Why Missions Needs Missionaries | Influence Podcast


This past summer, thousands of Assemblies of God churchgoers went on short-term missions trips. These trips often do much good. They certainly change the people who go on them for the better. But is it a good idea to shift a church’s missions strategy to short-term missions? Similarly, churches are increasingly supporting “social justice” causes such as anti-human trafficking initiatives and water well drilling as an important part of missions. Granted, these are great causes, but are they missions? In today’s episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with with Doug Clay and Greg Mundis about what missions is and why missions … Continue reading Why Missions Needs Missionaries | Influence Podcast

The Dynamics of Christian Mission | Book Review


Paul Pierson’s The Dynamics of Christian Mission consists of lectures on Christian history from a class he taught for twenty-five years at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Intercultural Studies. Like other books of this sort, it narrates the history of the expansion of Christianity from the apostolic era to the present, dividing that history into six sections. “Early Expansion” (chapters 1–7) traces the story from the apostolic era through the rise of the Celtic church. “Change and Attempts at Renewal” (chapters 8–12) examine the Middle Ages. “The Reformation Era” (chapters 13–16) focuses on the missionary efforts of the Protestant Reformation … Continue reading The Dynamics of Christian Mission | Book Review

Review of ‘The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History’ by Andrew F. Walls


Walls, Andrew F. 2002. The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History is a collection of essays, originally published independently, which Andrew F. Walls has … Continue reading Review of ‘The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History’ by Andrew F. Walls

Review of ‘Mission in the Early Church’ by Edward L. Smither


Edward L. Smither, Mission in the Early Church: Themes and Reflections (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2014). The aim of Mission in the Early Church is “to begin a discussion about early Christian mission that will impact how we think about and approach mission today” (p. 1). Its author—Edward L. Smither associate professor of Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina—pursues this aim by providing “an introductory reflection on some prominent marks of Christian mission in the early church” (p. 5), including suffering, evangelism, Bible translation, contextualization, word and deed, and the church. Smither’s treatment of these themes is … Continue reading Review of ‘Mission in the Early Church’ by Edward L. Smither

Review of ‘The Next America’ by Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center


 Paul Taylor, The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown (New York: PublicAffairs, 2014). Hardcover / Kindle The Next America is not a book about how to contextualize the gospel in contemporary America. At least, that was not Paul Taylor’s intention in writing it. And yet, as I read his fascinating new study, I couldn’t help but notice its missiological significance. Drawing on reams of research by the Pew Research Center, which he serves as executive vice president, Taylor describes “the demographic, economic, social, cultural, and technological changes that are remaking not just our politics but our families, livelihoods, … Continue reading Review of ‘The Next America’ by Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center

Review of ‘A Missional Orthodoxy’ by Gary Tyra


 Gary Tyra, A Missional Orthodoxy: Theology and Ministry in a Post-Christian Context (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2013). Paperback / Kindle  According to research by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2012, from 2007 to 2012, the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as Christians declined by 5 points, from 78 to 73. By contrast, the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation increased by 4.3 points, from 15.3 to 19.6. The so-called “nones” described their religious preference as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” In contrast to “Christian” America, American “nones” are tend to … Continue reading Review of ‘A Missional Orthodoxy’ by Gary Tyra