Mission for the Twenty-First Century

Article excerpt

Mission for the Twenty-First Century.

Edited by Stephen Bevans and Roger Schroeder. Chicago: Chicago Center for Global Ministries (CCGM) Publications, 2001. Pp. 202. Paperback $15.

On the 125th anniversary of the Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.), members from around the world gathered to reflect on the theme "Mission in the Twenty-First Century." This book's contents come from the symposium. Editors Bevans and Schroeder are S.V.D. missiologists.

Two surprises awaited this reviewer. Surprise one: the pluralism in these essays. On one end Jacob Kavunkal (S.V.D. India) claims-backed by citations from Amos and John-that "God's salvation reaches all peoples through their own religions" (p. 165). At the other end is Jozef Cardinal Tomko, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, maintaining the "unequivocal biblical" affirmation that "Christ is the only Savior of all ... there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name" (pp. 27-28).

Surprise two: "forgiveness of sins" gets mentioned only once. Not even in the essay from the guest Protestant do we ever hear that the Divine Word for mission might be, "Good cheer! Your sins are forgiven."

Most often the Divine Word lifted up in these essays is "God's reign. …