Understanding Biblical Justice as a Desirable Framework for Participatory Development in Missions - by Gena Thomas
AbstractMisconstrued worldviews, lack of cultural knowledge, and misunderstandings in language are a few areas that display the potential for harm inherent in missions work. For the majority of Westerners, charity is the framework for missions, yet it is not biblical. The Hebrew words found over and over again in the Old Testament, tzedakah and mishpat, are the words commonly ascribed to the Western concept of charity. These words, however, actually translate to a concept of "justice" while the word "charity" as Westerners know it is not found in the Bible. Through theological study, research on development principles, and experience as a missionary to Mexico, this paper will address theology, theory, and practice to move toward a more biblical framework for long-term missionaries. By developing a biblical justice framework for missions theologically, missionaries are better equipped to understand the Great Commission. By utilizing tools of participatory development through the lens of biblical justice, relationship building becomes a core aspect of missional work.