Everyone, Everywhere: Glimpses of God’s Global Work through People Like You, by Dr. Erick Schenkel
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This is at least the second book I have read that references the Jesus film and its use in attempting to convert people in the Global South to Hellenistic Christianity . I have not yet seen the film myself, although there is a link to it for those who have an app that scans QR codes. My cell phone, alas, does not. At any rate, this book is not particularly surprising for those who are somewhat familiar with the language of global missionaries about reaching people in the 10/40 window, although the language may be a bit off-putting to those who are not well-acquainted with the debates and concerns of contemporary missionary efforts . This is a book with its own particular worldview, specifically one that seeks to encourage an ecumenical partnership between Hellenistic Christians of the Catholic, Reformed, and Orthodox branches of Christianity in order to encourage common efforts at reaching people in Africa and Asia.
In terms of its content, this book offers a straightforward and unambiguous appeal to believers to support common efforts at missionary work around the world including everyone, everywhere. The book, like many of its kind, appears to support a sort of postmillennial optimism that believes universal conversion to be possible based on working together and an appreciation of the efforts of past Hellenistic missionaries at converting various parts of the world. The author also includes a great deal of discussion about the experiences of himself and his wife as missionaries in Central Asia, where they were brutally attacked by local Muslim extremists, and includes a great deal of testimonial content and conversion stories that are not as well sourced as one would like them to be. The book is an enthusiastic pitch for supporting efforts at evangelism in the Third World, and is aimed at people who may not be aware of such ongoing efforts and who would support with their service and their funding efforts at putting more Western missionary money in the service of reaching unreached people rather than attempting to distribute Christian material to the same familiar grounds in Western Europe and North America. There are obviously political implications about this sort of decision, and the author seeks to promote the Global South as being more receptive to Christianity and even better at practicing it than believers in the West. I am not sure that this tactic is a wise one.
As an anti-Nicene believer whose religious roots go back well into the ante-Nicene period, indeed, to apostolic Christianity, I am an outsider to the perspective of this book. The author’s discussion of missionary work and the praise he gives to previous missionaries entirely ignores the Sabbatarian aspect of genuine biblical Christianity, nor are Sabbatarian Christians mentioned as part of the believers with whom the author stands in solidarity. This alone would give me a hostility that would not be shared by the majority of the readers of this book. Many people will find much appealing about this author’s arguments, especially if they come from a background that is positive to the contemporary ecumenical spirit among many professed believers. Likewise, those who appreciate stories of dramatic faith and divine providence in often neglected and downtrodden areas of the world will find a great deal to appreciate here. If I am not the ideal audience for a book like this, I can at least see where the author’s appeal is most likely to be read with a great deal of approval and support.
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