Book Review on “Christian Mission in the modern world”
Stott, John R. W. Christian Mission in the modern world. London: Church Pastoral Aid Society, 1977.
John Robert Walmsley Stott is an evangelical writer and thinker of this modern time and is noted as the leader of the worldwide Evangelical movement. John Stott had been served in the Church ministry.
Since the present society is trying to give a new meaning to the Biblical mission, the author has picked the real and biblical meaning on missiology and ignored the light meanings. The whole content of this book is focused on finding the biblical hermeneutics to reach a complete understanding of the Christian mission regarding Christian responsibility and relationship towards the non-Christian community by the role of evangelism, dialogue, salvation, and conversion in the biblical context as well as modern historical and present context. The author has emphasized the Pauline teaching about the heart and the soul of the gospel as Jesus Christ has tried to impose every missionary Christian to compulsorily put Christ in the center of their mission and mind. The author also talks about the mission of God that is God’s work of mission in the world and church history.
The author has raised the distinction developed by Mr. C. H. Dodd about the proclamation of the gospel and ethical instruction of converts that has led the contemporary Christian society feel the power of the gospel as well as to present the New Testament gospel in terms of gospel events, witnesses, affirmations, gospel promises, and gospel demands. Mr. Stott has presented the need of the repentance and faith to be alive in Christ. The real-life and ministry of Jesus Christ in this world almost 2000 years ago is primarily important for the defining gospel as the real historical event. The twofold witnesses of the gospel in the Old Testament and New Testament by the apostles after Jesus’ earthly ministry provides the entire required evidence for authentication. The fundamental gospel affirmation is Jesus Christ is the Lord of history. Mr. Stott’s understanding about the context of evangelism is the presence with the proclamation of the gospel not the presence without the proclamation and it has condemned such ministers who are present in the society but silent in proclaiming the good news.
Then, the author introduces the term dialogue between God and humans from Biblical history. The need for dialogue between the saved people and unsaved people is to bring salvation in their life. Since, there are so many “narrow domestic walls” (Rabindranath Tagore), the author of this book talks about destructing the walls and building the bridge between the people of other religions and industrial Britain by the serious dialogue about the gospel of salvation. Though there are some developed theories about socio-political liberation and physical health to define the complete term of salvation in history, salvation has already been interpreted fully in the biblical context in terms of personal freedom from judgment for sonship, self for service, and decay for glory through Jesus Christ.
So, psycho-physical health and political liberation aren’t the complementary theological terminology for salvation. The author talks about conversion as the means of salvation and response to the gospel demand as well as the combination of repentance and faith. The author has tried to define the meaning of conversion in relation and contradiction with the meaning of regeneration, repentance, church, society, culture, and religion with the help of the Holy Spirit. The author has raised the utility of the Christian mission in the modern world where many liberal Christians are unaware and uninterested in the conversion idea. His writings have even challenged the spiritually bold Christians who are limiting themselves within the walls of the Church and Christian world. The bible-based output of the Christian mission in this book has become an adventurous step against the liberal understanding of the Western Christian thought.
The content developed by the author for this contemporary issue is very systematically arranged to provide enough and complete discussion on the related topic. The gradual process from the mission of God to evangelism and then dialogue and salvation and conversion and the minor details mentioned in the book provides many uncountable opportunities for the upcoming writer and missionaries to think about the importance of biblical mission mandate. Since the author has done a lot of research and resources but the readers will seek the bibliographical resources. The author has shown the serious concerns about the writing the books in Christian mission to report in World Congress and Evangelism and teach in Oxford 1975 A.D but has provided the opportunity to the upcoming writers to specific kinds of a mission organization. He has tried to use more primary and secondary resources than tertiary resources to work on this subject.
The author has proposed to replace the terminology ‘salvation’ which has been understood as the traditional religious vocabulary by the more modern idioms by not manipulating its core meaning but missed to introduce the alternative terminology for instance. At the same time, he has provided the opportunity for his reader to compare his thought with the Biblical message and contemporary Christian mission activities. Since the book is surrounded by the practical implication of Christian organizations on the mission, it would be more informative if the author would have done more empirical research on this concerned topic and mentioned some major Christian organizations.
The book has become a very important biblical source for the Christian ministers to understand the core value and objective of the Christian mission. Those who want to do missionary work in their specific field, the book will be very important in many terms except the contextualizing mission work according to the several specific geographical and cultural area because the reader will be informed about the updated perspective of the 21st-century modern world in the western context. At the same time, the value of this book has been highlighted because of its genuine and required interpretation of the biblical terminology to reach the people of this period.
Every Christian missionary and minister must read this book at least once during or before beginning their mission task. After all, the Christian society has got one more very precious academic resource on the mission and the book has challenged every missionary and minister to apply the true and effective meaning of mission and its application in Christian ministry. Christian history will always acknowledge this book as the irreplaceable treasure in the Christian account.