Graham Hill. Global Church: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016. See here to buy the book.
Most Christians today live, not in the West, but in the Majority World: Africa, Asia, and Latin and South America. In Global Church,
Graham Hill talks about what Western Christians can learn from
Christians in the Majority World and among First Nation peoples (i.e.,
Native Americans, aborigines).
The book has
its advantages. The author's heart is in the right place, in that he
supports social justice and creation care as a part of Christian
mission. He is sensitive to the plight of the needy and acknowledges
the social and economic challenges that face the world today. He
expounds good principles: listening to people's stories, being
hospitable, etc. His discussion about how African Christians see the
Bible as a source of life was profound, and his discussion of what he
considered the strengths and weaknesses of liberation theology was
judicious. Hill talks about what Christianity actually looks like among
Majority World and First Nation peoples: some African versions, for
instance, have a sort of prosperity Gospel, which is not surprising,
considering that seeking material prosperity has long been an element of
traditional religions. Hill's book does well to provide a framework
for how Western Christians can learn from Majority World and First
Nation Christians. Hill also refers to sources that an interested
person may find helpful, as well as key Christian thinkers in the
Majority World and among First Nation peoples; that makes the book a
good introduction to this issue, and also a useful source for
The book was very repetitive,
however. It could have used more anecdotes: the book talks about
hearing the stories and biblical interpretations of the poor. Why not
share examples of that with us? The book had some anecdotes, though.
The book could have had a more substantive discussion on how Western
Christians can respond to aspects of Majority World and First Nation
Christianity that they consider unbiblical. Overall, the book refers to
voices that are liberationist, even with regard to gay issues. While I
have no problem with that, the book should have discussed how many
Majority World Christians consider homosexuality a sin, which has posed a
challenge to a number of mainline Christian denominations.
This book makes important points, but it is not always very specific, and it could have been deeper.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.