If you have a heart for missions, pick up this book!
About the author: Moreau (DMiss, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Professor of Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College and the author of numerous articles on missions in journals and books. Having spent a number of yeras in Africa as a missionary, he has firsthand knowledge of contextualization issues. His other professional interests include folks religions and technology in missions.
Publisher: Kregel Academic
Page Count: 384 pages, softcover
To be honest from the outset, global missions, intercultural studies and contextualization is not my forte. I have but merely dabbled in the subject and most conversations on both missions or contextualization has dealt primarily with my immediate context. That said, this cursory study of evangelical contextualization is eye-opening to me.
Moreau goes about this massive subject by dividing his book into two sections: “Foundations for Evangelical Contextualization” and “Mapping Evangelical Models of Contextualization.” In the former section, Moreau does a thorough job of discussing contextualization as it has been and as it stands at present (since it has really only been a term in the mission field since the ’70s). Contextualization needs defined and readers should know what presuppositions and push-back that the field has to offer; that is the role of the first section of the book.
In the latter, Moreau uses the metaphor of a map in order to help his reader understand contextualization. With a map, there is a key, grids, borders, the ability to zoom in and out for greater detail, and so forth. This metaphor gives him a model to work by in order to keep students from getting lost in the details.
Something to note (and you can decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing) is that Moreau draws almost exclusively from the research and theories of missiologists, opposed to theologians. That being said, his work will quickly become the standard for understanding the work of the evangelical missionary (all terms in which Moreau gives well thought out definitions to).
I would encourage professors and students in the field of intercultural studies or even programs dealing primarily with missiology to grab a copy of this book. Anyone looking for an easy read, you might want to shy away 🙂
Back Cover Reads:
Official product description:
Translating and then communicating ideas into a particular situation, place, or culture is an essential skill for those in the mission field. Mapping the variety of evangelical approaches to contextualization, Moreau explores various models and tools, and describes four basic categories—-linear, dialogical, cyclical, and organic—-to help you spread the gospel more effectively.
Contextualization is the art of translating ideas into a particular situation, place or culture. It is fundamental to communication, which makes contextualization essential in missions. This textbook pulls together and maps the variety of evangelical approaches to contextualization. Introductory classes on contextualization and missionary preparation institutes will appreciate this valuable textbook.
In section one, Moreau explores foundations that make it possible to see the variety of evangelical models more clearly. He looks at the ways evangelical models have been characterized in the literature, and he highlights the main concerns of evangelicals in their contextualizing efforts. Moreau explains several guiding ideas and analytic tools that show how evangelicals “lean into” contextualization.
In section two, Moreau describes how evangelical models of contextualization can be split into six primary categories based on the role the initiator: facilitator, guide, herald, pathfinder, prophet and restorer. For each initiator role, Moreau explains the role, portrays one or more models from the category, and presents selected contextual practices that evangelicals use which fit the category. This arrangement makes categorization easier than other options and does not frame the models in ways that bias their evaluation.
Contextualization in Missions will guide mission-minded to an informed plan for spreading the gospel effectively. While written with a theoretical perspective, Contextualization in Missions also provides real-world examples to provoke both thought and action.
This textbook for missions classes and missionary training maps the variety of evangelical approaches to contextualization. Presentation slides are available in PowerPoint format to help professors in the classroom
**This book was provided free from my friends at Kregel Academic with my promise to post an unbiased review of the text.