Faith and Family in Asia: The Missional Impact of Social Networks

by Paul De Neui, ed

This collection of essays, originally presented at the SEANET XI missiological forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand (January 2009), is a magnificent contribution to this issue of primal importance for missional advance.

William Carey Library, 1605 Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, CA 91104, 2010, 352 pages, $19.99.

Reviewed by Joseph W. Handley, Jr., president, Asian Access.

How will the gospel spread in Asia in the coming decades? This is a topic of central concern for many in Asia and beyond, especially for those working in cultures that tend to be resistive for primarily social reasons but for religious reasons as well. This collection of essays, originally presented at the SEANET XI missiological forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand (January 2009), is a magnificent contribution to this issue of primal importance for missional advance.

The articles in this collection are a stimulating “tour de force” in covering the array of challenges missioners, local clergy, and parishioners face in making Christ known, understood, and friend to those who live in East, South East, and South Asian contexts. Faith and Family in Asia provides an in-depth review of several key areas, including family networks, filial piety, ancestral veneration, and marriage and family life.

Many of the essays are well researched, with tremendous reflection on the areas of missiology, theology, biblical text, and social and anthropological studies. In addition, they come from practitioners who live out the realities of mission life in most of the cultural contexts being reviewed. Significant attention is given to movements that come from less traditional forms of congregational life which the authors tend to lean heavily toward (house church, churchless, cell church, organic church, etc.). This could be a strength in pointing toward forms that may prove fruitful in the future. At the same time, this could be a weakness if these attempts avoid working with the broader Church to seek unified approaches to missional advance (especially to the broader, more traditional indigenous movements that exist in some of these countries).

As with most collections, the essays at times can seem disconnected from one another and a few of the topic areas would be strengthened by providing smoother transitions into how they relate to and augment one another. Overall, however, this is a tremendous resource for missiological reflection and one that will prove to be a significant marker for those engaging these arenas of ministry for years to come.

At the outset, the editor states, “SEANET does not promote one particular strategy or approach but seeks to learn from models of hope of what God is doing around the world.” In this sense, this contribution provides a magnificent resource for learning some of the models of hope found in various Asian contexts around the concept of missional social movements.

….

EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 498-500. Copyright  © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS).  All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.

 


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