Web Resources for Homogeneous

Unit Principle & People Group Thinking

Scott Moreau begins by defining HUP with reference to statements by McGavran and Wagner. He summarises Kraft’s identification of five possible attitudes towards the fact of homogeneity. Moreau considers the significance of HUP to the church growth movement. He considers what Scripture has to say, giving particular attention to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) incident and relevant issues raised in Acts 2, 6, 8, 15; Galatians 2 and 1 Corinthians 9:19-22. Sociological and anthropological considerations are brought in. The implications of HUP on the growth of a local church are set out, both the positive benefits and negative factors, followed by pragmatic questions.

Recognising that the people group concept has lost its shine, Datema reviews the development of unreached peoples definitions and asks whether or not they are still serving the frontier mission community well. He identifies the “dilemma of UPG definitions” – an inability to know if and when “the tipping point” has occurred. What follows is a very thorough summary of the history of the unreached people group concept. “The bottom line reality is that without quantifiable criteria there is no possible way to count unreached people groups.” Datema recognises that expertise is needed to deal with the two poles of the tension: (1) the complexity of people group identity (reality on the field); and (2) the simplicity needed for mobilisation (reality back at home on the sending base).

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Rene Padilla discusses God’s purpose of unity in Jesus Christ, the unity of the church and apostolic practice (with special attention to Jesus’ example, the Jerusalem church, the church in Syrian Antioch, the early Gentile churches and the ‘circumcision party’, and the Gentile mission). He then proceeds to evaluate the HUP. He is highly critical to the point of concluding that the use of HUP for church growth has no biblical foundation. He believes that a sociological observation has constituted the starting point on the basis of which a missionary strategy has been developed, with only an a posteriori attempt to find biblical support. He maintains that the ‘Church Growth’ emphasis on HUP churches is directly opposed to apostolic teaching and practice in relation to the expansion of the church. He does allow for a provisional need for some HUP churches on the basis of language and culture but rejects the strategy of forming HUP churches for the sake of quantitative church growth.

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