Met yesterday with Patrick Hobbs, missionary teacher to the Philippines, instrumental in a great ministry to Manila’s poorest of the poor. They scrape a living off the dumps. Patrick lived with them, since then handing over leadership and returning to Canada. A couple of links tell the tale:
The work is based on house church multiplication. As soon as believers become believers, they are ready to be trained in house church multiplication. They do Jonathan 1, Jonathan 2, Jonathan 3 and so on. Now, a group is to travel overseas to provide house church training, in English, to Christians in a nearly inaccessible place. The poor are being empowered!
The point of this post is that what we would call Christian education is not distinguishable from growth in Christ or development of the latent talents present in these believers. By “education,” these folk are progressively changed from glory to glory, as it were (2 Cor 3:18). The image of God they possess is burnished in true knowledge (Col 3:10). They are changing radically, root and then branch.
Nor is “mission” any different than “education.” I’m not even sure you could say that somehow the education aspect supports mission. The mission within the person is developing a more and more faithful person, resulting in external mission.
Of course if you insist that first you have faith, or conversion, then that faith becomes a foundation for knowledge. You could cite Anselm’s (or Augustine’s) famous dictum to back up your position. “For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand.” Proslogion, Chapter One. Or the Bible: In your light, we see light (Ps 36:9).
But of course, without rebutting the above position in detail, the light could be dawning on you for a long, long, long time! (Prov. 4:18). As indeed it is dawning for the poor. Fantastic.