Mission Trends No. 1
ed. Gerald H. Anderson and Thomas F. Stransky. New York, NY: Paulist, 1974. 276 pages.
Here is a rich mix of twenty-three articles that probe the concept of “mission”: its message, its implication, its messenger. The following articles illustrate the wide spectrum of thinkers presented: Peter Beyerhaus, Tuebingen, “Mission and Humanization”; Arthur Glasser, Pasadena, “What is ‘Mission’ Today?”; Hans Kueng, Tuebingen, “What is the Christian Message?” One of the major concerns discussed is the classic issue as to whether “mission” is to aim at numerical church growth or whether it is to change social structures. The book is too rich in conceptual framework to attempt a response to each article; however, two quotations should whet the reader’s appetite for more:
Glasser: “Like its Head, the church will deny itself the right to be neutral in the moral and social issues of the day” (p. 8).
Frazier: “The church is a sign, not a sanctuary. Unlike a sanctuary, a sign is meant to point beyond itself and to have its impact outside itself. Unlike a sanctuary, a sign is not an enclosure but a disclosure. A sign performs its function not by containing but by communicating; not by annexation, but by representation. . . . Sign is an image of service, sanctuary an image of separation” (p. 27).
Some material (e.g., Margull, Hamburg, “Mission ‘70: More Venture Than Event”) with an emphasis on economic change as virtually the only behavioral outcome of mission, may seem insufficient. But the anthology will serve to focus better the question of the role of the body of Christ in a divided world.