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Fall 1989 · Vol. 18 No. 2 · pp. 115–17 

Book Review

Reflection and Projection: Missiology at the Threshold of 2001

ed. Hans Kasdorf and Klaus W. Müller. Bad Liebenzell, Germany: Verlag der Liebenzeller Mission, 1988. 504 pages.

Reviewed by Herman G. Buehler

This book, in honor of George W. Peters’ eightieth birthday, is an excellent compendium of missiological articles by {116} outstanding scholars of local and global fame. It is a masterful tribute to Dr. Peters, who with his devout Mennonite roots has brought profound prophetic insights to the task of mission, challenging Christians from all walks of life to be about the Master’s business.

The Festschrift combines the contributions of 23 scholars involved in missions from the European and North American continents. Names of renown such as Bockmuehl, Beyerhaus, Buerkle, Gensichen, Hesselgrave, Hiebert, and Walls assure the reader of profound missiological insights. Articles by coworkers, former students, and friends of Dr. Peters are also included. The writers provide the best in missiological scholarship from the broad theological, ecclesiological perspective of the Body of Christ, that goes beyond personal and denominational boundaries.

The brief summary of each article, either in English or German, introduces the basic ideas to anyone too busy to read a whole book of 504 pages.

The book is divided into six parts. The first contains a compassionate and frank portrait of Dr. Peters by his friend and colleague, Dr. J. B. Toews. The second part, on theology, treats topics such as “Sanctification and Christian Mission,” “Christian Ethics as Motivation for Mission,” “Body and Soul: Their Meaning for the Gospel” and other related issues. The third part contains historical issues, such as the interdenominational faith movement, the older northern and new southern Christianity, etc. Part four discusses the world religions and their challenge to Christian mission; a most appropriate treatment in today’s pluralistic world context. Part five contains a case study of nominal Christianity in West Germany by Edward Rommen, with significant insights for any denominational development. The sixth and final part of the book deals with unique and challenging topics in missiology, such as Peter Beyerhaus’ review of the Lausanne Movement; Paul Hiebert’s discussion of “Meta-theology: A Step Beyond Contextualization”; Klaus Mueller’s study on “Eclenctics: Conscience in Context”; and Henry J. Schmidt’s appropriate treatment of “Global Urbanization.”

The bilingual approach (German/English) to the Festschrift makes it available to a larger constituency and testifies to the larger context (e.g. schools in Hepburn, Saskatchewan, Fresno, California, Dallas, Texas, Kornthal, Germany) in which {117} Dr. Peters ministered so effectively. Footnotes, bibliographies and indices of names and topics greatly enhance the volume. A bibliography of Dr. Peters’ writings reveals his keen mind and scholarly interaction with missiological issues—truly a legacy that has a lasting impact on the missionary endeavor.

To have so many contributions brought together in one book is most valuable to the student of missions and to anyone interested in a cross-cultural ministry. Without a doubt, missiology has become one of the most significant disciplines for committed Christians. Hans Kasdorf notes in his excellent article on missiology, that it has become a “Global Discipline” in a world where TV makes local happenings global issues.

The Festschrift is truly an outstanding tribute to the missiologist, George W Peters. It is a challenging call for “reflection” on the task and for “projection” beyond A.D. 2001. It is a call to prophetic vision and courage to be about the Father’s business in the Name of the Son by the Power of the Holy Spirit. The book is a must for anyone serious about obeying the Great Commission in today’s global context.

Herman G. Buehler, Liebenzell Mission of USA, Inc., School of World Mission (Ph.D. candidate), Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

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