The Apostle Paul, Asian Diaspora and Mission

By Kirk Franklin


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.


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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 served as the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

03/2024 Pacific: Papua New Guinea

Informing, teaching, inspiring: PNG workshop teaches video storytelling for language communities

PNG workshop teaches video storytelling for language communities

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02/2024 Global

Looking ahead at 2024

As the year unfolds, we marvel at the work of God in our rapidly changing world. And, we look forward to a number of gatherings and conversations intended to draw us together.

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01/2024 Americas

Telling the Bible's Story

It may come as a surprise that a museum is among the Wycliffe Global Alliance organisations.

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