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What is the meaning of “Socially and culturally adopted”?

- During my service in Central Asia I realised that people like stories. If you do a lot of teaching with a very strict systematic approach stressing doctrine and dogmatic theology, people will not understand this very well. I was shocked when a local friend told me: “I do not know, what all the foreign guest speakers in our church want to say. I just do not understand them.” If you want to know more about different levels of orality, click on this link, you get a very interesting pdf, look at page 8.
- In Central Asia we often have power cuts during winter time. If you rely on high tech like a video projector or computer or a TV you will suddenly find yourself sitting in the dark. We did a study just with one small light in nearly full darkness and we had a blessed meeting without high tech.
- Often leaders like to preach even at a Small Group. However, the young generation especially like to discover for themselves the spiritual treasures.

What is the meaning of “Economically reasonable”?

The methodology was originally prepared for the Central Asian Context. People earn an average of not more than 150 USD per month. Some members of the author?s Small Group get less than 50 USD a month, some even less. If in such a situation a book for training costs more than a month?s salary or a quarter of a month?s salary people will not be able to buy it. The print out or the photo copy of the Spiritual Five Finger Food costs less than a dollar and you have study guides for two years and more.

What is the meaning of “Repeatable”?

I know of a teacher, who taught at a local seminar. He did a good job, but later he told me: “Look, I taught on such a high level and for the preparation of my lecture I used books in three languages. It was a good lecture, but nobody can repeat my lecture.” Whatever we do, a local believer should be able to repeat it. A student at a seminar once told me: “Look, I cannot start a church or do any kind of church planting because I have no access to humanitarian aid.” Again, if a local can not repeat it, we should choose another methodology.

Why does everybody have to pay for the printout or the photocopy of the study material?

It is very important that everyone and anyone can repeat this methodology. If a rich person comes in and pays for everybody, a poor person can not repeat it afterwards. If you are willing to pay for the material, you are showing real interest. If there is no real interest, people will use their money for other things. By the way, one printout or photocopy is enough per group, though it can be helpful that everybody has a copy.

What is the meaning of “Persecution Resistant”?

Persecution of Christians is happening in many countries of the world. More than half of the world population live in countries in which Christians are persecuted. Persecution of Christians is also happening in Central Asia. If you build up a library with a lot of good Christian books, it can be closed down by the government very quickly. There have been cases in Central Asia where a library has been taken away by the government. If there are riots a library can be destroyed. If you build a big church, it can be taken away, as has happened in Central Asia. So whatever you do, it has to be persecution resistant. Spiritual Five Finger Food can be kept very easily in a secret place. You can use this material in secret in a living room of a flat. The structure of the material stresses that everybody participates and so everybody has a chance to grow. Everyone takes a turn at leading, so you train a lot of leaders. If a leader gets taken into prison, others can go on with Spiritual Five Finger Food.

Why do we read the stories in “chronological order”?

As a starting point when reading the Holy Scriptures, people are often told to read one of the gospels like John or Luke. How can you understand that God created you and that you are a sinner and sin will be judged if you have not read the core stories in the beginning, especially Genesis and Exodus. How can people be aware, that they are sinners and need a saviour, if they do not know these stories?
If you work with people from a Muslim background using this method, you will read 18 stories even before mentioning the name of Jesus. Your listeners will come to know the character of God. When you read in the New Testament about Jesus, they will be able to answer for themselves the question of who Jesus is, just because they know who God is.
Scholars in the West often use a systematic approach, however ordinary people in the West or in Central Asia often think in additive ways than in subordinative ways. So story after story adds up to an understanding of Biblical Theology. If you want to know more about the terms additive and subordinative read the very interesting article on Wikipedia about orality.

What is the meaning of “connections backwards”?

Often during a Holy Scripture Study participants are expected to know future texts or other books of the Holy Scripture, though they never have read them. People who have read Holy Scripture for a long time, maybe many years, are at a discouraging advantage over somebody who is just starting. If in your group are participants who are new to Holy Scripture, it is very important that you as the leader make sure that only connections backwards with already known texts are made. If not, this methodology will not work at all. It will be very discouraging.

Why does a leader speak only for a “maximum of 20 % of the time”?

It is very important that you help everybody to discover the spiritual treasures themselves. Everybody should be encouraged to participate.

Why is it important, that the participants are guided to discover the ”spiritual treasures” themselves?

This methodology was originally developed for cross cultural work. Often the leader can not know all sides of the life of the participants. This is especially true in cross cultural work. Experience has shown again and again that people will discover ideas of the text that you never have seen yourself. People will discover points that are important to them because of their own culture and because of their own lifestyle. By the way, even a very good preacher could not cover all these things, because he simply does not know them.
The fourth finger has in the symbol of Spiritual Five Finger Food a golden ring like a wedding ring. In many cultures this wedding ring is put on the fourth finger as a sign that somebody is married. He or she has a spouse who is hopefully a big treasure to him or her and year after year they get to know one another deeper and better. The same happens in our relationship with our Lord. It should grow year after year and Spiritual FiverFingerFood can help in that.

Is it not difficult to repeat a text orally, this means without notes and with your Holy Scripture closed?

Experience has shown that people are often very shy at the beginning to do this. It is important that the leader does not create any pressure on the participants. The leader him/herself should give a good example. Later most people will be very open and willing to tell the story. It also is a question of training your brain. If you have done this several times it gets easier each time.

Why is the “application for today” so important?

Holy Scripture Study is not an end in itself. One goal is a close relationship with our Lord. A second goal is to apply what we have learned in everyday life. At the beginning this will be difficult for new participants. Again, be patient. Set a good example yourself. Over time people will discover very interesting applications.

What means “old faith, old life” in the graphic Application for today?

After becoming a follower of Christ or after starting to live with God, people are still used to their old faith, their old life. They have to learn to apply their new faith in every aspect of their life, in all their relationships. They need to understand that the old faith, the old world view, is not the same as the new one. For example, in some cultures in Central Asia, God or Tenir is far away. He does not care for the people. The character of the living God of the Holy Scripture is different. He cares for us and wants to have a relationship with us.

What about other parts of the Holy Scripture like the Prophets, the Psalms or the letters in the New Testament?

Spiritual Five Finger Food is deliberately concentrating on stories as they are much more accessible for many people. Originally based on Central Asian culture the stories have been chosen according to the question: Which barriers and which bridges exist?
(Note: The author regards the Prophets, the Psalms and the letters of the New Testament a part of the Holy Scripture as any of the 66 books of the Holy Scripture.)

Does this methodology foster wrong teaching, because it does not cover all parts of the Holy Scripture? (A)

Spiritual Five Finger Food builds a Biblical Theology over time. All the important teaching is found in the stories. One of the big theological questions of our time is: “Is there only ONE way to God? What about the other religions?” You could argue with John 14:6 that Jesus is the only way or with Ephesians 2:18. Or you could use a story like Noah and ask: Who got saved? How many ways were there to get saved? Or you could use one of the author’s favourite stories to explain – the Passover in Exodus 12. There was only one way to avoid the judgement of the Angel who killed all First Born. The angel would pass by the houses of those who believed in Him and applied the lamb’s blood to the doorposts and the firstborn there would not die, but live. By the way, you can also use this story to explain grace. These stories exemplify that there is only one way of salvation.

Does this methodology foster wrong teaching, because it is a very open methodology? (B)

If you give others a chance to do something themselves with little control, so that they may grow, there is always the risk of making mistakes. If you want to empower the participants that is a danger. However, this danger is just the same if a trained person leads and directs the group. Including the author, all of us have made mistakes in their service and have learnt from them. There is a good chance that the group will correct an error. A group with mature members is not like a sect, in which the leader creates dependency and tries to keep the members immature.

Now is a good time to start with the methodology,click here or you click on study guides.