«A Future and A Hope». Book reviews

«A Future and A Hope». Book reviews


Great book! For the first time Western and Eastern missional educators have joined hands to write a book on the state, challenges and future of the Church and her mission in Eastern Europe. It is a well researched and exceptionally well presented work, which will stimulate further academic and nonacademic discussions. Some of the the authors perspectives are challenging and even provoking. We will do well to listen to them carefully. The future of Evangelicals in Eastern Europe will depend on our ability to face challenges instead of avoiding them and find answers to difficult questions instead of keeping quiet in false hope that time is the best solution to all problems. Eastern European leaders as well as western European mission leaders must read this book.» – Dr. Johannes Reimer

«The book is a response to the present crisis in both, church and society, in Eastern Europe, however, it points to the future hope. Both is important: to look back and to look ahead to the changes that happen and those that still need to happen in church, society, theological education, and mission. Reading the book will challenge and widen the reader’s understanding of the mission of God and his people in the region. The book raises relevant and needed questions that the whole body of Christ needs to answer together.» — Dr. Peter Penner

«Whilst there is (as might be expected) some excoriating criticism of Russia and of the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church, this does not lead the authors to reject Orthodoxy out of hand. They draw on the history of Russian and Ukrainian Evangelicalism in thought-provoking ways, for instance in their comments about the presence of the Orthodox ‘third Rome’ ideology in earlier evangelical leaders such as Prokhanov and Martsinkovsky. This serves to underline their stress on the extent of Orthodox influence on the Evangelical mindset in the region. Accordingly they encourage Evangelicals to seek to relate to Orthodoxy, but by deploying a historical perspective rather than one which is shaped by Orthodoxy’s current political standpoint. Evangelicals and Orthodox, they argue, share a common history, in which each can be seen as supplying what is lacking in the other. There are aspects of their argument which I might see differently, but my only real problem with the book is that it is written in a dense and jargon-filled style; it reads as though the readership they have in mind is that of fellow academic theologians. We need to be getting the message across as clearly and unambiguously as we can, and to several different audiences: ministers, ecumenists, denominational leaders and theological educators – not forgetting those outside the ecclesial structures whose calling it is to ‘dream dreams’ and ‘see visions’ of what could be, under God. I wish this book – and the vision of its authors – wide influence.» — Dr. Tim Grass

«This backgound is vital for contextualizing the book and the moment of its appearance. A much broader readership in the west and in Russia/Ukraine will benefit greatly from this effort at taking stock. Readers should keep the background in mind as a way of imagining the deeper grounds for the critiques, for the forthright visions for the future, and for the likely obstacles to a positive reaction in a variety of circles. It is really a very important book, worth reading carefully and taking copious notes as I did, and doing something about it: join the conversation, the dialogue, to try to hear the range of agonies of those in the conversation who respond aggressively or dismissively.» — Dr. Walter Savatsky