by Jeffrey P. Greenman and Gene L. Green, editors
IVP Academic, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 267 pages, 2012, $26.00.
—Reviewed by Marvin J. Newell, senior vice president, Missio Nexus.
It is noteworthy and refreshing to see more and more newly released mission-related books intentionally inclusive of global voices. This is another and rightfully so, since the topic is theology.
If the reader expects this book to address the content of regional theologies, then he or she will be disappointed. As the subtitle suggests, the book focuses instead on the context of regional and continental theologies. This affords an exposure to the richness of explicit diverse cultural settings along with their unique tensions that will benefit any English-speaking believer who reads this book wherever he or she may be in the world. Thus, the book is not just for Western readers.
The book is a compilation of essays that came out of the 2011 Wheaton Theology Conference presented by global mission thinkers. The line-up of leading scholars from around the world who were conference presenters is impressive. Some are well known; others are new names to many of us in the West. Although a plethora of church traditions are represented, as the title suggests, all contributors are evangelical and the evangelical perspective is maintained.
What I as a North American found unique and insightful was the helpful inclusion of minority communities represented that are right here in North America. The theological context of Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic North Americans added to the cultural richness of the book. They each brought to light worldviews and tensions from their particular communities that are many times missed by the middle-class Caucasian community.
If there is any weakness in the book, it would be its underrepresentation (actual exclusion) of essays from East Asia (other than Chinese), Southeast Asia and the island world. Since the Church is strong, dynamic, and theologizing, the book would have been more globally comprehensive with the inclusion of these areas. For instance, the theological context of Millennial Movements (Cargo cult) of the south Pacific islanders would enlighten readers.
In the book’s kick-off essay, Andrew Walls makes the observation that because of the multi-centric nature of today’s Christianity, theological interaction has become possible on a scale previously inconceivable. That being so, it is imperative that those of us who interact with the Global Church come to a better understanding of the theological contexts in which it is embedded as enumerated in this book.
EMQ, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 120-122. Copyright © 2013 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.