by David J. Hesselgrave
In a school such as ours where missionary leaders with four and five terms of field experience rub shoulders with inexperienced missionary hopefuls, the topic of conversation often focuses on the differences between mission studies then and now.
In a school such as ours where missionary leaders with four and five terms of field experience rub shoulders with inexperienced missionary hopefuls, the topic of conversation often focuses on the differences between mission studies then and now. It seems but yesterday when many candidates settled for a course in missionary life and work, and, perhaps, one or two others. By way of contrast, look at the array of courses— some of them pretty high-powered or even esoteric— available to prospective missionaries today.
Missiology has come a long way. Some would say that it has come too far. In fact, we have arrived at a point where faculties and administrators are being forced to take a long look at their offerings. In some schools there is a tacit understanding that the curriculum cannot continue to grow and grow-old courses must be dropped if new courses are to be added.
With all of this in mind, and stimulated by responses to several articles in previous editions of "AEPM News and Views," I contacted some nine or ten leading evangelical missiologists with the following request: Send us a short article highlighting a course of study which qualifies as being on the frontier of contemporary missiology. The thought behind this request was that we would all benefit from knowing about courses that are being added to the curricula of our schools in response to contemporary challenges to Christian missions,, and in spite of institutional pressures against the multiplication of course offerings.
When you take the busy schedules of people into account, the response to my request was little short of overwhelming. Everyone contacted contributed an article— and on time. The contributions of three authors, though stimulating, highlighted larger programs, or the redirection of older course offerings. Those contributions will serve the objectives of a future issue of "News and Views." The other contributions are included in the following pages. I think you will find them most informative.
Ed Rommen’s proposal grows out of one of the most successful German church-planting efforts of which I am aware. Jon Bonk demonstrates that some evangelical schools take the widening gap between rich poor very seriously, and encourages others to do the same, Ron Blue says, in effect, that the present posture of Catholicism constitutes a special challenge to missiology.
Harvie Conn that missiologists take a new look at the city. Peter Wagner tells us about that new course in supernatural power in which he collaborates with John Wimber. Ralph Winter find it impossible to confine him-self to one course of study. He briefly explores four of the missiological frontier. Obviously, my own discussion of the unique challenge of cross-cultural counseling must be placed on the shelf to be examined on another occasion.
I mentioned that we have received numerous responses to the materials of this section of EMQ. One comes from Esturado McIntosh of the department of missiology in the Seminario Evangelico de Lima. Another comes from Young J. Son of the Theological Graduate School of The Presbyterian. General Assembly, Seoul, Korea, These colleagues, others who have appended notes to correspondence on other subjects, indicate that there is real interest among missiologists abroad, in the of interaction provided by AEPM, In future, AEPM leadership will increasingly be expected to provide for fellowship with burgeoning interest in mission studies in the institutions of the younger churches abroad.
I also received a lengthy letter from Robert Coote of the Overseas Ministries Studies Center in Ventnor, N, J. in which he make a strenuous objection to Donald McGavran’s assertion that Leslie Newbigin has stated that "no writer of any gospel or epistle refers to (the great) commission; that it formed no part in the life of the early church; and that it was unknown to Paul" ("AEPM News Views," EMQ, January, 1984), Coote insists that in the Newbigin article to which McGavran must have referring (International Bulletin, October, 1982), Newbigin was underscoring Harry Boer’s thesis (in Pentecost and Missions) that the missionary motivation of the early church was an outgrowth of Pentecost, not the result of laying a sense of obligation on believers by explicitly citing the Great Commission, He insists that McGavran has badly misconstrued and misrepresented Newbigin’s position, The positions taken in "AEPM News and Views" are, of course, those of the authors, not of the association. But we feel it only fair to make objections such as this a part of the record.
This issue of the EMQ will become available about the time of the triennial conference of the IFMA, EFMA, and AEPM scheduled to be at the U.S. Center for World Mission, September 24-28, With that in mind we want to commend the new officers and programs of the AEPM to our readers for their prayerful support. We also urge all of you to help us increase the circulation of the EMQ and these pages to students and fellow faculty members.
Now, let’s explore some frontiers of contemporary missiology.
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