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Bible in Mission

by Pauline Hoggarth, Fergus Macdonald, Bill Mitchell, and Knud Jorgensen, editors

Regnum Books International

Reviewed by Marcus Dean, associate professor and chair, Department of Intercultural Studies, Houghton College; former missionary in Colombia and Puerto Rico

BIBLE IN MISSION WAS COMPILED as a follow up to Edinburgh 2010. This collection of papers connects the Bible to Missio Dei through presenting different aspects of the Bible in mission as viewed from different Christian confessions.

The introductory chapter, “The Bible in Mission—And the Surprising Ways of God,” sets the tone by placing the Bible at the center of mission “as the story of God’s mission” (p. 5). The second chapter, “The Bible as Text for Mission,” continues the introduction and discusses different hermeneutical perspectives. It concludes with building a strong connection between the Bible and missions.

The rest of the book is divided into two sections. Section One, “The Bible in Mission in the World and in the Church,” contains four chapters subtitled The World. Each discusses how the Bible is received from within a different ministry context: Modern/Postmodern West, Islam, Hindu, and Children (great cases for a contextualization course). This is followed by four chapters subtitled The Church. Each presents a different missional perspective from evangelical, Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic writers and demonstrates the vitality of scripture for the life of the Church in missions and evangelization. The conclusion is that the Bible is essential for the growth and health of the Church.

Section Two presents seventeen case studies grouped by geographical regions Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the West. These case studies show how the Bible is received by different groups ranging from Dalits in India to youth in Australia, and includes studies on children, women, minority groups, and nations such as China.

A few highlights demonstrate the breadth and significance of this collection. First, the case studies “bring to public attention a broad overview of best practices and examples of how people may ‘open the Bible’ and make its contents the core of their discipleship” (p. 141). This is realized in the following chapters. Second, while one may not agree with every author, each genuinely attempts to make the Bible central to the work of missions. The chapter on creation care demonstrates how for two groups in Africa, “the Christian faith as reflected in the Bible provided the basis for integrating faith and action” (p. 175) as they endeavored to care for people and creation. Third, the final case study on the impact of changing technology reminds us that the role of the Church in mission is to enable people to encounter the Bible.

This book demonstrates that because the Bible is the foundational text of the Christian faith, “the reading, interpreting and dissemination of this text lie at the core of the missionary task” (p. 290). Bible in Mission gives a loud call to keep the Bible central to the work of the Church in calling all of us to follow and become disciples of Jesus Christ, which is the focal point of the Bible—God’s story of reaching out in love to all of humanity, no matter someone’s condition or position in life.

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EMQ, Vol. 51, No. 1 pp. 110 & 112. Copyright  © 2015 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism.  All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.

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