Books and Book Reviews on Missions


Book Review: Paradigms in Conflict by David J. Hesselgrave, 5 Stars

Paradigms is a very helpful book for someone interested in the top ten issues in missiology. Hesselgrave manages to define the issues, give a strong version of each side of the argument, and give his opinion based on solid, evangelical interpretation. Anyone interested in the study of missions will benefit from this book. Hesselgrave outlines ten key issues in a way that tries to honor each position and includes extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter for further exploration.

Book Review: Missiology by John Mark Terry, Ebbie Smith, & Justice Anderson, 4 Stars

Missiology is a perfect one-stop shop to begin the study of missions. The editors draw from dozens of writers to create forty-two chapters of a nearly encyclopedic overview of the study of missions or missiology. The expected chapters on the biblical basis of missions, history of missions, cross-cultural issues, status of the church, and strategy of missions are all superbly introduced and summarized. However, this volume  also addresses subjects like steps to strategy development, missions education in churches, serving as a single missionary, specific methods of theological education, evangelistic approaches to each major religion, cross-cultural ministry in the USA, spiritual warfare, and many more topics. I would recommend this book to anyone who is considering cross-cultural ministry or is interested in learning about the major and even minor topics within the field of missiology.

Book Review: Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey by A. Scott Moreau, Gary B. McGee, Gary R. Corwin, 4 Stars

Introducing World Missions tries to do much in one book. The task of introducing the biblical, historical, and practical aspects of missions is a massive enterprise. The best audience for this book is someone who is a believer who hasn’t yet carefully studied cross cultural ministry or the idea of “missions” and would like an overview. This introduction to missions is true to its title. It covers the biblical, historical, and practical aspects of God’s dealing with man across time, and God’s use of men to spread His message of love and truth.

Book Review: An Introduction to the Science of Missions by J. H. Bavinck, 3 Stars

The Science of Missions is arranged in three parts: Theory, Electics, and a short History of Missions. The first section on the theory of missions included the foundation, approach, and aim of missions. The approach section was most valuable as Bavinick explored cultural and world-view issues and responses that arise when a previously unreached nation encounters the message of Jesus Christ. Its 1954 first publication date and perspective now seem more dated than relevant. The the science of missions today asks different questions than in the 1950’s. The advantage of reading the book now is that readers not only get an introduction to missions, but also a snapshot of the relevant issues from a generation ago.

Book Review: Future of the Global Church by Patrick Johnstone, 5 Stars

Johnstone illustrates visually the century-by-century expansion of the church around the world and lists the shaping events of each century. Analyzing the trends within each branch of Christianity, he gives special attention to various forms of evangelical Christianity.

Book Review: Serving with Eyes Wide Open by David A. Livermore, 4 Stars

Serving with Eyes Wide Open is a great book for people who communicate cross-culturally, take part in short-term missions teams, or for those who train and lead short-term teams. The subtitle of Serving with Eyes Wide Open is “Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence”. The purpose of the book is to introduce the concept of “cultural intelligence” to those who serve on short-term mission teams or relate to other people cross-culturally. Globalization and multi-national corporations give a sense of oneness because of the ubiquity of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Nike, but we need to be aware of vast cultural and world-view differences among various peoples.

Book Review: Effective Engagement in Short-Term Missions: Doing it Right! Robert J. Priest ed., 4 Stars

In Effective Engagement, the editor combines the work of twenty-five contributors to explore how short-term mission teams develop strategy, partner with field organizations, train team members, and in other ways improve their effectiveness. Specialized chapters refer to medical missions, involving children, urban projects, working with business professionals, and legal issues surrounding short-term mission project. The book is helpful and worth reading. Because it is a compilation of twenty-five contributors, at times it seemed more disjointed than integrated. Its 600+ pages could have easily been reduced without lowering the quality of the book.

Book Review: Transforming Worldviews by Paul G. Hiebert, 4 Stars

Transforming Worldviews is a must read for anyone working or living cross-culturally. Worldview analysis is necessary for understanding and communicating in a new culture. This understanding only comes with careful analysis and reflection, not just more time spent overseas. It is possible to have vast experience living cross-culturally, but still have little understanding of the underlying worldview of that culture.I recommend this book to anyone who would like to use worldview analysis in order to better understand how people think and process information in order to communicate more clearly and accurately.

What books would you add?