Perhaps the best starting point for getting to grips with this edition of Encounters – and I hope this does not sound immodest – is my piece ‘Does Development Work? Seven Questions’. It explains what is troubling me about the Development discourse and why we are in need of some hard questions and honest answers.
I am most grateful to those who have contributed to this edition. ‘August is the cruellest month’ as T. S. Eliot almost said, or it is when you are trying to put together a magazine. The Kingdom of God is generally on holiday, and when people come back from their holidays the last thing they want to do is write learned articles.
Our lead article is provided by Andrew Steer who has worked for many years with the World Bank. He gives a thoroughly up-beat answer to our key question ‘Does Development Work?’ but adds a warning that Christian-run programmes are not always as rigorously professional as they might be.
John Wibberley’s article ‘Agriculture, Theology and Progress’ owed its origin to a seminar with African agricultural students and is itself a useful case study in how to apply Biblical Theology to something as important to the Development process as agriculture.
Simon Penney identifies the enemy to good development as ‘the Empire’ (read on) and comes up with the fascinating idea that while Development may be part of Empire it can also be subversive of it at the same time.
Tim Chester is more pessimistic, issuing a sober warning that human enterprises are bound to fail and that only God can bring in lasting change . Ultimately our hope is in a future event that lies within God’s gift, not our planning.
All the above major on broad missiological issues but Professor Deryke Belshaw’s article brings us down to earth with a scholarly and detailed response to the concern that Christian Faith-based Organisations, despite their increasing popularity, may simply be insufficiently professional. (See Question three in ‘Does Development Work? Seven Questions’.)
Finally, we have a couple of book reviews, one looking at the vital missions question: ‘Do we need new forms of church in the twenty-first century?’ and the other looking forward to our planned February 2007 edition which centres on mission theology and the Old Testament. There is also a brief film review of The Constant Gardener. Our ‘country profile’ is a sparkling vignette from Val Inchley about living in Kathmandu.
Article 1: Does Development Work?: Seven Questions.
(Dr Jonathan Ingleby, 4681 words) PDF -:- Abstract and Discussion
Article 2: Does Development Work?: An encouraging assessment.
(Dr Andrew Steer, 2965 words) PDF -:- Abstract and Discussion
Article 3: Agriculture, Theology and Progress in Biblical Perspective.
(Professor John Wibberley, 1874 words) PDF -:- Abstract and Discussion
Article 4: Does Development Work?: Asking the Question Again in the Shadow of the Empire.
(Simon Penney, 1578 words) PDF -:- Abstract and Discussion
Article 5: Can we make a difference?
(Tim Chester, 4033 words) PDF -:- Abstract and Discussion
Article 6: Enhancing the Development Capabilities of Civil Society Organisations.
(Professor Deryke Belshaw, 2725 words) PDF -:- Abstract and Discussion
Book Review 1: Borderless Church: Shaping the Church in the 21st Century.
(By David Lundy; Authentic Media)
Book Review 2: Israel and the Nations: A Mission Theology of the Old Testament.
(By James Chukwuma Okoye; Orbis Books)
Film Review 1: The Constant Gardener.
(Directed By Fernando Meirelles; based on a novel by John le Carré)
And finally, a single PDF of the whole issue. Ideal for using offline or to make printing easier.
PDF: Single Document Version (in full).
(File size: 645kb)