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The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith

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The collected lectures and articles of the noted missionary and historian Andrew Walls, professor emeritus of Edinburgh University and founder of The Center for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World. This book makes the full range of his thought available for the first time to scholars and students of world mission, theology, and church history.


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The collected lectures and articles of the noted missionary and historian Andrew Walls, professor emeritus of Edinburgh University and founder of The Center for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World. This book makes the full range of his thought available for the first time to scholars and students of world mission, theology, and church history.

30 review for The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex Strohschein

    This was a really informative book that sheds light on the missionary movement throughout history. Although other regions are mentioned, Andrew F. Walls spends considerable attention on Africa. Interestingly, Walls states that the sacraments have not played a central role in African Christianity because both Roman Catholicism and Protestant denominations typically insisted that only ordained clergy could officiate over the sacraments but the sheer lack of available ordained clergy led to very in This was a really informative book that sheds light on the missionary movement throughout history. Although other regions are mentioned, Andrew F. Walls spends considerable attention on Africa. Interestingly, Walls states that the sacraments have not played a central role in African Christianity because both Roman Catholicism and Protestant denominations typically insisted that only ordained clergy could officiate over the sacraments but the sheer lack of available ordained clergy led to very infrequent participation in the sacraments; however, the Bible, immediate personal experience, and the communal meal have taken a central place in African Christianity (p. 100, 115). The first section on "the transmission of the Christian faith" was particularly helpful. Walls explains that the two main methods of transmitting the Gospel has been the "indigenizing" principle (the Christian is at home in a unique cultural context) and the "pilgrim" principle (concerned with universalizing Christianity) (p.7-9). Walls sees both methods as rooted in Scripture. However, Walls also points out that Christianity's very versatility and translatability inherently leads to diversity so that there can be no universal "Christian culture." This is especially stark when compared to Islam; whereas Bibles have been translated into all manner of languages, Islam insists that the Qur'an must remain in the original Arabic (p. 22-23). Another interesting essay was "The Western Discovery of Non-Western Christian Art" (p. 173-86). This book is comprised of gathered articles and essays. Thus, there is quite a bit of repetition and no cumulative argument that links everything together. Given that these pieces were written before the advent of the Internet, I wonder how the latest innovations in computer and communications technology have affected Christianity in the Global South. Still, a fine collection by a former missionary that invites readers to think how Christians have historically transmitted and translated the Gospel in a variety of contexts.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joyce del Rosario

    Walls describes this book as a “collection of fragmants” (Walls 1996 xiii). He encourages the reader to hear it is a symphony divided into three movements. The first movement is a “reflection of the nature of the Christian faith” (Walls 1996 xiii) and the relationship with transmission of faith. In the second movement, Walls focuses on Africa and it’s special place in Christian history. The third movement moves the discussion forward to the missionary movement of the West.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vijay Kumar

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the book I want

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim Darlack

    Walls is one of my favorite theologians to read. This is a foundational collection of Walls' essays that provides an excellent entry into his thought on missiology and global Christianity. Walls is one of my favorite theologians to read. This is a foundational collection of Walls' essays that provides an excellent entry into his thought on missiology and global Christianity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bob Ayres

    Outstanding, academic read of the movement of Christianity from one epoch to another through missionary efforts... highly recommended for any serious student of religious history or missions.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Luke Creighton

    Foundational to the World Christian Movement. Buckle up! This will help you see the broader picture of how God is using people of many nations to take the Gospel from anywhere to everywhere.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Reinders

    This is a really significant and engaging book if you are interested in the history of Christian mission, or even in understanding how different peoples over the course of history have experienced becoming Christian. Mysterious, strange, and wonderful are the works of God.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    This is one of the few books that I can say with absolute sincerity changed my life. Incidentally, my boss saw it sitting on my desk the other day, and out of the blue said, "that book changed my life!" Apparently it tends to have that effect on people. Probably my top takeaway is the paradigm that the gospel is always translated/contextualized, whenever and wherever it is. He uses the metaphor of a play: everyone in the audience watches the same play ("The Jesus Act" he calls it), but depending This is one of the few books that I can say with absolute sincerity changed my life. Incidentally, my boss saw it sitting on my desk the other day, and out of the blue said, "that book changed my life!" Apparently it tends to have that effect on people. Probably my top takeaway is the paradigm that the gospel is always translated/contextualized, whenever and wherever it is. He uses the metaphor of a play: everyone in the audience watches the same play ("The Jesus Act" he calls it), but depending on where you're sitting, you'll see different things more or less clearly. And the more you talk with people who sat in different parts of the theatre, the closer you'll get to understanding the whole story. With staggering insight, artful narration, and a truly remarkable breadth of knowledge, Walls tells the story of the Church as it has existed across time and space, crossing borders and entering new realms of thought and culture, transforming and being transformed as it travels, growing more and more into the fullness of Christ. It's a beautiful story, and has the capacity to make sense of so many historical and contemporary tangles, uncertainties, and anxieties. I first read this book just before embarking on a Master's degree in history of Christianity, and I can't think of any better preparation. This book has shaped my thinking, my curiosities, and my priorities, both personal and intellectual. In short, I owe Prof. Walls a great debt of gratitude!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andy Hickman

    Very good book. Wallis, Andrew F. The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1996. The history of the interpretation of the Bible … church history .. should not be regarded as mere objects of intellectual interest. They are, instead, raw materials for case studies which illustrate in concrete ways, for the sake of Christian discipleship, God's dealings with his people and the response of God's people to biblical revelation throughout t Very good book. Wallis, Andrew F. The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1996. The history of the interpretation of the Bible … church history .. should not be regarded as mere objects of intellectual interest. They are, instead, raw materials for case studies which illustrate in concrete ways, for the sake of Christian discipleship, God's dealings with his people and the response of God's people to biblical revelation throughout the centuries. … (1 Cor 10:11) Could we not say the same regarding multiple episodes in the history of the church? From this perspective, the study of tradition becomes one more tool to enable the contemporary reader to let Scripture provide instruction for practical life. As Andrew Wallis has put it, “The full-grown humanity of Christ requires all the Christian generations, just as it embodies all the cultural variety that six continents can bring.” (xvii)

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is what happens when a first-rate mind and passionate heart submit to the discipline of secular university strictures and sensibilities: superb scholarship, penetrating insight, startling revisions, and even the occasional practical and devotional insight (albeit judiciously rendered). He clearly feels no pressure to please any ecclesiastical or ideological masters: that's what tenure in a fine university is for, and Walls uses it gloriously. There is the usual overlapping of content and ph This is what happens when a first-rate mind and passionate heart submit to the discipline of secular university strictures and sensibilities: superb scholarship, penetrating insight, startling revisions, and even the occasional practical and devotional insight (albeit judiciously rendered). He clearly feels no pressure to please any ecclesiastical or ideological masters: that's what tenure in a fine university is for, and Walls uses it gloriously. There is the usual overlapping of content and phrasing endemic to books of this sort, but not to worry: Walls never lingers long over anything and instead tends to hurry onward to the next interesting thing he has to offer. If you haven't encountered him before, this is an excellent introduction to both his main messages and to his bracing, provocative style.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    There is great depth and breadth of scholarship in this collection of essays, and also practical value for anyone who is invested in the health of the church or the pursuit of the Great Commission. Walls also exposes the self-centered ignorance of most of today's Western churches and their most educated leaders, who seem intent on ignoring the central role of missions in the growth, health, relevance, and power of the church during the last 2000 years. Essays are somewhat dated as they don't dea There is great depth and breadth of scholarship in this collection of essays, and also practical value for anyone who is invested in the health of the church or the pursuit of the Great Commission. Walls also exposes the self-centered ignorance of most of today's Western churches and their most educated leaders, who seem intent on ignoring the central role of missions in the growth, health, relevance, and power of the church during the last 2000 years. Essays are somewhat dated as they don't deal with the current major shift toward supporting indigenous workers as opposed to sending cross cultural Western missionaries.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Robinson

    A good selection of essays. I didn't make it through all of them, but the early ones are foundational and very though-provoking. A good selection of essays. I didn't make it through all of them, but the early ones are foundational and very though-provoking.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay Risner

    Fascinating

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dwight

    A collection of essays on the history of missions. The third to last chapter on U.S. christian culture is especially awesome.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rabih

    The first chapter is an excellent framework for understanding missions: translation and indigenization. This is a key to a deeper understanding of the whole issue of contextualization.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  17. 5 out of 5

    Yancy Smith

  18. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lea Mwende

  20. 4 out of 5

    Keelan Cook

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daunavan Buyer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judah

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chris Breuninger

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marnie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joshua English

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Scheepers

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marta

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve Coombs

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