by Beate Fagerli, Knud Jørgensen, Rolv Olsen, Kari Storstein Haug, and Knut Tveitereid, editors
Regnum Books International, St. Philip & St. James Church, Woodstock Rd., Oxford OX2 6HR UK, 2012, 200 pages, £26.99.
—Reviewed by Sarita D. Gallagher, assistant professor of religion at George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon.
From the first missionary journeys of the early Church, cross-cultural mission has experienced several major geographical, socio-cultural, and political paradigm shifts. In A Learning Missional Church, the authors point out that it is within these shifts that the Church has the opportunity to learn and grow. Including perspectives from young missiologists from around the world, the text desires to provide “a fresh breath of air into more traditional mission thinking and mission paradigms” (p. 3). A Learning Missional Church presents a variety of insightful perspectives on pressing theological and practical issues in today’s ever-changing global context.
The text is divided into four sections: Missional Church, Encounter between Religions, Migrant Perspectives, and Missional Challenges. In Part One, the missional Church is identified as a learning community and topics such as global and local mission, theological training, and new paradigms in indigenous churches are discussed. Part Two includes chapters focused on shared learning between Islam and Christianity and ethical standards in mission. The third section, Migrant Perspectives, highlights the personal impact of being a migrant in cross-cultural Europe and the changes that have taken place since Edinburgh 1910. In the final section, Missional Challenges, several case studies are presented, including the challenges facing South African mega-churches and charismatic churches in Ethiopia.
Inspired by Edinburgh 2010 in Norway, A Learning Missional Church seeks to pave the way for the universal Church to gain new insights through mutual learning. The authors explain that “cross-cultural mission…pulls us out of a mono-cultural understanding and helps us discover a legitimate theological pluralism which actually opens up…new perspectives in the gospel” (p. 4). The primary contribution of the text, however, is its inclusion of innovative methodological approaches and theological ideas practiced by emerging missiologists from around the world. While some contributors do limit their application to the Norwegian context, the missiological contributions have a far wider global application.
A valuable addition to the Regnum Edinburgh Centenary series, A Learning Missional Church is a helpful resource for mission educators and students alike. Filled with cross-cultural case studies and significant missiological questions, the text is ideal for graduate and Bible School mission courses in addition to church leaders interested in understanding mission in our ever-changing world.
Check these titles:
Escobar, Samuel. 2003. The New Global Mission: The Gospel from Everywhere to Everyone. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Frost, Michael and Alan Hirsch. 2003. The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson.
Gibbs, Eddie. 2000. Church Next: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
EMQ, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 494-495. Copyright © 2012 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.