Diakonia in a Pentecostal mission context. A qualitative study of the understanding of diakonia in the Pentecostal Foreign Mission of Norway (PYM)
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This thesis is a study of Christian social effort and development work (diakonia) in a Pentecostal mission context. More specifically I have studied the mission organisation of the Pentecostal Movement of Norway (Pinsebevegelsen i Norge) and my research question has been: What is the understanding of diakonia in mission of the Pentecostal Foreign Mission of Norway (PYM, De norske pinsemenigheters ytremisjon)? I have done a qualitative analysis of PYM documents from 2010-2013, both basic documents and information documents. I have analysed and discussed this material in light of different theories of diakonia in mission work or Christian development work. This has included a look at different understandings of salvation and the calling of the church, and the relationship between diakonia and evangelisation in mission. My findings suggest that PYM has a holistic approach to mission because it includes both diakonia and evangelisation in its calling and its mission work in practice. At the same time, PYM is clearly influenced by a traditional understanding of mission, which emphasises salvation as liberation from sin and Christ’s calling of the Great Commission to proclaim the gospel. However, when PYM presents its Norad funded projects it makes an effort to separate the development work from evangelisation. At the same time PYM often emphasises its local church partnerships here. Different opinions of the role and position of diakonia in PYM seem to create a tension in the organisation. I claim that these different opinions on diakonia in PYM make PYM’s understanding of diakonia seem inconsistent. According to the PYM documents, PYM seems to adapt its diaconal work to different contexts, like when cooperating with Norad. A specific Pentecostal aspect of PYM’s understanding is the multidimensionality of salvation. Salvation from sin can also contribute to a better life on earth. Therefore, in summary, I would call PYM’s understanding of diakonia Pentecostal and adaptable.