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Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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In the second section he makes a transition to a clear emphasis on Africa. He interacts with the primal religions of Africa as well as with African Christianity in this section. He identifies exponential growth patterns and charismatic cultural tendencies that now characterize the African Christian Church. However, most interesting is his insistence in making a distinction between the history of the African Church and the history of Christian missions there. Whereas missions in Africa was historically led by Europeans, Walls argues that the evangelical revival in the African church was truly indigenous.
Part three sets the stage for missiology. Walls believes there is a new era in Christian theology that is largely due to the demographic shift in global Christianity. He sees theology being shaped more by southern Christians than western ones. Issues like non-western art, scholarship, medicine and organizational methodology highlight the generational and gradual shift in values in southern countries. Walls believes that "Christians outside Africa will have to make some responses to the questions raised in the African arena" (146).
A more thorough review is available on buckburch(dot)blogspot(dot)com
As for the book's flaws: 1) I was astounded to see that it has no bibliography and bummed that it has a skimpy index. 2) The intensive studies are at times repetitive and arcane. 3) Walls borders pretty close to latitudinarianism by all but saying there are no essential facets, even dogmas, of the Christian faith. He lays so much weight on the "local expressions" of the Faith that he is rather nonchalant about what must stay and what can be lost. Yes, he even uses the word "Christianities" (pg. 239).
Ironically, since Walls's Evangelical perspective often smacks of anti-Catholic, anti-centralized, anti-dogmatic ecclesiology, his book was a superb defense of the reality (and divine wisdom) of doctrinal development, and, in turn, much of what the Roman Catholic Church has done for centuries. I'm a Protestant seriously considering reconciliation with the RCC, so Walls' book was an unexpected boost in that direction. Walls virtually demands that different ages have different doctrinal and devotional foci. That's why, e.g., George Salmon's barbed observation that it is strange to see popes wax about Mary in most of their writings, while her name appears in so little of the NT, betrays the notoriously a-historical Protestant view of doctrine. In each age, in each "new world", God knows what aspects of the deposit of faith the Church needs to focus on for His glory and Kingdom and He guides His Church to present that deeper understanding of Revelation.
All the same, I was frustrated with Walls because he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He vaguely refers to essentials of Christianity (which he unwittingly - or ungratefully - draws from Christian Tradition) and yet all but denies dogmatic essentials. He seems to view the historically unifying dogmas/practices among Christians of all ages as mere neat coincidences rather than divinely established essentials for the Church in every place in every era.
But my review runneth over...