by David Lim, Steve Spaulding and Paul De Neui, eds.
Eleven well-researched and well-documented chapters that deal with a wide range of topics and techniques on sharing Jesus among Buddhists.
William Carey Library, 1605 E. Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, CA 91104, 2005, 398 pages, $15.99.
—Reviewed by Madasamy Thirumalai, Bethany College of Missions, Bloomington, Minnesota.
This volume contains eleven well-researched and well-documented chapters that deal with a wide range of topics and techniques on sharing Jesus among Buddhists. The book also provides insightful historical sketches of some missionary movements in the Buddhist world. Though the book is valuable for anyone seriously interested in reaching Buddhists with the gospel, this book is more scholarship-oriented than practice-oriented.
Chapter One, “Christian Opportunities in the Changing Demographic Context of Global Buddhism,” presents the most recent statistics about the Buddhist world. Todd M. Johnson and Bobby Jangsun Ryu present an insightful picture of global Buddhism today, distinguishing between core Buddhism (orthodox Buddhism) and wider Buddhism (popular Buddhism). While the former group may claim 360 million adherents, the latter (which includes the core group as well) has an astonishing 1.28 billion people. However, the authors predict there will be a decline of Buddhism as a percentage of the world’s population in the decades ahead because of low birth rates.
In Chapter Two, “Christian Mission in the Context of Buddhist Mission,” Terry Muck identifies five mission approaches which are elaborated in the following chapters by other writers. Topics include: “Difficulties and Devices in Depicting the Deity of Jesus Christ to the Theravada Buddhist Mind in Sri Lanka” by M. S. Vasanthakumar, “Gentle Strength and Upaya: Christian and Buddhist Ministry Models” by Russell Bowers, Jr., “Meekness: A New Approach to Christian Witness to Thai People” by Nantachai Mejudhon and “Do Christianity and Buddhism Share a Temple Ethos?” by Steve Paulding.
In Chapter Seven, “Islands in the Sky: Tibetan Buddhism and the Gospel,” Marku Tsering attempts to explain why ordinary Tibetans see the world in the way they do, and to show how this affects their response to the gospel.
In Chapter Eight, “Structural and Ministry Philosophy Issues in Church Planting among Buddhist Peoples,” Alan Johnson argues in favor of “relational evangelism, face to face relationships, releasing people for ministry and the lack of structure that these assumptions about ministry and evangelism will lead to.”
In Chapter Nine Alex Smith tells the story of people movements in Thailand. In Chapter Ten Jim Morris narrates the story of a people movement among the Pwo Karen in Northern Thailand. Chapter Eleven, by Mitsuo Fukuda, deals with the “incarnational approaches to the Japanese people using house church strategies.”
Check these titles:
Hattaway, Paul. 2004. Peoples of the Buddhist World. Waynesboro, Ga.: Piquant.
Thirumalai, M. S. 2003. Sharing Your Faith with a Buddhist. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House Publishers.
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