“Take heed that you not be deceived." Luke 21:8

Missiology Defined


Notes and links from Susan Conway


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Missiology, the science, is the systematic study of the theory and practice of Christian missions, combining such disciples as anthropology, cross-cultural communication theory, ecumenics, history, inter-cultural studies, methodology, religious encounter and theology."

Verkuyl, in Contemporary Missiology: An Introduction, says missiology is "the study of the salvation activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout the world geared toward bringing the kingdom of God into existence," and "missiology's task in every age is to investigate scientifically and critically, the presuppositions, motives, structures, methods, patterns of cooperation, and leadership which the churches bring to their mandate" (1978:5).

Gustav Warneck, a German missiologist, was not well known in English. Verkuyl writes, "His real and lasting contribution to missiology is that he . . . tried to aid missionaries in achieving a 'theoretical and comprehensive treatment' of the work in which they were involved" (28) Warneck enunciated the ongoing learning and building process of missiological research when he said: "Someone has to be first in daring to undertake this bold venture . . . others who follow me will then improve on my work" (28).

Gailyn Van Rheenen, from Abilene Christian University writes in Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, "Missiology is made up of three interdependent disciplines: theology, the social sciences, and strategy." (1996:137).

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