Twentieth century pioneers of mission to Western culture
Western societies have drifted increasingly from their Christian heritage,
churches have slowly recognised the challenge of mission 'on the home front' i.e. in
Western culture. Often guidance is now sought pragmatically from the insights of
modern management and marketing. However, the Christian vocation demands a
deeper engagement than this between the Gospel and Western culture.
the twentieth century, some prophetic Christian thinkers began recognising and
engaging the new missionary challenge posed to Christian faith by Western
culture, its changing worldview and plausibility structures, as the trajectory
of this shifted in new ways from the trajectory of God's good purposes. Breaking
with Christendom assumptions and thinking beyond the concerns and debates of
academic theology, these authors often wrote in a manner accessible to those
with no training in academic theology. Among them were G. K. Chesterton, C. S.
Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Dorothy Sayers. Others gave leadership in the
churches and their institutions, among them Joe Oldham, Lesslie Newbigin, and
Henri De Lubac. Figures as diverse as Abraham Kuyper, P. T. Forsyth, Harry
Blamires, Jacques Ellul and Harold Turner opened eyes to the depths of
engagement demanded by Christian engagement with Western culture. Here is an
introduction to some of these prophetic figures.
Harold W. Turner