Truth with a Mission: Reading Scripture Missiologically – Book Review

Truth with a Mission: Reading Scripture Missiologically
Authors:  Scott Moreau, Gary Corwin, Gary McGee
Publisher:  Baker Academic, 2004
ISBN:  0 80102 648 2

Book Review by Dr Cathy Ross, Mission Interchange Advisor, CMS (originally written for Mission Studies journal).

Introducing World Missions is intended to be a general textbook introduction to mission and is divided into five sections: biblical, historical, preparation for mission in two sections and fifthly some contemporary issues.  Personally I found this to be a rather strange mix of topics but there is some good and helpful information in each section.

The book is heavily North American and is (I presume) aimed at those in the evangelical world.  The ‘s’ on ‘mission’ reveals the theological bias of the book and this is maintained throughout.

The Biblical section clearly prioritises evangelism over other aspects of mission, heavily spiritualises Jesus’ words in Luke 4 although there is some discussion on discipleship including justice.  The definition of mission, while acknowledging missio dei, relies mainly on a somewhat dated evangelical understanding of mission.

The historical section is mainly Western church and mission history with a brief reference to “notable indigenous leaders” (p138-9) and three paragraphs on “shifting gravity” (p154-5).  The third and fourth sections have some good practical information on issues such as the call, preparation and training, family issues, short term trips, relating to churches and mission agencies.  The final section looks at culture and communication, partnership, spiritual warfare, information technology, other religions and mission trends.  There is some helpful information here but nothing really new and again, it is presented from a North American evangelical perspective.

For North Americans training for mission service, Introducing World Missions could be a helpful book.  Or it may just reinforce what they already know.  It will hardly expose them to anything outside their own worldview.  The assumptions on most issues – take spiritual warfare for example – are very North American. There are very few references to writers from the Majority World in the 21 page reference list with some surprising omissions of well-respected mission thinkers such as Kwame Bediako, Hwa Yung and Samuel Escobar. There is one reference to an article by Rene Padilla from 1987.

There are some interesting side-bars with case studies (mainly from Hiebert), stories and quotations with questions for discussion but again there is nothing really new.

Introducing World Missions does bring together a lot of information and is presented very attractively.  For those teaching in mission, there is some useful material in it, if selected carefully and wisely.  Personally, I would want students exposed to a wider range of perspectives, especially to those from the Majority World.

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