"Mission" has become, for many North American Christians, an ambiguous and often uncomfortable term. To many it brings to mind a past in which western culture was identified with the gospel in missionary practice and programs. Distressed with this history and uncertain about how to overcome it, many prefer to ignore the New Testament mandate that the church must be in mission if it is to be the church. Others swing the other way, declaring that everything the church does is mission, depriving the idea of mission of its power to define those specific actions of God which proclaim the gospel and build God's kingdom.
"The church exists by missions, just as fire exists by burning." With these words of Emil Brunner, the author reminds us that to be the church is to be in mission. After describing the various "captivities of mission" which plague North American Christianity, the author argues for a robust and engaged practice of mission, beginning in congregations and extending to the broader community.
Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I disagree with a previous reviewer, who did not get the "point," that it used to be that mission was all about the learned (saved) ones going out to make the unlearned (unsaved) just like them. Unfortunately, this often had less to do with sharing the gospel and the saving power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but with making those poor heathens "just like us," with our (read European and thus superior) culture. Orlandi discusses these outdated and ethno-centric models for mission and suggests alternatives, touching on the fact that when we share our faith we are not imparting truth to others, thus objectifying them. We, in fact, open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences with God in communion with others who are not like us. Our goal is not to make others like us, but to share together as a community in the kingdom of God. "For the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth." (John...
This is a good book, can't say I agree with all of it, but then that's part of what makes it good.
Authored by one who has benefited and suffered from the efforts of American missionaries, the writer give a thoughtful treatise on what missions means to both sides of the encounter, adding a challenging theology that is a real game-changer for those stuck with the traditional model of Us-Helping-Them.
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