McQuilkin's life and work were also remembered in the festschrift Transformed from Glory to Glory that was published in 2015.
Past CIU president Robertson McQuilkin was honored in the latest edition of the Occasional Bulletin of the Evangelical Missiological Society. Tributes were given by former CIU professor and EMS president Robert Priest, CIU chancellor George Murray, past EMS president Enoch Wan, David Hesselgrave, Scott Moreau and others.
McQuilkin's life and work were also remembered in the festschrift Transformed from Glory to Glory that was published in 2015.
Not since the time of the Roman Empire has Europe seen such a mixing of world views and such a time of revival. One can see an admixture of very positive and very negative things happening simultaneously. In the background is the undisputed supremacy of the European religion of secularism, the heir to dead Christendom. The Europeans, it would seem, have completely rejected Christ, and the Christian faith. Yet in the context of this, the greatest revival that Europe has seen in centuries is taking place. The irony is that as the native European population dies off, with the highest rates of people over 65 and the lowest birthrates on the planet, it is being replaced by an immigrant population. Immigrants in general and Muslim immigrants specifically are turning to the message of Christ. This is ironic for it is certainly not something that European governments encourage. That is a good thing.
Signs of this revival can be seen everywhere. A gathering of Iranian church leaders affirmed to me that 10% of the Iranians in Sweden as well as in Europe in general, have converted to the Christian faith. This, alone, is the greatest revival in recent European history. But now the Arab Muslims are coming. In a recent article (Kristet Perspektiv, 4, 2015) Merzek Botros points that the majority of Arabs now attending his yearly Arabic language revival meetings are ex-Muslims and the numbers are in the hundreds. Similar reports are coming from Germany, Denmark, and Finland.
On a personal level I have witnessed this in the past three weeks in the newly emerging churches in Sweden. The population is truly mixed (Swedes and immigrants) and much younger than the Swedish population in general. Regular conversions and baptisms are taking place on a routine basis. We met an Iranian woman recently converted and baptized in the home church of one of my sons in Västerås. Bible studies have begun in the local refugee facility with many Muslims in attendance. Their is a clear hunger for the Christian message.
This is broader than just Muslims though. I met some old Colombian friends I had worked with in Eskilstuna when I was a pastor there and there are clear signs of revival in the Spanish speaking population. The revival atmosphere is having the joyful affect of moving secularized Swedes back towards the Gospel. The immigrants are the key to reaching the Swedes. Another son and his wife have translated T4T workbooks for young people leading Bible studies for youth. It was amazing to meet a group of 17 to 19 year olds, all from Swedish backgrounds, wonderfully converted to Christ and working to lead their friends to Christ through Bible studies they were leading. This was quite unlike the atmosphere we encountered working in Europe 20 years ago.
Why is this happening? First, Muslims have been prepared for the Gospel message by ISIS, Al Shabab, Al Qaeda, Jabhat ul Nusra, and the Taliban, etc. They know what Islam stands for and they want out. Recently a group of 15 Somali ex-Muslims shared their testimony online in Sweden. This led to direct threats from the Somali government (not Al Shabab!), which has led to an even higher awareness on the part of Somalis that many of their own people are looking for a way out of Islam. Many have found that love and sure forgiveness in Christ. The radicals, including some Muslim governments, are preparing the way.
Secondly, European official hatred for the Gospel message actually works on our behalf. While Muslims are not despised by the official powers of Europe, evangelical Christians definitely are. Yet Muslims find safe space, acceptance, love and help from the despised churches, not from the secularists. The secularists talk a good talk, but they do not walk a good walk. Muslims feel that we are in the same camp with them and that safe space, given their horrific experiences with radical Islam, has opened the door to the Gospel.
In this context, a great deal of training is not necessarily needed. Just living out the Gospel seems to be sufficient. The churches are hungry after years of starvation in the wastelands of secularism. They are engaging the immigrants and seeing fruit.
Posted by Dave
Scott Sunquist is one of my favorite writers. I’ve greatly appreciated his previous works, Understanding Christian Mission and the two-volume History of the World Christian Movement. This latest work, The Unexpected Christian Century, effectively grew out of volume two of HWCM and in it he attempts to sketch out the history of global Christianity in the twentieth century. This is a tall order indeed and I appreciate his approach to the “global century” that began with some 80% of the world’s Christians living in North America or Europe and ended with about 60% living in the Global South—the non-western nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
In just six chapters—sandwiched between an introduction to world Christianity in the first nineteen centuries and a forward looking epilogue—Sunquist does a commendable job of narrating the story of twentieth-century Christian history. Here’s a brief chapter-by-chapter synopsis:
In chapter 1 (“world Christianity”), the key trends in global Christianity at the beginning of the twentieth century area discussed. Chapter 2 (“Christian lives”) focuses on representative examples of global Christian innovators and leaders. In chapter 3 (“politics and persecution”), the global church is considered in the context of twentieth-century politics and discrimination against the church. The fourth chapter (“confessional families”) addresses the four key streams of global Christianity—Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and Independent churches. Chapter 5 (“on the move”) captures the crucial issue of global migration and its relationship to Christianity. Finally, in chapter 6 (“one way among others”), the author discusses Christianity’s relationship with other religions in the twentieth-century context.
As far as strengths go, I think Sunquist does capture the big picture of twentieth-century world Christianity through his framework in these chapters. In particular, I think the biographical approach of chapter 2 is excellent as he succeeds in putting a face on the global church. While famous Christians like Mother Theresa and Billy Graham are mentioned, it’s also good for the reader to meet lesser-known global Christian leaders and innovators as well. I also thought chapter 4 was an excellent survey of the main expressions of global Christianity, especially the “spiritual churches” (independent and Pentecostal), which comprise the fastest growing faith communities in the world. Indeed, the categories of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox no longer adequately tell the story of contemporary world Christianity.
My only major critique of the book has to do with the group of world Christian leaders surveyed in chapter 2. The common element for most of them is that they are somehow connected to the World Council of Churches. While the independent churches are highlighted in chapter 4, their leaders do not figure as prominently in chapter 2. Also, I find it problematic that Ghandi was listed and surveyed in this chapter on Christian leaders. Though Ghandi had dealings with Christians in South Africa, Britain, and India and he influenced Christians like Martin Luther King, Jr, Ghandi himself was not a follower of Christ.
To sum up, I am grateful for this well-written and engaging book on the global century and am happily adopting it (along with HWCM volume two) as a text for my course, History of Global Christianity II at CIU.
Posted by Ed
What does it take to equip Christian cross-cultural workers—missionaries—to go out into other cultures ready to learn, build meaningful relationships, and be effective in ministries central to the evangelical understanding of mission, such as evangelism, discipleship, and the planting and development of viable, contextualized churches? With today’s pressures and priorities, what are the minimum standards or best practices? The significance of these questions may be clear to the aspiring missionaries, their supporters, and the organizations that send them, as their purpose and ministry are on the line. Answering these questions, however, is more difficult due to factors such as a diversifying mission force, the rising cost of training, and the demand for shorter mission commitments.
How, through pre-field or on-the-job training, can Western Christian missionaries be equipped as skilled cultural learners? More specifically, how might missionary trainers equip today’s and tomorrow’s missionaries to conduct cultural studies that can help them intentionally learn as much as they can for their own sake and the sake of others?
CIU graduate student Marti Wade explores these questions through her recently completed MA thesis (Intercultural Studies). Through synthesizing the recent literature as well as analyzing interviews from cultural trainers from 10 different mission organizations, she helps us move forward on this critical question.
Read Marti's complete MA thesis HERE.
This new resource on diaspora missiology, in part the fruit of the Lausanne Global Diaspora Network gathering Manila last year, has just been released. Here is a brief description from the publisher which also includes a helpful explanation of what is meant by diaspora missiology:
The 21st Century is marked by mass migration. Massive population movements of the last century have radically challenged our study and practice of “mission fields.” Where the church once rallied to go out into “the regions beyond,” Christian missions is currently required to respond and adapt to “missions around.” This volume analyses the development of missions to the migrants and develops an understanding of the contemporary church’s opportunities and responsibility vis-àvis Diaspora Missiology: “a missiological framework for understanding and participating in God’s redemptive mission among peoples living outside their places of origin.”
CIU Dean Ed Smither wrote chapter 29 ("The Brazilian Evangelical Missions Movement") in which he summarized some of the key findings from his book Brazilian Evangelical Missions in the Arab World, which was published in 2012. A key element of grasping diaspora missiology is to recognize the significance of mission movements originating from all over the world.
Trevor Castor, managing director of the Zwemer Center at CIU, wrote chapter 37 on the idea of transnationalism. Through interviews with an immigrant neighbor from Pakistan, he demonstrates how cultural identities are negotiated through migration. This is also key to understand as we seek to make Christ known in a mobile world.
In short, Scattered and Gathered is a key resource for the church as we navigate the changing landscape of mission in the 21st century and the new approaches that are needed.
Telling God's story--the gospel--on big screens and small screens. That is the passion of Clyde Taber, founder and director of the Visual Story Network. In his message at CIU's 2016 World Christian Week, Clyde begins with a biblical theology of storytelling and ends with practical approaches for telling God's unchanging story in a 21st century media driven world.
Imagine being a thirteen-year old Iranian immigrant teenager growing up between Iran and the USA. One day you are the exotic student at school and the next day you are the enemy of America. That was Shirin Taber's story as she grew up in Seattle in the late 1970s. Inviting us into the world of thousands of Muslim immigrants in America, Shirin shares how she found Christ and began to serve him. Author of the book Muslims Next Door, Shirin gives wonderful insight into loving and reaching our Muslim neighbors through her talk at CIU's 2016 World Christian Week.
Our theme at CIU's 2016 World Christian Week was "God's Mission; Our Stories." Our invited speakers, Clyde and Shirin Taber, challenged us to think about our stories and our part in God's global work by sharing a bit of their journey in mission.
What do we learn about God's mission through the Taber's story?
How big is your story in God's work?
"Mission(s) and the Local Church" is the theme of this year's Southeast regional Evangelical Missiological Society meeting that will take place on April 9 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.
The plenary address will be given by SEBTS president Daniel Akin: "I am Going to the Nations with My Local Church."
Other papers will be given by CIU professors including:
Ed Smither, "When the Church was the Mission Organization: Rethinking Winter’s Two Structures of Redemption Paradigm by Examining the Missions of Basil, Patrick, Augustine, and Boniface."
Zekiel Xu and Chris Little, “The Local Churches’ Role of Mission in Contemporary China.”
Dave Cashin, “The Perspectives Course and the Local Church.”
We're also excited that some CIU graduate and seminary students will be giving papers from their research:
Mehari Korcho, “Mobilization, Recruitment, Future Generations, and Transnationalism: The Case of Ethiopian Diaspora Churches in America.”
Ryan Hooks, “The Local Church In Sending and Equipping: A Case Study of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.”
Finally, there will be a track co-sponsored by the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at CIU and SEBTS' Center for Great Commission Studies on the recent question: Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? CIU's Trevor Castor, Dave Cashin, and Zwemer Senior Fellow Jerry Rankin will give papers and participate in a panel.
Click HERE to view the complete schedule, HERE to register and HERE for information on hotels and directions.
Former CIU Seminary dean and provost Bob Ferris authored chapter 32 of John Mark Terry's updated volume Missiology: An Introduction on the topic "Leadership Development in Missions Settings." In this post, Dr. Ferris offers a summary of his main arguments in the chapter.
Leadership development in mission settings has been powerfully shaped by leadership development in the mother church from the New Testament era to the current day. Jesus did not start a school, although schools had existed in Israel since the Hellenistic period and he almost certainly attended the synagogue school in Nazareth. Rather, his approach was to call disciples “to be with him,” to observe his life and ministry and to dialogue about values and relationships in ministry contexts and in periodic retreats.
Apparently, Jesus’ disciples emulated his methods since there is no record of Christian schooling until 150 years after his death. It was Pantaenus, trained in Stoic philosophy, who first established a school for catechumens in Alexandria. Until the 11th Century, relatively few church leaders attended schools; most were mentored into leadership in the context of their own congregations. It was only in A.D. 1079, when Pope Gregory VII mandated establishment of cathedral schools, that a schooling approach to ministry preparation became common. Calvin’s school in Geneva carried on the church’s romance with schooling which has dominated Protestant ministry preparation since. This is the approach to leadership development that Western missionaries exported to churches in mission settings.
A number of problems are inherent in a schooling approach to church leadership development. The Hellenistic view of knowledge, on which schooling is founded, assumes that truth comprehended will be applied. This assumption was not shared by the Hebrews; they understood that application is an essential aspect of learning. Nevertheless, Christian schools focus on transfer of information and faculty members equate “learning” with high scores on examinations that measure comprehension of knowledge. The schooling model discounts relationship, despite the critical role of modeling in spiritual formation. Schooling also fosters elitism; faculty members are “ranked,” students are “graded,” instructors are addressed by academic titles, and high-scoring students are celebrated. These characteristics of schooling are shockingly at odds with Christian values, yet we are so accustomed to them that we fail to notice.
Even more devastating, however, is the fiscal unsustainability of schools apart from constant infusions of funds. Even in Western economies, schools are dependent on gifts and grants; in Majority World economies, schooling begets dependency on the West. This robs the Majority World church of capacity to own its programs of leadership development and undercuts the accountability of schools to their constituent church.
Alternative models of church leadership development exist in theological education by extension (TEE), in nonformal approaches of the persecuted church, and in priestly formation of the Catholic Church. Although we can learn from these models, it is unlikely that any of these will replace schooling as an approach to ministry training; a principle challenge is to develop better ways to deploy the significant resources Christians currently invest in schools. Faculty members will need to be retrained and programs for development of ministry leadership will need to free themselves from accrediting structures that enforce Hellenistic values and structures. Reallocating the considerable Western wealth that sustains schools in mission settings also is needed to break cycles of dependency and to foster development of sustainable, culturally appropriate models.