Hiebert for Dummies


The outstanding missiologist, Paul Hiebert, taught at my alma mater, Fuller Seminary and then finished his career at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
I have always admired his thoughtful work, and recall his thought provoking lectures, which usually left my head spinning.

His textbook, Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues, proved helpful in navigating the murky waters of contextualization vs. syncretism in Native American ministry. (Though there were several occasions when I read a paragraph a half dozen times before I understand what he was trying to communicate.)

Jon and Mindy Hirst, have recently brought some basic Hiebert concepts within the reach of simple-minded readers like me. I love warm cookies from the bottom shelf!

Ooze Viral Bloggers recently provided me a copy of their new book, Through the River: Understanding Your Assumptions about Truth.

The Hirsts have captured some pretty deep philosophy, and traslated it, via delightful story form, into something the rest of us can grasp. Their mythical village of "River Town", illustrates the the three primary ways people understand truth.

The Rock Dwellers (positivists) see everything as black and white. "I have all the truth and if you disagree, you don't have any!" They engage others via argument and refutation.

The Island Dwellers (instrumentalists) see everything as relative. "I have my truth. You have your truth. There is no absolute truth. Every perspective is equally valid." The operative term: "whatever!"

The Valley Dwellers (critical realists) believe that there certainly IS absolute truth -- but that nobody grasps it absolutely. They value the sincere quest for a deeper understanding. They believe that we can learn something from anybody, and this requires genuine humility. "Tell me your experiences and I'll tell you mine. Then we will see how that fits together into the larger picture."

An excellent read, If I ever teach a course on philosphy, world view, or anthropology, this will be a text.

Order here.

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