which the knowledge might spread into the country around. His criteria for such choices is the church must possess sufficient life to be a source of light to the whole country.127

His aim was for the people to not only learn the gospel, but learn it in such a way that they can propagate it. Paul deliberately chose places like Lystra and Derbe because they were military posts in which there was a strong Roman element. Paul was led by the desire to obtain for himself and for his people the security afforded by a strong government.All the towns in which Paul planted churches were centers of Roman administration, of Greek civilization, of Jewish influence or of some commercial importance.128

The Model of Mission

One of the tragedies of unsuccessful mission efforts in Japan is the exact implementation of successful models of other countries into Japan’s unique culture without modification. An inappropriate mission approach is forcing Japanese to leave the community which they belong. Japanese people are a group-oriented people and they fear being isolated from their communities of family, school and work place.129 On the contrary, perhaps, unconsciously, it seems that the traditional mission approach by various western missionaries and by the Christian church in Japan is to encourage people to move away from their communities.

Generally, Japanese and other Asians are highly relational and group-oriented. They value harmony and are very sensitive to what others are thinking and feeling. Not raised to be individualists like the Westerners, they believe the needs of the group, especially the family, are more important than the needs of the individual.130 Inouye writes that once Japanese belong, they always belong. They tend to see their relationships with people and groups as permanent.131 That is the reason why it may take a long time before they make a decision to become a Christian, a decision that would change many relationships, especially those of family.For many Japanese, accepting a faith means to belong to some community. While Westerners find their identity in their belief, Japanese find their identity in the place to which they are attached. Miyake suggests a process for becoming a Christian in Japanese context: 1) to belong to; 2) to experience; 3) to believe.132

Miyake suggests a concept called “pre-church” for successful evangelism in Japan.It is crucial that the church should bring the fellowship outside of the church and receive the unbelievers into this “pre-church” setting.133 This model takes after the model of Jesus who mixed with many people who did not know who He was. He also ate meals with those who were discriminated against and regarded as sinners.Jesus Himself was the greatest “assimilator” of all. He built friendships, trust and love with His disciples and expected them to do the same too. His language was fraught with “inclusionary” terminology; His life was replete with “inclusionary” activity.134

On the institutional level, parachurch organizations must work harder in partnering with the local church in their zealous mass evangelistic campaigns. On the other hand, the local church must not be lazy and settle for an ineffective witness for Christ.135 Petry writes that the local fellowship must be strong and well-knit together, but not so fond of its own body that it becomes ineffective but gazing into a mirror and admiring its own achievements.The district and national expressions of the church need to respond to the needs of the local congregations, but they need also to respond to God’s mission with program that local churches could never provide.136 He further emphasizes that partnership is not an option; interdependence rather than dependence must be the way of the church.137

The churches in Japan should consider the importance of cultural relevancy in approaching spirituality and engaging the postmodern culture. Lausanne emphasized the need to take culture seriously. The relation of culture to evangelism was a major topic of debate at the conference. The expression,“culture Christianity” was popularized by Dr. Rene Padilla of Argentina.138 The “Emerging Church” movement is worth studying because it can be identified by three core characteristics: 1) identifying with the life of Jesus; 2) transforming secular space; and 3) commitment to community as a way of life.139 The Emerging Church movement has potential to reach a generation that is growing up not knowing the Lord (Judges 2:10).

New approaches for communicating the gospel need to take into account equipping and encouraging members of the local congregation to be missional among their own people.140 Lingenfelter analyzes that in the Confucian cultural background, the pastor/teacher has a special and respected role and members/students listen carefully, writing word for word what the teachers says.141 Japanese pastors should shift from an authoritative role to a facilitator role142 and encourage members to have a personal interest in evangelism and the fate of the lost.Foreign missionaries should have this in mind when they are ministering to Japanese. They should train and equip Japanese locals to bring the gospel to their respective homes and workplaces instead of doing it themselves by speaking the language inadequately or through a translator.

The dynamism of such approach is superior to having message bearers tell people what outsiders think insiders need to know.143 A transition is needed from preaching the gospel to living the gospel within the context where people live.144 The only danger the movement has is the neutralization of spirituality; in attempting to be holistic, tolerant and accommodating, the distinction between light and dark might be lost (1 Peter 2:9).145 For example, Carson predicted that emerging church leaders would address concern about evil in other religions by pointing out the evil in Christianity too. However, they do not seem to have addressed the issue at all.146

Finally, Christians must not forget that they are co-workers together in God’s service, as it is told in 1 Corinthians 3:9. As Christians are caught up in this relationship with God, they are called to share in His will and purposes. This partnership with God, between God and humanity, becomes discipleship.147 Besides that, Japanese pastors should imitate Paul in the practices of partnership in the epistle to the Philippians.148 Paul and the Philippians were partners in many ways –in giving, receiving working, praying, rejoicing, struggling and suffering.Pentecostalism has a great contribution to offer because of its understanding that Jesus’ followers are the eschatological community of prophets and they are empowered for witness.149 

Conclusion

The natural developments of modernization have changed the missiological landscape. Travel, communications and affluence are dramatically different in many countries of the world, especially in Asia, than was the case just 50 years ago. The social dynamics of globalization and urbanization have impacted the mission fields themselves.150 I pray that the prominent rise of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity will finally penetrate the high walls of Japanese culture and bring revival to this nation.

The church is the instrument of Christ, called to carry on His mission in the power of the Holy Spirit. The nature and direction of this power are clarified by the cross, the power of suffering love by which Christ overcame the world.151 Pentecostals have a rich heritage when it comes to missions because of their hermeneutics of Luke-Acts which gives them the basis for enthusiastic outreach. Luke’s charismatic theology is characterized by an Old Testament heritage, an experiential dimension, frequent prophetic activity and no temporal limitations.152

The Holy Spirit brought about a renewal, restoration and reappropriation of all that was good and true in the social, cultural and religious spheres of human life in the book of Acts.153 I sincerely hope that believers in Japan would seek more of the Holy Spirit and let Him turn Japan upside down for the Lord.


FOOTNOTES:

1 See John Mansford Prior, “The Challenge of the Pentecostals in Asia Part One: Pentecostal Movements in Asia.” Exchange36, Issue 1 (2007): 6-40.

2 Keith Warrington, Pentecostal Theology: A Theology of Encounter(New York, NY: T & T Clark, 2008), 246-248. See also William K. Kay, “Speaking with Tongues: Contexts, Finding and Questions.” Journal of Empirical Theology12, no. 1 (1999): 52-54; Robert P. Menzies, Pentecost: This is Our Story(Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2013),“Chapter5: Why Pentecostal Churches Are Growing.”; William W. Menzies & Robert P. Menzies, Spirit and Power: Foundations of Pentecostal Experience (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), “Chapter 1: Understanding the New Context.”

3 Prior, “The Challenge of the Pentecostals in Asia Part One”, 7-8.

4 Walter J. Hollenweger, “Pentecostalism and Black Power.” Theology Today30, no.3 (October 1973): 234.

5 See David B.Barrett and Todd M. Johnson,“Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission 2001.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 25, Issue 1 (January 2001): 24-25.

6 Barrett and Johnson,“Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission 2001”, 24.

7 Yong-gi Hong, “The Backgrounds and Characteristics of the Charismatic Mega-churches in Korea.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies3, no. 1 (January 2000): 101-104. According to Hong’s classification, a mega-church has over 10,000 Sunday attendants (p. 100).

8 David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian and Todd M. Johnson, eds., World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religion in the Modern World, 2nded., 2 volumes. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001), vol. 1, 12-13. Cited by Wonsuk Ma and Julie C. Ma. “Jesus Christ in Asia: Our Journey with Him as Pentecostal Believers.” International Review of Mission94, no. 375 (October 2005): 496.

9 Taken from Prior, “The Challenge of the Pentecostals in Asia Part One”, 14. Numbers taken from The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements by Stanley M. Burgess, Gary B. McGee and Patrick H. Alexander, eds. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002).

10 John Mansford Prior, “The Challenge of the Pentecostals in Asia Part Two: The Responses of the Roman Catholic Church.” Exchange36, Issue 2 (2007): 119.

11 Allan H.Anderson, “Pentecostalism in East Asia: Indigenous Oriental Christianity?” Pneuma22, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 116.

12 Patrick Johnstone, Operation World(Carlisle, UK: OM Publishing, 1993), 42-43. Cited in Allan H.Anderson, “Pentecostalism in East Asia: Indigenous Oriental Christianity?” Pneuma22, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 116.

13 See Walter J.Hollenweger, “Pentecostalism and Black Power.” Theology Today30, no. 3 (October 1973): 228-238.

14 Wonsuk Ma and Julie C. Ma,“Jesus Christ in Asia: Our Journey with Him as Pentecostal Believers.” International Review of Mission94, no. 375 (October 2005): 496.

15 Amos Yong, “”Not Knowing Where the Wind Blows…”: On Envisioning a Pentecostal-Charismatic Theology of Religions.” Journal of Pentecostal Theology14, (April 1999): 81-112.

16 Allan H.Anderson, “Diversity in the Definition of “Pentecostal/Charismatic” and Its Ecumenical Implications.” Mission Studies19, no. 2 (2002): 44.

17 Walter J.Hollenweger, “Black Roots of Pentecostalism.” In Pentecostals after a Century: Global Perspectives on a Movement in Transition, edited by Allan Anderson and Walter J. Hollenweger (Sheffield, UK: SAP, 1999), 33-34.

18 Menzies, Pentecost: This is Our Story, 10.

19 W. Menzies andR. Menzies, Spirit and Power, 16-17.

20 Ibid., 17.

21 W. Menzies andR. Menzies, Spirit and Power,30.

22 Ibid., 31.

23 For clearer explanation, look to W. Menzies andR. Menzies, Spirit and Power, 30-34.

24 Walter J.Hollenweger, “Charismatic Renewal in the Third World: Implications for Mission.” Occasional Bulletin of Missionary Research4, no. 2 (April 1980): 68.

25 Prior, “The Challenge of the Pentecostals in Asia Part One”, 9.

26 Anderson, “Pentecostalism in East Asia”, 129-132.See also Walter J.Hollenweger, “Charismatic Renewal in the Third World”, 70-73.He points out three fruits of Neo-Pentecostalism in Third World countries: 1) prayer for the sick; 2) exorcism; and 3) glossolalia.

27 Ibid., 132. Anderson points out Yoido’s “three-fold blessings of salvation” which include ‘soul prosperity’, ‘prosperity in all things’ and ‘a healthy life’ in the present life.

28 L. Grant McClung Jr., “Theology and Strategy of Pentecostal Missions.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research12, no. 1 (January 1988): 2. See also W. Menzies andR. Menzies, Spirit and Power, 22-25. Menzies finds eight such characteristics: 1) baptism in the Holy Spirit; 2) commitment to evangelism and missions; 3) strong faith; 4) expectancy; 5) reality; 6) enthusiastic worship; 7) rich fellowship; and 8) biblical authority.

29 Simon Chan, “The Church and the Development of Doctrine.” Journal of Pentecostal Theology13, no. 1 (October 2004): 67. There are three components in this definition: 1) The gospel or the Rule of Faith as the content of the living tradition. 2) Its preservation in the Church’s core practices, especially the practice of worship. 3) Its continuing development by the power of the Spirit.

30 Clark H.Pinnock, Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 117.

31 Yong-gi Hong, “Church and Mission: A Pentecostal Perspective.” International Review of Mission90, no. 358 (July 2001): 293.

32 Ralph Del Colle, “Oneness and Trinity: A Preliminary Proposal for Dialogue with Oneness Pentecostalism.” Journal of Pentecostal Theology10, (April 1997): 86.

33 For instance, I. Howard Marshall, Luke: Historian & Theologian(Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1988), 18-19.Luke’s concern was to present the Christian message in such a way as to promote and confirm faith in Jesus Christ.

34 Roger Stronstad,The Priesthood of All Believers: A Study in Luke’s Charismatic Theology.(Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2010), 113.

35 Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke, 2nd Edition(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), 95.

36 Robert P.Menzies, “A Pentecostal Perspective on “Signs and Wonders”.” Pneuma17, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 272-273.

37 Wonsuk Ma, “Full Circle Mission: A Possibility of Pentecostal Missiology.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies8, no. 1 (January 2005): 14.

38 William W.Menzies and Stanley M. Horton. Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective(Missouri, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2012), 126.

39 Alan Neely, “Dynamic for Flexible Ministries in a Revolutionary World: the Holy Spirit and Evangelism.” Review & Expositor63, no. 1 (Winter 1966): 33.

40 Menzies, Pentecost: This is Our Story, 61.

41 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Baptism and Gifts of the Spirit, edited byChristopher Catherwood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 126-141. He points out the significant change in Stephen as the first martyr; Peter’s preaching at Pentecost; Paul’s preaching to Felix.

42 Kenneth J. Archer, A Pentecostal Hermeneutic: Spirit, Scripture and Community(Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2009), 200-208.

43 Martin William Mittelstadt, Reading Luke-Acts in the Pentecostal Tradition(Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2010), 38. He writes as people of the Spirit, two ideals emerge: 1) Pentecostals read Acts through missiological lenses and 2) Pentecostals see the apostles and emerging church as exemplary for contemporary believers and churches.

44 Wonsuk Ma and Julie C. Ma,“Jesus Christ in Asia”, 500.

45 Paul Tsuchido Shew, “A Forgotten History: Correcting the Historical Record of the Roots of Pentecostalism in Japan.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies5, no. 1, (January 2002): 24-25.

46 Ibid., 27. The common understanding of the Pentecostal movement in Japan is that it is a fundamentalist sect introduced from America in the 1950s.

47 See Masakazu Suzuki, “A New Look at the Pre-war History of the Japan Assemblies of God.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies4, no. 2 (July 2001): 239-267 and “The Life and Ministry of Kiyoma Yumiyama and the Foundation of Japan Assemblies of God.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies9, no. 2 (July 2006): 220-243.

48御霊に導かれて:創立30年誌」(Guided by the Spirit: The 30 YearHistory, 1979) and「御言葉に立ち、御霊に導かれて:日本アッセンビリーズ・オブ・ゴッド教団創立50年誌」(Standing on the Word, Guided by the Spirit: The 50 Year History of the Japan Assemblies of God, 1999).

49 Suzuki, “A New Look at the Pre-war History of the Japan Assemblies of God”, 243-253.

50 Shew, “A Forgotten History”, 29-32.See also Suzuki, “A New Look at the Pre-war History of the Japan Assemblies of God”, 243.

51 Suzuki, “A New Look at the Pre-war History of the Japan Assemblies of God”, 244.

52 Masakazu Suzuki, “The Life and Ministry of Kiyoma Yumiyama and the Foundation of Japan Assemblies of God.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies9, no. 2 (July 2006): 224-225.

53 Suzuki, “A New Look at the Pre-war History of the Japan Assemblies of God”, 251.

54 Suzuki, “The Life and Ministry of Kiyoma Yumiyama…”,231-232.

55 Suzuki, “A New Look at the Pre-war History of the Japan Assemblies of God”, 263.

56 Toshimaro Ama,「日本人はなぜ無宗教なのか」[Why do Japanese have no religion?] (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1999), 8. Cited in Noriyuki Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies9, no. 1 (January 2006): 84. According to this research, the total number of religious organizations are 215 million, while the total population of Japan is 126 million.

57 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 84-85.

58 Hajime Nakamura, Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples(Honolulu, HI: East-West Center Press, 1964), 407-408 in Chapter 36, “Non-Rationalistic Tendencies”. Cited in William J.Danker, “Yardsticks for Japanese Christianity.” Currents in Theology and Mission15, no. 1 (February 1988): 96.

59 Danker, “Yardsticks for Japanese Christianity”, 96.

60 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 87. It is difficult for Japanese in their mindset to grant that there is the absolute and only God who rules everything.

61 David J. Hesselgrave, Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally: An Introduction to Missionary Communication, 2nded. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 283. As concerns their national life and various ceremonies involving birth, marriage, new construction and so forth, it is Shintoism. As concerns their intellectual pursuits and ceremonies relating to death and ancestor worship, it is Buddhism.

62 Hesselgrave, Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally, 283.

63 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, 2nded. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013),231.

64 David L. Miller, The New Polytheism: Rebirth of the Gods and Goddesses(New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1974), 29.Quoted in Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics,230.

65 Hesselgrave suggests four positive approaches: 1)Christian rational presuppositionalism; 2) Biblical theology; 3) Missional theology; and 4) Missionary self-exposure.From David J. Hesselgrave, Paradigms inConflict: 10 Key Questions in Christian Missions Today(Grand Rapids, MI:Kregel Publications, 2005), 108-112.

66 Hesselgrave, Paradigms in Conflict, 108-109.

67 Simon Chan, Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking the Faith from the Ground Up(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 65-66. In India, the Trinity is a necessity in relating to Hindu philosophies; to the Muslims, the Fatherhood of God implies that personal relationship is marked by love rather than submission to an absolute power; in Taoism,the Father is change itself, Spirit is power of change and Christ is manifestation of change.

68 Aki Yamaguchi, “Awakening to a Universalist Perspective: The Unitarian Influence on Religious Reform in Japan.” Eastern Buddhist 37, Issue 1/2, (2005): 135. Several opinion leaders created a movement to promote the official acceptance of Christianity, thinking it would contribute to social progress. This endangered the very existence of Buddhism and Buddhists had no choice but to take the initiative in reacting to Christianity.

69 Yamaguchi, “Awakening to a Universalist Perspective”, 138.

70 Unitarians are free thinkers and insist on the unity of God. They believe in the authority of the moral and religious teachings of Jesus but refuse to see Him as a deity.

71 Yamaguchi, “Awakening to a Universalist Perspective”, 143.

72 Yoshiro Ishida, “The Role of Liberal Theology in Japan at the Turn of This Century.” Currents in Theology and Mission19, no. 5 (October 1992): 362.

73 Ibid., 363.

74 Renta Nishihara, “For the Reconciliation and Unity of the Anglican Communion: A Japanese Perspective Post Lambeth 2008.” Journal of Anglican Studies7, Issue 2 (November 2009): 225.

75 Hesselgrave, Paradigms in Conflict, 119-120.

76 Kenneth J.Dale, “Why the Slow Growth of the Japanese Church.”Missiology26, no. 3 (July 1998): 284.He points out that by simplifying the gospel, Japanese pastors can reach out to less educated people who are rarely found in the church. The Christian population in Japan is mainly composed of middle to upper-middle-class people.

77 H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture(New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1951).Niebuhr presented five types of Christian attitude toward culture: 1) Christ against culture; 2) Christ of culture; 3) Christ above culture; 4) Christ and culture in paradox; and 5) Christ the transformer of culture.

78 Takaaki Haraguchi, “Reflections on H. Richard Niebuhr’s Theoretical Model Concerning the Relationship between Christianity and Culture: Its Applicability to the Japanese Context.” Asia Journal of Theology21, Issue 2 (October 2007): 229-230.

79 This view sees no conflict between Christ and culture. It claims that Christ is the fulfillment of culture.

80 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 86. For example, Japanese gettalismans from temples and shrines for their entrance examination, road safety, safe birth, healing, prosperity of business and other life events.

81 Niebuhr, Christ and Culture, 84. Niebuhr writes that this type of thinking has been well known for generations in Protestantism, namely Liberalism. But he prefers to call it Culture-Protestantism, a term invented by Karl Barth.

82 D. A.Carson, Christ and Culture Revisited(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008), 34.

83 Kyoung-Jae Kim, “Christian Faith and Culture: A Hermeneutical Approach to a Theology of Mission.” Asia Journal of Theology19, Issue 2 (October 2005): 434.

84 Yoshiyuki Billy Nishioka, “Worldview Methodology in Mission Theology: A Comparison between Kraft’s and Hiebert’s Approaches.” Missiology26, no. 4 (October 1998): 470.Kraft stresses the importance of using indigenous cultural forms in communicating the gospel, suggesting that the receptor can construct new Christian meanings using their cultural forms. For example, building a Christian shrine. Hiebert tries to be realistic about the difficulty of creating appropriate new meanings out of certain cultural forms in which old meanings are deeply embedded. Hiebert underlines the importance of critical assessment of cultural forms in order to avoid syncretism. To him, a shrine, as a cultural symbol, is already linked with meanings that cannot be harmonized with biblical truth.

85 Nishioka, “Worldview Methodology in Mission Theology”, 470.

86 Harvey Cox, Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-first Century(London, UK: Cassel, 1996), 219. Cited in Anderson,“Pentecostalism in East Asia”, 130.

87 Anderson,“Pentecostalism in East Asia”, 130-131.

88 Thomas J.Hastingsand Mark R. Mullins,“The Congregational Leadership Crisis Facing the Japanese Church.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research30, Issue 1 (January 2006): 19.

89 Statistics of the Evangelism Unit, United Church of Christ in Japan, Tokyo 2003. From Hastingsand Mullins,“The Congregational Leadership Crisis Facing the Japanese Church”, 20.

90 Statistics of the Evangelism Unit, United Church of Christ in Japan, Tokyo 2003. From Hastingsand Mullins,“The Congregational Leadership Crisis Facing the Japanese Church”, 20.

91 Hastings and Mullins,“The Congregational Leadership Crisis Facing the Japanese Church”, 20.

92 Ibid., 22.

93 Sherwood G.Lingenfelter, Leading Cross-Culturally: Covenant Relationships for Effective Christian Leadership(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 122. The layperson imitates the clergy instead of Christ.

94 Dale, “Why the Slow Growth of the Japanese Church”, 284. Japan has a vertical social structure. Horizontal relationships are secondary to hierarchical relationships. People are expected to know their proper place on the social scale and fulfill the consequent obligations toward their superiors.

95 John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975), 25-26.

96 Ibid., 28-29.

97 John Stott,“Christian Ministry in the 21stCentury Part 2: The Church’s Mission in the World.” Bibliotheca Sacra145, no. 579(July-September 1988): 244. Stott offers two reasons. 1) Scripturally, the church is both a “holy priesthood” and “holy nation” to spread His excellencies in witness (1 Peter 2:5, 9). 2) Strategically, each local church is situated in a particular neighborhood, and its first responsibility must clearly be to the people who live there.

98 Paul Hertig, “The Great Commission Revisited: The Role of God’s Reign in Disciple Making.” Missiology29, no. 3 (July 2001): 348. For an explanation of liberalism, holismand priotism, refer to Hesselgrave, Paradigms in Conflict, 117-125.

99 David J.Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theologyof Mission(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 66. Japanese churches tend to focus only on teaching the Bible to people.

100 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship(New York, NY: Touchstone, 1995), 58.

101 Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), 336-338.

102 Howard Peskett & Vinoth Ramachandra, The Message of Mission(Nottingham, UK: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003),189-190. In Matthew, Jesus’ presence motifs are: wherever two or three are gathered in His name, Jesus is in their midst; they are to watch Him go through His agony in the garden; His disciples will drink the cup with Him when He comes to the heavenly banquet.

103 Ralph D. Winter and Bruce A. Koch, “Finishing the Task: The Unreached Peoples Challenge,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4thEdition, eds. Ralph D. Winter & Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 531-546. This chapter talks about the possibility of planting a viable, indigenous, missionary church in every significant ethnic group.

104 Gary B.McGee, “”The Lord’s Pentecostal Missionary Movement” The Restorations Impulse of a Modern Mission Movement.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies8, no. 1 (January 2005): 57.

105 Tormod Engelsviken, “Mission, Evangelism and Evangelization –from the Perspective of the Lausanne Movement.” International Review of Mission96, no. 382-383 (July-October 2007): 208. The obedience to Jesus and the love to our neighbor are both necessary expressions.

106 Hesselgrave, Paradigms in Conflict, 105.When the objective is to convert and disciple people, communication will be enhanced by pointing out differences. Through pointing out dissimilarities, new knowledge and understandings are attained. This is one area Japanese Christians are not good at.

107 Duane H. Elmer, Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry(Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993), 140-141. In Japan, rupturing a relationship with one of great esteem and authority is avoided at all costs.

108 In the Japanese culture, a parent would go before the injured party apologizing with deep bows, sometimes even prostrating himself before the offended.

109 Roland Allen,Missionary Methods: St Paul’s or Ours?(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1962), 63.

110 John Stott, The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor(Nottingham, UK: Inter-Varsity Press, 2007), 65-66.

111 “Suicide in Japan,” Wikipedia, accessed on December 31, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_Japan#cite_note-CNN-3. There is an average of 28,000 suicides per year in Japan from 2008 to 2013. Depression, unemployment and social pressures are the main factors.

112 Brian D. McLaren, The Church on the Other Side(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 173-175. Quoted in John Davis, “Theology, Culture, Ministry and the Mission of the Church.” Evangelical Review of Theology28, Issue 3 (July 2004): 253.Good characteristics of postmodernism: an appropriate humility, a healthy skepticism, a thirst for spirituality, an openness to faith, a congenial tolerance and limited relativism.

113 Davis, “Theology, Culture, Ministry and the Mission of the Church”, 253.

114 Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy that is Our Strength(Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 28.Those who face the hopelessness of their spiritual condition apart from God’s mercy are nearer to experiencing His grace than those whopride themselves in their goodness.

115 Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 53.

116 McClung Jr.,“Theology and Strategy of Pentecostal Missions”, 4.The Indigenous Church(Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House) and TheIndigenous Church and the Missionary(Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library)by Melvin L. Hodges are standard work on the subject.

117 William A. Smalley, “Cultural Implications of an Indigenous Church,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th Edition, eds. Ralph D. Winter & Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 498-499.

118 Ibid., 501.

119 McClung Jr.,“Theology and Strategy of Pentecostal Missions”, 4.

120 Donald A. McGavran, “Impressions of the Christian Cause in India: 1978,”Church Growth Bulletin, third consolidated volume, 247. Quoted in McClung Jr.,“Theology and Strategy of Pentecostal Missions”, 4.

121 Tim Keller, “Cities and Salt: Counter-Cultures for the Common Good,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th Edition, eds. Ralph D. Winter & Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 618-619. The reason Keller gives are: 1) new churches can reach new people; 2) new churches sustain new ministries; 3) new churches reach diversity; and 4) new churches renew existing churches.

122 Timothy Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel Centered Ministry in Your City(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 357.

123 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 89.He suggests that the church must introduce the gospel as something that can be experienced. Japanese are looking for spiritual experiences that are tangible and real.

124 Sherwood G. Lingenfelter andMarvin K. Mayers, Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships, 2nded. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 96.

125 Scott Dawson, “The Affluent: Some Things Money Can’t Buy,” in The Complete Evangelism Guidebook: Expert Advice on Reaching Others for Christ, 2nd Edition, ed. ScottDawson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), 319. There are three reasons: 1) their wealth has allowed them to build natural barriers; 2) most affluent individuals are like politicians; and 3) they have worked very hard for what is in their possession.

126 Keller, Center Church, 330-332.The gospel shapes and informs our work in four ways: 1) it changes our motivation for work; 2) it changes our conception of work; 3) it provides high ethics for Christians in the workplace; and 4) it gives us the basis for reconceiving the very way in which our kind of work is done.

127 Allen,Missionary Methods: St Paul’s or Ours?, 12.

128 Ibid., 13-16.

129 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 90. For the people who are not in Christian homes, they cannot imagine being a Christian, not because of denying the Christian faith, but because of being unable to leave their community, especially their families.

130 Stanley K. Inouye, “Asian: A Basic Approach to Reaching a Diverse People,” in The Complete Evangelism Guidebook: Expert Advice on Reaching Others for Christ, 2nd Edition, ed. ScottDawson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), 265-266.

131 Ibid., 266. For this reason, an approach that seeks an immediate or quick decision may not work well with Japanese.

132 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 91.

133 Miyake, “A Challenge to Pentecostal Mission in Japan”, 91-93. An individual can be led into “pre-church” and then into the church. If we try to make Japanese come into the church directly,they sense a high wall around the church.

134 Gordon L.Everett, “Relationships: The Missing Link in Evangelistic Follow-up.” Bibliotheca Sacra142, no.566 (April-June 1985): 161.For example, Matthew 4:19, Matthew 11:28, Matthew 28:19, Mark 10:14, John 7:37 and John 17:23.

135 Ibid., 152. Everett points out that many converts that committed their faith to Christ during evangelistic rallies are not successfully incorporated to the local church. A survey showed that 85% of individuals saved in the rallies did not settle down in a local church after three years. He stresses the importance of follow up between parachurch organizations and the local church.

136 Ronald D. Petry, “Partnership Theology.” Brethren Life and Thought23, no. 2 (Spring 1978): 91. Programs like the training of pastors and other church leaders, overseas program, assistance to districts and congregations.

137 Ibid.,90. Partnership is the very essence of Christian fellowship. It is a denial of the unity of Christ’s body to overplay our importance or to underplay the participation of others.

138 John Stott,“Significance of Lausanne.” International Review of Mission 64,no. 255 (July 1975): 293. The Covenant recognizes that our cultural background is bound to affect our perception of the gospel and that the Holy Spirit illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes.

139 Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 235. Cited in Eleonora L.Scott, “A Theological Critique of the Emerging, Postmodern Missional Church/Movement.” Evangelical Review of Theology34, Issue 4 (October 2010): 336.

140 Japanese pastors tend to do this alone and laypeople assume that evangelism is reserved for the clergy.The dependence on foreign missions should be cut down gradually.

141 Sherwood G.Lingenfelterand Judith E. Lingenfelter,Teaching Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Learning and Teaching(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 73.

142 Ibid., 74-78. The pastor should strive to be a mentor and be interactive with the members.

143 R. Daniel Shaw, “Beyond Contextualization: Toward a Twenty-First-Century Model for Enabling Mission.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research34, Issue 4 (October 2010): 211.The insiders best understand their own cognitive environment and intuitively possess an awareness of how inferences made within it will effect a response to God’s intent.

144 Ibid., 211.

145 Eleonora L.Scott, “A Theological Critique of the Emerging, Postmodern Missional Church/Movement.” Evangelical Review of Theology34, Issue 4 (October 2010): 339.

146 D. A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 132-135.

147 Cathy Ross, “The Theology of Partnership.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research34, no. 3 (July 2010): 146-147.

148 Paul thanks them for their partnership in the gospel.They shared a common project with Paul and were partners with him in the defense and the confirmation of the gospel.

149 Stronstad, The Priesthood of All Believers, 112-116.

150 Paul W.Lewis, “Challenges in Missions in the 21st Century.” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies10, no. 1 (January 2007): 116-117. Lewis writes that the impact of globalization, urbanization and raising self-identity has and will continue to play a major role in the role of missions in this century.

151 Pinnock, Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit, 116.

152 Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke, 96.

153 Amos Yong,Who is the Holy Spirit? A Walk with the Apostles(Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011), 160.


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Comments(2)

  1. prajay samual says

    I want more about mission and ministry. I am from India.

  2. prajay samual says

    I am missionary in india. We plants the churches. In many parts of India.so help us to grow in word and Spirit. We need partners to reach in many remote part of India.

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