Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Religions: A Pentecostal-Evangelical and Missiological Elaboration

Amos Yong

One of the most substantive efforts in recent constructive Trinitarian theology of religions is by Gerald McDermott and Harold Netland. This article interacts with their proposal and expands their ideas from a perspective that foregrounds the work of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology). While evangelical thinking about the religions can remain disjunctive at the discursive level, evangelical mission vis-à-vis those in other faiths demands a more dynamic Trinitarian praxis than that developed by the authors. I thus propose a more pneumatologically informed Trinitarian theology of holistic Christian mission to undergird evangelical practice in our pluralistic world.

READ MORE

“Do Not Remember the Former Things”

Michael A. Rynkiewich

There are times when God says “Remember,” and times where God says “Do not remember.” Discerning the times is a constant requirement in mission studies and practice. The times are changing, and so are the means of interpreting the times. Urbanization, globalization, migration, and diaspora have created a world that, in many ways, is unlike any we have seen before. In missiology, updating our methods of doing research offers the best chance to reshape our models and mottoes for mission.

READ MORE

Reflections on Michael A. Rynkiewich’s “Do Not Remember the Former Things”

Tite Tienou

Missiologists and mission practitioners must continually assess their assumptions and categories in light of changes in human societies and academic disciplines ancillary to missiology such as anthropology. While the need for assessment is acknowledged, categories such as “unreached people groups” and the “10/40 Window” show remarkable resilience. Is it possible to reconsider these categories?

READ MORE

Global Trends and the North American Church in Mission: Discovering the Church’s Role in the Twenty-First Century

J. Rupert Morgan

Change has always been a part of human experience in history, but perhaps never at the accelerated rate that we are witnessing in the early twenty-first century. It may be easier to identify change than to assess the implication and its effects. This is certainly true of the modern missionary enterprise. The center of Christianity, in terms of growth and vitality, has moved outside of North America to South America, Africa, and parts of Asia. A new set of trends now characterize missions from North America. These changes require new responses in order for the North American church to fulfill a new role.

READ MORE

My Pilgrimage in Mission [Wonsuk Ma]

Wonsuk Ma

This self-reflection on my missionary journey is characterized as a process of learning, particularly about the meaning of “mission.” Missionary formation is part of one’s spiritual development, and for me, immersion in several cross-cultural contexts accelerated the process. Through long years in the Philippines, combined with study in the United States, my understanding of mission deepened. Another decade of mission leadership at OCMS in Oxford added further dimensions of my understanding of mission. Through this continuing journey, I have had several surprise “teachers” of mission. Reflecting experiences in a “new” missionary church, this “pilgrimage” may speak for mission workers of the Global South.

READ MORE

The Legacy of John Sung

Daryl R. Ireland

John Sung (Song Shangjie) was the premier Chinese evangelist of the twentieth century. He traveled further, spoke more often, and led more Chinese people to faith than any other person. His revivalism was riveting, often doubling people over in laughter before buckling their knees with grief. His acclaim as a preacher was rivaled only by his renown as a healer. Wherever he went, he offered Christ’s deliverance from both sin and sickness. He himself, however, was never healed of a chronic illness and spent the last four years of his short life bedridden and learning the quiet ministry of prayer.

READ MORE

Joshua Watson: High Church Lay Activism and the Development of Colonial Anglicanism, 1814–1855

Robert M. Andrews

Joshua Watson (1771–1855) was a wealthy merchant who used his business acumen and administrative skills to become a key player in numerous Anglican societies that had missionary concerns, working alongside high-ranking clergy in various capacities. One aspect of Watson’s achievements was his impact on the emerging colonial church structures in Canada, India, Australia, and New Zealand. He was heavily involved in the reform and administration of the two main High Church mission societies: the SPCK and the SPG. Watson was a figure of immense significance to the development of early nineteenth-century colonial Anglicanism. His example illustrates the importance of lay figures both to the High Church tradition and to the broader history of Anglicanism.

READ MORE

Book Reviews, October 2016

Music, Peacebuilding, and Interfaith Dialogue: Transformative Bridges in Muslim–Christian Relations

Roberta R. King

An ever-increasing need to find creative approaches and mission models to engage
with Muslim neighbors exists. Studies have shown that musical performance can
evoke transformative moments that enhance communication and restore broken
relationships. In this article, I explore the intersection of music, peacebuilding, and
interfaith dialogue in light of Muslim-Christian relations. I ask how music contributes
to peacebuilding among peoples of differing faiths by investigating the roles music
plays in promoting peace and living with the other in sustainable ways. I suggest
a theoretical framework of transformative music communication and practices of
interfaith dialogue as bridges in Muslim-Christian relations. (July 2016)

READ MORE

Marketing Mission: The Divergence in Missiological Thought between Pastors and Missionary Leadership

Charity Reeb, Charles M. Hermans, and Christina S. Simmers

This qualitative study examines paradigms of the definition of mission as held by high-level
Assembly of God pastors and missionary leaders. The study reveals that the
two groups differ in their definition of mission. In the church, pastors generally feel
that “mission” encompasses outreach to all people groups; missionaries, however,
consider that mission is specific to the apostolic function, namely, reaching out with
the Gospel where no one has gone before—to unreached people groups (UPGs).
Implications for missionary leadership suggest a targeted marketing approach; using
niche strategies directed to the mission-funding churches may be needed. (July 2016)

READ MORE

Postwar American Evangelicals and World Religions: A Case Study of Intervarsity’s Urbana Student Missionary Conventions

Amber R. Thomas

This paper traces the major discussions of “world” or “non-Christian” religions in the speeches, promotion, and scholarly texts related to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s triennial “Urbana” Student Missionary Convention and argues that Urbana sources enlarge the understanding of postwar American evangelicals’ concerns about non-Christian religions by showing that evangelicals assessed the religions’ implications for global evangelization as secondary to those of other geopolitical developments, chiefly Communism, postcolonial nationalism, and internationalism. Photo at right: The first logo featured a compass centered upon a globe. © 1948 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. (July 2016)

READ MORE

Church Planting and Church Growth in Western Europe: An Analysis

Stefan Paas and Alrik Vos

Church planting is often seen as the best way to grow the church numerically.
However, there is surprisingly little research examining this claim in any detail, and
the research that exists turns out to be not very well-founded or unclear in terms
of sources, definitions, and so forth. Recently, research has been conducted in three
small Reformed denominations in the Netherlands, comparing older and younger
churches with regard to converts and returnees. The results show that the younger
churches gained approximately four times as many converts and five times as many
returnees as did older churches. Three explanations seem the most plausible: younger
churches are more often in good demographic locations, they spend more time and
energy on outreach, and their leadership is more entrepreneurial. (July 2016)

READ MORE

The Legacy of Luella Miner

Mary Shepard Wong

Luella Miner, missionary to China from 1887 to 1935, was the founder and president of the first college for women in China. Her many writings, including letters, journals, articles, and books, are a window into China's changing political scene in the early twentieth century and into the life of an educational missionary in north China who helped launch basic education for girls and higher education for women. Photo at right: used with permission of the Archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library.
(July 2016)

READ MORE

My Pilgrimage in Mission [Robin Boyd]

Robin Boyd

Born in Belfast, Robin Boyd studied there and in Dublin, Edinburgh, and Basel. Ordained
in the Irish Presbyterian Church, he served the Student Christian Movement and in
1954 went to India (Gujarat), becoming a presbyter of the nascent (1970) Church of
North India. In 1974 he moved to Melbourne, Australia, and ministered in a parish
of the Uniting Church (1977). From 1980–87 he was director of the Irish School of
Ecumenics (Dublin). His writing includes An Introduction to Indian Christian Theology
(1969), and recent work on the eschatology of interfaith relations. Twice happily
married, he lives in Edinburgh. (July 2016)

READ MORE

“Apostle of Ethnology”: Agnes C. L. Donohugh’s Missiological Anthropology Between the World Wars

Benjamin L. Hartley
 
Agnes C. L. Donohugh (1876–1966) taught at Hartford Theological Seminary’s Kennedy School of Missions between 1918 and 1944, the leading graduate program in mission studies in North America prior to World War II. The first missionary student of Franz Boas at Columbia University, Donohugh ininfluenced the shape of graduate anthropological education for missionaries in America more than anyone else in the interwar period. Donohugh’s story provides a window into understanding how anthropology was first used in mission education in America.

READ MORE

The 1925 Vatican Mission Exposition and the Interface Between Catholic Mission Theory and World Religions

Angelyn Dries

After the First World War, which disrupted missions around the world, Pope Pius XI announced a Holy Year for 1925, a major focus of which was the creation of the Vatican Mission Exposition. After a description of the exposition, the work of four Catholic anthropologists on both sides of the North Atlantic illustrate some of the underlying anthropological and mission views encompassed in the exposition. The four anthropologists employed a pattern of close, empathic observation of people and an awareness of larger frameworks of religious meaning in relation to the whole of culture. This inductive methodology was a contrast to the deductive Thomist philosophical framework in place in many Catholic seminaries of the period.

READ MORE

 

Christian Art in China during the Period of Economic Reform

Jeremy Clarke

The Chinese Catholic Church has a rich tradition of producing art that depicts its faith. During its more than 400 years of continuous history, not counting earlier incarnations, these works have also incorporated inculturated motifs, such as figures drawn from Buddhist iconography and the use of fauna and flora. Since the period of economic reform in China began, the Catholic communities have had greater freedom than in earlier decades, which had led to the production of many new images. The inculturated forms, however, have not always been so well received. Works from two famous Catholic locations (Shijiazhuang and Shanghai) are explored in the article.

READ MORE

 

Christian Art in India: Early Christianity from the Arrival of the Portuguese Until Today

Gudrun Löwner

From the seventh century to the present, Christian art has existed in India. Astonishing is the fact that some of the best artistic pieces were done not by Christians, but by Hindus, Muslims, etc. This is especially visible in the Mogul miniatures of the Mogul court of Akbar to the Bengali art of the 20th century, where artists identified in Jesus the suffering Indian humanity. Today a lot of Christian art is engaging with the struggles of the people at the margins. Besides this social critical art, modern art forms are emerging which shed their Indian identity and could be done anywhere in the world.

READ MORE