I am pleased to begin my new ministry this month with the Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship. I have met many wonderful persons while attending General Assembly meetings in Detroit and Knoxville and a Synod meeting in Dallas. I also attended the annual missions conference in New Wilmington, PA. There I had stimulating conversations with two of my “mission heroes”-- the NT scholar, Ken Bailey and the mission historian, Andrew Walls. Walls has written striking comments about the topic of translation.
“Incarnation is translation. When God in Christ became a man, Divinity was translated into humanity, as though humanity was a receptor language. Here was a clear statement of what would otherwise be veiled in obscurity or uncertainty, the statement ‘This is what God is like’.” Walls goes on to say that when “Divinity was translated into humanity he did not become generalized humanity. He became a person in a particular locality and in a particular ethnic group, at a particular place and time.”
Since Jesus is the divine word for all humanity he can be translated again and again for various cultures and people groups. PFF is deeply committed to our vision motto: “For Every People an Indigenous Church; For Every Church a Mission Vision.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow BUT our Lord is understood and received in an amazing variety of contexts and situations. Christian witnesses have the joyful challenge of translating the Good News of Jesus into many settings. A good translation bids the translator to be faithful to the source and meaningful for the receptor. We are called to build bridges and to cross frontiers so the Gospel is heard and believed. Thanks be to God for the privilege and the challenge! And praise God for the work of the Holy Spirit, the translator par excellence.
Rev. Richard L. HaneyExecutive Director