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Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change - eBook
Baker Academic / 2008 / ePub
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Paul G. Hiebert (1933-2007) was distinguished professor of mission and anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and previously taught at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also served as a pastor and missionary to India. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and was the author or coauthor of numerous articles and books in the fields of anthropology and missions.
"This book is vintage Hiebert, pulling together in a single volume his seminal thinking on the cultural dynamics of Christian conversion. Drawing on a lifetime of learning, thinking, and writing on the subject, this work augurs to be the standard text on worldview for years to come. The book brims with insights into the cultural and theological 'what' and 'how' of being 'no longer conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds.' Written with the clarity and originality of thought that put Hiebert's writings at the forefront of twentieth-century missiological thought and practice, this volume is an apt tribute to the life and work of its extraordinary author, who went to his eternal home on March 11, 2007." -Jonathan J. Bonk, executive director, Overseas Ministries Study Center; editor, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"There was once a commercial from Wall Street that said, 'Whenever (such-and-such-a-broker) speaks, everyone listens.' Well, whenever Paul Hiebert writes, I read and learn. This posthumously published work is no exception. Paul's wide-ranging scholarship, profound faith in Jesus Christ, deep insight, creative thinking, and wholehearted commitment to world evangelization are all evident here. Paul was a mentor, teacher, and guide to all of us involved in thinking about the mission of the church. This book is a wonderful example of his stimulating thought. Everyone interested in communicating the gospel among today's multiplicity of cultures will want to listen to what Paul Hiebert says in this book." -Charles Van Engen, Arthur F. Glasser Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary; founder and president of Latin American Christian Ministries
"In this remarkable study, one of the leading missionary anthropologists of the past half century provides the most comprehensive and thorough treatment currently available of worldview and its relation to Christian faith. The culmination of a lifetime of intercultural ministry and reflection, Transforming Worldviews is a magisterial work that will shape discussions in missiology and theology for years to come. Indispensable for anyone interested in issues of faith and culture." -Harold Netland, professor of philosophy of religion and intercultural studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Transforming Worldviews is Hiebert at his best! For the first time, all of his major missiological insights--from set theory in church growth to the flaw of the excluded middle to critical contextualization--are integrated into a single volume. Transforming Worldviews, in which Hiebert wrestles with one of the most difficult concepts for us to understand and explain, is a fitting exclamation point to a career in which some of the most important evangelical missiological thinking of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries was done." -A. Scott Moreau, professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College; editor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly
"If you could pick one missiologist to sort out the tangled mare's nest that surrounds the word/concept of worldview, it would be Paul Hiebert. In Transforming Worldviews, Hiebert does not disappoint. Once again he surveys the landscape majestically, explains clearly, and proposes wisely and faithfully." -Terry C. Muck, professor of world religion and mission, E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, Asbury Theological Seminary
"What a holy passage it is to walk once more with our brother Paul Hiebert by means of these pages, to hear his wisdom distilled, his last word and testament to those who are trying to love God's world in our time. Theory and practice, cultural patterns and missiological issues--there is plenty to provoke our thinking for a long time to come." -Miriam Adeney, associate professor of global and urban ministries, School of Theology, Seattle Pacific University
"The late Paul Hiebert's work on worldviews is mission anthropology at its best. This book is his final testimony to the centrality of worldview transformation at the heart of biblical conversion. It is an instant classic--clear, readable, useful, and compelling." -Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Christian Mission, Boston University School of Theology
"True to his unique contribution to missiology, in this final contribution Paul Hiebert has opened our understanding of worldview at a depth yet unexplored. Transforming Worldviews begins with a thorough examination of the concepts of worldview, moves on to cultural and philosophical analysis, follows with sound biblical reflection, and ends with a call to transformation. This promises to be a classic in the study of missions. It is Hiebert at his best!" -Doug McConnell, dean, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Transforming Worldviews is, in many respects, the capstone of Paul Hiebert's work. This book provides valuable insights to all people who engage in God's mission in the varied contexts of the world in this century. It is Hiebert at his best. A superb contribution to missiology. A lasting legacy!" -Tite Tienou, dean and professor of theology of mission, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
What does conversion to Christ entail? A change in behavior? A change in beliefs? These were the leading indicators for missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively, that conversion had occurred. But each of these on its own is insufficient for a gospel understanding of conversion. And even when both are in evidence, it is possible that the result is merely syncretistic Christo-paganism. Renowned missions anthropologist Paul Hiebert argues that for biblical mission in the twenty-first century, we must add a third element: a change in worldview, which underlies both behavior and belief.
This major book represents the capstone of a distinguished career. Hiebert offers a comprehensive study of worldview and its implications from an anthropological perspective. After reviewing the philosophical foundations of the concept, he describes characteristics of worldviews and various methods for analyzing them. He then provides a detailed analysis of several worldviews that missionaries must engage today, from the worldview of small-scale societies, to peasant worldviews, to modernity, postmodernity, post-postmodernity, and the emerging glocal context of twenty-first century ministry. Hiebert addresses the impact of each on Christianity and mission and then outlines a biblical worldview for comparison. Finally, he argues for gospel ministry that seeks to transform the worldviews of its recipients and offers suggestions for how to do so.
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