by M. David Sills
—Reviewed by Will Brooks, professor of New Testament and missions at a seminary in Asia.
With technological advances, globalization, urbanization, and the like, the world we live in seems to be changing at an astounding rate. In light of these constant changes, missionaries often wonder how these new developments will affect their work.
David Sills attempts to answer some of these questions in Changing World, Unchanging Mission. Sills is professor of missions and cultural anthropology at Southern Seminary. A former missionary to Ecuador, he is also the founder and president of Reaching and Teaching International Ministries.
Sills explains in the first chapter that the world is constantly changing, but thankfully, the gospel never changes. In light of this dynamic, he writes, “The question at hand is how missionaries can move with the times and embrace the modern realities and innovations while remaining faithful to God’s Word” (p. 10).
With that question in mind, he deals with global issues like urbanization and globalization, travel and communication, and changing governments. He also deals with recent developments in missiological strategy such as short-term missions, orality, business as mission, helping without hurting, and churches as sending organizations.
William Carey once said, “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map,” and the primary strength of this book is that Sills does the same. This book is not simply an attempt to look at demographics, statistics, and global realities alone, but it is an attempt to view those issues through the lens of a biblical worldview. Sills’ theological depth enables him to accomplish this task in a way that few others can.
Moreover, Sills pinpoints many of the key issues affecting contemporary missionaries and mission organizations today, and ultimately, it is for this reason that Sills’ work should be required reading for everyone involved in the missiological task. This book will be an invaluable resource to all those navigating the changing waters of the global scene while they engage in the unchanging task of making disciples of all nations.
Check these titles:
Johnstone, Patrick. 2011. The Future of the Global Church: History, Trends, and Possibilities. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Biblica.
Payne, J. D. 2013. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson.
Pocock, Michael, Gailyn Van Rheenen, and Douglas McConnell. 2005. The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic.
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EMQ, Vol. 52, No. 4. Copyright © 2016 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.