Christendom is facing a new crisis over foreign missions because missionary statesmen differ tellingly both over the definition of the Gospel and over the Christian approach to the pagan world religions.
This momentous crisis in Protestant Christianity has organizational as well as theological implications. Is the foreign missions enterprise to be totally and permanently integrated into the ecclesiastical framework and control of the World Council of Churches? Many churchmen expect a major move in this direction will occur November 17 to December 6, 1961, with the integration of WCC and the International Missionary Council at the New Delhi Assembly.
Underlying most of the dissatisfaction over ecumenical mergers is a theological protest. From the outset theological inclusivism has haunted the ecumenical venture. It has sheltered not only evangelical but liberal (and more latterly neo-orthodox) and for a season even humanist views with equal welcome.
Twice in the twentieth century the Christian missionary movement around the world has been shaken by theological controversies. First, echoes of W. E. Hocking’s Re-Thinking Missions (1932) resounded from the Alaskan wastes to the African jungles. Then Hendrik Kraemer’s The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World (1938) framed the issues in a new albeit controversial setting.
This month an ecumenical symposium on The Theology of the Christian Mission (Gerald H. Anderson, ed., McGraw-Hill, $5.95) may rock the Christian world missionary venture afresh. Although the new volume is not an official ecumenical document, it has had private encouragement and commendation from highly placed ecumenical leaders in missions. As a supplement to Dr. Anderson’s doctoral dissertation at Boston University ...1
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