Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story

Article excerpt

From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story.

By Mark A. Noll. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014. Pp. xvi, 204. Paperback $19.99 / 12.99 [pounds sterling].

Mark Noll is a distinguished historian of American religion, and his place in that particular historiography is well known. Lately, though, he has turned his attention to Christian history outside the boundaries of the United States, and so he was a natural selection to write one of the monographs in the series Turning South: Christian Scholars in an Age of World Christianity, published by Baker Academic and edited by Joel Carpenter. The series asks scholars to write autobiographically, and so Noll was asked to write a "personal narrative" explaining how he had come to believe that "full attention to the non-Western world" was needed for any "responsible grasp of the history of Christianity" (xi). What results is an engaging account of an American evangelical scholar's journey from childhood to mature adulthood, who along the way is rescued by Reformed theology from his pietistic childhood, is nurtured by outstanding teachers at Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, finds a professional home in Wheaton College's History Department, and lastly moves to the University of Notre Dame.

Noll describes how he was drawn out of his narrowly U.S. perspective by encountering first the religious history of Canada and then the complexity of the religious situation in Romania in the 1980s, experiences that by the middle of Noll's memoir prepare him to engage with the scholarship of Andrew Walls and the missiologists who had formed around him: Lamin Sanneh, Adrian Hastings, Kwame Bediako, and Jonathan Bonk, to name just a few. As for so many other North American scholars, Andrew Walls et al. changed the mental paradigms through which Noll saw the world, and Noll gives an admirable overview of Walls's most influential ideas. …

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