by Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
Can the World Wide Web be a serious resource for mission theology? Even though theology is not usually thought of as a practical area, it is certainly crucial for our ongoing involvement in the missionary task of the church.
Can the World Wide Web be a serious resource for mission theology? Even though theology is not usually thought of as a practical area, it is certainly crucial for our ongoing involvement in the missionary task of the church. Because of its importance, then, it is not surprising that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of theological pages posted and available via the Web. One of the difficulties is sorting the gold from the dross, and we worked hard to provide only the better sources. They are listed on our newest MisLinks page “Theology of Mission” (www.mislinks.org/topics/theology. htm).1 To get the most from this article, you may want to skim it through first, marking links that sound interesting to you. Then open up your Web browser, go to the page and click on the links.
The Theology of Mission MisLinks page is divided into several sections, including resource sites, contemporary evangelical mission statements, articles, courses and collections. As usual, there are more resources on the page than we have space to discuss here; we invite you to browse the page to see all the links it provides.
Fuller School of World Mission provides another valuable bibliographic resource in its Theological Abstracts page. It offers titles, abstracts and other information on theses, dissertations and projects from Fuller School of World Mission.
Gospel and Culture from Deep Insight is the third resource site (www.deepsight.org/goscul/index.htm"). As noted on the home page, the site focuses on providing resources focusing on “the deep, foundational assumptions that constitute a cultural worldview, particularly the assumptions of our Western culture.” The index page offers links to various listings within the site, such as Introductory Articles, Leading Lights (“Biographical surveys of influential figures”), Bibliographies and Access (“A list of articles, now numbering in the thousands, complete with individual annotation that are available…for a small fee”).
International Missionary Training Fellowship, a site sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance Missions Commission, offers several full-text books in Adobe Acrobat pdf format online (www.missionarytraining. com/cenglish.htm) in English and Spanish. The files are very large, since they include entire books, and so IMTF also offers all available titles in a single CD at a nominal price (click on “Publications” or browse to www. missionarytraining.com/CD2001/start.htm). Though not devoted exclusively to theology of mission, many of the texts address significant theological issues and are valuable resources in training missionaries. For example, the entire book Global Missiology for the 21st Century, a collection of edited papers from the Iguassu Consultation, is available online (www. missionary training.com/english/downloads/GlobalMiss.pdf). Before typing in this URL, the reader should know that is it about eight megabytes long.
John Roxborogh, who coordinates Lay Leadership Training at the Presbyterian School of Ministry, Knox College, Dunedin, New Zealand, has compiled several resources. On his page (roxborogh.com/mission.htm) is a link to a Biblical Theology of Mission Reading Guide. On the missio-logy page are links to several papers and bibliographies focused on the study of mission theology.
CONTEMPORARY EVANGELICAL STATEMENTS
Over the course of the twentieth century evangelicals faced an ongoing need to reaffirm their commitment to core values in the face of encroaching theologies and ideologies. One of the ways they did this was to develop statements affirming theological convictions, and several of those statements either focused on or were deeply framed with mission in mind. The best known is the Lausanne Covenant (www.gospel com.net/lcwe/covenant.html) available in numerous languages. Also from the Lausanne movement came the Manila Manifesto (www.gospel com.net/lcwe/mainfest.html) and the Willowbank Report on Gospel and Culture (www.gospelcom.net/lcwe/LOP/lop02.htm). Other statements we link to include the Great Commission Manifesto from the AD2000 and Beyond Movement (www.ad2000.org /handbook/gcman if.htm); and the World Evangelical Alliance’s Iguassu Affirmation (www. worldevangelical .org/igua_affirm. html) that resulted from the Global Consultation on Evangelical Missiol-ogy held in October 1999 in Iguassu, Paraña, Brazil.
ARTICLES AND PAPERS
In addition to the books and statements listed above, several missiologists are making papers and other materials available on the Web. This section of our Theology of Mission page lists examples of these Web resources.
First, Crosswalk.com has posted the entire Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Baker Book House) online. The link we provide connects you to the article “Mission” by William J. Larkin, a Greek and New Testament professor at Columbia International University (bible.crosswalk. com/Dictionaries/Bakers Evangelical Dictionary/bed.cgi?number= T481).
Dean Flemming, professor of New Testament at European Nazarene College, has posted “Theology of Mission and Missional Theologizing: A Paradigm from Paul” (wesley.nnu.edu/2002-GNTC/presentations-english/Mission-Flemming,Dean.doc). He notes, “My focus in this paper is not so much on a ‘theology of mission’ as an end product as on the process of missional theologizing. The generative model for these reflections is the Apostle Paul, who embodies the marriage between mission and theology. Paul’s theology is at its heart a mission theology. His theological activity in writing letters is an extension of his apostolic calling and missionary work.” A response to this paper is also available (wesley.nnu.edu/2002-GNTC/responses-english/flemming-bartle.doc).
Robert Gallagher, assistant professor of Missions at Wheaton College, has posted several articles all available through . Two are from his doctoral dissertation entitled “Holy Spirit in Protestant Missiological Writings.” They include “The Forgotten Factor: The Holy Spirit and Mission in Protestant Missiological Writings 1945-95” and the dissertation. Also posted is “Fingerprints of God: God’s Mission to the Philistines in Samuel” in which he explores God’s mission to the Philistines found in the book of Samuel.
The Theology21 Web site (www. theology21.org), developed by Dae Ryeong Kim, a Ph.D. Candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary, was designed to provide “theological and missiological resources for the mission of the Christian Church to communicate gospel message across wall of cultures in the 21st century.” A subsection of the site, called Mission Theology Book List (www.theology 21.org/missions/theology.htm), lists dozens of mission theology books in several categories and links to Amazon.com for every book. Another section is “Missiology Articles” (www. theology21.org/missiology_articles. htm), which offers links to several articles on topics such as the mission theologies of Karl Barth and Lesslie Newbigin, reflections on mission theology of culture, global issues and mission, and so on.
The final link we will discuss in this category is the practical and helpful book The Biblical Basis of Missions (www.imb.org/biblicalbasis), written by Avery T. Willis, Jr., the Senior Vice President of Overseas Operations of the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board. Originally written in 1979 and last reprinted in 1992, the entire online book offers important biblical foundations for missionary work and includes an online study guide.
COURSES AND SYLLABI
Over the past several years mission professors have benefited from the mutual exchange of course syllabi. The process of doing that has been made easier with the advent of the Web. For example, the Association of Professors of Mission (APM) has developed a collection of syllabi for mission classes of all types. Over 100 of them are posted on the APM site (www.asmweb.org/apm/syllabi). Of these, six are focused on theology of mission or related areas such as contextualization. To see them, browse to .
In addition to the many syllabi offered through the APM site, we have incorporated links to syllabi and other course materials from individual schools that vary widely in theology and geography. These include the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (www.agts.edu/syllabi/resident _sp2002/mht529york.pdf), Birmingham Christian College (UK;www. birminghamchristiancollege.ac.uk/Handbook/MA Mission/405.1The
Old Testament and Modern Missiology.htm), Fuller School of World Mission (www.fuller.edu/swm/ecds/014/MT520_Van Engen. html), the School of Ministry of Knox College, Dunedin, New Zealand (www. schoolofministry.ac.nz/theology _of_mission1.htm) and Wheaton College (www.wheaton. edu/Missions/Gallagher/Assets.html/Theological Foundations.htm and www. wheaton.edu/Missions/Courses/531Mor/Schedule.htm). Several of these offer more than just a syllabus, and we invite you to check them out.
The largest sets of resources available through the MisLinks Theology of Mission page are the collections. They offer literally hundreds of articles on theological issues in mission.
The first collection is a group of selected articles from Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Though mainly devoted to professional missionary development, over the years EMQ has published a number of articles focused on theological issues, and this issue certainly adds to that collection. Many of the articles we link to are available on the EMQ archives site, ranging from Joy Anderson’s “Behold! The Ox of God?” (www.gospelcom. net/bgc/emis/1998/oxofgod.htm) to David Zac Niringiye’s “Jerusalem to Antioch to the World: A Biblical Missions Strategy” (www.gospelcom.net/bgc/emis/1990/jerusalemto.html). Other EMQ articles, noted by the “*” on the Web page, are available in the NSM Knowledge Base (www.strategic network.org) by subscription on the site. They range from Peter Beyerhaus’ “The Theology of Salvation at Bangkok” (www.strategicnetwork.org/index.asp?loc=kb&id=10623) to Bruce Nicholls, “Toward An Asian Theology of Mission” (www.strategic network.org/index.asp?loc=kb&id= 12369).
The second collection is the largest, provided by the Network for Strategic Mission Knowledge Base, currently housing over ten thousand articles. The articles can be searched by topic, with multiple layers of subtopics. The general category theology of mission (www.strategicnetwork.org/index.asp? loc=kb&id=794&mode=b&fto=794&) offers forty-five articles and fifteen subtopics. From the general page, click on any of the subtopics (including apologetics, biblical theology of mission, Christology, spiritual warfare and so on). One of the subtopics is “mission theology topics” (www. strategicnetwork.org/index.asp? loc=kb&id=794&mode=b&search flag=Y&fto=1301&), which itself has thirty-six subtopics. You could spend many fruitful hours reading the material the Network for Strategic Missions has made available. Articles from Evangelical Missions Quarterly, International Bulletin of Missionary Research and Missiology are viewable at this site only by subscription on the site itself (details can be found at www.strategic network.org/index.asp?page=give).
The third collection is a group of articles from International Journal of Frontier Missions (www.ijfm.org/). We culled articles from back issues that are most relevant to mission theology, including David Hesselgrave’s “Challenging the Church to World Missions” (www. ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM /13_1_PDFs/05_Hessel grave.pdf), Walter C. Kaiser’s “The Great Commission in the Old Testament (www. ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/13_1_PDFs/01_Kaiser.pdf) and John Piper’s “The Supremacy of God Among all the Nations” (www.ijfm.org/PDFs _IJFM/13_1_PDFs/04_ Piper.pdf).
Our final collection is a group of selected articles from Sedos (www. sedos.org), a Catholic academic journal devoted to global mission studies. The site provides important Catholic thinking on mission. While it is true that evangelicals differ with Catholic theology and mission practice in significant and crucial ways, it is still important to note these resources that may help us sharpen our own thinking on mission.
Keeping on track theologically is vital for missionaries, and the resources available on the Web will help sharpen your theological outlook as you focus on the tasks to which God has called you. Our hope is that this page will become part of that process. As always, we invite corrections or suggestions for additional links that we can include on the page.
1. All URLs listed start with http:// unless otherwise noted.
Scott Moreau is editor of EMQ and chair of Missions and Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College Graduate School (Wheaton, Ill.). His e-mail address is A.S.Moreau@wheaton.edu and the Wheaton Missions Department Web address is: www.wheaton.edu/intr
Mike O’Rear is the president of Global Mapping International (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which is dedicated to providing access to information for church and mission leaders, especially in the Two-thirds world. He also serves as Lausanne senior associate for information technology. His e-mail address is email@example.com and the GMI Web address is: www.gmi.org
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