B & H Publishing GroupThe Great Commission: Evangelicals and the History of World Missions
A thorough treatment of Christian evangelism and missions by respected theologians has been difficult to come by until now. Two professors of Church History and the History of Christian Thought (both at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) brought together many of their colleagues from Trinity and around the country in 2006 to honor Dr. John D. Woodbridge (celebrating his 65th birthday and over 35 years of deep involvement in evangelistic missions as Professor at Trinity). Indeed the contributors to the book are all students of Woodbridge, and the book is dedicated lovingly to him.
Distinguished people ranging from Fred Beuttler, Deputy Historian of the U. S. House of Representatives, to well-published authors Erwin Lutzer and D. A. Carson contribute to this book, and their essays deftly fine-tune the subject, at once illuminating and engaging the reader. Historically retrospective but sufficiently progressive to address modern issues concerning the ongoing Great Commission, the book is divided into three parts: Early Protestant Missions, Modern Anglo-American Missions, and Majority Church Missions (outlining the great commission in Latin America, Asia and Africa).
An annotated bibliography of Woodbridge's contributions to these fields of study and a second comprehensive bibliography with over 200 resources rounds out this extremely informative and useful book.
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Review 1 for The Great Commission: Evangelicals and the History of World Missions
In this assemblage of essays primarily--though not exclusively--written by members of the Trinity Seminary faculty, the reader is provided a whirlwind overview of evangelical cross-cultural missions from the 16th-century to the present. In reading the book from cover to cover, I realized that some would be better served to select individual chapters and give less attention to others, based upon their callings and interests. I personally found Parts One and Two ("Early Protestant Missions" and "Modern Anglo-American Missions") most informative, although there is help to be found in Part Three ("Majority Church Missions"). This last section deals with historical attempts in carrying out the Great Commission in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Clearly the locus of world missions has shifted. Rather than being a primary sending area, Europe is now a mission field. North America will soon be overtaken as the leading mission-sending continent. This should concern Christians in the western world, but it should also encourage us to know that the Gospel we export may soon lose some of its American "add-ons" that tend to taint its purity. I found the two most helpful essays to be those of Fred W. Beuttler, Deputy Historian of the United States House of Representatives, on "Evangelical Missions in Modern America," and D.A. Carson's concluding challenge entitled "The Ongoing Imperative for World Mission." This book is not for everyone, but I would recommend it for pastors and missionary candidates who are seeking to gain a foundational understanding of global missions from an evangelical, historical perspective. It is a good complementary text for the one who has taken the "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement" course. For others, certain parts may be somewhat tedious.