The Worldview of the Ashland Brethren and its Missiological Implications -- By: Roy A. Andrews

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 41:0 (NA 2009)
Article: The Worldview of the Ashland Brethren and its Missiological Implications
Author: Roy A. Andrews


The Worldview of the Ashland Brethren and its Missiological Implications

Roy A. Andrews*

Abstract

The worldview of the Ashland Brethren has been greatly impacted in its 300-year history by one predominant determinant: dialectical tension. Dealing with this tension has led to the positive of a strong commitment to theological purity; however, three concurrent negatives (denominational division, reduction of resources, and limited leadership) have resulted in a profound restriction for the denomination. The missiological implications that have arisen from these hindrances are the development of a “thermostatic” nature with regard to programming quality and polar extreme perspectives as explanations for diminishing church size among the Brethren.

Author Biography

Roy Andrews pastored in the Brethren Church from 1993–2007 prior to becoming the Educational Ministries department chair at Multnomah Bible College located in Portland Oregon.

INTRODUCTION

As the Brethren Church (Ashland, OH) has just celebrated its 300th Anniversary it seems fitting to critically consider its current worldview. This examination will seek to reveal the inherent denominational strengths and weaknesses of the Brethren. The assessment will come from the perspective of one who is Brethren, but has not always been so. This work will be composed of three major divisions: 1) worldview determinant, 2) evidences of said worldview, and 3) missiological implications of such worldview.

Worldview is a more recent term that anthropologists have used to describe a group or individual’s “fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality.”1 It is composed of “the ways in which different peoples think about themselves, about their environments, space, time, and so forth.”2Worldview determinants, on the other hand, are the underlying presuppositions of a group or individual’s worldview. Determinants are foundational to the worldview itself. These are often in existence without the knowledge of the person(s) who hold the worldview. Thus, the determinants or internal attitudes are revealed through observation of and contact with the external actions of the people.

Trained researchers can identify worldview determinants by observation, interview, and examination of cultural artifacts. Data collection and analysis present the evidence that will support worldview determinant conclusions. Researcher bias that taints the data is always a concern, but this is an especially tenuous proposition when the researcher is no...

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