Posted by: calloftheandes | May 28, 2012

Wheaton Professor Pleads for Global South’s Perspective on Missions

Wheaton professor Dr. Robert Gallagher at HCJB Global in Ecuador

A pause. Then uttering a quick proviso that “this will sound absolutist,” Wheaton College professor Robert Gallagher launches a passionate appeal for his listeners’ perspectives on cross-cultural missions to be more broadly heard. He wants this from his crowd writers, theologians and in effect, world changers.

In the next several minutes, what followed was a reasoned appeal for theological viewpoints of those from the “Global South” during Gallagher’s April 12-14 course, “Theological Foundation of Missions,” in Quito, Ecuador. The course was offered in conjunction with the Wheaton College Graduate School with academic credit available. It’s the sixth year that HCJB Global’s community development department has offered graduate-level courses in Quito.

With indigenous churches maturing throughout the years, the church of the Global South (Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia) has become a driving force in missions. Referring to a “starving” need for missions texts unfettered by a Western paradigm, Gallagher said that he’d discerned the crowd’s depth of thinking, its wisdom. Uniquely suited to voice their views on communicating the gospel across cultural contexts, participants had offered “insights about the Bible that I don’t hear at Wheaton College.”

Nancy Cortez interprets for Gallagher

He demanded a wider audience for their message. As velocity and intensity of Gallagher’s speech increased, HCJB Global’s Nancy Cortez valiantly strove to keep pace in interpreting into Spanish. By then it was the course’s third day, and she and interpreter Mónica Ortuño had become accustomed to the Wheaton professor’s Australian accent.

As course participants listened, Gallagher dialogued on the hurdles to publishing. “You say, ‘What can I write about?’,” he offered, then pounding his hand into his palm, replied, “You can write about the cross-cultural connections of these people. All of these people [whom we’re studying] are in cross-cultural connections in the Old Testament. And there’s nothing being written about it.”

“Abraham, Moses, Jonah!” exclaimed Gallagher as he listed the Old Testament characters he’d discussed. “Esther! Ruth! Nehemiah! You name one Old Testament character who’s not in a cross-cultural relationship.”

“I’ve read a little on cross-cultural mission. There’s nothing out there!” he fairly shouted. Widely published in everything from books to articles and much in demand as a speaker, Gallagher then made the goal within easier reach of the group members, only a few of whom had published anything beyond a blog or prayer letter.

Instead of books, he requested just articles to present missions concepts from the Latin American mindset. Then quickly pacing his listeners through the stages of publishing, he reiterated his claim of a spiritually starved culture and urged, “We need you! We need you!”

Tannia Lascano of HCJB Global Community Development

Gallagher, an associate professor of intercultural studies, then contrasted the superficiality of U.S. Christendom with the giftings unique to his Ecuadorian, Peruvian, British, Dutch and U.S. conferees. At one point he emphatically and specifically petitioning that “women! And women! And women … and men” offer their views. “This is missional revelation,” Gallagher said. “America’s not doing it. Australia’s not doing it.”

Earlier, via discussions, forums and even skits, the learners covered several Old Testament personalities. Central in the discussion were 12 covenant relationships that tie the Old and New Testament together and are instructive and viable yet today, according to Gallagher.

Continuing to voice the vision, Gallagher offered to use articles cast in a Global South missions perspective as reading material in his graduate level courses, then proclaimed. “I’ll also introduce your articles to 100 doctoral students of the Assemblies of God denomination and Fuller Theological Seminary who are missionaries all over the world!”

“I feel very strongly that you need to do something,” pleaded Gallagher. “Your writing can touch hundreds—hundreds!—of Christian leaders.”


  1. […] Gallagher had discerned the Latin American crowd’s depth of thinking and their wisdom. Uniquely suited to voice their views on communicating the gospel across cultural contexts, they had offered him “insights about the Bible that I don’t hear at Wheaton College.” He demanded a wider audience for their message. […]

  2. […] “I was able to read books like When Helping Hurts and experience how you can meet people’s physical needs and share the gospel at the same time,” added intern John Bodett, studying civil engineering at Wheaton College. […]

  3. […] on Radio Station HCJB in Quito. “But in the world today, as well as within biblical research and in missiology, if you don’t study cultural anthropology you cannot understand the […]

  4. Thank you Ralph for to show a accuracy idea about the course!!!

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