More Information
ISBN: 9781839736506
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 7
Publication Date: 31/10/2022
Pages: 124
Language: English

Ethnic Diversity and Reconciliation

A Missional Model for the Church in Myanmar


Forces of division, conflict, and fear threaten to separate us from the neighbor who does not look, act, or pray like us. However, followers of Christ are charged with embodying a unity that celebrates difference rather than fleeing from it.

Ethnic Diversity and Reconciliation explores the implications of the church’s radical call to inclusive community in the context of Myanmar’s long history of ethnic conflict. Dr. Arend van Dorp outlines the theological foundations for understanding the church’s mandate as a diverse and unified missional body, while also engaging the very real challenges posed to this mandate by the cultural, religious, and historical realities faced by Christians in Myanmar. He demonstrates that while the challenges are vast, so is the potential for transformation and reconciliation when the church takes up its mantle and bears faithful witness to God’s love in a fractured world.

Author Bios

Arend van Dorp

AREND VAN DORP holds a DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary, California, USA. Originally from the Netherlands, he has served in mission for over thirty years in Southeast Asia, including six years in Myanmar. Arend currently works with OMF New Horizons, equipping young people for mission among East Asians.


I warmly welcome this book, as it displays van Dorp’s ardent desire to see the church in Myanmar radiate a sound, biblical ecclesiology that brings reconcilia- tion to the whole of society and makes it possible for the church to grow among all peoples. Toward this end, it overviews Myanmar’s historical, religious, and ethnic context to demonstrate their influence on the current national situa- tion and discusses the impact of local and international politics, along with interethnic relations, upon the church’s development. Biblical teaching about humility and reconciliation is examined and applied to express the hope that people will unite in their worship of Christ, walls of separation will be broken down, and the majority population will open up to the truths of the gospel. Christian workers in Myanmar and other countries with disparate population groups will benefit from the biblical and practical wisdom found here.

Walter McConnell, PhD
Head of Mission Research,
OMF International, UK

Arend van Dorp explores a biblical understanding of the church and develops an inclusive model of missional church. This book will stimulate, energize, and propel missional Christian leaders in Myanmar to rethink, reform, and renew a biblical ecclesiology. It is a must-read for all who want to be empowered to bring real and lasting change.

Peter Thein Nyunt, PhD
Theological Commission of Myanmar Evangelical Christian Alliance, Myanmar

In the midst of the brokenness and suffering of the world, the church exists as a community of reconciliation. Or at least it should. In Ethnic Diversity and Reconciliation, Arend van Dorp explores the complexities facing the church in Myanmar in becoming a more inclusive, multiethnic fellowship that embodies the gospel of reconciliation within the church and wider society. Van Dorp’s work will be an excellent resource, not just for the church in Myanmar, but for all contexts where the church is seeking to live out its missional calling as a peacemaker.

Peter Rowan, PhD
Co-National Director,
OMF International, UK

This is a book that all Myanmar Christian mission practitioners need to read. Delving beneath the surface, it explores the biblical perspective of the church and develops an inclusive model of the missional church in Myanmar.

Stephen Vum Cung Nung, PhD
Head of Intercultural Studies Department, Director of DMin Program,
Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology

A remarkable work in many ways. Van Dorp first puts together a cogent analysis of the problem of fragmentation and division in the Myanmar church and wider society. Following this, he constructs an elegant formulation of scriptural and theological themes relevant to diversity and reconciliation. He cleverly balances these two, noting that a church existing in the image of a triune God must present unity in diversity to a country in need. While drawing on literature from the West, van Dorp is careful to take account of his particular context. Finally, the book moves into a series of useful and practical proposals for ministry. This book has the potential to bring genuine and meaningful change to the church and help it serve a suffering nation as salt and light. This essential method and message will surely have application around the world.

Paul Woods, PhD
Research Tutor, East Asian Theology and Contextual Theology,
Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, UK

Arend van Dorp has researched on the history and the present context of multiethnic churches in Myanmar. He fully understands the issues and the solution of what needs to be done for multiethnic churches toward reconciliation according to biblical perspective. This is a book like a window into the present and the future development of churches in Myanmar.

Salai Yaw Han, DMin
Principal, Stars of Dawn Wholistic Leadership Institute
General Secretary, Myanmar Christ’s Mission Cooperation Board

As we are facing pandemic, conflict, the climate crisis, inequities, brokenness, and suffering today, the church, the assembly of God’s covenant people, should endure as a community of reconciliation. In this book, Arend van Dorp investigates the challenges that the church in Myanmar face as it becomes a more embracing multiethnic community, focusing on reconciliation both within the church and wider society. I commend van Dorp’s labour, which will be a prime resource, not only for the church in Myanmar but also for similar circumstances, where the church is endeavoring to live out the ministry of reconciliation as Christ’s ambassadors. I would also like to thank van Dorp from the bottom of my heart for choosing Myanmar as the focus of his brilliant research as we struggle for “sustainable peace.”

Saw Mya Min Lwin
Associate Pastor, Christ’s Church (Ahlone), Myanmar

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Introduction
  3. Part 1: Myanmar in Context
    1. 1 Community Context in Myanmar
    2. 2 Ministry Context in Myanmar
  4. Part 2: Theological Reflection
    1. 3 Literature Review
    2. 4 Theological Reflection on the Church in a Pluralist Society
  5. Part 3: Ministry Practice
    1. 5 Steps toward Becoming More Missional
    2. 6 Conclusion
  6. Bibliography
  7. Index