by Timothy Tennent, ed.
Invitation to World Missions contains a strong biblical approach with practical suggestions.
Kregel Publications, P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, 2010, 592 pages, $38.99.
—Reviewed by Victor H. Cuartas, School of Divinity, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia; director of research for Comhina.
Invitation to World Missions contains a strong biblical approach with practical suggestions. The book is arranged in four parts. It begins with an introduction in which the author, Timothy Tennent, discusses the megatrends shaping twenty-first century missions, as well as the foundation for a Trinitarian missiological theology. In the following three parts Tennent emphasizes the Trinity’s roles in regards to the missio Dei, thus helping the reader understand the Trinitarian framework for missions.
The world is drastically changing and Tennent invites his readers to reflect upon the importance of contextualizing missions and toward a relevant and adequate response to today’s challenges. He organizes his book around key theological foundations such as missio Dei and the new creation vision for the global Church. I appreciate Tennent’s reminder of the importance of going back to the basics for our involvement in the missio Dei.
There is typically a tension between missions and missiology. Tennent does a great job describing the need for connecting the two. This is one of the primary concerns of the book. Missions and missiology are paramount to understanding the fundamental theological paradigms. Moreover, it is necessary to facilitate a context in which both missions and missiology can labor together. I agree with Tennent when he writes, “We cannot afford to pursue a business-as-usual approach to missions.” If we are to respond biblically and theologically to the needs of our world, it is crucial that we understand the times in which we live.
Tennent concludes by suggesting a three-step process for engaging new missiological questions. First, it is important to identify the underlying theological issues at stake. Second, it is necessary to reflect upon church history to gain essential insights that can guide us in the current process. Finally, once a potential answer has been discerned, it should be tested according to four governing themes of good missiology: the missio Dei, the Trinity, the new creation, and the global Church.
One little comment on terminology: in most chapters, Tennent uses the term “global.” I would prefer to use the word “glocal” instead. This term implies both the local and global aspect in regards to the Great Commission. As followers of Christ, we are sent every day to reach everyone from everywhere. Believers are called to be God’s ambassadors to bless the nations. God is the main goal of missio Dei, Jesus Christ is the redemptive embodiment of the missio Dei, and the Holy Spirit is the empowering presence of the glocal missio Dei.
Overall, Invitation to World Missions is an excellent book for individual and classroom exploration of Trinitarian missiology for world missions.
Check these titles:
Robert, Dana L. 2009. Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Stott, John R. 2009. Christian Mission in the Modern World. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Tennent, Timothy C. 2007. Theology in the Context of World Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 504-506. 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.