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Mission Impossible: The Unreached Nosu on China's Frontier.

Ralph R. Covell, retired academic dean and professor of world mission at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, was a missionary in China and Taiwan from 1946 to 1966 and for several years was editor of Missiology. Billed as providing "tentative answers to pressing questions," this book yields insights both about the church in China and about missiology. It is based on reflections about missionary activity in the 1940s amid severe political change among the small Nosu minority community in what was then eastern Tibet and China.

The book moves beyond boundaries of time, geography, and culture. Covell urges avoiding the ever-present danger of equating one's own culture with the deeper realities of the Gospel. In mission there is but one "Middle Kingdom"--the sovereign reign of God.

Mission Impossible is particularly helpful for persons preparing for missionary service. Covell reminds us that weakness and vulnerability are still more attuned to the Gospel than are power, prestige, and wealth. He also warns against using culturally rooted theological convictions as steppingstones to condemn Christian faith practices rooted in differing cultures. Mission is faithfulness, not triumphalism.

Covell neatly blends issues of cultural adjustment, language study, and interpersonal relations with insight into China amid revolution and liberation. Mission Impossible speaks directly to our time when questions of relationship between church and state, Gospel and culture, and faith and political ideology continue to command our attention and concern. Although written before China's turbulent events of June 1989 and ensuing changes in Eastern Europe, the book speaks with relevance and thoroughness to how the church lives the Gospel in any society.

Ewing W. Carroll, Jr., Indochina and China Related Area Secretary for the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, New York City, was a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1966 to 1986.
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Author:Carroll, Ewing W., Jr.
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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