The Spread of the Early Church – an Excerpt from Introducing World Missions, 2nd Edition

The following is an excerpt from Introducing World Missions, by A. Scott Moreau, Gary R. Corwin, and Gary B. McGee.

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American and European Christians often have thought of the church extending to the West, due in part to Luke’s tracing events from Jerusalem to Rome, but more likely because the story of Christianity in the East was lost as believers separated from one another.

While Paul was directed westward by the vision of a man begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9), others went elsewhere. An angel of the Lord instructed Philip to take the desert road from Jerusalem to Gaza to witness to a royal official on his way home to Ethiopia after worshiping in Jerusalem (Acts 8:26–39). Eusebius Pamphilus, a later church historian, said that Mark first preached the gospel in Alexandria, John went to Ephesus, and Thomas and Andrew ventured east of the Mesopotamian River valley (Eusebius Pamphilus 1955, 65, 82). Other influential witnesses included Pantaenus, who reportedly visited India (Mundadan 1989, 117).

Cover ArtBy the year 180, Christians could be found in all the provinces of the empire. Just as members of the palace guard in Rome had whispered the gospel among themselves in Paul’s day (Phil. 1:13), so now soldiers carried the faith to the farthest imperial outposts in Roman Britain, Germany, and Romania, while merchants built churches where they located new markets.

How far they traveled southward into Africa and eastward into Asia and how many Christians lived in these regions remain unknown. But in any event, the number of Christians within the empire may have grown to several million by the year 313, when the Edict of Toleration (Treaty of Milan) was published.

Notable centers for Christian training and mission inside the empire arose in Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, Rome, and later Constantinople. To the east of Syria, Edessa, the capital city of the kingdom of Osrhoene, and later Nisibis, in upper Mesopotamia, became launchpads for sending forth Syriac-speaking Christians intent on sharing the gospel, some of whom would trek across the rugged mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of central Asia and ultimately to China.

Christians benefited from the Pax Romana (the enforced “Roman Peace”) and the protected system of roads that connected all parts of the empire. The Greek language also helped because it was the common language of persons engaged in commerce and government. Christianity thrived in urban centers linked to the roads. Villagers from conservative rural areas, however, resisted surrendering their confidence in the local gods. Consequently, a non-Christian came to be known as a paganus, a “pagan” or “heathen” in contrast to a Christian or a Jew.

©2015 by A. Scott Moreau, Gary R. Corwin, and Gary B. McGee. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Introducing World Missions, click here.

New Release: Introducing World Missions, 2nd Edition

Cover ArtIn this volume, leading missionary scholars offer an engaging introduction to the work of missions in the contemporary world. The authors provide a broad overview of the biblical, theological, and historical foundations for missions. They also consider personal and practical issues involved in becoming a missionary, the process of getting to the mission field, and contemporary challenges a mission worker must face.

Sidebars, charts, maps, and numerous case studies are included. This new edition has been updated and revised throughout and features a full-color interior. Additional resources for professors and students are available online through Baker Academic’s Textbook eSources.

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Praise for the First Edition

“No introduction to the global phenomenon of missions has been as up-to-date, or, in many a day, as thorough and well organized as this superb volume.” – Ralph D. Winter, William Carey International University

“An outstanding text for an introductory missions course as well as an invaluable resource for prospective missionaries and local church leaders. I recommend it highly.” – Kenneth B. Mulholland, Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Missions

“There is simply no other textbook that compares with it.” – Trinity Journal

“An educational and practical resource for missions pastors and would-be missionaries.” – Outreach

“As an introductory survey it can hardly be bettered.” – Reformed Theological Review

“This is nothing short of a well-executed project from start to finish, and it deserves a wide readership.” – Mid-America Journal of Theology

“A fair, well-presented, and accessible textbook.” – Anglican Theological Review

“The most comprehensive introduction to world missions in print.” – Evangelical Review of Theology

“This book stands out as a remarkable resource.” – Monthly Record

“I recommend this book as an excellent tool in teaching missions. Choosing this book will improve your teaching and will prepare your students to go and make disciples of all nations.” – Faith & Mission

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A. Scott Moreau (DMiss, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate academic dean and professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College Graduate School. He is the editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly and has authored, coauthored, or edited eleven books, including Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions and Contextualization in World Missions.

Gary R. Corwin (MA, Northwestern University) is a missiologist serving with SIM International (Serving in Mission) and is associate editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.

Gary B. McGee (1945-2008) received his PhD from St. Louis University and was distinguished professor of church history and Pentecostal studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

 

For more information on Introducing World Missions, click here.

A Beyond the Book Giveaway – Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology

BeyondTheBookBA

Beginning on Monday the 8th, this month’s Beyond the Book series will feature A. J. Swoboda discussing the themes of his recent book with Daniel Brunner and Jennifer Butler, Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology.

Today, we are kicking off our giveaway – three copies of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology. The winners will be announced at the end of the month.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*US Residents Only*

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 30, 2015

Cover ArtMathew Sims, at Grace for Sinners, reviewed James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom.

I cannot recommend Imagining the Kingdom highly enough. It’s a much needed corrective for the Church especially in our current climate where secular liturgies often are more formative. Christians have failed to tell and live our story in a way that’s believable and affective.

At Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight reflected on Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation by Matthew Levering.

Nate Claiborne reviewed Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

At Books at a Glance, Adam Darbonne reviewed Reading the Historical Books by Patricia Dutcher-Walls.

Jackson Watts, at the Helwys Society Forum, reviewed Beth Felker Jones’ Practicing Christian Doctrine.

Adonis Vidu’s Atonement, Law, and Justice was review at Pastor Dave Online.

Gary Ridley, at Send U, reviewed Effective Intercultural Communication by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell and Susan Greener.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, is looking forward to Mikeal Parsons’ Paideia commentary on Luke.

Justin Taylor shared Thomas Schreiner’s reflections in The King in His Beauty on seeing the Trinity in Genesis 1:26.

At Lingering in Love, Ian McConnell has been working through Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, and Bonhoeffer’s eight theses on youth work. Read posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

The Gospel Coalition shared 8 Lessons from the School of Prayer, an excerpt from D. A. Carson’s Praying with Paul.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 16, 2015

Cover ArtByron Borger, at Hearts & Minds Books, named J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth as 2014’s Best Book Of Biblical Studies.

“What a book!…There is no doubt in my mind that this book is urgently needed — among evangelicals and mainline folks alike — to be fully clear about God’s promises of new creation, and how this vision of a restored Earth can animate and sustain our efforts for cultural reform now. Richard is an excellent Biblical scholar and has worked on this serious volume for years; the endorsements have been robust and exceptional, and early readers report it is nearly life-changing.”

Also in his Best Books of 2014 post, Borger gave a double award (Best New Contribution to Bonhoeffer Studies and Best Youth Ministry Book) to Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker by Andrew Root, and an honorable mention to From Every Tribe and Nation by Mark Noll and Reading a Different Story by Susan VanZanten.

At The Hump of the Camel, Jon Garvey reviewed A New Heaven and a New Earth.

RJS continued to discuss Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth in the post “The End of the World” at Jesus Creed.

J. Richard Middleton wrote “God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny” for The High Calling.

Chris Woznicki reviewed Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

At First Things, Peter Leithart reflected on the discussion of Reinhold Hutter in Reformed Catholicity.

Reformed Catholicity was listed in The Aquila Report’s New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.

At Panorama of a Book Saint, Conrade Yap reviewed Effective Intercultural Communication by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell, and Susan Greener.

Christopher Skinner, at Crux Sola, reviewed Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite.

Daniel Gullotta reviewed Ancient Christian Worship by Andrew McGowan.

Elodie Ballantine Emig reviewed Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek for the Denver Journal.

At Theosblog, Lawrence Osborn reviewed Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda.

At The Jesus Blog, Anthony LeDonne named Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus as the best Jesus book of the 2010’s.

Robert Johnston, author of God’s Wider Presence, was interviewed in Tehelka Magazine.

 

Theological Foundations of Intercultural Communication

The following is an excerpt from Effective Intercultural Communication, edited by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell, and Susan Greener .

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Cover ArtIntercultural communication for Christians rests on three primary theological foundations. First, since we are made in the image of the God who reveals himself to people and listens to their prayers, we are by nature communicating creatures. Second, we serve a Creator who has communicated himself to us by revealing himself to people who recorded the revelations they received. Finally, we are commanded to communicate the message of the good news with others.

Although we are made in God’s image, there are realities that impact our ability to communicate. First, we are physical and therefore limited. We are creatures of our environment, but because we are made in God’s image we can rise above the constraints our environment places on us.

Second, our knowledge of ourselves and our own culture is finite, even more so our knowledge of the new cultures where following the evangelistic task and God’s call may bring us. Thankfully, we are creatures created to grow and learn, so we always have the opportunity to reach a better understanding of what we face and to learn how to communicate Christ in more effective ways in those settings.

Finally, we are categorizers. As humans, we see the world around us and want to make sense of it. Our families and societies offer us “maps” of the world that make sense to them, and we grow up learning how to see and read those particular maps. We use them to make sense of what happens around us, but each culture has unique approaches to this map-making and map-reading process, so there is an almost infinite flexibility in the ways we approach life, even though life is based on certain universals (such as the need for food and water, shelter, relationships with others, and social organization).

©2014 by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell, and Susan Greener. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Effective Intercultural Communication, click here.

New Release: Effective Intercultural Communication

Cover ArtWith the development of instantaneous global communication, it is vital to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries. Authored by leading scholars with significant intercultural experience, this addition to the Encountering Mission series is designed to offer contemporary intercultural communication insights to mission students and practitioners.

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“Communication skill is the cross-cultural worker’s most essential tool. Moreau, Campbell, and Greener have teamed up to produce a remarkably comprehensive and well-researched volume to sharpen and strengthen that tool….Destined to become the text of choice on this topic from a Christian perspective.” – Craig Ott, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“An excellent compilation, containing important information for Western leaders who want to serve internationally with cultural intelligence.” – David Livermore, author of Cultural Intelligence

“A clear pathway for those courageous enough to rethink how we communicate in a radically changing world. The principles in this book have profoundly changed me. They will change you too.” – Stephan Bauman, president and CEO, World Relief

“This book brings the discussion of intercultural communication up to date and provides assistance for struggling communicators….Highly recommended.” – J. Mark Terry, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary

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A. Scott Moreau (DMiss, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate academic dean and professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College Graduate School.

Evvy Hay Campbell (PhD, Michigan State University) is associate professor of intercultural studies emerita at Wheaton College and lives in Flushing, Michigan.

Susan Greener (PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana) is associate professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College.

For more information on Effective Intercultural Communication, click here.