Missions in Southeast Asia
Diversity and Unity in God’s Design
As the boundaries between cultures and religions blur in an increasingly globalized world, the church finds itself in need of new approaches to understanding and embracing otherness – both inside and outside of its established communities.
Southeast Asia has long been one of the world’s most diverse regions, with over a hundred ethnicities represented and members of every major religion living as neighbors. In this rich and complex environment, the church has an equally rich and complex history, at times flourishing, at times floundering, but inexorably taking root. In this collection of essays, contributors from throughout the region reflect on the history and future of Christianity in Southeast Asia, providing an overview of missions in the region, and exploring how local churches are defining a uniquely Southeast Asian approach to interreligious engagement.
Combining missiological research with contextual theology, this volume offers profound insight into the challenges accompanying missions in a multireligious environment. From ethnic and religious conflict resolution to navigating hybrid identities, this collection of essays makes an excellent contribution to global conversations surrounding the future of missions in a globalized world.
In the warm, vibrant region of Southeast Asia, local scholars of mission, rooted in the land and the sea, the bamboo huts and the skyscrapers, have brought fresh questions and insights to bear on the classic cosmic truths of God in Christ-incarnate, crucified, resurrected, reigning, and sending us out as his witnesses throughout his world. Coming from diverse ethnic heritages but united in faith and place, these writers offer sharp, authentic interpretations and applications from this pivotal region.
Miriam Adeney, PhD
Seattle Pacific University, Washington, USA
Pulling threads from the diverse contexts and cultures of Southeast Asia, this book weaves a beautiful tapestry, exploring how the unchanging message of the Bible remains relevant in an endlessly evolving environment. The book challenges the reader to go beyond the reductionist, linear mindset that pervades Western thought. Instead, it calls us to embrace an interdisciplinary approach that welcomes diversity, complexity, fluidity, and fuzzy boundaries, which are essential to understanding the multicultural, multireligious, multi-economic, multi-political, multicolored, and multilingual mosaic realities of Southeast Asia. This book presents spirituality within the context and framework of traditional Southeast Asian worldviews and brings the Bible into conversation with each perspective.
Rev. Dr. Patrick Fung General Director, OMF International, Singapore
This is a book that I’ve wanted to see from the Asian church for a long time. All those involved in the tasks of missions today will benefit from the insights found here. While some big concepts, like Complex Adaptive Systems, are used, the editors carefully describe and illustrate what they mean from practical examples in the literature of other disciplines as well as in the missions context. They have brought together writers who incorporate the history of missions in different countries, mission thinking, planning and education, deployment, and use of resources. If you were a farmer, wouldn’t you want to keep learning how best to prepare the soil, plant, and harvest? This book will help those planning, preparing, and planting spiritual seeds to improve their harvest yields for the Kingdom of God.
Anne C. Harper, DMiss
Editor, Journal of Asian Mission Missionary,Action International Ministries, UK
This book is a needed resource for understanding Christian mission in Southeast Asia by thought leaders from the region. By tracing the history of mission in the region, against the background of colonisation, and the road towards nationalism and modernisation, the writers help to exegete the context and point to the presence of God in history. This can help to shape historical consciousness and identities of the people in the region. The discovery of how God has worked in the past can perhaps inspire new acts of faith and witness in the present. The book also offers a much needed holistic gospel and missional framework to address a web of complex issues in the local contexts, from social injustice to abject poverty. I commend this book to all believers seeking to engage the world as mature and effective witnesses of God’s kingdom vision and values in this twenty-first-century world, especially in rapidly urbanising and globalising Southeast Asia. Congratulations on this precious resource in contextual missiology.
National Director (2012–2022), Singapore Centre for Global Missions
Congratulations to the editors and authors for compiling mission histories and contextual theologies in one book, giving voices to missiologists of Southeast Asia. This is highly recommended for students, scholars, and practitioners. Each chapter has contributed to the past, present, and even future challenges of missiology in this region. Southeast Asian scholars must continue writing and producing glocal theologies that will inform both the global and local churches.
Juliet Lee Uytanlet, PhD
Program Director of PhD Intercultural Studies, Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines
Faculty, Biblical Seminary of the Philippines
This collection shows that any missiology in the 2020s must be contextually grounded, glocally adaptive, socially engaging, and eschatologically oriented toward God’s redemptive purposes. More specifically, these essays indicate that missiological considerations have to be historically rooted, which is what we find in part I of this book. Our Southeast Asian colleagues show how Christian history and missiology have always been mutually informing, even more so now that we are observing how younger churches continue to mature and respond to the call of the missio Dei!
Amos Yong, PhD
Dean of the School Mission and Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, California, USA
Southeast Asia is one of the most complex regions in the world because of its variegated histories, convoluted politics, and multiplicity of cultures, languages and religions. Furthermore, Christianity in this region has been a largely neglected field of study until very recently. The significance of this exciting volume is that it opens up our understanding of the complex multifaceted nature of the encounter between the gospel and the peoples of the region. It will also help churches develop clearer indigenous Christian self-identities and more contextual approaches in mission. This book is a hugely welcome contribution to this field of study.
Bishop Emeritus Hwa Yung
Methodist Church in Malaysia
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction
Kiem-Kiok Kwa and Samuel K. Law
- Part I: A Diversity of Local Church Histories
- Chapter 2: The Rebirth of the Church in Cambodia
Samuel K. Law
- Chapter 3: History of Christianity in Indonesia: The Witness of Protestant Mission through the Pancasila-Based State
Benyamin F. Intan
- Chapter 4: History of Christianity in Malaysia
Tan Sooi Ling
- Chapter 5: History of the Church in Myanmar
Peter Thein Nyunt
- Chapter 6: History of Philippine Christianity
Narry F. Santos
- Chapter 7: History of Christianity in Singapore
- Chapter 8: History of Christianity in Thailand
- Chapter 9: History of Christianity in Vietnam: Evangelical Churches in Vietnam in the Early Twenty-First Century
- Part II: A Unity of Interweaving Themes
- Chapter 10: A Complex Systems Approach to Pedagogy and Research for Multicultural Contexts
Samuel K. Law
- Chapter 11: Glocal Complexities
- Chapter 12: The Churches in Southeast Asia
- Chapter 13: Southeast Asian Churches at the Global Church Roundtable
Robert M. Solomon
- Chapter 14: A Holistic Response to Social Justice
- Chapter 15: Case Study of Cultural Integration for Self-Theologizing in the Evangelical Church of Vietnam
- Chapter 16: Afterword: Beyond Southeast Asia – So the World May Know
R. Daniel Shaw