Dietrich Werner, David Esterline, Namsoon Kang, and Joshva Raja, eds., Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity: Theological Perspectives, Ecumenical Trends, Regional Surveys, Regnum Studies in Global Christianity (Oxford: Regnum Books, 2010), 800 pages, ISBN 9781870345804.
Parochialism is passé. The importance of understanding Christianity in global perspective is becoming crystal clear. A spate of excellent books such as Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church, edited by William Dryness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (IVP, 2008), and, specifically on Pentecostalism, Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods, edited by Allan Anderson, Michael Bergunder, André Droogers, and Cornelius van de Laan (University of California Press, 2010), are dedicated to navigating implications for identity and mission of shifting and/or expanding centers of Christianity. In a word, World Christianity is on the rise. Obviously, with a movement as broad and diverse as Pentecostalism, scholars are pressed to address its global makeup. For a few examples, see Amos Yong, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: The Possibility of a Global Theology (Baker, 2005), Frank Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology (Zondervan, 2006), and Don Miller and Ted Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement (University of California Press, 2007). Pentecostalism is a major player in a massive reshaping of contemporary global spirituality. However, it isn’t the only one. In fact, the ecumenical implications of the global qualities of contemporary Christianity are monumental. And that’s where Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity (HTEWC) comes into the picture.
The Regnum Studies in Global Christianity series is edited by Ruth Padilla DeBorst President, Latin American Theological Fraternity, Santiago, Chile; Hwa Yung Bishop, The Methodist Church in Malaysia, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia; Wonsuk Ma, Executive Director, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford, UK; Damon So Research Tutor, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford, UK; and, Miroslav Volf Director, Yale Center for Faith and Culture, New Haven, MA, USA. Itexplores issues that the global Church struggles with, particularly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. It publishes studies intended to help the global Church learn not only from past and present, but also from provocative and prophetic voices for the future. HTEWC arises out of this series and has its mindset.
Some one hundred years after the famous Edinburgh, Scotland mission conference in 1910, HTEWC attempts to map and analyze subsequent developments in theological education on a global scale. With contributions from 98 leaders in theological education from around the world, it provides a comprehensive introduction to major themes and contexts in the international discourse on theological education, surveys of the issues and challenges faced in different regions, and introductory essays on the developments in theological education in major denominational families in World Christianity. The breadth and depth of this work is noted in that many of its entries contain six, eight, or even ten or more pages on a given discussion topic.
The idea for HTEWC developed during a meeting of an international study group on theological education brought together under the leadership of the program on Ecumenical Theological Education of the World Council of Churches in November 2008 at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Switzerland. HTEWC editors Dietrich Werner, David Esterline, Namsoon Kang, and Joshva Raja were among original participants in this process. Its specific objectives are to provide introductory surveys on selected issues and themes in global theological education; regional surveys on key developments, achievements, and challenges in theological education; an overview of theological education for each of the major denominational/confessional traditions; and, a reference section with an up-to-date list of the regional associations of theological institutions and other resources.