Christian Mission in a Multi-faith Context: An Exploration of Christian and Bahai Theory and Praxis in Mission

Mwangi P. Nganga


In 1910, various missionary organizations met in Edinburgh to reflect on the best ways of dealing with denominationalism in the context of evangelism and social action. Out of the conference, the ecumenical movement was renewed and given tremendous momentum. The protestant missionaries were concerned about the context of mission and evangelization. For the last 100 years, the outcome and the aftermath of the conference has continued to influence Christian mission and evangelism. Although African recipients of the missionaries were not represented at Edinburgh, Africa benefited from the missionary zeal and reorganization that was boosted by the conference. However, in the conference only protestant reformed missionary organizations were represented. The desire to include all Christians was evident in the action points that the conference agreed on. Africa in the 21st century, have a different context, things have changed since 1910. Africa has been identified as the spiritual reservoir. Apparently, critical observation questions the quality of Christianity in Africa. Multiple dynamics have shaped the kind of Christianity that we have. Even as we celebrate a hundred years after the Edinburgh 1910 Conference, the presence of other faiths in numbers and activities in Africa has increased with time. In this discussion the Bahai Faith and its global perspective in the theory and praxis of mission is of great concern. The Bahai Faith has continued to draw following from among Christian communities. In my estimation, it is the lack of a proper perception and practice of Christian mission that has shaped the landscape of Christianity in Africa. On the other hand, Christian mission in theory and praxis does not seek to engage with other faiths and when there is engagement, it is not well thought through. To this end, we find gaps that aid the evangelization of Christians by other faiths and in this case the Bahai Faith. We therefore find that, in the 21st century we cannot afford to ignore the praxis of Christian mission in a multi-faith context.From a comparative perspective, I will endeavour to demonstrate how the Bahais are making headways in their evangelization, their perspectives to mission and the goal of mission and demonstrate how and why the Bahai Faith among other faiths is a faith to dialogue with if the goal and objective of Christian mission is going to be realized. The big question will be if all faiths have a clear concept of their mission, is it possible for these faiths to join hands for the sake of humanity.  What would be the implications of such a move? On the other hand, how should Christians contend their faith in a situation where other religions are ruinously transferring their culture and religion to even Christians?

Keywords: Key words: Edinburgh 1910, mission, Bahai Faith, covenant, praxis, nationhood, imperialism

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