A time for mission: the challenge for global Christianityc
Samuel Escobar IVP, 192 pages, £8.99,
Star Rating : 5
The scope of Escobar’s book is as far reaching and global as his subject matter. In A time for mission he offers his readers a theological basis for mission, a brief history of global mission, an up-to-date description of the world we now live in, and suggestions about the directions in which twenty-first century mission should be headed.
It is an excellent all-round introduction for church members and leaders, who need to be informed and challenged about the vital importance of mission in a single, readable volume.
What is especially captivating is the way the reader can see God’s saving and missionary hand traced through human history, as Escobar reflects on past, present and future mission activity.
We see how the gospel has been spread, and how it has taken root and then spawned further missionary endeavours. In all this we can see the continuing oversight and influence of the Holy Spirit.
Westerners who may bemoan the decline of Christian influence in Europe will be encouraged as they read this, seeing themselves as part of God’s growing global kingdom.
Herein lies the challenge: could we Western Christians be described as global players? Are we sufficiently aware of our fellow believers in the Global South, who now comprise two-thirds of the world’s Christian population?
As the centre of gravity in world Christianity moves south, are we willing to be influenced and enriched by Christians from other lands?
Do we take them seriously or retain a paternalistic attitude towards those we are accustomed to see as beneficiaries. In the same way that they used to need us, are we ready now to need them as gospel partners and mission partners?
An over-reliance on Lausanne texts was an area of slight annoyance, but Escobar’s writing does demonstrate a broad base of reading and research of source materials.
For many evangelical Christians the word ‘faithfulness’ has often carried implications of carrying on just as we’ve always done while everything around us ‘goes to the dogs’. A time for mission gives the reader confidence to face the modern world as it is, warts and all, and to think about and get involved in mission in ways that have contemporary relevance, both at home and abroad.
Escobar’s excellent chapters on ‘Postmodernism’ and ‘Globalisation’ erect signposts about missionary pitfalls and potentialities of the modern world.
He gives believers renewed confidence in the complete relevance of the gospel to the seven billion people currently inhabiting our planet and the power of the gospel to transform their lives and communities.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through the missionary lens of this book and warmly recommend it as a vital read for all Christians who don’t want to be dated, parochial, passion-less and mission-less!