n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Mission in today's world, Donald Dorr : book review

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



In the very first line of the introduction the author states, 'At the heart of this book lies an ambiguity about the word "mission"'. Dorr is a trained missionary priest from Ireland who has spent most of his life working in what he calls 'missionary areas'. His starting position is that there are two aspects of mission, the mission of God and the mission of the church. In a previous book, Divine Energy (1996), he dealt with the mission of God, but this book tries to examine the mission of the church as it has developed over the centuries. His intention is that this book will give a clearer understanding of what it means to live out the missionary spirit in the present age. At this time the 'missionary enterprise is under serious challenge and rich new opportunities for mission are opening up'. He states that it is clear that we are coming to the end of a missionary era which has lasted for about a 150 years. One of the results of this is that the number of Western missionaries is declining rapidly, and in 15 years time (i.e. about 2015) the number of active missionaries from the West will be very small. He believes that the major reason why 'foreign mission' is drawing to a close is that the broad concept of mission has changed very radically in the last 40 years. These changes are best summarised by his belief that 'dialogue with other religions and spiritual outlooks is not opposed to mission but is a central aspect of it and a pre-condition to any other dimension of mission'.

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