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Christian missionaries often head out to the field with a single assessment of the human condition: Humans are fallen, sinful creatures in need of salvation. The reality of working in the field, however, challenges this theological assumption. In this provocative book the author offers an overview of the interface between missiology and the social sciences, such as anthropology and sociology. While the relationship between the two disciplines has often been superficial and uncritical, they have much to offer one another. The author's insightful book explores the possiblities and the limits of the conversation between these two fields.
Christian missionaries generally head out to the field with a single assessment of the human condition humans are fallen, sinful creatures in need of salvation. Yet, as the history of missiology developed it found itself confronting other models of the human condition in anthropology and sociology that it had to incorporate into its theological models. Taber offers a brief history of the interface between missiology and the social sciences. He contends that this relationship has been largely superficial and uncritical, even though it has brought a number of helpful dimensions to both disciplines. Taber provides Christian missiological critiques of social scientific views of human nature, cultural relativity, and human freedom. But Taber also argues that the social sciences can provide helpful tools in designing a missiology for the western world primarily because the social sciences arise from the common spirit of the age. Charles R. Taber teaches at the Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, Tennessee. He is the author of The World is Too Much with Us: Culture in Modern Protestant Missions.