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Anthropological Insights for Missionaries [Paperback]

By Paul G. Hiebert (Author)
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Item description for Anthropological Insights for Missionaries by Paul G. Hiebert...

The author's anthropological insights are meant to sensitize missionaries to non-Western cultures, to provide the tools for understanding cultural differences, and to increase the cultural relevance of the proclamation of the Good News.

Publishers Description
One source to help missionaries understand the people they serve and their historical and cultural settings is in the field of study called anthropology. The author, an expert in his field, taps its insights for missionaries in a way that few others do.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.78"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2001
Publisher   Baker Academic
Age  18
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0801042917  
ISBN13  9780801042911  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul G. Hiebert

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! The late Paul G. Hiebert (1932-2007) was distinguished professor of mission and anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and previously taught at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also served as a pastor and missionary to India. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and was the author or coauthor of numerous articles and books in the fields of anthropology and missions.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Cultural
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Missions

Reviews - What do customers think about Anthropological Insights for Missionaries?

Helpful advice for those considering foreign mission work  Apr 3, 2008
Christian missionaries often are required to go through extensive theological training so that they know their doctrine and how to apply it. They also go through various psychological and personality tests so that they might gain a better understanding of themselves (e.g. strengths, how they react to stress). But they rarely receive adequate training on how to adapt to, live in, and thrive in a foreign culture in such a way as to gain a hearing for the Gospel. This book, by missionary, anthropologist, and professor at Biola University (La Mirada, California) seeks to apply anthropological insights to the work of foreign mission work in order to make the missionary more healthy (spiritual, mental) and effective in his work.

"Anthropological Insights for Missionaries" begins by presenting a base of information. Anthropology is described and various terms are defined and interrelated Overarching theories of intercultural interaction are presented and Hiebert describes his basic anthropological and theological assumptions. One of the most important arguments for the purposes of the book is Hiebert's contention that the Gospel is compatible with any culture as each culture is able to understand and apply the Gospel in a unique, Holy Spirit-led way.

The second part places the focus on the missionary himself. It is certainly a stressful task for the missionary to pack up everything and move to a remote, unfamiliar land. Issues of culture shock and ethnocentrism are examined as well as cultural assumptions. Hiebert provides paradigms and practical advice for acclimating to a new culture and (beyond that) to becoming incarnational within that culture (adopting it as best as one is able). Hiebert provides a brief-yet-accurate list of Western cultural assumptions and contrasts them with differing cultural assumptions in real communities.

Part three places the focus on the Gospel message itself. He emphasizes that cultures will view the Gospel through their own cultural filter and thus the missionary may have difficulty determining whether the host culture is gaining an orthodox or heterodox understanding of the Gospel. While becoming a thorough understanding of the language and culture is helpful in this regard, Heibert continually argues that the missionary should work toward allowing the (new) Christian leaders of the host culture take the lead in determining authentic practical applications of the Gospel (after all, they know the cultural significance of their community better than a missionary will be able to). Indeed, one of the major tasks of the missionary is to develop a new Christian community to maturity both in leadership, resources, ability to evangelize others, and theological application. While recognizing the difficulty of this task, Hiebert reminds the reader of its long-term importance for the Church.

The final part examines what it means to be bi-cultural. Any time two cultures interact as closely as is the case when long-term missionaries (and their families) evangelize and disciple Christian nationals (and their families), a new hybrid culture is developed. People who become bi-cultural face unique challenges as they fully comfortable in their host culture, nor are they comfortable in their home culture. A missionary should be prepared for this inevitable change.

The book is well structure and well written. Hiebert presents a balance of theory, practice, and anecdote (from his own personal experiences and the experiences of fellow missionaries). The information is presented in a logical and straightforward manner, advice and principles are given to the reader, but the reader is often left to figure out how to apply this information/advice in his own context.

Recommended to those engaged in cross-cultural ministry, especially those considering serving as a foreign missionary.
Cultural Insight  Mar 11, 2008
"Anthropological Insights for Missionaries" should be required reading for anyone involved in short or long term missions. While well researched, this book also comes from an insider. Mr. Hiebert's years of mission experience shine through in the practical applications. As you read answer questions like, "What are my cultural assumptions?" or "Where does the culture not meet the people's needs?" This would make a great supplemental textbook for any missionology class.
Anthropological insights are for missionaries!  Jan 20, 2006
Missionaries should learn and understand culture of the people to whom they want to preach the gospel. I agree with Hiebert that without all that knowledge their message may be irrelevant and meaningless in cultural enviroment that is different from the cultural background of missionaries, especially if they came from the West. Missionaries must be tolerant for other cultures and keep interest in their own ways of being and believing, but they must resent the popular concept of cultural relativism. Christian missionaries may lost the meaning of the gospel and ministry if they only reflect the culture of people around them or ignore the native culture.
Hiebert accents that the preaching of gospel may reflect the background of missionaries but he in his book helps to avoid trap of culture shock, how to make bridges between cultures, and lay good foundation for native Christian churches. Especially interesting is Hiebert's analisis of trends what will and may happen in the new native Christian church later after three and four generations.
I recommend this book not only for missionaries but also for pastors and gospel workers.
Anthropological insights are not for missionaries  May 26, 2005
This is a terrible book with a terrible message: that you should use the understanding of other cultures in order to infiltrate and change them. That is NOT the message of anthropology. As an anthropologist, I resent this book profoundly. Anthropology is based on tolerance for other cultures, interest in their own ways of being and believing, and the concept of cultural relativism--that a culture's values and morals can only be understood in their own terms. The one thing we do NOT do is try to impose our own "truths" on others. If missionaries want to learn what anthropology really is, then read an anthropology book. But this text merely steals from anthropology in the most primitive way and turns that stolen material into the guidelines for cultural judgment, invasion, and destruction. It is arrogant and misguided.
Academic, yet insighful  Jan 23, 2004
This is a good reference book for missionaries who are going overseas. It helps you understand different cultures around the world. It is a good read for those who do not understand other cultures and want to get a good grasp on why people do what they do. It introduces you to various ways of life many of which I had never heard before. This book is academic, not light reading.

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