IBMR Online

IBMR Reinvented with SAGE Publications as Publishing and Marketing Partner

The International Bulletin of Missionary Research begins its sixty-sixth year with a fresh design, a revised name, a well-known mission anthropologist as the interim editor, a new publishing and marketing partnership, and a different web address. Beginning with the January 2016 issue, production and marketing of the IBMR is being handled for OMSC by SAGE Publications, a family-owned company that has long-standing partnerships with over 300 learned societies and academic institutions. “We are excited about this new partnership between OMSC and SAGE that will make the IBMR even more widely known and still affordable,” says mission anthropologist and professor Darrell Whiteman, who is the interim editor and OMSC’s interim executive director. Readers will see a slight change in the title of the IBMR, which now speaks of “mission” (not “missionary”) research. This change, Dr. Whiteman says, reflects the global shift in world Christianity, with the recognition that, for some readers, “missionary” can too easily bring to mind previous centuries of cross-cultural ministries in the context of colonialism. To subscribe, renew a subscription, or read the IBMR go online to For a preview of upcoming articles and links to previous issues—and for more details—visit

January 2016

Some Changes but the Same missio Dei

Darrell Whiteman, Interim Editor

With this issue, the International Bulletin of Mission Research welcomes our new production partner, SAGE Publications. Producing academic journals for over fifty years, SAGE currently has long-standing partnerships worldwide with over 300 learned societies and academic institutions. SAGE also produces other missiological journals, including Missiology and Transformation. We are pleased to be partnering with such a reputable publisher.

Readers will note a slight change in the title of the IBMR, which now speaks of “mission” (not “missionary”) research. This change reflects the global shift in world Christianity, with the recognition that, for some readers, “missionary” can too easily bring to mind previous centuries of cross-cultural ministries in the context of colonialism. In contrast, the term “mission” is both ancient and contemporary, particularly as we focus on God’s mission in the world. The articles and reviews appearing in the IBMR (now online at deal with mission studies and missiology, a broader area of research and reflection than “missionary research.”

I come to my present role of interim editor of IBMR after having served for thirteen years as the editor of Missiology: An International Review. Other experience has included my work as a missionary in Melanesia, professor of cultural anthropology at Asbury Theological Seminary, resident missiologist and cross-cultural trainer with The Mission Society, and a seat on the Board of Trustees of the Overseas Ministries Study Center. In this position, I follow a long line of distinguished editors: R. Pierce Beaver, Gerald Anderson, Jonathan Bonk, and J. Nelson Jennings. I trust that, with God’s grace, the IBMR will continue its presentation of thoughtful, clearly written, and relevant articles and book reviews.

We lead off this issue with Jay Moon’s article on orality. The debate over oral vs. print communication in mission has escalated in recent years with advocates and critics on both sides. Moon cuts through the fog and responds to some significant misperceptions of the orality movement, substituting facts for fiction. Todd Johnson’s annual statistical table on the status of global Christianity pays close attention to Latin America, as does Sherron George’s highlighting of the theologians and missiologists who have contributed most to the construction of Latin American missiology. We then have a cluster of articles related to India, beginning with Daniel Jeyaraj’s history of early Bible translation by the Lutherans in Tranquebar and the Baptists in Serampore. Robert Frykenberg presents the legacy of Pandita Ramabai (1858–1922), a most remarkable Indian woman with a stunning command of revered Hindu texts who became a fearless social reformer, educator, and advocate for the cause of women and the founder of the Ramabai Mukti Mission, still active in India today. Finally, Julie Ma presents a fascinating case study of the work of Mark and Huldah Buntain, whose surprisingly broad ministry started in Calcutta in 1954 and continues strong today.

These articles in this first issue of the new IBMR remind us of the depth and breadth of God’s mission in the world, as well as of the value of careful scholarship to better understand and help us participate in this mission.

Darrell Whiteman


Fad or Renaissance? Misconceptions of the Orality Movement

W. Jay Moon

Seventy percent of the world's population cannot or chooses not to read! This astounding observation prompted the rise of the orality movement to help missionaries understand and reach oral learners. This article summarizes the recent orality movement by addressing questions that have arisen related to orality, such as: How far-reaching is this movement? Isn't the orality discussion simply about storytelling and auditory learning? How do print and oral learning interact? Are there implications for Western cultures influenced by digital media? To address these questions, this article identifies six common misconceptions about the orality movement and concludes with missiological implications.


Christianity 2016: Latin America and Projecting Religions to 2050

Todd M. Johnson, Gina A. Zurlo, Albert W. Hickman and Peter F. Crossing

In 2014, Latin America passed Europe as the continent with the most Christians. In 1900, Europe had six times as many Christians as Latin America. Looking ahead to 2025, however, Latin America is likely to be surpassed by Africa with 628 million in the former and more than 700 million in the latter. We also project that by 2050, Asia will surpass Europe in the number of Christians. Each of the three continents in the Global South could outnumber Europe, together representing nearly 80% of all
Christians (from just over 20% in 1900).


Constructing Latin American Missiology

Sherron George

Latin American missiologists have moved beyond the deconstruction of oppressive imperialistic models to the construction of creative contextual missiologies. Important building blocks are liberation, context, dialogue, integral mission, and a kingdom perspective. This article presents the contributions of five missiologists in this process. René Padilla and Samuel Escobar articulate holistic mission. Leonardo Boff develops a liberation model of planetary care based on the Trinity. Roberto Zwetsch brings new nuances to compassion in an intercultural paradigm. David Oliveira focuses on transformative diaconia. It invites all to learn from Latin American missiologies, which
can facilitate interdependence and partnerships in the global church.


Embodying Memories: Early Bible Translations in Tranquebar and Serampore

Daniel Jeyaraj

Textual translations embody particular socio-cultural memories of their languages and also of their host languages. Communities of readers, leading meaning makers, and interpreters determine the continuing and discontinuing memories embodied in the translated texts. Early eighteenth-century translation of the Bible into Tamil by the German Lutheran Pietists in Tranquebar and into Bengali and Sanskrit by the British Baptists in Serampore illustrate these principles. Building on what the Roman Catholic missionaries had translated earlier, the Lutherans and the Baptists helped their Indian readers to hear biblical characters speaking their languages and even creatively engaging with their socio-cultural and religious memories.


The Legacy of Pandita Ramabai: Mahatma of Mukti

Robert Eric Frykenberg

Pandita Ramabai Dongre (1858–1922), renowned for prodigious learning, became world famous as a social reformer, educator, speaker and advocate for the causes of women. Her Brahman father had been banished for daring to impart Sanskrit literacy to her child-mother. Her life-long spiritual quest for liberty (mukti) led her to an ever deepening relationship to Christ. After sojourns in Britain and America, she established the Mukti Mission in Kedgaon, India. Her last days were devoted completing a common "mother-tongue" Marathi translation of the Bible.


Touching Lives of People Through the Holistic Mission Work of the Buntains in Calcutta, India

Julie C. Ma

The works of the Buntains in Calcutta, India from the 1950s among the poor, marginalized, sick, hungry, and abandoned represents the Pentecostal holistic approach to Christian mission. With the establishment of hospitals and schools, in addition to the relief programs, their ministries exemplify an important area of Pentecostal mission, along with evangelism and church planting through the emphasis on supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, e.g., healing and miracles. A Pentecostal characteristic of this ministry was prayer and faith as the spiritual foundation of the work, often when faced with financial pressures. In the process, many were converted to Christianity. This type of Pentecostal mission has been widely practiced but with little theological reflection.


The Unexpected Christian Century: The Reversal and Transformation of Global Christianity, 1900–2000 (Book Review)

Philip Jenkins


Twentieth-Century Missiology: Issues and Thinkers (Book Review)

Gerald H. Anderson


How Maps Change Things: A Conversation About the Maps We Choose and the World We Want (Book Review)

Allison M. Howell


Faith in Empire: Religion, Politics, and Colonial Rule in French Senegal, 1880–1940 (Book Review)

Tite Tiénou


In Search of the Triune God: The Christian Paths of East and West (Book Review)

Eric G. Tosi


Korean-Global Leadership Conference: Measuring Megachurch Accountability on a Global Scale (Noteworthy)

Daniel J. Nicholas

What happens when megachurches focus their considerable financial and personnel resources onto the world stage? How do megachurch pastors, leaders, and members evaluate their own effectiveness in fulfilling the world mission mandate? What role, if any, should a megachurch's denomination or its parachurch mission partners play in issues of accountability? How can the various parties effectively evaluate the performance of the others? These were some of the thorny questions considered November 3–6, 2015, by some seventy Korean-Global Mission Leadership Forum (KGMLF) participants, who came to South Korea from every continent on earth.


African Christian Biography Conference: Narratives, Beliefs, and Boundaries (Noteworthy)

Michèle Miller Sigg

In late October 2015, approximately sixty scholars and graduate students converged on the School of Theology, Boston University, from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Great Britain, and various universities in the United States and Canada to present papers and discuss issues related to the theme of African Christian biography. Representing an intersection of scholars in religious studies and scholars in African studies, the conference was a venue for cross-fertilization between the various fields represented. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB,


Memoria Indígena Conference: Indigenous Spirituality and Identity of Missions (Noteworthy)

Drew Jennings-Grisham

Thirty people from eleven countries, representing twelve indigenous people groups and other nonindigenous peoples, gathered September 11–13, 2015, in Lima, Peru, to discuss the history of missions to, with, and from indigenous groups and churches in Latin America. the conference provided the setting for participants to propose a project to record and publish the stories of God's work among indigenous peoples throughout history in Latin America from the perspective of indigenous peoples themselves.


Noteworthy | READ ONLINE

Dissertation Notices | READ ONLINE

Book Notes | READ ONLINE

Previous Issues

January 2015

Witchcraft and Mission Studies

April 2015

Hostility against Mission

July 2015

Mission in History

October 2015

Engaging Mission