I received this book in the mail today and read the preface. This is a strong start and one that excites me to read this and glean from Dr. Hiebert and his experience in the field and in his studies. Enjoy.
There is, today, in churches around the world a renewed vision of their responsibility to bring to people everywhere the Good News of salvation, and to minister to their needs. This can be seen not only in the revival of interest in missions which has occurred in the West, but also in rapid growth of missionary outreach in the churches of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the so-called Two-Thirds world.
With this renewal has come the realization that missions must be far more sensitive to people and their cultures. The modern mission movement was born during a time of Western colonial and technological expansion, and too often Western missionaries equated the gospel with Western civilization. Here and there individual missionaries identified closely with the people they served, and learned their ways. Many more showed their love for the people by their deep commitment to their ministries. They went abroad often knowing that they faced death in a few short years, and those who survived gave their whole lives to the task. But the identification of the gospel with Western power and technology made it foreign, and therefore unacceptable, to many people
Today the young churches planted by the early missionaries are speaking out, calling us to be more aware of human cultures and their differences, and reminding us that God is not a tribal God, but the God of the world; that the gospel is for everyone; and that the church is one body that breaks down walls of ethnicity, class, and nationalism that divide humans into warring camps. At the same time, there has been a growing awareness in the social sciences, particularly in anthropology, of the need to understand people in their cultural settings. Out of this has come the growing realization that missionaries today need not only a solid understanding of the Scriptures, but also a deep knowledge of the people they serve...Every missionary must experience God's call to missions and be rooted in a love for God and his glory, and in a love for people, their salvation, and their well being.
Paul G. Hiebert, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries, Preface
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