Offsite Review: Contextualization in World Missions by Scott Moreau

Contextualization in World Missions: Mapping and Assessing Evangelical Models by A. Scott MoreauI don’t know about you, but I really like reading books by people I know. There is something that makes the book better when I have a context for the author.  A. Scott Moreau was one of my professors at Wheaton College.  I had a contextualization class with him when I was there and it was very helpful addition to my sociology major (it was a missions class).  I have since contacted him a couple times as a random alumni asking for a book recommendation here or there. (I cannot think of any other Wheaton prof that I have done the same thing with.)  He has always been very helpful.

So I am really glad that James has a very positive review of Contextualization in World Missions: Mapping and Assessing Evangelical Models.

Contextualization has long been a buzzword for Evangelical missiologists. It denotes the process by which the gospel (our timeless, Biblical message) is transmitted to a particular people group in a way which speaks into that culture. Yet when evangelical missionaries talk about ‘contextualizing the gospel, what practices and philosophical approach do they have in mind? In some of the foundational literature on contextualization, it was assumed that evangelicals simply labored at ‘translating the message’ for a culture but did little else. However this does not do justice to the variety of approaches which evangelicals have taken as they share their faith with the world.

A. Scott Moreau, professor of Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College has written a comprehensive resource which identifies and analyzes the landscape of evangelical contextualization. As someone who teaches Intercultural Studies at an evangelical institution, Moreau is no dispassionate academic. However the chief value of Contextualization in World Missions, is Moreau’s ability to describe what it is we evangelicals do on the mission field.

continue reading the rest of the review


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