IVP, 2018. 454pp.
In Theologies of Mission, volume 2 in the Intercultural Theology series, originally written in German, Wrogemann seeks to survey the various theologies of mission at work across the globe and throughout history. In Wrogemann’s first volume, he addressed the theme of inculturation and hermeneutical issues, and in his third volume (not yet published), he seeks to discuss a theology of religions.
In this recent work, Wrogemann divides his work into four sections. First, he studies the history of mission theologies in the recent past (i.e. one hundred years) including the World Missionary Conferences and Lausanne Conferences. Second, he surveys the mission theologies of various movements (e.g. Roman Catholic, Orthodox, North American Protestants, Anglicans, and Pentecostals). Third, Wrogemann discusses various topics of interest by comparing various perspectives in the world today. Some of the issues addressed include the kingdom of God, money, power, dialogue, reconciliation, gender, and conversion. For example, he delves into how contexts in West Africa and Sri Lanka view money and wealth. Fourth, Wrogemann concludes with his own approach to the theology of mission.
In this fourth section, Wrogemann proposes a model of mission theology under the catchphrase mission as oikoumenical doxology. Here he defines the goal of mission: “Christian sending finds its basis in the praise of God; as people praise God, they can palpably experience his power. The sending aims to point creatures to the purpose of their existence, which is to praise and glorify God as redeemed creatures” (380). He goes on to argue that “mission has to do with imparting a doxological impulse with a broad ecumenical impact, one that permeates the household of the entire creation (oikos)” (381). Wrogemann stresses the oikoumenical dimension so that the praise of God (doxology) increasingly inhabits the world.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
Theologies of Mission is an important reference that will help pastors better understand the various theologies and perspectives on mission. The historical and background work will serve pastors well when working in cross-cultural settings, and in ecumenical partnerships with different tribes and movements. Furthermore, Wrogemann’s work is instructive for those studying the topic of mission and missions, as well as instructive for those seeking to partner with indigenous peoples in kingdom advancing work, knowing that worldview clashes are unavoidable. Additionally, Wrogemann provides insight into how mission has been viewed over the course of history, among various movements and tribes of Christians, and how specific people and regions have grappled with various aspects and elements of the Christian faith.
Wrogemann’s proposal is also a helpful perspective moving forward under his catch phrase mission as oikoumenical doxology. All of Christian mission ought to be aimed towards and advancing the worldwide praise and worship of Jesus Christ, increasingly inhabiting every sphere and transforming every household until all creation is filled with the praise of the glory of God. This is not unlike the Lord’s word to Habakkuk: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). This is not only a promise, but a sure guarantee from the Lord of all creation who does not lie. Thus, pastors can be encouraged that their labors in mission, however small, and their partnerships, however insignificant, contribute to the imminent worldwide worship of Yahweh.
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