The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar – A Review
Here is how I am approaching this review. First, I will give an overview of the book. Then I pose three questions to the text, so I am approaching the book in a more proactive manner. And finally I will end with a summary and synthesis.
Escobar in The New Global Mission helps us to understand how God is using the two-thirds world – Latin America, Africa and part of Asia – to move His mission forward. He demonstrates how the Christian mission has truly become the responsibility of the global church, and that the church’s center of gravity has shifted from the West to the South. Escobar provides a history of missions as well as describes the new context for missions – globalization, post-Christian and post-modern. He reminds us of the role that the Father, Son and Spirit have in missions as well as the importance of scripture, service and partnerships when it comes to fulfilling the God’s mission.
Who are some missiologist that he mentions or recommends in his book?
Since Escobar grew up in Peru and because of his travel and various roles, he has made connections with a diverse group of missiologist around the world. My hope was to discover some new authors to explore in order to get a boarder perspective in regards to missional thinking. I was not disappointed, for Escobar mentions many in his book. Here are a list of people he mentions that I would like to study out more: Walbert Bühlmann, Andrew Walls, Ruth Tucker, Henry J. Cadbury, Justo L. González, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Ada Lum, Joseph D. Souza, Viv Grigg, Mario Rodriguez Leon, Jim Pluedemann, Valdir Steuernagel, Vishal Mangalwadi, John V. Taylor and Ajith Fernando.
What are themes that Escobar shares that I would like to further contemplate?
Some of themes that I feel led to take more time in contemplating are the following: The importance of remembering that God uses the weak to confound the strong, and how He is using the two-thirds world through creative ways like migration patterns and immigrant movements to take His good news to the world with great energy (14). I want to reflect on how God is accomplishing his mission from below, – those with few resources – (19) who are open to the empowering of the Holy Spirit. I also want to remember that God’s mission isn’t accomplished by our human ingenuity, but by his divine power (Ch. 2 and 3), and that the gospel should be contextualized as well as prophetic – challenging nationalism, materialism and other idols.
What was the biggest piece of advice I will walk away with?
David Shanks’ lessons from the African church:
- the faith of the powerful is irrelevant, and mission has to be characterized by servanthood
- the gospel is the source of liberating power
- faith is a spiritual combat
- the Western interpretation of Scripture is not the final word
- God is experienced as an awe-inspiring divine mystery and
- the power of the faith community is in the laity. (164)
SUMMARY AND SYNTHESIS
Escobar did a great job explaining both the history of the church and her future. He reminds us of the importance of contextualization as well as the dangers of over-contextualization. He shows us that our Triune God is on mission and loves to use the weak and the poor but will empower anyone makes themselves available. I have already ordered some books which Escobar references and I look forward to familiarizing myself with a greater diversity of missiologist.