A review of Diaspora Missiology: Reflections on Reaching the Scattered Peoples of the World, edited by Michael Pocock and Enoch Wan, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2015
The theme of The Evangelical Missiological Society’s 2014 Annual (and regional) meetings was “Diaspora Missiology.” The Content of the 2015 annual monograph are select papers from the 2014 conference. This book extends the audience of the conference.
The book is organized into six parts. Each chapter begins with a helpful abstract.
Part One: The Current Phenomenon of Global Diasporas contains three chapters. Chapter One presents the facts of the diaspora situation such as, “Two hundred and thirty-two million people lived outside their country of birth in 2013” (p 3). The second chapter is an interesting look at using Facebook to map diaspora people. The open potential for witness among Muslim diaspora is explored in Chapter Three.
Part Two: Theory and Models of Diaspora Missiology contains two chapters. The value of diaspora communities for missiological research is the theme of the book’s fourth chapter highlighting that questions can be asked in the diaspora setting that could not be asked in the homeland. The author points to his own research among diaspora Muslims in New York. Here’s one paragraph from his research:
Though the interviews featured eleven questions, one question in particular probed the interviewees’ perspectives on the central question of whether a Muslim who comes to believe the biblical narrative regarding Jesus Christ is still a Muslim. Thirty-eight of the forty interviewees stated such a person is no longer a Muslim. Only one stated the person was still a Muslim; the other was unsure. The Muslim-Background Christians were unanimous in stating a Muslims who comes to believe in the biblical narrative regarding the Lord Jesus Christ is no longer a Muslim. (p. 74)
Chapter Five describes the experience of Diaspora Romanian Christians in western Europe as an example of diaspora Christians reaching out to other immigrants and local people. Here the diaspora are the doers of mission, not the recipients.
Part Three: Biblical and Theological Guidelines also has two chapters. In the sixth chapter, Paul is identified as a diaspora Jew and his biculturalism is displayed in exploring two of his sermons in Acts (ch13, 17). The biblical theology of the church as the “New Humanity” emphasizing being a church of the nations and for the nations is the focus of Chapter Seven.
Part Four: Strategy and Models begins with a discussion (Chapter Eight) of three models of acculturation that diaspora people experience. The strategic potential of kinship, transnational networks, and honor-based hospitality for working with diaspora peoples forms the substance of the ninth chapter.
Part Five: Case Studies in Diaspora Missions includes a chapter on Palestinian diaspora and a chapter on Ethiopian diaspora.
Part Six: The Way Forward contains an interesting chapter on how the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has reorganized from geographic regions to global affinity groups. The final chapter of the book reviews the emergence and development of diaspora missiology with some pointer for the future.
There are three appendices listing past conferences, research, and articles and books by Enoch Wan plus a twenty-one-page bibliography.
Overall the book serves as a helpful overview of the current state of Diaspora Missiology with lots of information of where to dig deeper.