A premier missiologist provides a comprehensive introduction to Christian mission in the twenty-first century.
Drawing together the biblical, historical, and theological rubrics that govern missiology, Scott Sunquist introduces readers to the field while arguing that "Mission, like liturgy, pastoral care, or preaching, is rooted in right thinking about the task, but it must also involve a practice." To this Sunquist adds, "missiology must resist being taken captive by the social sciences" and that the discipline is first concerned with "thinking correctly about the triune God-the God who by his very nature is a sending God-rather than with particular practices or programs. In short, Sunquist says we need to get our theology and our theoretical thinking correct before we are ready to conduct or study the Christian missionary endeavor.
Understanding Christian Mission is the first step in this process. Providing broad historical themes, Sunquist informs students of past mistakes and successes, and then firmly grounds Christian mission in God's Trinitarian nature, unpacks that theme from Scripture and then launches into a balanced, informed, and clear discussion of missions in today's complex world.
This comprehensive introduction helps students, pastors, and mission committees understand contemporary Christian mission historically, biblically, and theologically. Scott Sunquist, a respected scholar and teacher of world Christianity, recovers missiological thinking from the early church for the twenty-first century. He traces the mission of the church throughout history in order to address the global church and offers a constructive theology and practice for missionary work today.
Sunquist views spirituality as the foundation for all mission involvement, for mission practice springs from spiritual formation. He highlights the Holy Spirit in the work of mission and emphasizes its trinitarian nature. Sunquist explores mission from a primarily theological--rather than sociological--perspective, showing that the whole of Christian theology depends on and feeds into mission. Throughout the book, he presents Christian mission as our participation in the suffering and glory of Jesus Christ for the redemption of the nations.
Scott W. Sunquist (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is dean of the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He previously served as professor of world Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Sunquist is the author of numerous articles and coauthor, with Dale Irvin, of the multivolume History of the World Christian Movement. He is also coeditor of A Dictionary of Asian Christianity.
Scott Sunquist has produced a rarity in this book that combines breadth of theological scope with depth of learning and life in equal measure. This wonderful compendium brings together deep biblical reflection, the wisdom of Christian ages past, and the experience of a lifetime lived in mission. This is a book to savor, ponder, and return to again and again.
-Christopher J. H. Wright,
international ministries director, Langham Partnership; author of The Mission of God and The Mission of God's People
This is a clearly written, wonderfully ecumenical introduction to missiology and, indeed, mission theology. Its value lies in conceiving missiology as deeply theological and spiritual, not simply as tips and strategies for more successful evangelism. We often speak of the importance of the missio Dei for an adequate understanding of mission. In this volume Scott Sunquist helps us understand this trinitarian perspective more deeply.
SVD, Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Professor of Mission and Culture, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
No mere pragmatic missiology, Scott Sunquist's book is redolent with theology. This book shows us that we are steeped in suffering and in glory both across time and in today's global and urban challenges. What a high calling.
associate professor of world Christian studies, Seattle Pacific University; teaching fellow, Regent College; author of Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity
This is an outstanding one-volume introduction to missiology. It is creative, unique, and captivating. I will recommend this text to all my colleagues.
-Charles Van Engen,
Arthur F. Glasser Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
Three mission books in one: Sunquist provides a sweeping history, a comprehensive theology, and an impassioned call for the church to be missional. Ambitious, inspiring, and sweeping. From Polycarp to Matteo Ricci and D. L. Moody, the range of this book is simply amazing.
president, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
This book offers a fresh understanding of Christian mission endeavor from historical, theological, and ecclesiological perspectives. It explains how the realities of suffering and glory have shaped the practitioners of mission in local, regional, and international contexts. Scott Sunquist's teaching and living in mission contexts shine through in his expert choice of peoples and events in world Christianity. This work is a must-read for all who reflect on Christian mission and its legacy and prospects.
-Reverend Daniel Jeyaraj,
professor of world Christianity and director of Andrew F. Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity, Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom
This is not another run-of-the-mill, practical mission sourcebook of how to effectively strategize and grow churches. It seeks to broaden missional frameworks and deserves to be carefully studied.
-Rev. Dr. John Chew,
retired bishop of Singapore and archibishop of Southeast Asia
A powerful primer on the history and theology of mission, this book brilliantly lays out a clear understanding of God's mission, which the church today needs to recover and build on. It is a must-read for students exploring Christian mission for the first time as well as a comprehensive resource for practitioners currently involved with global mission.
vice president of missions and director of the Urbana Student Missions Conference, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; international deputy director for North America, The Lausannne Movement
This is a fresh and invigorating presentation of Christian mission for our day. Scott Sunquist draws on a recent burgeoning of biblical and theological studies that acknowledges the importance of the mission of God for understanding Christian existence. He identifies the biblical foundations, traces the historical unfolding of mission over two millennia, and summarizes contemporary missiological developments. This is a rich resource.
-Wilbert R. Shenk,
senior professor of mission history, Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural
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