Item description for REFORMATION IN FOREIGN MISSIONS by Bob Finley & Robert Finley...
Overview After 57 years of service involving Asia, Africa and Latin America, a veteran missionary is calling for a reformation in the way foreign missionary work is done. Bob Finley advocates the withdrawal of all American missionaries from foreign countries, and recommends supporting indigenous missions instead. He contends that there is no precedent for modern missions in the New Testament, no mention of apostles going to work in foreign countries, or anyone elso being sent to serve where he did not know the local language. The author cites numerous examples of how the presence of foreigners hinders the cause of Christ, and then shows how church growth exploded in China and elsewhere after the foreigners were all gone. This book is a must read for pastors, missions committee members, professors of missions, and all other Christians who are interested in foreign missionary activities of American evangelicals.
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Reviews - What do customers think about REFORMATION IN FOREIGN MISSIONS?
A "must read" for anyone remotely interested in Missions Apr 2, 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would often go back and reread portions of it... Why? Because what I had just read was either an "aha!" moment of truth, or it was something so out of the ordinary way of my thinking that I had to go back and check it out again.
I struggle with some concepts he seemed to come against so strongly,.. some of it from my conditioning in the church and missions communities, but some of it was truly because I think he could be too black and white in his ideas.
For example, he makes a strong argument for indigenous missions (which I heartily agree with) but seems to exclude the concept of a "sent" missionary. I personally can't erase the word "GO" from the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19. I would prefer not to limit God in His method of calling or sending.
However, I have been on enough short- and medium-term missions trips that I heartily agree with the majority of the points he makes regarding the damage done by the "colonialism" of the mission culture. Thankfully, I belong to a church where the leaders are continually revamping their missions practices. Many of the ideas the author presented have already become a part of our mission vocabulary.
By all means, if you are remotely interested in missions or supporting missionaries, get this book! You likely won't agree with all of it, but there will be a lot of good information and thought-provoking ideas that certainly would benefit anyone who wants to make an impact on ANY mission field. This book will definitely give you cause to think "outside the box"!
PS. I gave four stars instead of five due to a lack of some documentation. In my opinion, some ideas, concepts, and definitions should have been documented by footnotes for the reader's review.
I wish I had read this book years ago! Dec 23, 2006
In over 25 years of being a Christian, I have never heard this before. I have often struggled with feeling guilty because I didn't move to a foreign land. Now I see that I was preserved from doing so. This book is revolutionary, just like the truth. And I imagine that it will not be accepted by mainstream Christianity, just like the truth isn't. I highly recommend you give this book a chance. If he's wrong, you'll only be more confirmed in what you presently believe about missions. Either way, you'll gain a boatload of benefit.
A Must Read for MIssions Oct 17, 2005
The book is written for the evangelical Christian who is already convinced about the need for missions in reaching the "unreached nations" with the Gospel. Bob Finley is that rare individual whose experience of 60 years and close working relationships with Christian leaders from all parts of the world gives him a unique understanding of the world of Christian missions. In this book, he recounts his experiences and provides a strong statement for reformation in traditional missions, the method of "sending missionaries overseas", to indigenous missions, which are doing more than 90% of the work at less than 10% of the budget. According to Bob Finley, traditional missions has generally been counter productive and has hurt the cause of Christ more than it has helped. In effect, it squanders to a large extent "God's money" from being effectively used to reach the unreached with the Gospel.
Why is the indigenous missionary model so neglected by missions from the developed world? One reason is that it is deeply entrenched in a culture that may be rooted in a colonial past combined with a competitive spirit of denominational missions. Another reason is that there is no debate or clear understanding of the costs and benefits of "sending" versus "supporting the work of indigenous missions". Bob Finley supports his assertion with ample supporting evidence in this area. The costs of sending a missionary from the US is equivalent to 40 to 50 indigenous missionaries of equal ability, who do not have to go to language school or culture training, nor need visas to enter as "tent-makers", can endure the most harsh conditions as the ones that they seek to minister to, and do not need long furloughs during inclement weather or due to a variety of illnesses. Equally important, many unbelievers in other countries may not be able to see past the relative wealth and comforts enjoyed by the average foreign missionary for them to really investigate their message. In some countries, foreign missionaries are seen as a reminder of the "colonial" past and appear to confirm their opinion that Christianity is a "foreign" religion.
What causes Bob Finley to have this confidence in the work of indigenous missionaries? Unlike other missionary leaders, evangelical teachers and pastors, he has spent time and developed relationships with missionaries like Bakht Singh, Prem Pradhan and Nichalos Bhengu, during his work spanning over half a century. It is apparent that he not only supported their ministries, but developed a deep respect for them. It helped him understand the mysterious working of God in the world today more than most other Christians. God is raising and providing gifts to people from the nations to complete the task of missions. Finley's urges Christians to not become a hindrance to this work, but rather to try to understand and support it to effectively reach the nations.
This book is a must read for anyone involved in missions. While I personally believe that God does not use any single method to fulfill His purposes, this book may well contain the key message for this age when the window of opportunity is still open for Christians in the developed world to use "unrighteous mammon" and make a difference in fulfilling the Great Commission.