This is an article from the January-February 2007 issue: God’s Patchwork Quilt

Frontiers of Perspective

Frontiers of Perspective

In the pages of Mission Frontiers you’ll frequently see references to the following “frontiers of perspective.” Note that this is an exploratory, growing, dynamic list, and that any one frontier does not supersede or displace the others.

  1. Unreached Peoples

    The U.S. Center for World Mission was founded, in part, on the discovery that many people groups still have no viable, indigenous church community
    in their midst – and require pioneering, cross-cultural outreach.

  2. From the Unfinished Task to the Finishable Task

    We later realized that, though a large challenge, it is a relatively small task to reach all unreached peoples – in view of the enormous global community of Christians and the many churches available to reach each people.
  3. Failure with Large Blocs and the Offsetting Trend to “Radical Contextualization”

    We also began to realize that it’s not just how many unreached peoples are left, but also that some large blocs of peoples are superficially touched by gospel witness – and that some “reached” peoples aren’t really reached.
  4. Reverse Contextualization – the Re-contextualization of Our Own Traditions

    We have also sensed the necessity, before we can successfully contextualize the Bible for others, of acknowledging major philosophical or theological flaws in our own traditions.
  5. Beyond "Christianity"

    We will often need to go beyond radical contextualization – to recognize that some people around the world will choose to go beyond current expressions of biblical faith now recognized as “Christianity.”
  6. The Great Commission of Abraham

    Early on we recognized that the Great Commission first appears in Genesis 12, so that missions is clearly the basis of the entire Bible. Thus we will likely read and apply the Bible in radically new ways.
  7. The Reclaiming of the Gospel of the Kingdom

    Latter-day Evangelicals have often substituted a mere “Gospel of salvation” for the full-fledged Gospel of the Kingdom so vividly portrayed in the Bible.
  8. A Different Type of Missionary Recruitment

    A pattern of pre-graduation “enlisting and guiding” is clearly superior to waiting until students have completed university degrees and are weighed down by heavy debt and poor curriculum choices.
  9. A Trojan Horse in Education

    We can make creative, strategic choices to stem the tide of secularization in public and private schools.
  10. Needed: A Revolution in Pastoral Training

    Training is often focused on the wrong students, the wrong curriculum, or the wrong (degree) packaging.
  11. The Religion of Science

    The Book of Scripture and the “Book” of Creation have each spawned a huge, global community of faith. Our challenge is to bridge the divide between science and religion and to declare the manifest glory of both His Word and His Works.
  12. The Challenge of the Evil One

    An intelligent Evil One hides behind disease pathogens and other scourges often blamed on God. We must vigorously oppose Satan, seek to glorify God, and enlist in the service of the Son of God who “came to destroy the works of the devil.”

Are you intrigued to learn more about these frontiers of perspective? If so, you can download Ralph Winter’s “Twelve Frontiers of Perspective” at


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