What Mission Theology Should Do!

How will we remind the church that it is more dangerous to be cautious than to be daring?

Today’s post comes from the conclusion to a lecture given 35 years ago. Things have moved on since then, but there is still a lot to be gained from this. Note, in particular, the last sentence.

… Missiology, in this spirit, seeks to irritate the Herman Ridderboses of the world who can write a 586-page outline to the theology of Paul and not even include the mission of the church in any of its 80 separate headings. It will aim for unrest in a church history department which divides the history of missions from the history of the church or teaches as if the world were still flat. It will rebel against a practical theology department which offers only domesticated information for the church “at home” in white suburbia….

… How will we remind the church that it is more dangerous to be cautious than to be daring? And what does this axiom mean for those of us who are asking how we can do theology for the poor and mission out of affluence?

… And, beyond all these, will our agenda of concerns overwhelm us again with a new “Babylonian captivity of the Christian mission”? Will we go on writing our books about the relation of evangelism to social action or homogeneous units? And the 2.8 billion people in the world who do not know Christ continue to die with their noses pressed against the windows of our studies.



Conn, H.M., 1983. The Missionary Task of Theology. Westminster Theological Journal, 45, pp.1–21.

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