The Apostle Paul, Asian Diaspora and Mission


This pa­per analy­ses the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the bib­li­cal Jew­ish Di­as­pora and the Sep­tu­agint Scrip­tures and syn­a­gogues that were im­por­tant to them. It analy­ses the Apos­tle Paul and his mis­sion­ary bands’ strat­egy of vis­it­ing the Di­as­pora syn­a­gogues as a base for their min­istry. It then looks at the con­tem­po­rary Asian church’s mis­sion vi­sion and how this might cor­re­spond with the Asian Chris­t­ian Di­as­pora in Aus­tralia and how they can be­come a greater force of ‘new’ mis­sion­ar­ies in the world today.

The Jewish Diaspora

The term ‘di­as­pora’ means the scat­ter­ing of the peo­ple of God (the Jews) ‘in the midst of a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment’ (De Rid­der 1975:215). Ox­ford’s Con­cise Dic­tio­nary de­fines ‘di­as­pora’ as the ‘dis­per­sion of the Jews among the Gen­tiles mainly in the 8-6th Cen­tury BC’ (Moore 1997:364). In Ger­many the term ‘is used of mem­bers of any re­li­gious body liv­ing as a mi­nor­ity among those of other be­liefs’ (Cross 1974:399).

The He­brew terms for di­as­pora trans­lated in the Sep­tu­agint (LXX) “all have the sense of the process of ‘lead­ing away, de­por­ta­tion, or ex­ile, or of the state of those led away, de­ported or ex­iled'” (De Rid­der 1975:215). Af­ter the de­struc­tion of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jews did be­come a peo­ple with­out a home. Thus the mean­ing of di­as­pora evolved to cover all the Jews who lived out­side their orig­i­nal homeland.

‘The an­cient world was char­ac­terised by con­tin­ued move­ments of peo­ples’ (De­Rid­der 1975:59). Dur­ing the in­ter-tes­ta­ment times and on­ward, Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties dis­persed in coun­tries across the civ­i­lized world. ‘From at least the time of the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC), and pos­si­bly even ear­lier, there were large Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing out­side Pales­tine’ (Bray 1996: 53). The As­syr­i­ans, Baby­lo­ni­ans, and Ro­mans all took Jew­ish cap­tives to their re­spec­tive na­tions. How­ever, there was also ‘vol­un­tary em­i­gra­tions of Jew­ish set­tlers dur­ing the Graeco-Ro­man pe­riod to all the coun­tries bor­der­ing Pales­tine, and to all the chief towns of the civ­i­lized world, for the sake chiefly of trade’ (Unger 1966:1153).

Ac­counts ex­ist of Jew­ish Di­as­pora set­tling in China (re­ferred to as Sinim in Isa­iah 49:12), In­dia, Ara­bia and Ethiopia (De­Rid­der 1975:60-69). Other sources in­di­cate ‘mul­ti­tudes of Jews in North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Ana­to­lia and Italy’ (Bolt & Thomp­son 2000:264). Jews were not the only race to dis­perse dur­ing this time. There were also move­ments of Greeks, Phoeni­cians and As­syr­i­ans who es­tab­lished colonies out­side their homelands.

The New Tes­ta­ment (NT) makes men­tion of Jew­ish Di­as­pora when the Jews in Jerusalem said about Christ’s min­istry, ‘Will he go where our peo­ple live scat­tered among the Greeks…’ (John 7:35). James in his epis­tle be­gins with ‘To: Jew­ish Chris­tians scat­tered every­where…’ (James 1:1). Pe­ter ad­dresses the same au­di­ence, ‘To: The Jew­ish Chris­tians dri­ven out of Jerusalem and scat­tered through­out Pon­tus, Gala­tia, Cap­pado­cia, Au­sia and Bithy­nia’ (1 Pe­ter 1:1). These NT ref­er­ences in­di­cate that the Jews were dis­persed from at least the Mediter­ranean to West­ern Asia.

A place of Jew­ish Di­as­pora sig­nif­i­cance was the ‘great in­tel­lec­tual cen­tre [of] Alexan­dria’ (Bray 1996:49) in Egypt. The Jews at Alexan­dria were ‘deeply im­mersed in Hel­lenis­tic civ­i­liza­tion’ (1996:53). By NT times, there were at least a mil­lion Jews liv­ing in this city (Cross 1974:399).

There was a strong con­nec­tion be­tween the Jew­ish Di­as­pora com­mu­ni­ties and Jerusalem. ‘Through the [pay­ment of the tem­ple] tax, Di­as­pora com­mu­ni­ties were linked to and par­tic­i­pated in the tem­ple’s life and wor­ship. Di­as­pora lit­er­a­ture shows deep re­spect for the ho­li­ness of the tem­ple’ (Evans & Porter 2000:292). The tem­ple was vis­ited by reg­u­lar pil­grim­ages of Di­as­pora com­mu­ni­ties. This meant that Pales­tine held sig­nif­i­cance as their Holy Land and was im­por­tant to Jew­ish identity.

Di­as­pora Ju­daism’s mis­sion­ary im­pact was great. It ‘af­fected early Chris­tian­ity, for the Jew­ish Chris­tians kept close con­tact with the syn­a­gogue com­mu­ni­ties’ (Win­ter & Hawthorn 1981:44). “Ac­cord­ing to the Tal­mud, the scat­ter­ing of Jews among the na­tions was for a mis­sion­ary pur­pose: ‘The Holy One, blessed be he, did not ex­ile Is­rael among the na­tions save in or­der that the pros­e­lytes might join them’ (Pes. 87b)” (Bolt & Thomp­son 2000:275).

The Septuagint and the Jewish Diaspora

‘The Sep­tu­agint [LXX] was the Bible of early Chris­tian­ity be­fore the NT was writ­ten’ (Unger 1966:1149). It was the trans­la­tion of the en­tire He­brew Bible (the OT) into Greek. The name comes from a story that the trans­la­tion (circa 300 BC) was done ‘in sev­enty-two days by sev­enty-two schol­ars sent from Jerusalem to Alexan­dria’ (La­tourette 1975:15) dur­ing the reign and at the re­quest of Ptolemy Philadel­phus. How­ever, the LXX was ‘ac­tu­ally the work of many dif­fer­ent hands’ (1975:15) over many cen­turies but likely still done in Alexan­dria as ‘Egypt­ian Jews re­garded the Torah as their key text’ (Evans & Porter 2000:292).

The LXX was a pow­er­ful force ‘in both Alexan­drian Ju­daism and in the phi­los­o­phy of the Jew­ish Di­as­pora’ (Unger 1966:1149). Its use spread to all parts of the Greek (Hel­lenis­tic)-Jew­ish world. Once the Di­as­pora be­gan us­ing Greek, there was no turn­ing back to He­brew. As Chris­tian­ity emerged, ‘the use of Greek was fully ac­cepted by most Jews, and it seemed per­fectly nat­ural that the New Tes­ta­ment should be writ­ten in that lan­guage’ (1996:48).

The LXX was im­por­tant for the Di­as­pora and Gen­tiles alike as it re­leased them from the nar­row iso­la­tion of the He­brew lan­guage and peo­ple and gave them to the Graeco-Ro­man world through the di­vinely pre­pared in­stru­ment of the Greek lan­guage, the lin­gua frank of the Graeco-Ro­man age… It was a def­i­nite fac­tor in the prepa­ra­tion for the com­ing of Chris­tian­ity and the New Tes­ta­ment rev­e­la­tion (Unger 1966:1149).

Per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion the LXX of­fered was the trans­la­tion of the proper name of ‘God’ in He­brew be­ing ‘Yah­weh’ to the Greek ‘kyrios’ mean­ing ‘Lord’ or ‘Mas­ter’. This meant that the Gen­tiles did not see Yah­weh as a for­eign de­ity ‘but that Is­rael was the elect peo­ple of the God of the world’ (De Rid­der 1975:87).

The LXX did con­tain a group of books that were not in the He­brew OT canon and this caused some prob­lems. ‘At the time of the Re­for­ma­tion, these books were re­moved from the Protes­tant canon and placed at the end, where they are usu­ally re­ferred to as apoc­rypha (‘hid­den’) or more cor­rectly, as deute­ro­canon­cial (‘of sec­ondary sta­tus’)’ (Bray 1996:26).

The Diaspora Synagogues

The LXX was used for read­ing and teach­ing in the syn­a­gogue ser­vices and there­fore it was taken through­out the en­tire civ­i­lized world. The ser­vices played a cru­cial mis­sion­ary role as they at­tracted not only pros­e­lytes (Gen­tiles who adopted the com­plete range of Jew­ish be­liefs and prac­tices, in­clud­ing cir­cum­ci­sion) but also a class it termed ‘God-fear­ers’ (Gen­tiles who ac­cepted most of Ju­daism’s ethics and some of its cul­tus, but re­fused cir­cum­ci­sion (Win­ter & Hawthorn 1981:44).

Con­stant con­tact by the Di­as­pora with the sur­round­ing Greek cul­ture im­pacted the Jews’ iden­tity and de­vel­op­ment. ‘Cul­ture Jews were not only Jews, but Greeks also, in re­spect to lan­guage, ed­u­ca­tion, and habits; and yet in the depths of their hearts they were Jews’ (Unger 1966:1154). There­fore the Di­as­pora felt a strong philo­soph­i­cal con­nec­tion with their ‘rel­a­tives’ in Pales­tine. The syn­a­gogues were key to help­ing the Jew­ish Di­as­pora pre­serve and up­hold ‘the faith of their fa­thers’ (1966:1154).

The syn­a­gogue be­came the place for the ‘pop­u­lar wor­ship of God, with­out sac­ri­fice, and the in­struc­tion of the com­mu­nity in the im­pli­ca­tions of Scrip­ture as ap­plied to liv­ing ac­cord­ing to Yah­weh’s will’ (De Rid­der 1975:77). The syn­a­gogue pro­vided the av­enue for the re­li­gion of the Jew to be shared with the Gen­tile as well as the Jew. The syn­a­gogue was a place of re­li­gious rev­o­lu­tion: ‘the cre­ation of liturgy which was not con­cerned with sac­ri­fice was no small change in Jew­ish life’ (1975:77). The syn­a­gogue placed Ju­daism on dis­play – ‘thrust on the world stage through the Di­as­pora and Ex­ile’ (1975:83).

The cen­tres of the Jew­ish Di­as­pora that in­cluded trad­ing places, mil­i­tary sta­tions, agri­cul­tural set­tle­ments and syn­a­gogues ‘be­came a nu­cleus for the pros­e­lyt­ing of sur­round­ing ar­eas’ (1975:76). It was the Jews’ re­li­gion that al­lowed them to ex­er­cise ‘a pow­er­ful in­flu­ence on the peo­ples with whom they were thrust into daily con­tact’ (1975:76). There­fore, the strength of Ju­daism ‘lay in the days of the Ro­man Em­pire in the Di­as­pora, not in Judea and Galilee, for many of the re­turned ex­iles showed their de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­tinue the as­so­ci­a­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple with the his­tory, the re­li­gion, and the land of Is­rael’ (1975:76).

There are two ways of view­ing the Jew­ish syn­a­gogues: ‘a kind of tem­po­rary mea­sure in­vented by the Jews while sep­a­rated from the Jerusalem tem­ple’ (Bolt & Thomp­son 2000:15) or the ‘le­git­i­mate ex­pres­sion of the gath­er­ing of the peo­ple of God’ (2000:15). This later view sees the syn­a­gogue as ‘an ex­ten­sion of the Old Tes­ta­ment view of the in­gath­er­ing of the Gen­tiles to pre­cisely the place where God gath­ered his peo­ple Is­rael’ (2000:15).

The Apostle Paul’s Missionary Bands to the Jewish Diaspora

The Apos­tle Paul’s her­itage was unique. His fa­ther, while Jew­ish had the ‘highly prized priv­i­lege [of] Ro­man cit­i­zen­ship’ (La­tourette 1975:68). Paul was born and raised in Tar­sus, a Hel­lenis­tic (Greek) city in Asia Mi­nor. There­fore he was of Di­as­pora ori­gin (Bray 1996:54). He knew Greek pro­fi­ciently and was steeped in the LXX. When he went on his mis­sion­ary jour­neys, he vis­ited the Jew­ish Di­as­pora syn­a­gogues through­out the Gen­tile region.

On his first jour­ney, Paul preached in the syn­a­gogues in Salamis, Cyprus (Acts 13:5), An­ti­och in Psidia (Acts 13:13) and he and Barn­abas preached at the syn­a­gogue at Ico­nium (Turkey) (Acts 14:1). On his sec­ond jour­ney, Paul and Silas preached in the syn­a­gogue in Thes­sa­lonica (Acts 17:1) and Berea (Acts 17:10). Paul de­bated with the Jews at the syn­a­gogue in Athens (Acts 17:17) and spoke to the Jews and Greeks at the syn­a­gogue in Corinth (Acts 18:4) then he was at the syn­a­gogue at An­ti­och of Syria (Acts 18:19). Fi­nally, on his third mis­sion­ary trip, Paul min­is­tered in the syn­a­gogue at Eph­esus (Acts 19:8).

Paul’s strat­egy was to visit im­por­tant cen­tres of cul­ture and trade in each area. He de­lib­er­ately went to the syn­a­gogues first. He knew the im­por­tance of these cen­tres meant com­mu­ni­ca­tion spread from them to the sur­round­ing ar­eas and be­yond. Paul also knew that in or­der for the na­tions to be gath­ered be­fore the throne of God, procla­ma­tion of the gospel was in­tended for the Jew first, wher­ever they lived (Bolt & Thomp­son 2000:16).

Al­though Paul was aware of ‘his call­ing to the Jews, his own peo­ple (Rom 10:1), Paul [saw] him­self called es­pe­cially to be an apos­tle to the Gen­tiles’ (Verkuyl 1978:113). There­fore Paul was very adapt­able to the con­texts he min­is­tered in. ‘He could em­ploy Pales­tin­ian-Jew­ish con­cepts, He­lenis­tic-Jew­ish con­cepts, and Hel­lenis­tic-Gen­tile con­cepts as the oc­ca­sion re­quired’ (1978:113). How­ever, due to the suc­cess of Paul’s mis­sion to the gentiles,

Chris­tian­ity quickly moved out of the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and be­came pre­vail­ingly non-Jew­ish… This… was highly sig­nif­i­cant: Chris­tian­ity had ceased to be a Jew­ish sect and, while hav­ing roots in Ju­daism, was clearly new and dif­fer­ent from their faith (La­tourette 1975:75).

God pre­pared the way for the Gen­tile mis­sion through four bridg­ing streams: the Jew­ish Di­as­pora; their syn­a­gogues; the Scrip­tures in the heart lan­guage (the LXX); and the mes­sen­ger – the Apos­tle Paul and his mis­sion­ary bands.

Today’s Asian Church and Asian Diaspora

The growth of the con­tem­po­rary global church has come as a sur­prise to some:

What many pun­dits thought was the death of the church in the 1960s through sec­u­lar­i­sa­tion was re­ally its re­lo­ca­tion and re­birth into the rest of the world… The re­sults started to be­come vis­i­ble in the last half of this cen­tury as evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian­ity seemed to burst out into a myr­iad dif­fer­ent forms in a thou­sand places around the globe (Hutchin­son 1998:48).

An amaz­ing story of growth has been the Ko­rean church. The Ko­rea Re­search In­sti­tute for Mis­sion (KRIM) re­ports that at the end of 2000, there were 8,103 Ko­rean mis­sion­ar­ies serv­ing glob­ally. Ko­rea is now the sec­ond largest mis­sion­ary send­ing coun­try in the world only af­ter the USA (Moon 2001:1). What is so re­mark­able about this growth is that Ko­rea is a mono-eth­nic and mono-cul­tural so­ci­ety. The Ko­rean mis­sion­ary move­ment ‘was made pos­si­ble only with di­vine in­ter­ven­tion and wis­dom that chose the fool­ish things and the weak things of the world to put to shame the wise and the mighty (1 Cor 1:27,28)’ (2001:5). ‘It is ironic [for Ko­rean Chris­tians] to be scat­tered around the world to form di­as­pora com­mu­ni­ties, and even more so to go out to save souls with the gospel’ (2001:1).

Just as the Ko­rean church and its Di­as­pora have be­come sig­nif­i­cant play­ers in global mis­sions, so too has other parts of the Asian Di­as­pora. Is the later more suited than west­ern mis­sion­ar­ies for out­reach back into Asia?

In to­day’s ‘global vil­lage’ home and over­seas do not have the mean­ing they used to hold. So-called ‘di­as­pora’ work­ers may not be con­sid­ered cross-cul­tural mis­sion­ar­ies in the sense that they will be work­ing along­side peo­ple of their own eth­nic group. They will not need to learn the lan­guage of their tar­get group since it is their own lan­guage. How­ever, they may be seek­ing to reach this tar­get group in an­other part of the world (Szto 2001:4).

The Di­as­pora can be mo­bile in their mis­sion­ary ac­tiv­ity. For ex­am­ple, ‘A Sin­ga­porean mis­sion­ary who had served in Japan… could be strate­gi­cally re-de­ployed in Sin­ga­pore to do evan­ge­lism among the Japan­ese in that coun­try’ (2001:4).

Peo­ple of the same cul­ture can of­ten be more ef­fec­tive in reach­ing peo­ple of that cul­ture. How­ever, some­times the op­po­site is true and an out­sider can be more ef­fec­tive than some­one from their own cul­ture. While Asian Di­as­pora may be ef­fec­tive back in an Asian mis­sion con­text, they may find it dif­fi­cult to adapt to liv­ing and serv­ing in poor, rural and dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. ‘While in many places Asian Chris­tians have suf­fered much for their faith, the pre­sent ‘pro­fes­sional’ Asian mis­sion­ary force prob­a­bly has not come out of that kind of a back­ground’ (2001:4).

Australian Asian Christian Diaspora

‘Peo­ple have car­ried their re­li­gions around the globe for mil­len­nia, but this has be­come a far more com­mon phe­nom­e­non since the mid­dle of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury’ (Hin­nells 1997:682). This is due to com­mu­ni­ca­tions, travel and post WWII mi­gra­tion. The world’s ma­jor re­li­gions such as Ju­daism, Chris­tian­ity and Is­lam have been as­so­ci­ated with this mi­gra­tion (1997:683).

Mi­grants from Asian coun­tries such as China have steadily been ar­riv­ing in Aus­tralia for decades. However,

many Aus­tralians tend to as­so­ci­ate re­cent mi­grants with the im­por­ta­tion of pa­gan gods and idols, and point to the rise of tem­ples and mosques as proof… in­ter­est­ingly enough, though, many Hare Kr­ishna devo­tees are Cau­casian, as are many Falun Gong fol­low­ers. On the other hand, there is a solid core of Chi­nese Chris­tians in all the ma­jor cities in Australia (Mok 2001:38).

An Aus­tralian Chi­nese church web­site (2001) lists 47 con­gre­ga­tions in Syd­ney, two in Wol­lon­gong, 33 in Mel­bourne, three in Can­berra, five in Bris­bane, four in Ade­laide, five in Perth and one in Darwin.

Gen­er­ally, these churches are or­gan­ised along eth­nic lines (Hong Kong, Tai­wan, East Malaysia, etc.), since many are the re­sult of church-plant­ing ini­tia­tives by ‘mis­sion­ar­ies’ from ‘mother’ coun­tries. Thus the ‘Bread of Life’ churches are ‘daugh­ters’ of Lin Liang Tan in Tai­wan, and Se­nior Pas­tor Cho Shen Zhu makes pe­ri­odic pas­toral vis­its to Aus­tralia to over­see his ‘off­spring’ (Mok 2001:38).

Ac­cord­ing to an In­ter­net list­ing of the Japan­ese churches, there are seven in Aus­tralia. An In­ter­net di­rec­tory of In­done­sian Aus­tralian churches lists 19 con­gre­ga­tions 12 of which are in Syd­ney. Mel­bourne is said to host ten Fil­ipino con­gre­ga­tions and at least seven Ko­rean ones.

The Aus­tralian 1996 Cen­sus in­di­cates there are 4.2 mil­lion im­mi­grants from 233 coun­tries. The pri­mary Asian orig­i­nal home­lands are China/Hong Kong, In­dia, Viet­nam, Sri Lanka, In­dia, Philip­pines and In­done­sia. Mi­gra­tion for Asians to Aus­tralia has not how­ever, been straight­for­ward. ‘Aus­tralia’s en­try into the twen­ti­eth cen­tury was marked by anti-Asian xeno­pho­bia. Bit­ter op­po­si­tion to the pres­ence of coloured labour­ers [the first mi­grants] in­ten­si­fied… di­rected in par­tic­u­lar at the Chi­nese’ (Hin­nells 1997:729).

How­ever, Di­as­pora churches have pro­vided a cush­ion for Asians set­tling into Aus­tralia. ‘As long as there are new mi­grants, the Chi­nese peo­ple will grav­i­tate to­wards the church for close fel­low­ship, help and lov­ing at­ten­tion’ (Mok 2001:39). Ac­cord­ing to Dr Gor­don Lee, pas­tor of the Hill­song Chi­nese church, Syd­ney, the Chi­nese eth­nic church will sur­vive in Aus­tralia ‘as long as the church con­tin­ues its ‘cul­tural main­te­nance’ prac­tises and is re­garded by the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion as the ‘pre­servers’ of Chi­nese cul­ture and lan­guage’ (2001:39).

If Asian Di­as­pora go back to their orig­i­nal home­lands or neigh­bour­ing ar­eas as mis­sion­ar­ies, there is the mat­ter of how they would best op­er­ate. Do they im­i­tate their west­ern coun­ter­parts or do they op­er­ate like their Asian coun­ter­parts? While Asian char­ac­ter­is­tics may be vis­i­ble in their mis­sion agen­cies and in the style of lead­er­ship, ac­tiv­i­ties and meth­ods, ‘on the whole [they] tend to fol­low the West­ern pat­tern’ (Szto 2001:2).

There­fore Asian agen­cies eas­ily re­peat mis­takes that west­ern agen­cies have made. ‘Is­sues such as de­nom­i­na­tion­al­ism, pa­ter­nal­ism, over-re­liance on ‘tech­no­log­i­cal’ or ‘sci­en­tific’ skills and in­di­vid­u­al­ism have not been grap­pled with’ (2001:2). This is com­pounded by the ‘suc­cess- or re­sults-ori­ented, king­dom-build­ing men­tal­ity of some of the larger churches in the more af­flu­ent Asian coun­tries’ (2001:2) which can flow on to the daugh­ter Di­as­pora churches in Australia.

The ques­tion of ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of west­ern send­ing struc­tures adopted by Asian Chris­tians is ev­i­dent in the Ko­rean mis­sion scene. These were copied from British and North Amer­i­can structures:

There may be a need for thor­ough eval­u­a­tion on how much Ko­rean agen­cies un­der­stood and prac­tised the or­gan­i­sa­tional prin­ci­ples of the west­ern mod­els… The cur­rent west­ern mod­els are prod­ucts of cen­turies long re­fine­ment and tun­ing-up. How­ever, as the point of grav­ity in mis­sions shifts to­ward non-west­ern world for the first time in his­tory, a crit­i­cal re­view of the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of west­ern send­ing struc­tures is ur­gently needed (Moon 2001:8).

Asian Di­as­pora churches likely share with their orig­i­nal home­land coun­ter­parts the need to de­velop Asian mis­si­ol­ogy to tackle is­sues pe­cu­liar to Asian so­ci­eties. These in­clude fam­ily or clan oblig­a­tions, an­ces­tor wor­ship, wit­ness in plu­ral­is­tic so­ci­eties, or in an­tag­o­nis­tic so­ci­eties, di­a­logue with peo­ple of other re­li­gions, and the im­pact of sec­u­lar­ism and glob­al­ism on tra­di­tional Asian cul­tures, to name a few (Szto 2001:2).

A chal­lenge for the Ko­rean church is to for­get about its mis­sion growth from a quan­ti­ta­tive per­spec­tive, and thus to re­flect on the is­sues of qual­i­ta­tive growth. [It] should em­bark on glob­al­i­sa­tion of its mis­sion­ary move­ment over­com­ing parochial­ism to be used for world evan­ge­li­sa­tion in this global age (Moon 2001:8).


Just as the Apos­tle Paul fo­cussed ini­tially on reach­ing the Jew­ish Di­as­pora as a means of im­pact­ing the sur­round­ing Gen­tiles with the gospel, so too must the mod­ern Asian Di­as­pora se­ri­ously con­sider its part in global mis­sions. Paul’s meth­ods fo­cussed on the use of Scrip­ture (the LXX) and places of wor­ship (the syn­a­gogue). Like­wise, as the Asian Di­as­pora and the par­al­lel Asian Church grap­ples with its need to un­der­stand the bib­li­cal man­date for mis­sion, it may find it has a sig­nif­i­cant role to play just as the Jew­ish Di­as­pora, their syn­a­gogues and the LXX had in reach­ing the Gen­tiles that sur­rounded them.

Peo­ple from the Asian church now com­prise part of the Aus­tralian Di­as­pora. As this body grows in its un­der­stand­ing and in­volve­ment in the bib­li­cal man­date for mis­sion, it too must be­come in­volved in over­seas cross-cul­tural min­istry. It needs to de­velop ef­fec­tive strate­gies and struc­tures to do this with in­put from its Asian home­land counterparts.


Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics. 1998. (

Bolt, Pe­ter & Thomp­son, Mark, ed­i­tors. 2000. The gospel to the nations. Down­ers Grove, IL: In­ter­Var­sity Press.

Bray, Ger­ald. 1996. Bib­li­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion past and present. Down­ers Grove, IL: In­ter­Var­sity Press.

Chi­nese Min­istries and Churches in Aus­tralia. (

Cross, F.L. and Liv­ing­stone, E.A. 1977. The Ox­ford dic­tio­nary of the Chris­t­ian church. Ox­ford: Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity Press.

De Rid­der, Richard R. 1975. Dis­ci­pling the nations. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Evans, Craig A. & Porter, Stan­ley E. 2000. Dic­tio­nary of New Tes­ta­ment back­ground: a com­pendium of con­tem­po­rary bib­li­cal scholarship. Down­ers Grove, IL: In­ter­Var­sity Press.

Hin­nells, John R. 1997. The new Pen­guin hand­book of liv­ing religions. Lon­don: Pen­guin Books.

Hutchin­son, Mark. 1998. ‘It’s a small church af­ter all’. Chris­tian­ity Today. Vol 42, No 13, 46-49.

In­done­sian Church in Aus­tralia. (

La­tourette, Ken­neth Scott. 1975. A his­tory of Chris­tian­ity Vol­ume 1: to AD 1500. NY: Harper & Row Publishers.

Mok, Jean­nie. 2001. ‘Church growth through cul­ture’. Alive. Vol 28, No 9, 38-39.

Moon, Steve S. C. 2001. ‘The Acts of Ko­re­ans: A Re­search Re­port on Ko­rean Mis­sion­ary Move­ment’. Pa­per pre­sented to Global Con­gress on Church Min­istry and Mis­sion, Pat­taya, Thai­land, Oc­to­ber 2001.

Moore, Bruce, ed­i­tor. 1997. The Aus­tralian con­cise Ox­ford dictionary. Mel­bourne: Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity Press.

Szto, Melville. ‘Is­sues and Chal­lenges con­fronting Asian mis­sions’. Pa­per pre­sented to Global Con­gress on Church Min­istry and Mis­sion, Pat­taya, Thai­land, Oc­to­ber 2001.

Unger, Mer­rill F. 1966. Unger’s Bible dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press.

Kirk Franklin is Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

01/2021 Africa

A Ministry of Reconciliation

South Africa’s Recent Past Offers Guidance to the Bible Translation ...

Read more


New Milestones in Digital Scripture Availability

Recent years have seen a dramatic and steady increase in the number of...

Read more


Who better than God to receive our best?

Who better than God to receive our best? from Wycliffe Global Allianc...

Read more