the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Book review: ‘Introduction to Global Missions’

RuthAnne Irvin

August 15, 2014

IntroToGlobalMissions_mech-JN.inddIntroduction to Global Missions (B&H Academic 2014, $34.99),Zane Pratt, M. David Sills, and Jeff K. Walters

God commissions his people to take the gospel to the peoples of the world.

In their new book, Introduction to Global Missions, Southern Seminary missions professors M. David Sills, Zane Pratt and Jeff K. Walters equip readers with the best biblical tools necessary to understand and accomplish that mission mandate.

The three authors combine their  own experiences to guide readers through various aspects of global missions. They explain what a call to missions looks like; the theological, missiological and historical basis for global missions; culture and global missions; and applications for individuals and local churches.

In the introduction of the book, Sills, Pratt and Walters — who write in one voice — explain the missionary call on the life of each believer. From beginning to end, the Bible is missiological they say, noting that God calls each Christian to global missions in some capacity.

“The way to find God’s will is to become so close to him that your heartbeat resonates with his own,” they write.

The book contains four sections: “Biblical and Theological Foundations for Global Missions,”

“Historical Foundations for Global Missions,” “Culture and Global Missions” and “The Practice of Global Missions.”

In section two, “Historical Foundations for Global Missions,” they lead readers to see God’s work through history. They review the expansion of Christianity from the early church through the Reformation to the “Great Century and beyond.”

Sills, Pratt and Walters examine diverse cultures and the challenges of global missions in the third section, “Culture and Global Missions.” The authors give an overview of several major world religions, encouraging readers to love people who hold to different religions for the gospel’s sake.

“Wherever Christians go with the gospel, it is important that they study the religious beliefs of the people they are trying to reach,” they write. “Given the level of syncretism with animism that exists in most religions, it is necessary to explore what people actually believe and do, not what their formal religion says they ought to believe. The purpose of this research is not disinterested scholarship or pluralistic dialogue but effective communication. People hear new information through the filter of their existing worldview.”

The fourth section, “The Practice of Global Missions,” concludes the book with application for both local churches and individual Christians.

Introduction to Global Missions concludes with “six keys” to thinking globally about the missionary call in local churches: “a biblical understanding,” “a global vision,” “understanding missiological principles,” “prayer,” “connecting yourself to missions” and “connecting the church to missions” through short-term mission trips.

“Much of what passes for evangelical missiology nods to biblical inspiration and inerrancy but then looks to secular sources for its methodology as though the Bible were inadequate,” they write. “However, because the Bible is inerrant, authoritative, clear and sufficient, it not only has the final word in all legitimate evangelical missiology; it also has the formative word.”

Whether you go or send, Introduction to Global Missions is a great place to begin to study what God says about the Great Commission and the Christian’s role in that calling.

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