Does John Piper overplay literacy and diminish the glorious power of sermon-centered missions in oral cultures. It’s a pushback from a podcast listener named Miles. “Pastor John, my wife and I have our lives on the trajectory toward doing Bible translation as a career, so I’m in no way suggesting that I think the Bible is unimportant. But when I think historically of the practice of believers prior to the advent of the printing press, and when I think globally about the millions of believers who don’t currently have the Bible in a language they can understand, it seems that our American evangelical ideal of Christian discipleship might be too dependent on assumptions about literacy and access to cheap copies of the Bible. There was a video of you, Pastor John, on Facebook (April 19), and you said: ‘You don’t have a chance against the devil unless you know how to read and understand God’s word.’ This statement was obviously not intending to convey that people without access to Scripture are hopeless, but I think it reflects to some degree what I’m getting at here. Literacy is obviously a good thing, but have we made it a test of genuine faith and obedience?”
I’m really glad for this question, especially to correct either a misunderstanding of what I said or to correct a misstatement of what I said (like, I mean, I made a mistake, not anybody else). The whole issue of orality in missions has been an issue for me for about twenty years or so. I’m really glad to say some clarifying things about it. First, let’s make some missiological observations and then some biblical observations.
Plain - Fact - Languages - World - Bible
It’s a plain and important fact that there are several thousand languages in the world that do not have complete Bible translations. The exact...
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