In this fifth book in the History of Evangelicalism series
from Intervarsity Press, Brian Stanley aims to narrate the global expansion of evangelicalism within the English-speaking world since 1945. Stanley, who directs the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh, is already known for his works The World Missionary Conference: Edinburgh 1910
and volume 8 of the Cambridge History of Christianity, World Christianities, c. 1815-1914.
This is an excellent, well-researched, highly readable volume from a global expert in the field and I appreciated having a number of gaps filled in in my understanding of twentieth-century global Christianity. While the reader can peruse the nine chapters which frame the book, I particularly appreciated:
· Chapter 2 where the historic milestones between fundamentalism and evangelicalism are clarified.
· Chapter 4 where the contribution of evangelical scholars—particularly those who teach in British universities—are noted.
· Chapter 5 in which key defenders of evangelical theology, including Carl F.H. Henry and Francis Schaeffer, are discussed. Stanley ends the chapter by discussing the influence of C.S. Lewis, who greatly shaped twentieth-century evangelical imagination though Lewis himself would not have self-identified as an evangelical and certainly did not hold to the infallibility of Scripture.
· Chapter 6 where the watershed Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (1974) is carefully narrated. The reader will appreciate the initiative of Billy Graham, the majority world theological voices of Samuel Escobar, Renee Padilla and others, and the diplomacy and humility of John Stott who facilitated partnership between non-western and western church leaders.
· Chapter 7 in which global charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity are described. Stanley remarks that the vitality of this movement has probably come as much through its renewed worship life and practices than through tongues, healing, and miracles.
In addition to these broad themes, my favorite parts of the book include:
· The testimony of Martin Lloyd-Jones (pp. 49-52), the Welsh physician turned pastor who was a Reformed Methodist committed to biblical exposition and who helped to nurture London Bible College. It seems that he could be all of these things because of having been touched by the Welsh revivals of 1904-1905. This characteristic of twentieth century evangelicalism—revivals and subsequent evangelism—seemed to unite many diverse evangelicals.
· The story of the famous hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” which was heard by J. Edwin Orr at a conference in India in 1954 when sung by the Naga Baptist choir. Stanley writes (p. 81) that the song was “originally a Swedish hymn that had been translated, first into Russian, and from that into English by Stuart Hine in 1927. The hymn, introduced to India in about 1952, so impressed J. Edward Orr that he popularized it among the Christian public on his return to the United States . . . With the aid of George Beverly Shea’s solos, it soon became a favorite at the Billy Graham crusades and one of the most widely sung hymns in evangelical churches on both sides of the Atlantic.” It is not surprising that this song, which characterized twentieth-century evangelicalism, migrated from Sweden to India, via Russia, to the United States to be sung in evangelistic crusades around the world.
My only critique of this work—rather related to the last point about “How Great Thou Art”—has to do with the scope of the work. I found it somewhat frustrating just to think about global English-speaking evangelicalism. As I read through the book, I thought that many of the points could have been even more deeply illustrated if Chinese-, Portuguese-, and Spanish-speaking Christians could have been represented. While I know an author and series editor must make some difficult choices about the scope of a work, I still must register this one complaint. That said, Stanley’s latest work is one of the best things I’ve read in 2013.
Last week, a number of Saudi women formally protested the Kingdom's ban against women driving by getting behind the wheel, driving, and filming the whole thing
. While the women were serious and articulate about their position, one Saudi comedian, Hisham Fageeh, satirized the events through his video "No woman, no drive,"
a parody of the famous Bob Marley song. With close to 9 million hits on YouTube in the last week, many around the globe also found his performance entertaining.
As I have reflected on this turn of events, I've had a number of thoughts. First, Fageeh shows us a side of the Muslim world that we don't always get in the West--a humorous side. Having lived among Arabs and Muslims for many years, I know that Arabs have a great sense of humor and tell some great jokes. Like Fageeh, who is clearly mocking his own society, many Arabs use humor to poke fun at and in a way cope with the frustrations and injustices in their societies. Historically though, they have not had a platform to broadcast their humor. So both the protesting women and Fageeh are using the same vehicle--social media and specifically YouTube--to tell the world about their worlds. Social media has given them an audience, a sense of empowerment, and an opportunity for free speech.
While many women may not appreciate Fageeh's humor (because this is a serious issue for them), his 9 million hits on YouTube have only raised their issue even more. Hopefully, Westerners will get the irony and humor and realize that there is much diversity (that includes humor) in the Muslim world.
In the Fall 2010 edition of the Criswell Theological Review,
I had the privilege to review this book by Christopher Hall. I am looking forward to participating with Prof. Hall next month at the Evangelical Theological Society
(see p. 40) annual meeting in a section called "Adam, Eve, and the Fall in Patristic Exegesis."Worshiping with the Church Fathers.
By Christopher A. Hall. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2009, 280 pp., softcover. Worshiping with the Church Fathers
is the latest work by Christopher A. Hall, who presently serves as chancellor at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA. A recognized scholar in patristics, Hall is also the associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and has authored two other books--Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers
and Learning Theology with the Church Fathers.
In the introduction, Hall relates that he originally planned to call the book Praying with the Church Fathers
(p. 12). However, after further reflection, he chose to include other aspects of patristic spirituality, which led to the title change. In the first of three parts, Hall offers an introduction to and elucidation of the sacraments—baptism (chapter 1) and the eucharist (chapter 2). In part two, which comprises one half of the entire work, he accomplishes his original intent of addressing prayer in the fathers, emphasizing the basics of prayer (chapter 3), unceasing prayer (chapter 4), direction on prayer (chapter 5), and the Lord’s Prayer (chapter 6). In the third section, Hall discusses the call to (chapter 7) and practices of (chapter 8) monastic discipline. Finally, in a brief concluding chapter, Hall invites modern readers—especially busy evangelical Protestants—to consider a “skilled adaption” of the fathers’ views on spirituality and worship (p. 249).
Hall’s work shares some similar aims with a few recent works. In light of his discussion on baptism, Hall’s efforts are similar to Ferguson’s Baptism in the Early Church--
though the latter is much more comprehensive. Also, due to its emphasis on the spirituality of the desert fathers, the work is also relevant to Harmless’ Desert Christians
and Byassee’s An Introduction to the Desert Fathers
. Because Worshiping with the Church Fathers
is an ancient-future book—one that actively interacts with the fathers for contemporary reflection and practice—the work shares some common goals with other recent projects. Some of these include The Contemporary Church and the Early Church
(ed. Hartog), Smither’s Augustine as Mentor: A Model for Preparing Spiritual Leaders,
and, of course, Hall’s previous works on how the fathers read Scripture and articulated theology.
What are the strengths of Worshiping with the Church Fathers?
First, through a generous interaction with various patristic authors, Hall mines the father’s thought on baptism and the eucharist in chapters 1 and 2. His discussion on the inextricable link between baptism and salvation is a faithful account; however, he also challenges the notion of baptismal regeneration by showing how faith and repentance were necessary for early church catechumens (pp. 40-43). Finally, his explanation of Christ’s presence in the eucharist was enriched by further discussion on the Gnostic context in which many church leaders ministered (pp. 52-56).
Second, his presentation of early church worship as being diverse and broad—including the sacraments, prayer, and monastic devotion—offers a healthy challenge to modern evangelicals as they contemplate worship. As many today equate worship with music, they will be challenged by the more holistic view of worship that Hall presents in the fathers.
Finally, in authoring an ancient-future book, Hall does sound work as a patristic scholar who makes reasonable connections for modern spirituality. The author shares much of his own spiritual journey and invites his readers to also reflect on issues such as unanswered prayer and spiritual disciplines. Though some readers may balk at the interface of scholarship and personal devotion, Hall’s method is very much in sync with the church fathers who saw their intellectual and devotional lives as one.
What are the shortcomings of the work? First, while providing a faithful account of the fathers’ view of the eucharist, which emphasizes the real presence of Christ, Hall sounds critical of free church Christians because of their memorial view of the supper (p. 65). In fact, his comments seem to reflect his own journey from conversion in the 1960s Jesus Movement to being an evangelical Episcopalian today.
Second, in his otherwise helpful discussion on the challenge of unanswered prayer (pp. 156-70), I was surprised that Hall spent so much time interacting with the thought of Richard Foster in addition to that of John Chrysostom. Though Foster is a fine modern teacher and writer on spiritual formation, Hall seems to abandon the scope of his work—worship in the fathers—in this section.
Third, in his final chapter on drawing close to God, Hall offers a litany of quotations from the desert fathers regarding aspects of spiritual discipline (pp. 234-46). While on one hand, these reflections are nourishing primary sources; on the other, they break with the overall introductory pattern of the book, which may result in losing some readers.
Finally, after reading through the work and appreciating the diverse nature of worship that Hall presents, I am still not convinced that the title--Worshiping with the Church Fathers--
best fits this book. When I hear “worship” in the early church context, my thoughts go to the liturgy and sacraments celebrated within the community of the faithful. As Hall has focused much of his work on prayer (both corporate and private) and monasticism, it seems that this book would better be titled Reflections on Early Church Spirituality
or something of that nature.
In summary, Hall’s work is an inviting and much needed conversation with the church fathers on baptism, the eucharist, prayer, and spiritual discipline. Students of church history will be stimulated by its scholarship and nourished by its devotional content. As a professor of church history, I have chosen to assign it as supplemental reading for patristics and church history survey courses.
As the world has observed much political change in Egypt over the last couple of years especially, the story of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority has not always been told. Amid the country’s upheaval, the Egyptian Christian story has been one of suffering and violence. However, in this music video developed by Coptic Christians, it is also a story of forgiveness, loving one’s enemies, and an enduring hope in the power and goodness of God despite suffering. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-44 ESV). Through this worship video, the Egyptian church has shown itself a living example of our Lord’s teachings.
What can the global church learn from the Egyptian church?
The Southeast Regional
meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society
will meet at CIU
March 28-29. This year's topic will be on the theme of "Diaspora Missiology." If you are a member of EMS and would like to propose a paper, send a topic and 200-300 word abstract to Ed Smither (email@example.com) by January 15, 2014. Off topic papers will also be considered. The complete call for papers reads:
It is widely evident that globalization, economic and security needs and other dynamics have driven increased internal migration in some countries and international migration among of others. Increasingly, mission agencies, individual gospel workers and churches in receiving countries wonder how best to respond to these diasporas where significant numbers of a nation or people, move from their homelands to areas of greater opportunity or security. Diaspora Missiology seeks to integrate biblical and theological insights with those of the social sciences to help understand and respond to this phenomenon.
You may choose a topic from the list below to make your contributions by seeking to:
1. Develop biblical and theological dimensions (“why”) of diaspora missiology;
2. Illustrate the “how” of “missions to, through, by/beyond the diaspora” historically and practically OR conduct a case study;
3. Apply missionary methods to diaspora missions and missiological research to diaspora missiology;
4. Strategize diaspora missions in terms of urban mission, contextualization, globalization, partnership;
5. Propose ways and means to integrate diaspora missiology with church planting, pastoral ministry, theological education, and Christian counseling;
6. Offer new direction for the practice of diaspora missions OR suggestion for future research in diaspora missiology;
7. Review relevant literature of diaspora missiology (OR related disciplines) and derive missiological implications;
8. Appraise current theory, methodology and practice of diaspora missiology and provide correctives/solutions.
This week's annual Evangelical Missiological Society's
annual meeting (meeting in concert with MissioNexus
) was dedicated to the topic of the missionary family. Among the fine papers was one given by Andrew McFarland--a historic look at William Carey and his vision of the missionary family-- and I had the privilege to offer a brief response. McFarland's paper, which stems from his PhD studies on William Carey at Asbury Theological Seminary, will be published as a chapter in next year's EMS monograph. Here is a taste of his paper:
As William Carey, his family, his wife’s sister Kitty, and fellow missionary John Thomas left the shores of England in 1793, bound for India, he could declare he had counted the cost. He knew well the dangers that awaited them at sea and in the unforgiving climate of India. Moreover, he knew the whole missionary venture would have to remain covert as mission work in India had been declared illegal. But Carey could not have anticipated the overwhelming sense of loss he would feel watching his missionary efforts suffer from the conduct of his own family members. From the unbridled violence of his wife to the wayward living of his children, he experienced his share of family struggles. At times, this caused him to sink into deep depression. As we shall see, in spite of failure, disappointment, and numerous domestic catastrophes, Carey’s dogged commitment to the creation of a ‘mission family’ not only rescued the mission, it rescued his own family as well. Their commitment to labor together in the work of the mission became the impetus for pooling their resources and sharing the task of raising children. While this arrangement was not a panacea for the dangers of raising missionary children, it provided the unity, community and support his family needed most.
This week I am presenting in the Short-term Mission track
at the North American Mission Leaders Conference
in Dallas on the topic "How Short-Term Missions Can Strengthen Long-Term Work." Originally published as an article in the October 2012 edition of Evangelical Missions Quarterly, below is a taste of what I'll present:
As the day ended, I was never more grateful to see my bed and crawl into it. I had aching feet from the miles walked that day, a sore back from carrying 50lb bags of flour up several flights of stairs, and stinging eyes and smoke filled clothes from the cigarette smoke encountered from the day’s visits. Craving sleep, I was still a bit wired from all the Turkish coffee consumed during the day. It was Spring break and I was serving with thirteen college students on a short-term missions trip among a Muslim people group in Eastern Europe. Our days were filled with delivering food packets to poor and needy families, visiting with them (and drinking lots of coffee) in their homes, helping with conversational English in a few schools, putting on a health fair at another school, hanging out in the evenings in smoky cafes with new friends, and spending time over meals with our local host families. In all of this, we served alongside a long-term team and our daily ministry was carefully dictated by their long-term vision and strategy for planting churches and making disciples in the region.
Short-term missions (STMs), particularly from the United States, is a huge enterprise filled with the courageous stories of humble servants but also the fun experiences of adventure seekers (Priest 2008:i-iv; Moreau 2008:11-20; Livermore 2006:43-108). The STM phenomenon certainly raises important questions about motivations for ministry as well as Christian stewardship. One of our biggest questions [should be] how does short-term work relate to long-term ministry? That is, how can a STM team helpfully contribute to long-term work, and how do we help short-termers become long-termers?
One of my students at CIU
, Alvaro Williams, writes about this great opportunity in which he is serving as coordinator:
or “Global Impact,” organized by CIU
, will be held in Shortess Chapel Saturday, September 28th. The conference seeks to bless the Hispanic Church through excellent and relevant Biblical teaching. This event strives to gather the many Hispanic congregations in the state of South Carolina, to foster a sense of community among them and to encourage them to participate in the global cause of God.
This year’s theme for the conference is “A Global Impact Church.” We believe that the Hispanic Church is often unaware of their key role in the Great Commission. There are over 7,000 unreached people groups in the world today, many of which Americans have limited access to. However, the Hispanic World is welcomed by many of these groups and has an easy point of entry. The heart behind this conference theme is to produce “Global Christians.” Prayerfully God will do a great work, igniting a passion in hearts of the attendees to actively participate in the mission of God, desiring Christ’s name to be exalted and known among the unreached.
The conference, conducted in Spanish, will last only one day. There will be three plenary sessions, workshops and a panel discussion. The speakers have had overseas experience or are in some way involved with training or equipping leaders for the mission field.
For more information about the conference such as the schedule, session themes or registration, please visit the following website: http://impactoglobal.eventbrite.com
One of the great joys of facilitating learning in intercultural studies at CIU
is to see quality research carried out in the form of MA theses. Randy Hacker, who has been serving in Poland for 14 years recently completed his thesis entitled, "North American Mission Agencies in Poland: A Study in 'Partnership.'" While the entire thesis can be downloaded HERE
, Randy summarizes his aims in the abstract:This thesis explores relationships between North American missionaries and Polish churches in Poland. The research draws from published descriptions of Polish church history and missionary accounts to build a preliminary picture of partnership. Online surveys of missionaries and Polish church leaders, as well as interviews of church leaders, form the foundation for the assessment of partner relations in Poland. Best practices in partnership documents are assessed, as are Polish and North American perspectives on the state of missionary/church relations in Poland. The research demonstrates several patterns and barriers in partnership, and the thesis concludes with recommendations for missionaries and Polish church leaders.
To get a further sense of his findings
, Randy concludes: Most missionaries to Poland and indigenous Christian leaders agree that Poland is a very difficult place to minister, a place where results do not come quickly, where spiritual immaturity seems to be the rule, where discouragement becomes a common trap for servants. Unfortunately, the task becomes even more difficult when we are unable to work together. I was heartened to hear from Polish leaders that in most cases, partnership with Western missionaries had been a significant source of encouragement. Missionaries and Polish leaders alike identified a number of barriers, but identifying these problems is the first step toward eliminating them. With God’s help, and humility from both sides, we can make our partnerships even better than before. As we do so, perhaps our example will be copied by the rest of the Church, and Poland will become a place of spiritual harvest and maturity, a place of encouragement, and a place that sends effective missionaries to other countries.