Missiology An International Review

Published by SAGE Publications
Print ISSN: 0091-8296
Western missionaries are increasingly rich by the standards of the majority of the world's peoples. The paucity and relative sterility of efforts by Western missionaries to bring the good news to the poorest of the poor derives from their relative personal affluence. The statuses and the strategies upon which Western missionary endeavors rely are at serious odds with New Testament teaching on the incarnation, the cross, and weakness as models for missionary life. Failure to return to the “end of the procession” model of missions outlined in 1 Corinthians 4 will spell the doom of Western missions as a vital Christian force.
This study first considers select situations in Southeast Asia and West Africa involving relations between Muslims and Christians. The global interconnectedness of these local situations dictates examining them in their “glocal” particularities and multifaceted complexities, especially including historical backgrounds. What constitutes legitimate authority in such situations — political, religious, and otherwise — in combating violence is considered next. The article then takes up the explicitly spiritual side of conflict situations, including unseen forces plus people's spiritualities and religious convictions. Finally, the relevance of biblical precedent, specifically the Christ-centered ecclesiological instruction in I Peter, is brought to bear on today's religion-filled violent contexts.
The history of Eastern Christianity in central, south, and east Asia prior to A.D. 1500 is rich and extensive, yet has been largely ignored. Material evidence now available from southeast and northeast Asia shows that Christian communities were present in seven countries for different periods between the sixth and fifteenth centuries. Often termed “Nestorian,” or “Jacobite,” these communities have left a diversity of remains—epigraphical, architectural, sculptural, documentary—which testify to their presence, as far northeast as Japan and southeast as far as Indonesia. The glimpses of Christian churches in medieval Asia afforded by the evidence from these and other regions of Asia offer alternatives to Westernized patterns of mission, and question many assumptions concerning the history and character of Christian presence in the region.
This article surveys West Africa outreach between 1841–1888 by the London-based Baptist Missionary Society (hereafter BMS) and the Kingston-based Jamaican Baptist Missionary Society (hereafter JBMS). Documentation focuses on responses of mission board leaders, missionaries, the local Creole community, and African Christians to the reality of growing interference by European powers and the imposition of colonial rule on the region. This case study elucidates the complex role of missionaries in the process by which the West came to exercise political and economic domination of Africa. It complements a survey of the role of Black Americans in the Protestant missionary movement in Africa.1
Marginalized people tend to be self-assertive, spiritually strong, and endowed with the potential for new visions and creative energies. This Canadian case study of dual marginalization traces the Oblate missionary first evangelization of the Dene Nation of western and northern Canada from 1847 to the present and provides a three-stage model for a re-envisioned second evangelization. This paper traces the stages from triumphalist missionary operation through a contemporary period of chastened mutual accompaniment to a shared future mission opportunity, proposing that the missiological gift from those on the margins can be a universal, transformational message of liberation, healing, and reconciliation.
The purpose of this article is to analyze the origins, dimensions, and effects of African humanism—here defined as the ideological commitment to individualism, nonracialism, nonviolence, and universalism in the settler environment of South Africa from 1850 to 1920. The article explores the attitudes, goals, and actions of the mission-educated African preachers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, businessmen, and clerks, in relation to the Utopian world of missionaries, humanitarians, and the traditionalist work of the African masses among whom they lived and worked as well as the colonialist world of racism, exploitation, and oppression.
Patterns of conversion to Christianity in Nigeria indicate that paganism collapsed more rapidly among the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria than among the Yorubas of the southwest. Early missionary accounts, dubbed as “missionary historiography,” have explained this phenomenon by the presence and labors of white missionaries. This is the white factor in the missionary enterprise. “Nationalist historiography,” however, has challenged “missionary historiography” by focusing on the role of black “native agents” in evangelization. Black replaces white color. This paper analyzes six cogent reasons why the presence of white missionaries elicited a favorable response to Christianity among the Igbo.
We need this helpful essay. In it Professor Bonk gently chides us for regarding 19th century missionaries with scholarly scorn because of their racist-imperialism overlarded with triumphalistic paternalism. Whereas we, as “modern” missiologists, think we are particularly sensitive to the demands of contextualizing the Christian mission, he calls us to apply this in reverse and interpret the labors of those devoted missionaries more charitably as we see them in their context.
The establishment of the Spanish Reformed churches from 1868–72 was characterized by the desire of Scottish missionaries to create Reformed congregations as an alternative to the Roman Church. Largely imbued with the postmillennial view of our Lord's return, Scottish missionaries labored to impart the theology of the Puritans and the Westminster Confession and to convert the Jews, hoping that their endeavors would usher in the return of Christ. Their activities resulted in the first General assembly in 1869, the establishment of the Spanish Christian Church (ICE) in 1871, and the adoption of a common Confession of Faith and Psalter in 1872.
Religious scholars disagree about the nature and locus of charisma. Is charisma a quality possessed by individuals, an authority projected upon leaders by their followers, or a force generated by ritual behavior? Followers of Max Weber locate charisma within individual leaders, drawing a sharp distinction between charismatic religious movements and institutionalized religious organizations. This article notes that many successful missionaries have wielded charismatic authority and tests Weber's notions about charisma by examining the case of George Leslie Mackay in Taiwan (1872–1901). The author concludes that Weber's distinction between charismatic and institutionalized leadership does not fit missionaries like Mackay. The article also concludes that in North Taiwan, both the personality of Mackay and the cultural context of his mission were crucial to the formation of a new charismatic sect.
This article critically examines the development of Robert E. Speer's missiology during its most formative years before World War I. Speer, a Presbyterian mission board administrator from 1891 to 1937, exemplified the American Protestant missionary impulse in virtually all his endeavors. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he played a significant role as a shaper of evangelical Protestantism's consensus about the aims and purposes of foreign missions. He also functioned as one of the most eloquent apologists for the missionary cause as he spoke of the urgency of the task, responded to critics, and grappled with the questions of Christianity and culture.
Following Robin Horton's theory of religious change in Africa, the author argues that major social change facilitated initial Catholic conversion in Zambia. Prior to Catholic evangelization, local cosmologies began to center on the High God and a more universal worldview. However, the emergence ofa deep conversion demanded by Catholic missionaries depended on a catechetical and school system that often entailed impersonal memorization of catechism answers and strict observance of Catholic rubrics. Missionaries devoted little attention to indigenization ofthe Catholic message, even though they frequently became fluent in the local languages and familiar with indigenous traditions. Converts thus received a new and essentially foreign religious message. Such conversion formed a separate layer of consciousness that rarely touched the deeper levels of the Zambian psyche.
A contextual analysis of the mission literature of several United States Catholic groups engaged in mission outreach to other countries shows extensive use of a hero-martyr motif. Four elements of this motif are examined for their significance for the missionaries themselves and for the advantage this motif carried to persuade United States Catholics to support efforts toward missions abroad at a time when the country was considered, at least by Roman authorities, to be “mission territory.”
This historical overview of the comity arrangements made in the Philippines brings us insights into the problems and benefits of missiological cooperation which are still valid today.
The Great Revival of 1907 in Korea and the church growth of the 1970s have common aspects. In the early 1900s, the Korean people had experienced national misfortune and Japanese political interference. In the 1970s, the dictatorship of the military government was strongly oppressing people. Political and social unrest encouraged people to turn to God for answers. Another common thread was the church leaders' neutral attitude toward the political authority. Those two events have “dehistorical” and “denational” aspects. Missionaries of the 1900s and pastors of the 1970s changed the direction of mission or ministry from national concerns to spiritual dimensions, and from being against injustice to obeying authority. As a result, the Korean church grew in numbers, but the Korean church minimized its social concerns and forgot its prophetic role in society. One of the important lessons is that although people had a certain intention or plan, the Holy Spirit worked in different ways through those events.
Four major international mission conferences in 2010 (Tokyo, Edinburgh, Cape Town, and Boston) celebrated the centennial of the World Missionary Conference (Edinburgh 1910) and also reenvisioned mission in the twenty-first century. This article provides an overview of the Edinburgh 1910 and the four 2010 conferences, with expanded analysis of each conference to be found on the new e-journal of this issue of Missiology.
Informed by notions of Christendom, the Edinburgh 1910 missionary outlook conceived of Christian faith in territorial terms and fostered an understanding of Christian mission and identity in which the world is “territorially or geographically” divided into the “Christian land” and “mission field.” This missionary vision engendered a unidirectional flow of resources and ideas in which the West was the sender and the non-West the receiver. However, with the recent southward shift of the Christian landscape, each nation sends as well as receives missionaries. Never before has the course of missionary movement been this multidirectional, disparate, and global. But in spite of this new development, the Edinburgh missionary outlook still represents an important lens through which people conceive mission and respond to it. Therefore, this article examines the reflection of African missiologists on the missionary outlook of Edinburgh 1910, and emphasizes the importance of true theological reciprocity and mutuality as a major step towards overcoming the dichotomy between the older and younger churches, between Western Christianity and the Christianity of the southern continents.
The Siberia-Manchuria Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1920–1927, is an important story of mission growth under extremely adverse circumstances. There were two facets to the Mission, Korean-language work and Russian-language work. The Mission was centered in Russian Siberia and Chinese Manchuria, reaching as far east as the cities of Harbin and Tsitsihar. While there has been significant research regarding the Russian-language department of the Mission, little has been done in reference to the Korean-language department. This article is a first attempt to explore the reports of the Mission, to summarize the primary aspects of the work, and to evaluate the theology espoused, the lessons learned, and the contribution of Methodists in Korea.
How can Christianity not be viewed as a foreign religion in China? It is not a new question: Celso Costantini (1876–1958), apostolic delegate to China, wrestled with the same question during the tumultuous 1920s. As a Roman Catholic, Costantini didn’t approach indigenization through the well-known Protestant “three-self” formula. Rather, he encouraged local artists to paint Christian themes using Chinese motifs. He promoted the use of Chinese architectural styles, rather than Western edifices, in Catholic buildings. Through the indigenization of sacred art and architecture, Costantini sought to recast the image of the Christian church in China.
Prophet William Wade Harris of the Ivory Coast has been described as “perhaps the most remarkable figure” of all African Christians of the last hundred years. This careful historiography of one of the greatest evangelists in the religious movements in Africa is drawn from David A. Shank's recently completed doctoral thesis.
German Moravian missionaries came to Nicaragua's east coast in 1849. They built churches, schools, and hospitals for the native Miskitu, Sumu, and Rama Indians. Their teachings stressed a Christian communal life, frugality, and the importance of work. In 1917 the headquarters of the mission moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Today most Miskitu Indians are Moravian. Some scholars have blamed the present conflict between Nicaragua's Sandinista government and the east coast Indians on traditional Moravian pro-American political bias. Yet documents in the Moravian Church Archives clearly show that during the period when Sandino was active fighting the U.S. presence in Nicaragua (1926–1933) the American missionaries in Nicaragua were hardly sympathetic with U.S. political goals which often conflicted with the mission's evangelical work.
This article is most timely. Following hard on our report in the January issue, of the ASM reflections on last year's conferences at Melbourne (CWME) and Pattaya (COWE), it suggests an alternative resolution to a problem that concerns us all — the polarization between Conciliar and non-Conciliar approaches to the mission of the Church. Cox suggests that we learn from history or — to follow the familiar line — we may be condemned to repeat it!
From 1930 to 1945, the Japanese colonial government of Korea pursued a policy of requiring attendance at the rituals of the State Shintō cult. Failure to comply met with severe punishment with 50 Koreans being known to have died as a result of their opposition to shrine worship. Although unquestionably holding nationalistic sentiments, these martyrs died as a result of their religious rather than their political beliefs. Refusal to comply with the colonial regime's demands led to differences within the Christian community, which in turn led to the subsequent creation of denominations which separated themselves from groups which were perceived to have compromised their Christian witness.
With the death of Mao Tse-tung, China is entering a new era. And the Chinese Church is also moving into a new epoch. Such is the conviction of Professor Chao who here wrestles with the question: what do these mean missiologically? Originally presented last summer to the Lutheran World Federation's Consultation on “The Implications of the New China for Missions,” this paper, says the author, “is an attempt to provide a Chinese perspective on the Christian mission to the Chinese people today in the light of the historical developments of the Chinese Church inside and outside China since 1949.”
All too often, Christian missionaries have faced situations where political considerations make obedience to the great commission difficult. This essay reviews this problem and presents a case study of the Cofan Indians of Ecuador and the role missionary organizations have played in their human rights problems. The author suggests three criteria for dealing with human rights in light of the actual situations faced by the Cofan and missionary allies. The government's attitude both toward its indigenous peoples and toward “foreign meddling” is of crucial importance in such dealings.
How has the past—especially the recent past—set the stage for the next steps in mission? Wilbert Shenk examines how geopolitical and socioeconomic features have shaped the Christian mission, and explores how the most recent period has placed mission in a state of flux and transition.
The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization was riven by conflicts between evangelicals from the West and the South. These conflicts have traditionally been explained in terms of theological differences, but this article explores the part played by the different cultural and intellectual contexts of the participants, changes in international affairs over time, and the nature of the evangelical tradition itself. It thus provides a historical case study of the complexity of interactions between Christians from different countries. Understanding this history should help contemporary conversations in missionary situations and elsewhere. The article also suggests that diversity has posed particular problems for evangelicalism, a stream of Christianity rooted in both individualism and certainty.
Researcher Jaeger posits that understanding the Trinity as a dialogical-love relationship is imperative to anyone involved in mission — which is really a reflection of this divine dialogue. This extrapolates to a missionary obligation towards the Jews which cannot be ignored.
The first edition expanded so extensively on its predecessors, the World Christian Handbook series, that it is difficult to trace the connection. The fruit of vast global research, the heart of the first edition is its Survey section, with articles and statistical tables on every country in the world. Books in the Global Evangelization Movement: AD 2000 series are the starting place for many new sections in the second edition. It will be three times the size of the first edition and will explore, describe, and enumerate many essential topics in religion and Christianity in all its vast global diversity.
The church has been in the grips of deep cultural change over the past twenty years. The long-term decline of older denominations has continued but the churches have made a series of responses. In the 1980s the Church Growth movement generated optimism. In the 1990s Church Health and the dynamic megachurch movement dominated the scene. The Emerging Church movement is stirring interest in the 2000s. The contrasts between the British and American versions of the Emerging Church are instructive. In all of this it remains clear that the West is one of the most significance missionary challenges the church has ever faced.
Contemporary culture has experienced important shifts since 1985. The media have played a central role in creating “mediated events” that have had global impact. The ascendancy of popular culture as a primary carrier of ideas and causes is evident in a mega-event such as Live Aid, the 16-hour concert staged worldwide to raise funds for Famine Relief in Africa in 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Tiananmen Square crisis and Gulf War in 1991, Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, death of Princess Diana in 1997, the Y2K scare in 1999, and the September 11, 2001 event have all demonstrated the power of the media to inform and shape our perceptions of reality. These developments represent important cultural texts that missiologists ought to be studying.
In this article the two authors who participated in both the World Council of Churches Commission on World Mission and Evangelism conference in San Antonio, Texas, and the Lausanne II Congress in Manila report on similarities and differences in the two missiological events. They note the stronger evangelism focus at San Antonio where witness in deed and word are emphasized, and the greater concern at Manila with issues of social justice, the plight of the poor and oppressed, and women in the church. Despite differences in rhetoric and theological emphasis, there is much common ground around the themes “Your Will Be Done: Mission in Christ's Way” (San Antonio) and “Calling the Whole Church to Take the Whole Gospel to the Whole World” (Manila). The authors urge the leaders of both movements not to stumble over differences, but to plan and work together more closely in the future.
By using secular information we can leant much about the “signs of the times.” It is more important for Christians to interpret this future from God's viewpoint, preparing always for the unpredictable. The Bible predicts the second advent and the millennium, and the way in which the church views its future in light of these is significant. Planning, coordination of activity, learning from past failures, preparing for persecution, and establishing priorities are identified as crucial in getting ready for mission in the 1990s.
At the World Council of Churches Assembly in Canberra, Australia, in 1991, the theme of the Holy Spirit's presence and activity in creation led to discussion of “spirits,” stimulated particularly by the plenary presentation of Chung Hyun Kyung. The term was variously understood to refer to evil spirits in the New Testament tradition, the spirits of traditional religions, or as a metaphor for sociopolitical structures. The discussion caused considerable controversy and was dismissed by some as syncretistic. At the same time, it suggested a new framework for missiology in a plural world. In this paradigm discernment of spirits will be crucial.
This article reports on the World Council of Churches 'Commission on World Mission and Evangelism conference held 24 November–3 December 1996 in Salvador, Brazil. A brief history is outlined of developments leading up to this conference focusing on issues of gospel and culture. The conference format was divided into four sections: I authentic witness within each culture; II gospel and identity in community; III local congregations in pluralist societies; IV one gospel, diverse expressions. The central theme emerging from the conference was unity in diversity. The article concludes by noting some strengths, shortcomings, and polarities of opinions found at the Salvador conference.
By examining the social origins and traditional, rural life-style of the Basel Mission candidates from Wurtemberg who went to Africa, Paul Jenkins helps explain the pietistic conversion and minority ethic of these pioneer missionaries and their 19th century practical idealism.
Maps not only represent but also create their own reality. Maps are “drawn” from a variety of vantage points, locating and identifying all important features of a particular cartographer's world, whilst ignoring, downplaying, or distorting the rest. This article was prepared as the presidential address for the 19–21 June 1998 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Missiology (ASM). It looks at ways in which missiological reference tools of the past two centuries likewise bear the unmistakable imprimatur of their times. Each reveals as much about the cognitive terra firma of the mapmaker himself or herself as about the geographical, political, demographic, and religious topography and boundaries of the day.
Taking stock of the values and experiences accumulated in the history of medical mission is essential before entering a new millennium. This article offers a terse account of the development of the medical missionary movement viewed from the point of indigenization. In this end phrase of the classic medical mission, the new concept of mission in six continents has not yet been thought through for the new era of the Christian ministry of healing. An archaeology of medical missions has to be attempted in order to determine which values are worthy for transportation to a new millennium.
The 2009 annual ASM meeting invited a variety of church leaders to share their views on current trends in the life of the church. This article summarizes five key themes that were present in all of the plenary presentations, with these themes offering insight into how we are hearing mission today in North America. It is evident, however, that there are significant differences of perspective among these church leaders regarding how to reinterpret Christianity in the midst of the seismic shifts taking place within our present context.
Tracing the history of the Student Volunteer Movement, Professor Harder sheds light on this forerunner of Christian student organization. Its significant impact on the worldwide mission of the church in its day has raised the hope that this type of movement may reoccur out of today's growing student interest in world mission.
With five years of investment in the development of mission reference tools on CD-ROM, Global Mapping International (GMI) has begun to recognize the potential and the hazards of this kind of information access. CDs have some obvious advantages over printed reference works, library databases, and the Internet, though CDs are not a substitute for any of them. Four quite diverse CDs have been produced by GMI with assistance from a wide range of mission organizations and training institutions. GMI welcomes ideas for collaborative projects to make quality mission information available on CD.
In this wide-ranging and global view of the challenges to mission lying before us, Sister Janet Richardson sets out features of the new planetary civilization, the challenges to mission they raise, and the resources upon which we can draw to meet them.
This missiological reflection describes a contextualized understanding of mission, addressing questions such as these: (1) How does caring for the soul relate to caring for the body? (2) How should the church relate to social concerns, such as disease, poverty, injustice, and human rights violations? (3) What are the biblical precedents for a holistic integration of evangelism and transformation? (4) What is a working definition for holistic mission? In view of Luke 4, evangelism need not be divorced from the restoration of physical health, economic well-being, prosperity, social peace, and justice. All are important and nonnegotiable ingredients of a well-balanced missiology.
This study of Isaiah attempts to show that Isaiah 61 reflects a number of ideas indicative of a holistic view of salvation in the eschatological age—an age inaugurated by Jesus. The development of “righteousness” and the “servants of the Servant” themes serve to show that the individual of Isaiah 61 fulfills the high standard on both accounts. Moreover, the mission of the servant in Isaiah 61 is inherently holistic, as had been established early on in the book. This involves the covenant expectation to fulfill a range of righteous actions indicative of the good news of salvation. To argue that Isaiah 61 serves as a paradigm for Christian mission is, on one level, self-evident from Jesus' own reference to the text in Luke 4. However, this essay has a larger hermeneutical point. A Christian reading of Isaiah 61 in its own context complements what we learn from the New Testament's employment of the text. Isaiah 61 reveals a call placed upon all Christians, not just Jesus. This standard for mission is not only achievable by the Spirit of God (Isa 61:1) but is also to be emulated by all servants of the Servant as the progression of the book implies. As Christians pursue holistic, and distinctively Christian mission, the fundamental idea must be recalled—as servants of the Servant Jesus Christ, righteous action, in terms outlined in Isaiah 61 and its context, is a covenant obligation.
The following article is a report and reflection on the large missionary convention sponsored by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and attended by thousands of university students in December, 1991. Samuel Escobar evaluates Urbana ′90 from a Third World and missiological perspective. Mary Fisher follows with a report on the planning and objectives showing that this celebrated convention steered a new course by consciously trying to reflect all of the values of the kingdom, including both a passion for evangelism and a concern for social justice. J. Christy Wilson concludes with reflections and comparisons between this event and the first conference which he directed in 1946.
Minnie F. Abrams served as a missionary in India from 1887 to her untimely death in 1912. A leader in the 1905–1906 spiritual awakening in that country, she trained and promoted women evangelists. She also wrote the popular The Baptism of the Holy Ghost & Fire to promote the need for a post-conversionary experience of purification and empowerment for effective evangelism. Abrams was the most prominent of the veteran missionaries who moved from the women's missionary movement through the ranks of the holiness movement to Pentecostalism. Her long association with schools and charitable institutions and her intense desire to evangelize unreached peoples modeled a Pentecostal adaptation of “Woman's Work for Woman.”
In 1801, Alexander Sayông Hwang, a Catholic from the Korean aristocracy, wrote a long letter on silk to the Bishop of Beijing. The letter contains a first-hand description of the persecutions against the new religion, martyrdom stories, the arrest and execution of the first missionary to reach Korea, and an appeal to the bishop for assistance. The appeal to the Bishop of Beijing included a plan for foreign invasion in hopes that this would force the Korean government to end the Korean government's persecution of Catholics. This article contains an introduction to the letter and an abridged translation.
Recent events have brought attention to the growing gulf between Western and African interpretations of Christianity. In seeking to understand this difference, this article considers the missionary background of African education (to 1950), the period of inculturation (1950–1970), and the current pastoral and evangelistic sensitivities of the African church. The missionary history of Africa has led to a strong emphasis on biblical studies but a seeming inability to apply these studies to issues facing the African continent. Thus, the future character of Christianity, both in Africa and in the West, may depend on the ability to develop a truly multi-sided conversation.
What appears to be a positive appreciation of non-Western cultures, both in secular society and in the church, may be but ethnocentrism in disguise. Within Western theology, abstract thinking has been used to purge Christianity of “undesirable” concreteness; the same method is used within missiology to render the religious and philosophical contents of other cultures morally and intellectually acceptable and to make them compatible with Christianity.
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