Who is our guest?
Dr. Scott Callaham (PhD, SWBTS) is a lecturer at Baptist Theological Seminary in Singapore, where he teaches Hebrew and Old Testament. He formerly served as a submarine officer, a Navy chaplain, and often composes Chinese worship songs.
What do we talk about?
Dr. Callaham helps us understand how we’ve maybe set up a “priesthood of languages” when doing cross-cultural work. A “priesthood of missionaries” refers to when missionaries depend only on their own intuition in interpretation of Scripture. We need to be aware of the ways we set ourselves up as unlikely priests in our host culture as missionaries.
“Let us be sure of this, we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. If through our neglect we let the languages go, which God forbid, we shall lose the gospel.”
“If the languages had not made me positive as to the true meaning of the word, I might still remain a chained monk.”
Dr. Callaham raises several questions, including:
- Are we inadvertently making the host country church dependent on the Westerner?
- Do we want that as our default?
- How is it paternalistic to deny someone from the host country to learn biblical languages?
Some Resources Mentioned
- World Mission: Theology, Strategy, and Current Issues
- Modality and the Biblical Hebrew Infinitive Absolute
- Tyndale article on Ruth
For those who need some language refreshers:
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