Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Couple Interesting Missions Books

I have been working my way through a couple books about missions in the last few weeks. One very interesting read is The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith by Mark Noll. In the book Noll traces the history and growth of the American influence in world missions, especially in the 20th century, how the "American factor" functions now, the challenges facing the church world-wide as 21st century missions becomes global and gives some examples of how some non-western countries have indigenized (is that a real word) the American style Christianity that was first brought to them. He also provides some recommendations for how the church should respond to these challenges. One surprise to me was the similarities that Noll pointed out between the experience and situations of Korean Christians now, to American Christians of the 20th century. At first, I found it hard to believe, but he makes a very good case for similar political, economic and social factors between the two nations. Noll makes a strong case that both Western and Eastern (these labels are becoming less and less useful) Christians have much to learn from each other. Noll also encouraged me to continue in my goal to develop Micronesian theologians who can work from the Americanized evangelical Christianity, that they first learned, to a truly Micronesian, but truly biblical Christianity.

Another interesting read was Island of Angels - The Growth of the Church on Kosrae 1852-2002, by Elden Buck. Basically Buck chronicles the development of the church on this small Micronesian island, and the surrounding islands, from the first coming of the Gospel to the island to the modern-day church. The most impressive thing about the book is the extensive use of primary resources including many letters written from the missionaries themselves and minutes of meetings and conferences. I felt connected to these people that lived more than 100 years ago. Of course the sheer volume of this material made the book a little difficult to read at times. It was especially enjoyable for me to read family names from the early history of the island of people that I know. It was fascinating to me to see how the Gospel can come in and transform a culture. It is obvious the author loves the people he is writing about. I would say that this made him tend to paint a bit rosier picture of the Kosraean Church than the reality. But if you want a comprehensive picture of how the Gospel can effect a culture it is well worth reading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are the good books,
Thanks for the posting.........

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