Disclaimer: B&H Academic provided me with a complimentary copy of this resource in exchange for writing this review. However, I remained unbiased and objective when writing this review.
I recently completed a missions course in my M Div program at Luther Rice Seminary where I was required to read the Second Edition of John Mark Terry’s Missiology. Having read the first edition back during my bachelor missions course at Luther Rice, this allowed me to solidly compare the two resources to see how well the Second Edition has been revised from the first edition.
Both the first and second editions of Missiology are extensively thorough resources. Upon reading Missiology, one is going to walk away with a far deeper understanding and appreciation for missions and for reaching unreached people groups for Christ. Missiology presents the ideal textbook for students wanting a solid overview of Christian missions, although because the book is such an in-depth resource, covering it in a single semester can be challenging unless the student is disciplined in focusing on the material. The Second Edition does seem more “digestible” and “understandable” at times. I felt I was able to better flow through the chapters in the Second Edition than when I read the first edition. At times, however, some of the more technical feel of the first edition surfaced, and I was reminded back when I first read through the first edition back during my bachelor program.
The resource begins by overviewing missions and laying a foundation for studying missions, then goes onto give a solid biblical foundation for Christian missions (essential in order for students to form missions outreach plans), then discusses the theology and history of missions. The last section on “Applied Missiology” breaks down numerous practical applications when studying missions in how to reach unreached people groups with the Gospel.
I found some of the newly added chapters in the Second Edition beneficial when reading through this resource. Chapters such as “Urban Missions” were not present in the first edition and was a chapter certainly needed to be added in this revised edition. The overall language of the resource has also been updated and brought more into a “twenty first century feel” that reads more relevant to Christian missions today versus the reading of the first edition.
Overall, I found the information to be extremely beneficial during my missions course, although due to the fact that different authors together make up the articles that comprise this resource, there were times when I was in slight disagreement with some of the authors, or there were other times when I felt that a few chapters were “hit and miss” on the information that was included. For example, while the chapters that discussed how to reach those adhering to other world religions with the Gospel did an excellent job overviewing some of the major world religions and presenting a response for Christians needing to reach these people groups with the Gospel, the chapter on the cults tended to focus more on one of the cults (Mormonism) at the expense of surveying the major other cults (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) and how a Christian grounded in the truth of the Gospel can best reach these people groups with the truth of the Gospel to bring to light their doctrinal error. One of my high school textbooks on Revelation actually summarized this information better than this textbook did.
Even with the few chapters that contained less information or with the few authors I disagreed with, on the whole, this was a valuable resource in providing me with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Christian missions and how to reach unreached people groups with the Gospel. It is a resource every seminary student taking a course on missions should read as a primary textbook, even though it is in depth overall and will require discipline to complete it in a semester setting. Even though I will be majoring in another field besides missions upon the completion of my M Div, reading the resource gave me a greater understanding of how I can function in the field of my major (theology) with those who are involved in Christian missions, as well as how churches can more effectively reach unreached people groups with the Gospel and do everything in the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God to do its part in fulfilling the Great Commission. It was an edifying and informative resource that I would highly recommend to anyone wishing to go deeper in the study of Christian missions.