by Reviewed by Charles Davis
Several years ago I sat in a class taught by Paul Hiebert as he pled for missionaries in a global era to recognize that emerging churches around the world should not just be self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating, but should also be self-theologizing.
Edited by Richard Tiplady. William Carey Library, P.O. Box 40129, Pasadena, CA 91114, 2003, 276 pages, $16.99.
—Reviewed by Charles Davis, executive director of TEAM, Wheaton, Ill.
Several years ago I sat in a class taught by Paul Hiebert as he pled for missionaries in a global era to recognize that emerging churches around the world should not just be self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating, but should also be self-theologizing. One World or Many demonstrates that self-theologizing is well underway. Written as a compendium of papers to be presented at the Mission Commission meetings of the World Evangelical Alliance, held in Vancouver in the summer of 2003, the authors give the reader a chance to look through multiple perspectives on a radically globalizing world.
Do you want to know what globalization looks like to an African? Read Wanyeki Mahiaini’s article, “Globalization: A View from Africa.” Do you want to know what it looks like to a Korean? Read David Lee and Steve Moon’s article, “Globalization, world evangelization, and global missio-logy.” Young Indian? Read about “TechnoCulture” and “Terror-Culture” by Sam George. One of the only perspectives missing is that of a white male Anglo-American, which is as it should be. We have libraries filled with our perspective.
Prepare to feel irritated, stimulated, angered, encouraged, and quite possibly out-of-control. The two chapters on TechnoCulture and TerrorCulture point out, quite rightly, that the forces of technology and violence go hand in hand in both Eastern and Western cultures, and although Westerners might feel some smugness that we haven’t produced suicide bombers, we have produced Columbine, and the two are not that distinct.
If you’ve been particularly sanguine about the effects of globalization and world mission, you will be sobered by the articles on environment and economics written by Ruth Valerio. If you’ve been pessimistic about the effects of globalization, you will be encouraged at the great potential pointed out by David Lee.
I was deeply moved by the article by Miriam Adeney, “Is God colorblind or colorful? The gospel, globalization, and ethnicity.” Adeney strikes a beautiful balance between understanding and valuing ethnicity and the global nature of the church at the same time. “When ethnicity is treasured as a gift but not worshiped as an idol, God’s world is blessed, and we enjoy a foretaste of heaven. Let us keep that vision before us” (p. 101). If you have been struggling with how to understand community and multi-ethnicity, Adeney points the way forward.
As with any compendium of articles, some of the articles are dull and seem to rehash available information, others provide the impact of hearing a story firsthand and are thoroughly thought provoking.
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