Missions from the Majority World: Progress, Challenges, and Case Studies

by Enoch Wan and Michael Pocock, eds.

Evangelical Missiological Society Series 17. William Carey Library, 1605 E. Elizabeth St., Pasadena, CA 91104, 2009, 411 pages, $14.99.

Reviewed by Christopher J. Black, a Ph.D. candidate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Volume 17 of the Evangelical Missiological Society’s monograph series flows out of their 2008 annual conference, “Mission Initiatives from the Majority World Churches.” The compilation of articles brings together a wide range of authors from around the world: ten westerners with extensive experience in the mission field and seventeen Majority World mission scholars. The editors, Enoch Wan and Michael Pocock, have carefully compiled the articles into six sections. Following the grouping suggested by the subtitle, “progress” is covered in Part One, which introduces global missions. Parts Two through Four include regional issues of Asia, Africa, and South America. The “challenges” are found in Part Five, and Part Six houses “case studies.”  

This book appears designed as much for the novice as for the expert. For the uninitiated, the introduction includes definitions of key missiology terms, such as “Majority World” and “Third World” and lists some of the key works of Philip Jenkins, Andrew Walls, and Lamin Sanneh. The first part, “Global Overview,” provides a good introduction of missions to the Majority World, emphasizing the indigenous “three-self” formula: self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing. The remainder of the articles vary in scholarship. While the vast majority present a high caliber of scholarly research, several provide personal positions based upon lives lived in the mission field.  

Of special note is the emphasis on the new paradigm of diaspora mission. As director of the Institute of Diaspora Studies, Wan sprinkles articles throughout the book that address key issues. These include J.D. Payne’s “In Through the Back Door,” Joseph L. Shafer, Mark Yoon, and A. Scott Moreau’s “University Bible Fellowship,” David Oleson and Enoch Wan’s “Majority World Harvest Among Tibetan Buddhists,” Myunghee Lee’s “Migrant Workers’ Churches as Welcoming, Sending, and Recruiting Entities,” and Enoch Wan and Sadiri Joy Tira’s “The Filipino Experience in Diaspora Missions.”  

I found the most interesting material to be the case studies. Following trends and making educated predictions about the spread of Christianity plays an important role in mission strategizing; however, exposure to firsthand substantive accounts adds depth to the facts and figures. Myunghee Lee’s presentation of his five-year study of the Mongolian migrant workers in Korea was riveting and opened my eyes to a part of the world that is completely beyond most readers’ experiences. This final part helps solidify the first five parts by seeing it applied in real life contexts.  

Anyone interested in the globalization within Christian missions, whether in praxis, scholarship, or both, will find this book worth reading. The scope of the articles and the depth of the scholarship make this volume a useful tool in college and seminary classrooms, as well as an important collection for mission workers. 

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EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 250, 252. 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. 

 

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