A Discourse In Search Of Reality?
Keywords:reverse mission, diasporic mission, non-diasporic mission, Europe, Ukraine
The text asks five questions regarding reverse mission. First, what is it? Secondly, is it actually being attempted? Thirdly, why “diasporic” attempts lag behind the rhetoric? Fourthly, why do “non-diasporic” attempts, on the other hand, have more chance of success? And lastly, what is the outlook for reverse mission in Europe? The concept of reverse mission is defined and it’s imprecision questioned. Attempts at diasporic reverse mission are then discussed, as well as reasons for their general failure. However, non-diasporic reverse mission, in various modalities, is also widespread. The advantages and disadvantages of this direct mission movement are analyzed, stressing the specific disadvantages that Pentecostals face in Europe. By far the most significant cross-cultural success story by global southern missionaries in Europe is in Ukraine, but there are many reasons for regarding Ukraine as exceptional rather than a foretaste of things to come. The article concludes that reverse mission via diaspora churches (to which disproportionate scholarly attention has been paid) is unlikely to work. Non-diasporic reverse mission (which deserves more research) is more promising, but even so faces huge obstacles and positive results are still few and far between (except in Ukraine). Over time, however, some success may be achieved; possible scenarios for such success in Europe are discussed.
— “Globalization and African New Religious Movements in Europe”. In Ogbu U. Kalu and A. Low (eds). Interpreting Contemporary Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI/ Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2008a, pp. 296–316.
— “Mapping Globalization with the Lens of Religion: African Migrant Churches in Germany”. In A.W. Geertz and M. Warburg (eds), New Religions and Globalization. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2008b, pp. 189–213.
Asamoah-Gyadu, J.K. “Pentecostalism in Africa and the Changing Face of Christian Mission: Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal Movement in Ghana.” Mission Studies 19, nos. 1–2 (2002), pp. 14–38. doi:10.1163/157338302X00161
Bastide, R. “Sociologies (au pluriel) des missions protestantes.” Bastidiana 25–26 (JanJune 1999), pp. 93–106.
Bede, A. A History of the English Church and People. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.
Bonk, J. “And they marveled…Mammon as Miracle in Twentieth Century Missionary Encounter.” In J. Krabill, W. Sawatsky and C. van Engen (eds), Evangelical, Ecumenical, and Anabaptist Missiologies in Conversation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006, pp. 78–87.
Brouwer, S., P. Gifford and S. Rose (eds), Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism. New York: Routledge, 1996.
Casanova, J. “Incipient Religious Denominationalism in Ukraine and Its Effect on Ukrainian-Russian Relations.” Harriman Review 9, nos. 1–2 (Spring 1996), pp. 38– 42.
— “Beyond European and American Exceptionalisms: Towards a Global Perspective.” In Grace Davie, Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead (eds), Predicting Religion. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003, pp. 17–29.
Catto, R. “From the Rest to the West: Exploring Reversal in Christian Mission in TwentyFirst Century Britain.” PhD thesis, University of Exeter, 2008.
Chesterton, G.K. The Everlasting Man. San Francisco, CA: Dodd, Mead & Co, 1925.
Clark, J. “CMS and Mission in Britain: The Evolution of a Policy.” In K. Ward and B. Stanley (eds), The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799–1999. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans; Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000, pp. 319–43.
Davie, G. Europe: The Exceptional Case. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2002.
Escobar, Samuel. A Time for Mission. Leicester, Intervarsity Press, 2003.
Fancello, S. Les Aventuriers du pentecôtisme ghanéen. Paris: Karthala/IRD, 2006.
Freston, P. “The Transnationalisation of Brazilian Pentecostalism: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.” In A. Corten and R. Marshall-Fratani (eds), Between Babel and Pentecost. London: Hurst; Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000, pp. 196–215.
— “Les Dynamiques Missionnaires Internationales du Pentecôtisme Brésilien.” In S. Fath (ed.), Le Protestantisme Évangélique: un Christianisme de Conversion. Paris: Brepols, 2004, pp. 123–43.
— “The Changing Face of Christian Proselytizing: New Actors from the Global South Transforming Old Debates”. In R. Hackett (ed.), Proselytization Revisited. London: Equinox Publishing, 2008, pp. 109–37.
Freston, P., and S. Kim. “The Rise of the Korean Missionary Movement: A Sociological Assessment.” In P. Freston (ed.), The New Global Apostles. Forthcoming.
Gerloff, R. “The Significance of the African Christian Diaspora in Europe.” International Review of Mission 89 no. 354 (July, 2000), pp. 498–510. doi:10.1111/j.1758-6631.2000.tb00239.x
Hanciles, J. Beyond Christendom. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008.
Jeffery, T., and R. Johnson. Churches Going Global: Connect! Carlisle: Spring Harvest, 2003.
Jenkins, P. The New Faces of Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
— God’s Continent. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Killingray, D. “The Black Atlantic Missionary Movement and Africa, 1780s-1920s.” Journal of Religion in Africa 33.1 (2003), pp. 3–31. doi:10.1163/157006603765626695
Latourette, K.S. Missions Tomorrow. New York: Harper, 1936.
Martin, D. “Remise en question de la théorie de la sécularisation.” In Grace Davie and D. Hervieu-Leger (eds), Identités religieuses en Europe. Paris: LaDecouverte, 1996, pp. 25–42.
Ojo, M. “Reverse Mission.” In J.J. Bonk (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mission and Missionaries. London: Routledge, 2007, pp. 380–82.
Ojo, M., and P. Freston. “Extending Faith Frontiers: The Transnationalization of Nigerian Protestant Missionary Enterprises.” In P. Freston (ed.), The New Global Apostles. Forthcoming.
Olupona, J., and R. Gemignani (eds). “Introduction.” In J. Olupona and R. Gemignani (eds), African Immigrant Religions in America. New York: University Press, 2007, pp. 1–26.
Robert, D. “The First Globalization? The Internationalization of the Protestant Missionary Movement Between the World Wars.” In O. Kalu and A. Low (eds), Interpreting Contemporary Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008, pp. 93–130.
Stark, R. One True God. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Thomas, C. “Europe Calls: Into the Spiritually Devastated Continent.” Indian Missions 4 (October 2004), pp. 14–15.
Van der Laan, C. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” In A. Droogers, C. van der Laan and W. van Laar (eds), Fruitful in this Land. Zoetermeer: Uitgeverij Boekencentrum, 2006, pp. 47–60.
Währisch-Oblau, C. “Getting Ready to Receive? German Churches and the ‘New Mission’ from the South.” Lausanne World Pulse (July 2008). See http://www. lausanneworldpulse.com/themedarticles.php/971/07–2008?pg=all
Walls, A. The Missionary Movement in Christian History. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.