There is no date on any of the pages, but recently I ran across the outline for a book that at one point I had hoped to write. The tentative title was An Apology for Christian Mission in the Modern World: The Particularistic/Universalistic Paradox.
The outline I drafted for the book appears below. Reading through it makes me sad that because of the pressure of other responsibilities I was not able to do any more on this book other than make the outline. It could have been a good book, I think. But perhaps my teaching and administrative activities made more of a contribution to individuals and the school system than a book with a fairly limited audience would have.
- Who Is Writing?
- My vocational situation (missionary by call, choice, & commitment
- My educational background (Christian philosophy / apologetics; dissertation on the meaning of paradox)
- My social concern (Christian social ethics).
- Why Is This Written?
- The problem
- An attempt to justify my commitment and my career; many others as well; who we are & who support missionaries; an apology for missionaries.
- How Will This Be Done?
- A paradoxical understanding is a way to solve the problem
- A contribution I can make: no conflict between being a missionary & working with others, dialogue, recognizing God’s universal love, tolerance, etc.
- How Would This Be Done?
- Ch. 1 – The Problem
- Chs. 2-5 – Positive & Negative Analyses
- Chs. 6-7 – The Paradoxical Situation
- Chs. 8-10 – Some ramifications
I. The Problem
- The Fact of Plurality
- The “Failure” of Christianity
- The Results
- Condemnation of others, conflict, divisiveness
- Rejection of evangelism, cross-cultural mission
II. The Truth of Particularism (Uniqueness)
- The Meaning of Particularism
- Jesus as the Special Revelation of God
- The Decisiveness of Christ (Braaten: Jesus Christ is “the concrete embodiment of universal meaning.”)
III. The Falsity of Particularism (Uniqueness)
- Ethnocentric/Religious Pride
- Intolerance (religious wars, racial & cultural prejudice/discrimination
- Exclusiveness (divisiveness)
IV. The Falsity of Universality
- The Meaning of Universality
- The Error of Relativism
- The Rejection of Special Revelation & the Decisiveness of Christ
V. The Truth of Universality
- The Creator God
- The Cosmic Christ
VI. The Category of Paradox
- The Meaning of Paradox
- The Promise of Paradox
- Beyond Either/Or Logicality
VII. The Particularism/Universalism Paradox
- Affirming the Truth of Both
- Rejecting the Errors of Both
- Maintaining the Balance
VIII. The Place of Dialogue
- The Meaning of Dialogue
- The Value of Dialogue
- The Limitations of Dialogue
IX. The Place of Ecumenicity
- Mutual Respect
- Mutual Sharing
- Mutual Action (Cooperation)
X. The Place of Witness
- Humility in Approach
- Boldness in Word & Deed
- Faithfulness to Christ