Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship
by Wonsuk Ma and Kenneth R. Ross, editors.
Regnum Books International, Woodstock Road, Oxford, UK OX2 UKR, 2013, 245 pages, £26.99.
—Reviewed by LouAnn Stropoli, congregational minister; inspirational speaker and leadership coach, Inspirational Leading.
From Everywhere to Everywhere.” This phrase, cited in Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship, describes the enormous expanse and reciprocity of mission knowledge and efforts all across the globe. This book is a tool for that very purpose. Bringing together contributors and viewpoints from varied denominations, age groups, and ethnic backgrounds, it allows disciples who may never meet in person to learn more about the work of the Holy Spirit from each other.
Among others, the perspectives in this book include the African Independent Churches (AICs), the Bolivian Catholic Church, the devotional practices of India, the Anglican Church in Africa, and the Russian Orthodox Church. This book also challenges its readers to consider a broader range of categories of people through whom the presence of the Holy Spirit is being exemplified. For instance, a chapter is dedicated to reaching the youth in Bolivia, while another chapter is dedicated to the reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. Mingled with foci on specific age or ethnic groups, the chapters also delve into the indigenous religious history of regions all over the world and investigate how that history has mingled with the arrival of the gospel.
While the contributions are positive and forward moving, they are also forthcoming in their revelation of areas of weaknesses. Nicta Lubaale shines light on the realities of the economic inequalities and the leadership restrictions for female disciples in the AICs. Tereso Casiño addresses the negative aspects of Bahala Na as it interfaces with authentic Christian discipleship. Rosauro Sandoval gives voice to the disseminating youth of Bolivia and their desires to see the church adapt and change to the ways of contemporary society.
A significant thread stated both outwardly and subtlety implied is that of ecumenism. Andrew Bush addresses a lack of ecclesiastical communion among brothers and sisters within local communities and indicates its influence on the inability to find unity and love across boundaries of theological distinctions. Moses Morales states, “Mission and ecumenism go together, not separately.” This book is a practical example of ecumenism in action as the readers and contributors seek to learn from one another.
Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship gives a helpful overview of mission spirituality as it is lived out and practiced in many parts of the world. If there is anything lacking, it would be the discovery of a quiet Holy Spirit movement being ignited in the small village/town church but hidden in the shadows. For that we shall wait and see, for this work is not the finale of this important area, but rather a commencement. From it many branches of study and interrelated conversations may be pursued. These conversations will be aided via the inclusion of a comprehensive bibliography, a list of other works published by Regnum, and the helpful conclusion written by the editors.
EMQ, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 253-254. Copyright © 2014 Billy Graham Center. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.