Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey

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Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. By A. Scott Moreau, Gary R. Corwin, and Gary B. McGee. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004, v + 349 pp., $29.99.

This work is the first in a projected series of eight texts addressing world missions from an evangelical perspective. Moreau is professor of missions and intercultural studies at Wheaton College Graduate School and general editor of the Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions. Corwin is associate editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly. McGee is professor of church history and Pentecostal studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri.

Designed as an introductory textbook on the topic of contemporary missions, Introducing World Missions offers readers a broad overview of the subject. Though primarily written for prospective missionaries, it also addresses those who serve in established pastoral roles. As the authors note, "our prayer is that you will have the foundation necessary to make wise decisions about mission service, or if you are not so called, to help you counsel and guide others whom God brings across your path who are seeking his will in reaching the nations" (p. 23).

The work is divided into five major sections. Part one addresses biblical and theological foundations for mission. Here the authors establish the groundwork for the rest of the book. They staunchly argue that any theology of mission must have an evangelistic mandate at its center. Within this section, the authors offer a distinction between the commonly used terms "missio Dei," "missions," and "mission." Part two takes the reader on a quick tour of missionary work throughout the last two thousand years. The latter three sections of the book are very practical in their orientation. Part three examines missions from the angle of the missionary candidate, addressing topics such as the missionary calling and practical realities of getting from one's home to the field. Part four discusses the plethora of challenges faced by the missionary, including personal and family issues, strategic and ministry issues, interpersonal relationships across cultures, and relating to churches and other shareholders. Finally, part five examines contemporary challenges to missions such as cross-cultural communication, contemporary mission trends and paradigm shifts, and encountering and engaging the religions of the world. The work concludes with an extensive bibliography and subject and Scripture indexes.

To supplement the text, the authors also provide four unique and excellent aides. First, every text comes with a CD-ROM of the extensive Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions. second, a teacher's manual is available from Baker for instructors who adopt the book as a required text. Third, most of the chapters of Introducing World Missions include a case study designed to assist readers in applying the theory to actual problems faced on the field. These case studies usually pose a missiological dilemma, leaving the reader to think through how they would respond if faced with a similar reality. Fourth, throughout this text, numerous excellent sidebars offer deeper thought on specific issues.

There are numerous strengths to this work. The first and foremost is the fact that the authors believe that a healthy missiology must be founded upon a proper understanding of mission in both the OT and NT. Mission in both testaments is seen as a divine drama which is best understood in a series of acts: (1) creation and the Fall; (2) God's calling and setting apart a people for himself; (3) God's work in rescuing his people; (4) God's work in sending his people into exile; (5) God's work to save a people through the Messiah; (6) God's gathering a people as his Church; and (7) God's renewing all of creation through the consummation. …