Anthropology for Christian Witness

Article excerpt

By Charles H. Kraft. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1997. Pp. xvi, 493. Paperback $25.

In this book, Charles Kraft, a leading evangelical missiological anthropologist, synthesizes what he has learned through twenty-six years of teaching missionary anthropology at Fuller Theological Seminary. It is intended as a basic introduction to cultural anthropology for those involved in cross-cultural ministry. It addresses most of the topics covered in standard anthropology textbooks, but it does so with the constant focus on exploring the missiological implications of each. In each chapter Kraft invites reflection not just on the cultures of those with whom the missionary ministers but also on the cultures that have shaped the missionary, and on God's accommodation to culture in the Scriptures.

On a wide range of subjects Kraft does an excellent job of pushing readers to rethink assumptions their culture has taught them to take for granted. It is to be expected that a book of this magnitude that endeavors to reassess so much of what we take for granted will not always get things quite right. And indeed I occasionally noted ideas I would personally question. But overall, such disagreements were few. …