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Missiologie, 2 vols.

Jan Jongeneel's Missiologie should not be compared with David Bosch's great work on the theology of mission, Transforming Mission. Whereas Bosch presents a profound draft of a theology of mission while at the same time discussing the broad stream of missiological trends, Jongeneel offers a reference book for students of missiology. It is meant to help students get an overall view of the wide spectrum of missiological problems and publications in order to find the necessary literature for each topic.

Jongeneel has divided his book into two volumes. The first volume was published five years ago as a separate edition and deals especially with the science of mission. Here definitional problems surrounding such terms as "apostolate," "missiology" (pp. 26-51) are discussed intensely, while the rest of the book is to a great extent a historic, almost retrospective orientation. Even seldom used terms such as "halieutics," "auxanics," and "philosophy of mission" (pp. 99ff.) find a place here.

Jongeneel now holds the chair formerly occupied by J. C. Hoekendijk at Utrecht. As a result Hoekendijks's influence may be noticed frequently in Jongeneel's book. His holistic approach, which subsumes God's entire turning to the world under the notion of "mission," undoubtedly is present in the background. Yet it neglects the Christians' specific turning to people of other faiths. Hoekendijk avoided the notion of theology of mission and tried to orient the whole of theology toward mission concerns. Jongeneel rejects this approach, since he knows too well that this would confuse the concept of mission, leaving missiology no longer concrete and discussable (p. 62).

Although Jongeneel proceeds more carefully, he does not deny the elements of truth in Hoekendijk's approach. He defines "mission" as the devotion of people who feel called and chosen by the triune God to move Israel, the church and the whole world toward a renewed community with God and humanity, all to the glory of God and for the sake of the family of nations (p. 111).

This definition averts the threat of a total extension of the notion of mission as well as an ecclesiastical narrowing down of a confession-bound understanding of mission.

It might prove helpful to make a distinction between Israel, the church and the world without separating them from each other in order to overcome the unfortunate separation of "inner" and "outer" mission. Yet the question of the understanding of their relationship toward each other remains unanswered. Could it be that after all, missiology is here informally laying the claim to be a universal theology?

The way Jongeneel proceeds does not exclude this danger entirely. Within the presentation of mission as an academic science the following branches are treated: history of mission (pp. 125ff.), geography of mission (pp. 159ff.), and even the sociology, statistics, psychology, pedagogics, and phenomenology of mission (pp. 163-208).

Those seeking information on the respective topics will find short but precise discourses and a helpful bibliography. Due to the lack of space, however, the author mainly restricts himself to the listing of books. Apart from articles appearing in the International Review of Mission, he seldom refers to essays published in journal.

Since Jongeneel rejects the narrow outlook of missiology, he entitles the second volume Missionary Theology, an obvious analogy with Hoekendijk's concept. By doing so, however, he finds himself faced with the pressure to deal with the whole of theology. I wonder if Jongeneel does not set himself a too ambitious goal in this respect? Is it really possible to deal with dogmatic topics such as Christology, anthropology, and even ethics and social ethics in less than 100 pages (pp. 57-154) without running the risk of being superficial? In spite of such reservations, Jongeneel has accomplished a remarkable piece of work. He has managed to include all relevant topics facing both missionaries on the mission field and scholars of mission studies in their teaching.

All in all, the author has written an encyclopedia of mission that may replace many texts and reference works. Scholars will appreciate the author's wide knowledge of theological literature and his competence to illustrate highly complex concepts in brief and plain language. The clearly arranged and detailed table of contents along with an index should be of great benefit to readers from the French-and English-speaking world which do riot understand Dutch. I hope that tile book will reach a wide audience.
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Author:Sundermeier, Theo
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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