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The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in Transmission of Faith [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   266
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 1996
Publisher   Orbis Books
ISBN  1570750599  
EAN  9781570750595  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Formerly a missionary to Sierra Leone, and Professor Emeritus of the Study of Christianity in the non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh, Andrew F. Walls is arguably, the foremost intellectual authority on Christian Missions today. In

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General   [2161  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work   [3332  similar products]
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3 1/2 Stars--Some Helpful Themes: Poor Format  Apr 3, 2008
Andrew Walls' book The Missionary Movement in Christian History presents a collection of independently written articles that Walls categorizes under three headings: "The Transmission of the Christian Faith," "Africa's Place in Christian History," and "The Missionary Movement." The varied articles are loosely connected by common themes focusing on the missionary processes related to Christian conversion through history and throughout the world. Walls repeatedly demonstrates a keen understanding of the expansion of Christianity through divine salvation that he describes in terms of "translation." For Walls, Christ actually grows through the work of mission, as the Divine is translated into specific humanity. Unfortunately, the format creates a lack of fluidity, a consistent redundancy and an unnecessary wordiness.

In the first section of his book, the articles focus on the way Christianity is shared and experienced among cultures and at different times in history. Walls explains the paradox of Christianity's universal message of salvation in Jesus Christ alone that is experienced locally within one's culture, relations and history.

According to Walls, the way the church grasps this concept of a localized Christianity determines its effectiveness in mission and missionary endeavors. This is especially significant as the Christian center shifts, takes root and expands outside the West according to Walls.

Walls asserts that the task of discipling the nations "is about the translation of Scripture into thought and action, as the word about Christ is brought to bear on the points of reference within each culture, the things by which people know themselves and recognize where they belong." (86)

This presents a paradox to Walls. He writes, "On one hand God accepts us in Christ just as we are with all of our distinctives still on us. On the other he accepts us in order that we may become something different; that we may be transformed out of the ways of this world into the image of Christ." (54) It is especially in the articles about Africa that Walls discusses the challenge of transmiting the mission of the church to other cultures.

The articles in the final section on missionary movement cover a variety of topics including historic strengths and weaknesses in mission studies, the missionary vocation, non-Western Christian art, 19th Century missionaries, the American missionary movement, the role of missionary societies and the general state of the missionary movement. These center on the dynamics of missions during shifts in the Christian church as a whole.

He shows the significant contributions by missionaries who range from uneducated laborers to physicians and university educated priests. He seems to suggest that possessing a pioneering spirit and a willingness to immerse oneself in a peoples' culture for the gospel's sake contributes to missionary success as much as a proper education.

Walls devotes a chapter to the characteristics of the American missionary movement. He compares the nature of it to the American entrepreneurial spirit. He writes, "The linking of entrepreneurial activity, efficient organization, and conspicuous financing, which was characteristic of American business, became characteristic of American Christianity." (231) He elaborates that the American missionary movement has been marked by vigorous expansionism combined with adaptability and drive to tackle problems and find solutions.

The final chapter of the book offers a sense of summary of the modern flux of the missionary movement and Christianity in general by again emphasizing the recession of the Church in Europe and North America and its expansion "everywhere else." (257) This point leads Walls to suggest that the next phase of missionary movement must incorporate sending and receiving, fellowship among a broader context of Christians, and sharing with each other the ultimate product that is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What The Missionary Movement in Christian History lacks in terms of coherence and flow due to its format, it somewhat makes up for with its depth of and emphasis on its main themes that are repeated throughout the articles.

I think the following statement summarizes Walls' main message, "It is not possible to have too much of the localizing and indigenizing principle which makes the faith thoroughly at home, nor too much of that universalizing principle which is in constant tension with it, and which links that local community with its `domestic' expression of faith in the same Christ of Christians of other times and places. It is possible only to have too little of either." (30)

I am not ready to concede the presumed inevitability of the recession of Christianity throughout the West despite Walls' suggestions of it in this book.

Shakespeare On Spirituality: Life-Changing Wisdom from Shakespeare's Plays
Only the last 1/3 of this book delivers.   Dec 12, 2007
I had to read this book for seminary and it was horrible! This is not a good book, but a collection of messages the author gave over the last 20 years or so. It doesn't flow and is not worth the read at all! Find another book for this subject. Or buy this one if you have to right a paper, mine is for sale!
good on many counts  Oct 12, 2003
Ah, leave it to Orbis. Walls's book _TMMCH_ is superb because in it he balances a broad, theoretical view of missions with more intensive discussions of specific missions. He has, so to speak, both vision and insight. His prose is for most part light and fluid. His discussion of medical missions and, especially, non-Western art was really superb.

As for the book's flaws: 1) I was astounded to see that it has no bibliography and bummed that it has a skimpy index. 2) The intensive studies are at times repetitive and arcane. 3) Walls borders pretty close to latitudinarianism by all but saying there are no essential facets, even dogmas, of the Christian faith. He lays so much weight on the "local expressions" of the Faith that he is rather nonchalant about what must stay and what can be lost. Yes, he even uses the word "Christianities" (pg. 239).

Ironically, since Walls's Evangelical perspective often smacks of anti-Catholic, anti-centralized, anti-dogmatic ecclesiology, his book was a superb defense of the reality (and divine wisdom) of doctrinal development, and, in turn, much of what the Roman Catholic Church has done for centuries. I'm a Protestant seriously considering reconciliation with the RCC, so Walls' book was an unexpected boost in that direction. Walls virtually demands that different ages have different doctrinal and devotional foci. That's why, e.g., George Salmon's barbed observation that it is strange to see popes wax about Mary in most of their writings, while her name appears in so little of the NT, betrays the notoriously a-historical Protestant view of doctrine. In each age, in each "new world", God knows what aspects of the deposit of faith the Church needs to focus on for His glory and Kingdom and He guides His Church to present that deeper understanding of Revelation.

All the same, I was frustrated with Walls because he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He vaguely refers to essentials of Christianity (which he unwittingly - or ungratefully - draws from Christian Tradition) and yet all but denies dogmatic essentials. He seems to view the historically unifying dogmas/practices among Christians of all ages as mere neat coincidences rather than divinely established essentials for the Church in every place in every era.

But my review runneth over...


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