On-line version ISSN 2312-878X
Missionalia (Online) vol.41 n.2 Pretoria Aug. 2013
Kim K & Anderson A. 2011. Edinburgh 2010: Mission now and then. Oxford: Regnum. vii + 476 pages. ISBN 978-1-870345-91-0. No price quoted.
Here we have the 'official record' of the proceedings of the 2010 Edinburgh study process and conference to mark the centenary of the 1901 World Missionary Conference. This will be a primary source of reference for this conference for many years to come along with the fuller record contained in the Edinburgh 2010 website - www.edinburgh2010.org.
This record contains the Edinburgh 2010 Common Call, greetings, a comment on the spiritual life of the conference, homilies, worship, the extremely significant keynote address presented by Prof Dana Robert, perspectives on the address, papers given at the plenary and parallel sessions, reports, reflections, statements, a bibliography and appendices, including documents from the other significant conferences which took place in 2010, the Cape Town Commitment and the Tokyo 2010 Declaration. The focus of the conference was the nine study themes. The resulting reports, prepared from 2008 constituted the 'raw material' (:51) for the discussions. These were critiqued from the perspectives of seven transversal perspectives with the aim of achieving a degree of cross-fertilisation in the ensuing discussions.
It is not correct to say that 'there is no institutional continuation of the Edinburgh 2010 project' (:5) for the bodies which emanated from the 1910 conference still continue its remit which obviates a continuation committee as was found necessary in 1910.
The claim that 'the study process has been polycentric, open-ended and as inclusive as possible of the different genders, regions of the world, and theological and confessional perspectives in today's church' is only partly true in the light of Maluleke's (:73-74) trenchant critique concerning the representation, rather than presentation, of Africans and the continuing dehumanisation rather than restoration of the dignity of the poor, Africans, women, Palestinians et al. So too with the debacle involving the exclusion of Daryl Balia, the conference organiser which calls into question the integrity of the entire conference. While there was a vast increase in the ecclesiastical representation with the inclusion of Roman Catholic and Orthodox participants, the same could not be said of the totality of the participants due to the preponderance of white males. Can this still and always be attributed to an oversight at this late stage in human history? Then there was the issue of the location of the conference; at least here the Lausanne committee got it right in terms of the centre of world Christianity and representativity. What a better way it would have been to celebrate 'the fruit of the event over the last one hundred years in mission and unity' (:3) at 'its centre of gravity in the global south' rather than at the epicentre of Christian decline?
It was only right that the conference took place in the context of the spiritual life and that its worship was not dominated by the traditions of the West/North. Sadly, still one hundred years after Edinburgh 1910, it was not possible for all the participants to celebrate the sacrament of holy communion together. This remains a serious challenge to the mission and unity of the world Christian community. Doubtless, the participants had a 'good' conference, but it remains to be seen how it will contribute to the reconciliation of all in Christ.
Reviewer: Prof GA Duncan, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, PRETORIA, 0002.