Edited by Richard R. Cook/David W. Pao.
Pickwick Publications. Wipf and Stock,
2011. $25.66. ISBN #976-1-60899-336-9.
Review By Wayne A. Holst
The appearance of a quality study such as
this one is an encouraging sign that a
younger generation of evangelical Christians
in east and west are not content to ignore
or condemn the world outside their spiritual
communities, but are open to engage and use
the tools of modern scholarship beyond
biblical studies to deal with thorny problems
arising from history, politics and culture.
At the same time, the evangelical gift of
strongly affirming and advocating Holy
Scripture to the world in which we live,
is strongly evident.
The twelve contributors to this collection
are constituted largely of Asian scholars
living in the USA and Asia itself. Most of
them are ‘post-colonial’ in terms of their
experience – so that they can more honestly
assess the realities of imperialism without
having to defend or deny the church’s
missionary activity in China during that
unfortunate time. This brings refreshing
honesty and clarity to the discussion.
A book like this also presents and
anticipates the emergence of a new force
in the Christian world of the future –
Chinese Christian theology. Most of the
contributors were educated in the west.
But things are going to change. More and
more – with the emergence of the indigenous
Church in China – we are going to hear
from theologians whose education has
been largely in the east.
We know of parallels – African, other
Asian and Latin American theologies
have been influencing our thinking for
several generations. Now, Chinese
theology – replete with the influence
of ancient wisdom and culture – can be
added to a future “Christian mix.”
Our awareness of what the future holds is
limited, but a book like this gives me
a considerable amount of hope for a truly
I am particularly pleased to review this
book for Missiology – the academic
journal of the American Society for
Missiology*. I have been a member of
that society for a generation, and
have watched how evangelical theologians
have been joining members of the classic
“ecumenical” (Protestant and Catholic)
founders of the association. Their
participation has always been evident,
but a new generation and the broader
ecumenical and global nature of this
mission group has become more evident.
* I will share my review shortly.
A book like this will be treasured by
“China Watchers” and those who are
interested in the ever-developing
world of mission studies in our time.
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Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and co-ordinates adult spiritual development at St. David’s United Church in that city.
Colleagues List, Vol. VIII, No. 2, July 21, 2012