We in Kenya have greatly valued Darrell Whiteman’s mission teachings which are profoundly deep yet simple to grasp. Darrell was for several years our main training facilitator at the annual Kenya to the Nations (KwaMataifa) mission training conferences which brought together almost 100 Kenyan missionaries and church leaders. It was always a delight to drink in Darrell‘ teachings on worldview, culture and the Bible. At the end of each conference all participants were deeply impacted by the life-changing, Bible-based, academically-sound and rich-in-experience teachings.
At a personal level, I have learnt so much from Darrell as we worked together in planning for the conferences and co-facilitated some sessions. I consider Darrell my mentor in the areas of anthropology and missiology, both of which I am very keen on. I have special fond memories of the time I spent together with Darrell in Zambia (June 2013) where we co-trained church leaders on African culture and the Gospel. The fellowship and mentorship I received from Darrell during our long walks, prayer times and teaching sessions had a life-long impact on my life. I therefore would not hesitate to highly endorse Dr. Whiteman‘s new phase of ministry through the newly-launched organization, Global Development. I believe it will help to continue providing many more people around the world with the opportunity to be impacted by Darrell‘s powerful teachings.
– Duncan Olumbe
I have been enrolled in formal theological study since 2001. Whether through face-to-face lectures or through their most acclaimed textbooks, I have been exposed to some of the finest minds our evangelical theological and biblical seminaries in the West could have ever produced. My education enables me to be well acquainted with and strongly affirm my evangelical theological distinctives, articulately explain and confidently defend my Christian faith, acquire and utilize skills for proper biblical interpretation and exposition, and prepare me to be both a student and a teacher of the Bible. However, there was deep within me an issue that I struggled with for which my Western education provided no apparent answer. That was the self-defeating thought that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was foreign to me as a Haitian, in the same way Christianity is a foreign religion to Haiti. That did two damaging things to my faith. One, it prevented the Gospel from fully influencing my every thought and action. Two, it kept me from seeing myself in the story of God. The ultimate consequence was that I never was able to take ownership of the Bible.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 when I attended a Missionary Training Course in Huancayo Peru, taught by Dr. Darrell Whiteman, that God in His grace and mercy, liberated me from such an injurious thought. The answers I had been searching, waiting and hoping for came during those two weeks of his training. I became aware of what had kept me from taking ownership of the story of the Bible. This was my inherited hidden cultural belief system and core values that are antithetical to my Christian faith. No one has ever challenged me before to go beyond my perceived reactions to the root of my struggle like Dr. Whiteman did during that training.
Now I see myself right in the middle of God’s story. God is concerned about my everyday struggles. He is interested and willing to help me overcome my beliefs in ancestral spirits and so on. God has always been in Haiti and He has been very active, working out His plan for the salvation of Haitians even before any Western missionaries arrived here. This is liberating to me and I was fortunate to be exposed to such teaching. Many more Haitian leaders need this privilege to hear this message. What a blessing this will be to the Kingdom of God in Haiti if Dr. Whiteman could come to Haiti occasionally to help those who are still held captive by their hidden inherited cultural belief system and values?
– Rev. Guenson Charlot
Pastor and Seminary Lecturer in Cap-Haitian, Haiti
“Transformational,” that is what defines this course on Cultural Anthropology for Christian Mission! Learning the importance of human culture and worldview has challenged and changed my entire perception on what theology is all about. It is rewarding to understand that culture, though often neglected in theological education, is a beautiful gift from God and hence indispensible in doing theology. The best way to understand others is by being “incarnational” among the people with whom we live and serve. This will enable us to understand their deepest worldview and decrease the likelihood of misappropriating the gospel. The class constantly confronted our own worldview and methods in ministering to people of other faiths. I was conscience-stricken, realizing that I have been sharing the gospel clothed with my own subjective understanding of an ideal Christian, trying to baptize the unbelievers into my own likeness. It fills me with remorse to realize that “I have made it too difficult for the unbelievers to follow Jesus Christ, while our Lord made it so simple,” and this realization is making me into a different person. In a nutshell, the class was a life transforming experience. The course not only transformed my thinking but it transformed me spiritually. I’m surprise but, with a change of perception, I feel much closer to Jesus.
– Albert Lalramzau
Caleb Institute, New Delhi, India
The course on “Cultural Anthropology for Christian Mission” that Dr. Whiteman taught at the Caleb Institute in New Delhi, India enabled me to view mission from a completely different perspective. While understanding the need for contextualizing the gospel, I had always been slightly skeptical due to the risk of syncretism, I assumed it poses. This course made me realize that the risk of syncretism is not in contextualizing, but rather in NOT-contextualizing, since contextualization is a check against syncretism. An understanding of this truth is crucial in a multicultural context like India where contextualization has always been viewed with apprehension. The class also enabled me to comprehend the true meaning and importance of ‘humility’ in mission, which should be the very essence of contextualization. ‘Incarnational model,’ which best exhibits “humility” in all dimensions and is the praxis model that our Christ sets for his followers to follow, is unfortunately missing from many contemporary missionaries, who proudly embark on the search for the “lost.” I myself have often times been guilty of proselytism and doing “evangelism” with “propaganda” where winning has been the objective. I now realize that all I should be doing is being incarnational with others, by building relationships and letting the Holy Spirit do the work of convicting. I attended the class hoping to get an insight on “gospel and culture” but the course gave me much more than insight, it gave me life lessons.
– Euniki Phaltual (Niki)