This review appeared in the Jan-Mar 2004 vol. 161 no. 1 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
Global Missiology for the Twenty-first Century: The Iguassu DialogueBaker Academic, Grand Rapids February 1, 2001
Now that 75 percent of the evangelicals in the world are non-Western believers, one would expect them to have more and more to say on theological issues and on the conduct of ministry worldwide. This is exactly what is happening. Believers in the West need to listen and interact with Christians from many cultures in order to be relevant and effective. Missions is now an enterprise of the whole church, from all nations, to all nations. Evangelicals in North America need to view even this continent from a missiological perspective and apply the insights of non-Western thinkers to ministries here and abroad.
Global Missiology is a monumental contribution to the formation of a “road map” into twenty-first-century missions. Taylor, Dallas Seminary graduate, veteran of educational ministry in Guatemala and in schools around the world, and now executive director of the World Evangelical Alliance (formerly the World Evangelical Fellowship), has brought together the thinking of over forty scholar-practitioners from around the world in this volume. The book emerged from the deliberations of the Iguassu Missiological Consultation held in Brazil in 1999. Some of the contributions have been added since that conference to complete the treatment of various themes, all centered around the question of how to proceed in missions.
Taylor sets the stage for understanding the increasing dialogue between Western and non-Western Christians, the context of rapid globalization, urbanization, multiplication of refugee movements, persecution of Christians, and the global trend from modernism to postmodernism. He then calls for Christians to come to grips afresh with the authority of Scripture, the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ, and the meaning of being a Christian and an evangelical. He says, “We must feel free to ask each other, and God, the dangerous and presuppositional questions: Where is the power of the gospel and the church today? Has something gone wrong with the harvest? What kind of gospel have we transported around the world? Why Rwanda, Ireland, Bosnia? Why such a post-Christian and anti-Christian Europe and North America?” (p. 9).
Global Missiology deals with grounding reflections in Scripture and biblical Trinitarianism; addressing issues of globalized missiology; responding to challenges such as re-emerging nationalism; Islamic and Hindu fundamentalism; the spiritual “dryness” of the West; and the question of how gen-Xers can be mobilized for missionary endeavor.
The volume discusses the various spiritual traditions that have given rise to missionary activity. It is interesting to see that major mission movements have always came from communities of believers, including the Moravian community, and the Celts, the Nestorians, the Jesuit community, the Coptic church, and today’s Brazilian Antioch community.
In Global Missiology Taylor brings concerned, committed, and biblical thinking to bear on the issues in missions worldwide. Taylor is himself a global individual who represents the best of those who interact with Christians from around the world.