by Graham Hill
—Reviewed by James Patole, minister, C&MA; PhD (Missiology) research scholar, SAIACS, University of Mysore, Bangalore, India
Global Christianity is going through a transforming moment as the future of the Church is emerging from the Majority World. The unprecedented paradigm shifts taking place have significant implications for the Western Church; which Graham Hill magnificently unfolds.
Hill highlights the new missional narrative, where the center of Global Christianity has shifted from the West to Majority World churches that are growing exponentially. However, the Western Church and academia is wrestling with restricted church and mission’s growth. In this global scenario, Hill brilliantly presents implications for Western churches using Jesus’ metaphors of salt, light and city.
In Section 1, “Reshaping Our Conversations,” Hill explains how missional vitality is pursued and ‘saltiness’ is enhanced with mutual ‘glocal’ conversations. He illustrates how Western conversations are inadequate and impoverished in isolation from Indigenous and Majority World Christians. He then exhorts Western theological and missiological communities to move beyond the theological dominance and supremacy of Eurocentric and Americentric positions to enhance conversations that are the future of the Global Church.
In the next section, “Renewing our Mission,” Hill shows how by ‘being light,’ the Global Church participates in the redemptive mission of God. He provides case studies and stories of Indigenous and Majority World churches that have actualized the renewal of missions through effective contextualization, liberation, ethics, creation care, and neighborhood transformation. Hill appropriately validates the central role of the Holy Spirit in global missions and how it effected the exponential expansion of Christianity in the Majority World. He also exhorts us to embrace a missional pneumatology that has not been significantly prioritized and needs to be freshly reclaimed in Western missiology, orthodoxy, and praxis.
In the last section, “Revitalizing our Churches,” Hill employs the ‘city’ metaphor in which the Church corresponds to an alternative and counter-cultural, kingdom-focused, holistic entity. Once more, Hill reviews numerous Indigenous and Majority World church stories that offer fresh expressions on how to revitalize faith, scriptural engagement, education, servant leadership, community building, spirituality, and discipleship. These new narratives have much to contribute to revitalizing the Western Church.
In his final remarks, Hill vividly appraises the missional themes and insights of 103 Indigenous and Majority World Christians/scholars to provide an efficiently structured framework to facilitate American church pastors, mission leaders, and theologians. Hill’s style is easy to read, yet candid, passionate and assertive.
Although Hill confidently presents Indigenous and Majority World missions and ministries, he carefully avoids reductionism, but upholds mutual learning and developing our own set of contextual theologies and praxis. The USA and other Western countries increasingly face varied contextual realities of rising diversity and complexity. Consequently, it is going to be crucial and challenging for the Church in the West to apprehend this new global narrative and optimistically embrace global conversations, relationships, and exchange.
Global Church examines global trends that will have a major impact on the course of the Church and missions in the Western World for a generation to come. I highly recommend this book.
Johnstone, Patrick. 2011. The Future of the Global Church: History, Trends and Possibilities. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Snodderly, Beth and A. Scott Moreau, eds. 2011. Evangelical and Frontier Mission Perspectives on the Global Progress of the Gospel. Oxford: Regnum Books.
Toyama-Szeto, Nikki A. and Femi B. Adeleye. 2012. Partnering with the Global Church. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
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EMQ, Vol. 53, No. 2. Copyright © 2017 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.