Saturday 3 January 2015

International Bulletin of Missionary Research 39:1 (January 2015)

The latest issue of International Bulletin of Missionary Research carries the feature articles noted below addressing the issue of ‘Witchcraft and Mission Studies’.

Here are the opening paragraphs from J. Nelson Jennings’ Editorial:

‘Challenges presented by witchcraft and witch accusations have long been urgent concerns of countless Christian communities worldwide. Even so, the reality of witchcraft has escaped the notice of most missiologists and mission studies. This issue of the IBMR seeks to help rectify this discrepancy.

‘Contemporary Europeans and North Americans may blush at the early modern witch trials in Europe and in Europe’s North American colonies. Accordingly, modern Western theologians and missiologists have for generations conveniently turned a blind eye to such phenomena, which have been rumored to take place elsewhere. In actuality, however, witchcraft-related activities – including violent witch hunts directed toward women and children – stubbornly plague Christian communities all around the world. Missiologists must catch up with these acute, long-neglected spiritual and pastoral issues.

‘Today’s requisite missiological response to the realities of witchcraft must be honest, active engagement – even if my colleagues and I might not think that witches are cursing our own families or congregations. Missiologists as well as theologians – contextually bound as both are – must finally become fully engaged with the issues of spiritual agents, sociological dynamics, and people’s assumed universes.’

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