MISSIONARIES AS EDUCATORS
AbstractChristianity is a religion of concepts and not merely the recitation of a cult or the observance of pious practices; in this it resembles the Judaism from which it sprang and the Islam that succeeded both in the early medieval Near East, whilst at the same time differing widely from the polytheistic religion of the Graeco-Roman world. The ideas that are involved focus on the meaning of the Godhead and his purposes, and as a consequence on the implications of theology for human behavior in the whole of its range. We can say that the Christian faith is at once prophetic and ethical. Its foundations are in a tradition that is biblical and therefore literary. Jesus, like his apostolic successors, presupposed the importance of the Hebrew scriptures; Origen and St. Augustine and the Schoolmen of the Middle Ages all presupposed the Christian Bible. And that remains true to this day. An inevitable result of this is the impetus given to literacy and learning, and therefore to education. An educational enterprise is built into the primal stuff of such a faith - God's human representative was a teacher froman obscure province; and his succeeding representatives have always been likewise teachers as well as pastors. Hence a Christian missionary is bound to be at least a part-time educator.
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