Mission History of Asian Churches

by Timothy K. Park, editor

William Carey Library, 1605 E. Elizabeth St., Pasadena, CA 91104, 2011, 256 pages, $17.99.

Reviewed by Will Brooks, Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

In the nineteenth century, Henry Venn and Rufus Anderson introduced the three-self philosophy of missions. One aim of this philosophy is self-propagation. Venn and Anderson explained that when missionaries planted a church among a new people, that church could be considered indigenous when leaders emerged from among that people who took responsibility for spreading the gospel to others.  

Edited by Timothy Park, Mission History of Asian Churches is a collection of essays that show how Asian churches are propagating the gospel. The authors are Majority World scholars with extensive cross-cultural experience, who originally presented these articles as papers at the Second International Forum of the Asian Society of Missiology. After an introductory article on Asian Mission, the remaining articles focus on the mission efforts of churches in China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines.

This book is a fascinating read for anyone who loves the missionary task. In each of the chapters the authors explain how missionaries planted the gospel, trained leaders, and stepped back as those leaders became missionaries themselves. Reading such stories of Thai believers sending missionaries to Laos or Singaporean believers starting an organization for pioneer missions in Nepal only serve to fan the flame of those who love the Great Commission. If a weakness exists in the book, it is that several authors focus too much on the successes and failures of the Western missionaries who planted the gospel and not enough on the indigenous believers and their work in taking the gospel to the rest of the world.

This book is also an encouraging read for anyone interested in the growth of the Church in the Majority World. Certainly, one of the most important trends in the last fifty years is that the missionary force of the Majority World has become stronger than that of the Western World. The examples and statistics explained in this book give evidence to that fact. This book also provides an avenue for Majority World scholars and leaders to think critically about the achievements and mistakes of the past. Such a forum is necessary if they are to be biblically faithful and culturally sensitive in future mission endeavors.

Park has provided a helpful resource that details the history of missions and mission efforts in Asian settings. This work will be beneficial for the ongoing discussions of Majority World mission efforts.

Check these titles:
Hattaway, Paul. 2003. Back to Jerusalem: Three Chinese House Church Leaders Share Their Vision to Complete the Great Commission. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Biblica Publishing.
Jenkins, Phillip. 2011. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press.


EMQ, Vol. 48, No. 4, p. 507. Copyright  © 2012 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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