Okay, I also recently worked up some stats on Vietnamese in Australia, so I thought I might as well share it here too. It might help some of you be strategic in your ministry… although really, the stats really shocked me. I do hope it spurs us into prayer and action!
At the 2011 ABS census there were 199,248 people of Vietnamese ancestry living in Australia. This represents 0.93% of the overall population.
First of all, here is the age profile of the Vietnamese population in Australia (click all graphs for a larger version).
Here is the age profile, but this time broken up into the different states. As you can see, the Vietnamese population is predominantly found in NSW and Victoria.
Here is another graph showing the distribution as a pie chart. NSW and VIC together account for almost 74% of all the Vietnamese in Australia.
In Sydney, here is a map of where the Vietnamese are living. As you can see, it’s predominantly in the South-West of Sydney, around the two geographic centres of Bankstown, and Cabramatta / Canley Vale.
Here is a listing of the top areas in NSW (these are SA2 ABS geographic divisions, which are larger than suburbs). If you’re looking to plant a Vietnamese ministry, then these are the areas to target!
How has the Vietnamese population grown over the past few years? Between the 2006 and 2011 census dates, the Vietnamese population has grown from 158,036 to 199,248. That’s quite a significant growth of 26.1% – by comparison, Australia as a whole grew by only 8.3%!
Here is a graph built with data from the Department of Immigration showing historic migration levels from Vietnam – you can see there the huge influx after the Vietnam War in the late 1970′s and through to the 80′s. But since then there has still been steady growth in the Vietnamese population.
Here is a graph of the age profile from 2006 and 2011 (I’ve aged the 2006 figures by 5 years). People who have migrated between those two census dates would be represented by the area between the two lines – and you can see that migration growth has particularly been in the 15 to 29 age bracket – and especially in the 20-24 age bracket.
But here is where it gets really concerning… This pie graph shows you the religion of the Vietnamese in Australia. A huge 50.5% identify themselves as Buddhists, and 29.2% identify themselves as Roman Catholics. But by comparison, the number of Protestant Christians (including Pentecostals) is very, very small – overall, it’s about 3.25% (or 6,466 people).
Here is a graph showing the age profile of different religions – you can see (or rather, not see) how tiny is the number of Protestants across the whole age range. However if you compare to the overall age profile (the very first graph) you can see that there is perhaps some sign of dissatisfaction in both Buddhism and Catholicism (note that the colours of this line graph are not the same as the colours in the pie graph above).
Here is a graph from showing church attendance for one Christian denomination – the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). The C&MA are the major Protestant denomination among the Vietnamese. However you can see that there has been negligible growth among these Vietnamese congregations over the years.
Overall, the figures look quite troubling: a growing population (26.1% between 2006 and 2011) – yet with few Protestant Christians (3.25% at 2011), and negligible growth among ministries over the years.
What implications do these stats have for ministry among the Vietnamese? What does this mean for evangelism? And what role will the next generation of Vietnamese Christian leadership play?
I recently worked up some stats on Koreans in Australia, and thought I’d share it with others who might also be interested in getting access to this information. Some of this data is based on the 2011 ABS census, and some is drawn from more recent data from the Department of Immigration.
At the 2011 ABS census there were 84,632 people of Korean ancestry living in Australia. This represents 0.39% of the overall population.
This first of all is the age profile of the Korean population of Australia. As you can see, it is very strong in the 20 to 40 age bracket.
Here I’ve split up the age profile into the different states. You can see that NSW is the place to be.
Notice also the significant showing in the 0-4 years section of the graph – this suggests that people are having kids.
Here is another graph showing the distribution of Koreans across the different states. A huge 58.3% of Koreans live in NSW alone!
And in Sydney, here is a map of where Koreans live. You can see significant clusters in the Strathfield, Chatswood, Lidcombe, Eastwood areas.
Here is a table with numbers for the top 12 areas on this map:
|Strathfield||2614||Hornsby – Waitara||1379|
|Lidcombe – Regents Park||2140||Canterbury Sth – Campsie||1346|
|Chatswood East – Artarmon||1697||West Ryde – Meadowbank||1304|
|Epping – Nth Epping||1674||Carlingford||1256|
|Eastwood – Denistone||1625||Sydney – Haymarket – The Rocks||1237|
|Concord West – North Strathfield||1480||Homebusy Bay – Silverwater||1174|
There has been significant growth in the Korean population between the 2006 and 2011 census dates. Here is a graph that shows you that growth:
That’s a growth of 44.8% over five years from 58,441 at the 2006 ABS census, to 84,632 at the 2011 ABS census. By comparison the general population of Australia only grew by 8.3% during this same time!
And this one shows you that it is primarily the younger segment that is experiencing growth. Here I’ve shifted the 2006 age profile five years across so it sits right under the 2011 age profile – and you can see the growth in the population over time (represented by the area between the graphs).
Here is another graph, this time drawn from data from the Department of Immigration. This one shows the permanent additions to the Australian population from Korea, from 1996-97 all the way to 2011-12. You can see that there has been increasing growth in the Korean population from 2000-2007, and sustained growth since then.
What about in terms of religion? Here is what Koreans indicated in terms of their religion.
Significant numbers of Koreans identified themselves as Presbyterian & Reformed (23.2%), so that just under 45% profess to be Protestant Christians of some kind.
A significant proportion also identified themselves as Roman Catholic (22.6%), and No religion (23.1%).
Given all that – what do you think are the implications for ministry and evangelism? What are the implications for student ministry, workplace ministry and kids ministry into the future?
In a previous post I wrote about the the doctrine of the mean (中庸) and how it might influence Chinese Christian leadership. This is one part of the overall Confucian worldview, and significantly influences how leaders conduct themselves. Here is a key passage that speaks about it:
The Master said, “There was Shun: He indeed was greatly wise! Shun loved to question others, and to study their words, though they might be shallow. He concealed what was bad in them and displayed what was good. He took hold of their two extremes, determined the Mean, and employed it in his government of the people (執其兩端，用其中於民). It was by this that he was Shun!”
Doctrine of the Mean, 6.
Rather than giving themselves to extreme positions, the superior man holds to the mean (or middle position). And the virtuous leader makes use of this in the exercise of his governing.
Here is another quote, this time from the Analects where James Legge translates 2.14 as:
The Master said, “The superior man is catholic (周) and not partisan (比). The mean man is partisan and not catholic.”
Analects of Confucius, 2.14.
The idea here being that the superior man doesn’t take one particular side, but is able to be friendly and conciliatory and understanding of all sides. This is seen as a virtue – the virtue of being zhong (中). In the Doctrine of the Mean, this is spoken of as a “friendly harmony.”
Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak. How firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side. How firm is he in his energy!
Doctrine of the Mean, 10.
It’s important to note that it is not seen as cowardice to avoid either position – it is actually seen as virtue to see all positions, and to be ‘catholic’ (周).
2. The Doctrine of the Mean in conversations
Today what I want to do is flesh out what this looks like in conversations, and hopefully shed light on some of the strange conversation dynamics you might come across in Confucian-influenced cultures. Because it could well be that what is driving your conversation partner is actually the Confucian virtue of zhong (中)!
Notice what happens in the following conversation. In these conversations, there is a conflict between the blue people, and red people. They are at two extremes. But notice what happens when a green person speaks to them…
The green person identifies that there are two extremes – but doesn’t want to take either position. Just like Shun in Doctrine of the Mean 6, this green person has identified the mean and now adopts it as his position. And it’s a position that does not ascribe any real blame to anyone – in this case, it’s just a matter of miscommunication.
But on hearing this moderate response from the green person, the blue person is startled. Why can’t this green person see what is clearly going on? And so they press their case a second time.
The blue person wants to argue the green person over to his side – but for the green person, there is no virtue in that. Instead it is actually virtuous not to hold either position. It is virtuous to remain in the middle, exhibiting the virtue of being zhong (中).
Notice also that when pushed further, the green person now begins to assign blame – and it’s to the one who is arguing forcefully. He is the one who is seen to be causing trouble. Frustrating for the blue person – but it makes sense within the Confucian worldview.
Notice now what happens when the green person goes over to speak to the red person. In a similar way, the red person puts forward his view, painting the situation in polar extremes. How will the green person respond?
The green person responds in the same kind of way – he notices the extremes, identifies the middle position, and adopts it – which appears conciliatory and virtuous. And once again, it’s a position that doesn’t assign blame to anyone – he affirms that both parties have a good heart.
However it’s not always the case that your conversation partner will take the middle position. And it has to do with whether you ‘belong’ with them or not. If they think you don’t ‘belong’ to their group, then you are essentially seen as an outsider – and they will play the Doctrine of the Mean game with you to be virtuous. But if you are seen as an insider, then you already belong in their eyes, and they will not feel compelled to play the Doctrine of the Mean game. Instead they will feel free to echo what you feel.
In this scenario notice how the dark red conversation partner doesn’t feel the need to identify and embody the mean. And it’s because they already belong. They are already part of the group.
This also means that the way in which someone speaks to you can also tell you a lot about how they see you – whether as an insider, or as an outsider to their group.
This dynamic could mean that adopting a more moderate position yourself in conversation might lead to quite different outcomes. In the following conversation we are back to the conversation between the blue person and the green person. But this time the blue person identifies with what the red person says. However the green person is smart enough to identify that there are two extremes at play – and the position the green person adopts is much more helpful.
3. Differing values in conversation
This dynamic may help explain what is going on in otherwise strange conversations. It could be that conflicting values are at play – on the one hand the arguing for and scoring of logical points, and on the other hand the identifying of the middle ground and embodying the virtue of zhong (中). And so you may find that conversations become less about rightness, and more about position. And you may find that discussions are concluded less on evidence, and more on moderation.
Should the virtue of zhong (中) play the determining factor in the making of decisions? should it subvert the place of evidence and good argumentation?
From the Christian point of view, I don’t believe so. Because ultimately the form of revelation given to us does not discount evidence and good argumentation, but instead has a good place for it. Paul is at pains to lay out evidence for the resurrection (1 Cor 15). The apostles are careful in their argumentation in the letters. The apostles went to the temple courts and reasoned with those who would listen (Acts 17). The form of God’s revelation to us shows that good reasons and sound thinking do take pride of place.
At a supporting level the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean does alert us to the relational aspect of conversations. It’s not just a matter of winning the argument – but of winning over the other person. And so in this regard it’s interesting to see how Paul’s strong command to stop the false teachers in 1 Timothy 1 is paired with his strangely quiescent encouragement in 1 Timothy 4 to win over his detractors by his exemplary manner of life. It doesn’t negate the public directive in chapter 1 (and even in chapter 4 he is to “command and teach these things” v.11) – but at a supporting level Paul is aware of the power of personal example.
Yet in Christianity this never gets in the way of speaking the truth, and having discernment in church matters. In Christianity there is truth that exists irrespective of the positions people hold. And in Christianity we are never meant to exemplify zhong (中) - but instead to choose. To choose gladly that which is good, to love fiercely that which is good, to proclaim passionately the one who is good.
In imperial China district magistrates were placed all over the empire in order to administer the realm. Their position combined both judicial and administrative roles – and as such, these local magistrates collected taxes, settled disputes, tried criminal cases and ensured public order.
But because of the very size of the empire, these local officials held considerable power in their area. By and large, their word was law. And so if you had a problem with your district magistrate – if you felt they were corrupt or abusing their authority or levied unfair taxes – who could you go to?
Nevertheless there was an awareness that local officials were not always going to be fair and impartial in the exercise of their duties. And so if a citizen felt that they could get no justice in their part of the kingdom, they had one recourse open to them – and that was to petition the emperor directly through the petition system (xinfang, 信访).
Petitioners would travel from the countryside to the court of the emperor and present their petition before him as a last resort. It could be the case that the official in your village was corrupt – but at least the ruler, the one endowed with the mandate of heaven, at least he would have the fairness to hear your case. At least he will have the power over the local official to bring you justice.
And the place where people with grievances would go to present their petition? That is known as Tiananmen Square (天安門). That is the significance of Tiananmen Square for the Chinese – traditionally, it is the place where you would bring your complaint before the emperor.
While it has its origins in imperial China, the petition system was revived in the 1950s under Communist rule as a means for people to make suggestions, find redress for their grievances against local authorities, and highlight corruption. The modern xinfang system includes a whole network of petition bureaus in provincial centres, and the idea is that people can seek help at the local level, and then at the provincial level, before heading in to the capital. They may do this through emails, calls, and faxes, or meet an official in person. And today many petitioners still travel from the countryside in order to have their grievances heard.
Because there are implications for local authorities when groups of people petition at higher levels (shangfang, 上访), this practice is actively discouraged by local authorities. Large signs have been spotted in the countryside warning people against “illegal petitioning” (see below). Hard men loiter around railway stations to identify and waylay people from the provinces who are coming in to the capital to petition the government. And petitioners who do eventually make it to the capital often find it an unbearably slow process.
It is a sign of desperation that people pursue the petition system. But for a man who has unjustly lost his livelihood due to some corrupt dealings, or whose only child has been killed by a careless official, this is often their avenue of last recourse.
It is interesting to reflect that the ancient xinfang system reveals an awareness that local officials may still be prone to moral failure, and consequently the need to build a kind of check against the abuse of authority. Much of Confucian society is predicated on the essential goodness of humans – yet here is one instance where that is not the case.
At the same time it also reveals an overwhelming trust in the uprightness and willingness of the ruler to step in and act justly. One can see that this reflects the doctrine of the mandate of heaven (tianming, 天命) – that the ruler alone is entrusted with a divine mandate to rule. And as such, there is the implicit trust that he will always be right, and can do no wrong. That is why the petitioner appeals to him – and not a jury of his peers.
What it also reveals is the strong awareness of injustice, and a yearning for justice, even if it means going against cultural norms – leaving one’s village, going over the head of the local official, creating trouble in the capital… We are built to want justice. However it is doubtful that petitioners always got the justice they sought after – both in ancient and in modern times.
Despite our longing for justice, and the structures that we build – both ancient and modern, Eastern and Western – it is a reality that evildoers sometimes do escape justice on this earth. Often they dine well, often their sleep is untroubled, and often they die a comfortable death. Despite our best efforts, justice is often elusive. This is the harsh reality that Asaph so hauntingly gives voice to in Psalm 73:1-14.
For those who long to see justice done, the news that there is a judgment after death can in fact be welcome news. This is partly why the message of the New Testament is such good news. Because it is good news that there will one day be a righteous judge who cannot be corrupted. It is good news that there will be a judge who sees every hidden act, and who will judge the world with justice (2 Timothy 4.1).
In the end it will be the Son of God – and not the Son of Heaven (tianzi, 天子) – who will bring us the justice we have long for on this earth.
Here is an index of this quarter’s postings (March ’13 to May ’13). Clicking on the titles will take you to that post.
This quarter featured a post about the historic angle on School Scripture (06 Mar). The historic ‘deal’ between the government and the churches generated a lot of interest – but several people who have studied Education at uni have confirmed that they learn this as part of their course. A useful angle to know about when people challenge the validity of School Scripture in NSW.
This quarter also featured a continuation of a series on the doctrine of providence begun in August last year (10, 25, 30 Aug - and now 29 May). This is an area of doctrine that I believe is important to get right – yet it is often sadly neglected in our teaching!
And if you’re looking for something to share with your Bible study group, the post on evangelism in the workplace might help people to think about others they can learn from (12 Mar)…
Your ministry might have a particular philosophy of ministry – its way of doing ministry. But if that ministry philosophy is out of step with the overriding money philosophy, that will lead to problems…
If those who control the money have a different money philosophy. If policies about the use of money enshrine an alien money philosophy. If structures inhibit rather than promote the exercise of your ministry philosophy. Then you will find that you are constantly having to defend the spending that you wish to do. You are constantly going to have to get exceptions granted to you. There will be a constant struggle to have money used the way you need it to be used to effectively prosecute your ministry philosophy.
By contrast, if those who control the money share your money philosophy. If policies enshrine your money philosophy. If structures promote the exercise of your ministry philosophy. Then there is no constant need to argue for spending decisions in a defensive way. Rules will work to encourage spending in your way. Money will naturally support ministry initiatives.
The problem lies in the fact that those of one group will very naturally think that their approach to money is universal, and so enforce their approach across the board. By doing so, they may not comprehend the unhappiness of the other group, nor how it hampers the other group’s ministry. “After all,” it is argued, “these rules works for us – why shouldn’t it work for you?”
2. How money philosophy can differ
Here are some ways in which money philosophy could differ:
|“We should make a good impression with the newcomers with our welcome pack. Let’s spend some money to print it well and make it look great.”||“We should spend as little as possible. Just print using black and white using this photocopier that we have.”|
|“We think this training course is so useful that we want all of our volunteers to do it. We will gladly pay 50% of their training costs.”||“If people want to do training, that’s great. They can pay for it themselves.”|
|“We should check that money is being used to advance the mission of God in this area.”||“We should check that no church money has gone missing.”|
|“We should put on staff first, and then worry about money later.”||“We should wait until money comes before we put on staff.”|
|“We should challenge the congregation directly about money and giving. God provides through his people.”||“We should not talk so much about money, but instead trust that God will provide.”|
|“We should not spend money to have flowers each week.”||“We should spend money to have flowers each week.”|
|“Let’s invest in people.”||“Let’s invest in our building.”|
The point is not that one approach to money is right and another approach is wrong. Instead the point is that within one particular ministry philosophy, it makes sense to make use of money in a certain way. And within another ministry philosophy, it makes sense to spend money in an entirely different way.
3. A vine without a trellis
All this means that for ministry to flourish, ministry philosophy must be matched with money philosophy in every instance. To the extent where there is a mismatch, then to that same extent will the ministry be compromised.
It would be like a lion – with no teeth. A soldier – with his hands tied behind its back. A vine – with no trellis supporting its growth (see more here).
And so consider: to what extent have conflicts in the past been due to a mismatch of ministry philosophy and money philosophy? Does your ministry have freedom to develop it’s own rules about money? to spend money in a way that best suits its ministry?
If not, then like a weakened lion or a helpless soldier, that ministry will always remain restricted to a smaller scale. That ministry will remain at size where it doesn’t have to rely on money.
You see, a vine which lacks a supporting trellis will still grow to some extent. There will still be signs of life! But that vine will really only take off when the trellis supports its growth…
1. The common way of talking about calling and guidance
One way in which providence shows itself is in how we believe God guides people today – particularly into ministry. And very popular in some segments of Christianity is a way of talking about guidance in which God calls people into ministry through their feelings. And so you might hear these kinds of things:
- “I feel that God is calling me to be a missionary in Spain.”
- “Tell us about your calling.”
- “It was in 1995 that God called me into the ministry.”
- “To be truly effective in ministry, it is vital to have a clear calling.”
And when pressed further, it turns out that what people generally mean is not something objective, unmistakable or external to them – instead it’s a subjective, internal feeling.
But the thinking is that here is one way in which God is directly involved in our world – he is involved in setting aside particular individuals for the work of the gospel.
2. Common – but not a biblical way of talking about calling and guidance
Matthias Media have recently put out a book by Michael Bennett on this specific topic of calling and guidance, titled Do you feel called by God? Rethinking the call to ministry (here). It basically takes a biblical studies approach to the topic of calling and guidance – and it does much to reveal how the common way of talking about guidance is not actually biblical.
Bennett’s argument goes along these lines: when prophets were called, it was always distinctive and external to themselves (ie. not merely a feeling). And when the Bible talks about calling in the life of the Christian, it always means (a) the call of the gospel to repentance and faith, and (b) the call to godly living. And when the Bible talks about qualifications for elders, it never makes use of the language of calling.
Bennett therefore argues that when we use the language of calling to refer to feelings that we have, this may sound very spiritual – and everyone else around us may be using this kind of language – but Bennett has done a great job in showing very clearly that there is no biblical support to claim this kind of language.
Bennett’s book deserves to be carefully read and its implications for the way we talk about ministry pondered.
3. Inductive and deductive thinking
However I’m aware that Bennett’s book won’t help everyone. And that’s because this is an essentially inductive approach. It basically says: nowhere in Scripture is ‘calling’ used like this, and so we should not use ‘calling’ in this way.
When presented with how ‘calling’ is actually used in the New Testament, someone who still wants to cling to the language of calling might say, “Maybe calling is used differently in the New Testament – but I know that I have been called, and it’s important to me.” This is the weakness of the inductive approach: it can show that calling is not used in these cases – but it can’t show that it is illegitimate to use it in every case.
Here is an example of inductive thinking: “is not snowing in Sydney because there is no snow in Parramatta, there is no snow in Chatswood, and there is now snow in Mascot” (different suburbs of Sydney).
However a stubborn person might still say, “But what about Hurstville? what you say about Parramatta, Chatswood and Mascot might be true – but there is still the small possibility of it snowing in Hurstville. And so it might still be snowing.” The inductive approach is a bottom-up approach to thinking, and this is the general weakness of the inductive method.
The deductive method takes a different approach: it says that “snow only falls in certain conditions – yet none of these conditions have been present across the Sydney region. Therefore it cannot have snowed.” The deductive approach is a top-down approach to thinking.
I once knew someone who would defend things by saying, “yes I know it’s not biblical – but that doesn’t mean it’s unbiblical.” And unfortunately, that is the problem of the inductive approach. You may be able to say that calling isn’t used in these places – but you can’t say that calling isn’t to be used everywhere. There is always the possibility – however slender – that it could be acceptable. Which therefore gives people an ‘out’ to keep on using the language of calling.
4. Deductive thinking
This is where the doctrine of providence becomes useful. It provides the deductive framework to think about all situations, not just the ones specifically mentioned in the Bible.
In Peter’s Acts 2 speech at Pentecost, Peter declares the following:
22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
Acts 2:22-23 (NIV)
What this shows us is two things: (a) God is sovereign over all events – even the handing over of Jesus to the Jewish religious authorities, yet (b) that did not constitute divine moral permission to put Jesus to death. God is sovereign in the situation – yet they still sinned in their actions. What was the morally right thing to do in this case? It was to not bear false witness, and instead preserve the life of an innocent man!
Clearly God had other purposes in mind at the cross (also see Genesis 50). But for the purposes of this discussion, focus again on those two facts: (a) God sovereignly created the opportunity for the Jewish leaders, yet (b) the Jewish leaders should not have acted on their opportunity. This is helpful as we consider the case of guidance because it shows that we can never read off the circumstances of history to say what is the good we ought to do.
Here is how Paul Helm sums up the situation:
The fact that the providence of God presents Christians with opportunities does not mean that they ought to seize them, that they represent God’s will (in the sense of his command) for them. [...] We may have the opportunity to steal, to murder or to commit adultery, but this does not mean that we may, much less that we ought, to do any of these things.
Paul Helm, 136.
In his providence, God is in control of all things in this world. This means that the current circumstances of my life, the feelings I have, the opportunities that suddenly open to me – these are all God’s doing in my life. Yet we cannot take these as guidance from God towards or away from a certain course of action.
It may be a fact that a door is opened to a new business opportunity. It may be a fact that a door has shut to a gospel opportunity. It may be a fact that I have a strong feeling that it is right to pursue a relationship. And more to the point, it may be a fact that I have a certain feeling inside of myself that I should pursue full time ministry. However I cannot say that this constitutes a divine call.
The right course of action may instead be to resist the temptation to start a new business opportunity – and grow in contentment. It might be to push through that shut door, bearing suffering and hardship with perseverance. It might mean resisting the temptation to go out with that non Christian girl. Or perhaps to channel one’s passion for gospel ministry into greater giving.
You can see that it would be foolish to simply act on circumstances that present themselves to us – an open door doesn’t mean that we should walk through it. And feelings – even strong ones – do not mean we should act on them.
If we aren’t to read off God’s purposes from current events in history, how else are we to know what to do? Paul Helm writes:
A person ought to do what God commands, as is repeatedly taught by Jesus (eg. Mat 20:34-40) and by the apostles (eg. Gal 5:14). Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to look for guidance elsewhere.
Paul Helm, 134.
The answer is simple – perhaps too simple for some, who feel that we should have a more spiritual and experiential answer. But our circumstances – and that includes our feelings – are a dangerous source for guidance. God only promises to guide his people through his word. And our task today is to live out the implications of Scripture with wisdom.
The point of this is not to say that Michael Bennet’s book has taken the wrong approach. It is a great book and helps those who already have misgivings about ‘calling’ theology put their finger on what’s wrong about this language. However it’s unlikely to change the language of those who are used to ‘calling’ theology. And that’s because the inductive approach it takes still leaves the loophole of “yes, but it might still be snowing in Hurstville.”
However the case against ‘calling’ theology becomes much stronger when we also take a deductive approach.
All things fall under God’s providence. This includes doors that open, doors that shut – and strong feelings that we have. Yet it is illigitimate for us to take open doors, shut doors, and strong feelings as God’s direction for our lives. For that, there is only one place that we should go – the word of God.