Celebrating 25 years of ministry for Anglican Frontier Missions: *Shadows from Light Unapproachable*

Shadows from Light Unapproachable:

AFM’s Silver Anniversary Book

Tad de Bordenave, ed.

We are familiar with shadows and signs of God’s work in many places in the world.  The focus of this book, however, is on shadows overlooked or not recognized. These shadows come from the Gospel spreading to each and every ethnic group. Shadows of Light Unapproachabledraws the mind’s eye to behold the beauty of the searching love deep in the heart of “Light Unapproachable.”

The book traces the origins, the people, and the continuing foundations of Anglican Frontier Missions at its 25th year. I open my chapter with this brief profile of AFM: “The passion of AFM is the humbled and amazed awe before the slender glance we have of the love of God. The direction of our path is to those who do not yet know of this love.”

CoverThe ensuing chapters describe the way this missionary society has served God’s vision. They cover the basic questions of who,where, and how.

For the who, three chapters give transparent stories of ordinary people called into this ministry. One traces a couple’s very surprising call to Nepal. Another describes the strategic efforts by a creative husband and wife to plant the first church in a remote population. A third gives the adventures of a couple carrying out pastoral care for the missionaries in very far-flung areas.

The where takes us to about a dozen countries and ethnic groups within them. The dominant religions in these are Buddhist, Communist, traditional religions, Hindu, and Islam. Missionaries recount their challenges, their persevering efforts, and the support of God directly and through his church.

The how comes in two ways. First, we are given deep insights into the major religious forces of today. One who interacts with Muslims and teaches Islamics gives a clear analysis of Islam and Muslim goals. Two workers in India tell of their strategies among ethnic groups in highly resistant areas of that great country. We read of the remarkable missionary expansion of the Diocese of Singapore, initiated about the same time as AFM.

The other section on howcomes from three essays that uncover what are called “the treasures of Anglicanism in the world of frontier mission.” These chapters show the application of the plain essences of our tradition and the enormous advantages they bring to the world of church planting in frontier settings. These chapters will increase our appreciation for what may be familiar in our tradition but will become more valued in this new light.

Chris Royer begins his Introduction with Yogi Berra’s wisdom that if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else. In fact, as Chris goes on to say, AFM follows a vision that is not our own. He states this clearly in his final chapter, titled “Pressing Onward,” where he concludes with the hope and the future of AFM:

And so, AFM’s vision remains unchanged from our founding days: to mobilize the church to pray for and send missionaries to the largest and least-evangelized people groups and geographical regions, that churches might be established among all the 16,833 ethnolinguistic nations on our planet. Before this became our vision, it was Christ’s vision. And human history is marching forward toward the fulfillment of this vision: ‘With your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth’ (Revelation 5:9-10, New International Version).

Hallelujah!  Amen.

Shadows from Light Unapproachable (Northumberland Historical Press, 2018) is available through Amazon.com. Read the Table of Contents here. Download the press release here.

The above press release is by the Rev. Tad de Bordenave. I was privileged to contribute a chapter titled “The World of Islam”. Download the PDF here: Duane Miller The World of Islam.

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In Belgium at the Continental Theological Seminary

What a joy to be in the Belgian countryside a little way outside of Brussels at the Continental Theological Seminary. The seminary’s research center invited me to present an intensive one-week course on Islam and Muslim refugees.

The place has really impressed me. The tuition is affordable and most students live on campus. Indeed, many of them contribute to the upkeep of the buildings, the grounds, and the dining hall. All of that with accredited degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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Willa Cather’s *Death Comes for the Archbishop*

Death Comes for the ArchbishopDeath Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enchanting, profound, elegiac, epic, beautiful. As a man with a PhD in Divinity and professor at a seminary I will tell you that the missiology and anthropology of religion in this book is penetrating and deep. As a priest and pastor I found it incredibly moving, sometimes to the point of tears.

Anyone interested in the history of the West of the USA or missiology should read this book or listen to the audio version.

View all my reviews

Filling in the Global Map for the Anglican Communion

From my latest post at Covenant, the blog of The Living Church:

So, let’s imagine a country where the Communion has no presence. Let’s imagine a country where having a Bible is against the law and where citizens who become Christians might be executed. Let’s think about a place where there is not a single church building. In the words of John Lennon, “It’s easy if you try.”

What would establishing a missionary diocese there look like?

Read it all HERE.

Paul Martindale reviews *Living among the Breakage*

I’m happy to share with you Paul Martindale’s very positive review of Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians (Pickwick, 2016). Martindale teaches missions at Gordon-Conwell and the review was originally published in Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Here is a section:

There is tremendous value in reading through this work as it shows how the life within developing communities intersects with new identity formation, the process of inculturating the gospel in a new context, new power structures within the Church, conversion, and the development of new ‘liberation’ and wisdom theologies. 

Drawing from specific case study interviews and a wealth of excellent missiological sources, Miller has helped to expand the field of ex-Muslim studies in constructive directions. Serious students of religious conversion and contextualization in former Muslim communities and church-planting in Islamic contexts will want to read and carefully consider this work. 

Read it all at the EMQ website.

Understanding Religious Conversion from Islam to Christianity

This is the first of four lectures I gave in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 14th of 2017. And with this, all four of the Copenhagen lectures are available at my YouTube channel.

 

 

Movements from Islam to Christianity

In the 1960s we saw the beginning of a historically unprecedented series of movements from Islam to Christianity. In this lecture I present a summary of some key elements of three of them–Indonesia, Iran, Algeria–and then offer an overall analysis of three categories of factors facilitating conversion in the modern and late modern context.

This is the second of my four Copenhagen lectures.

Delivered at St Nathaniel’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Copenhagen, Denmark.