A Review of “Handbook of Theological Education in Africa” and “Asian Handbook for Theological Education and Ecumenism”by Amos Yong

Christian Higher Education


Education / Religious studies



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Christian Higher Education

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A Review of “Handbook of Theological

Education in Africa” and “Asian

Handbook for Theological Education and


Amos Yong a a Regent University

Published online: 04 Mar 2014.

To cite this article: Amos Yong (2014) A Review of “Handbook of Theological Education in Africa” and “Asian Handbook for Theological Education and Ecumenism”, Christian Higher Education, 13:2, 145-148, DOI: 10.1080/15363759.2014.872496

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15363759.2014.872496


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D ow nl oa de d by [T he

A ga

K ha n U niv ers ity ] a t 2 2:4 9 1 4 D ec em be r 2 01 4

CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION, 13(2), 145–148, 2014

Copyright C© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

ISSN: 1536-3759 print/1539-4107 online

DOI: 10.1080/15363759.2014.872496


Handbook of Theological Education in Africa,

Edited by Isabel Apawo Phiri and Dietrich Werner,

Oxford, UK: Regnum Studies International, 2013, xlii + 1100 pp. £69.95 (hardback)

Asian Handbook for Theological Education and Ecumenism,

Edited by Hope Antone, Wati Longchar, Hyunju Bae, Huang Po Ho, and Dietrich Werner,

Oxford, UK: Regnum Studies International, 2013, xxviii + 675 pp. £54.99 (hardback)

Reviewed by Amos Yong

Regent University

E-mail: ayong@regent.edu

These two handbooks, jointly planned, organized, and executed by evangelicals (connected with the Oxford Center for Mission Studies) and ecumenicals (associated with the World Council of Churches and its various arms in Asia and Africa) are a hopeful sign that the emergence of Christianity in the majority world will blur the conservative-liberal divides that have been pronounced in the Euroamerican West of the last century. Combined, these two volumes and their total of almost 200 chapters (besides multiple forewords and editorials), written mostly by scholars situated in Asia and Africa, provide helpful windows into what is happening at the vanguard of world Christianity in the global South. Regrettably, since neither book includes a subject index, readers will need to rely on the helpful section and chapter titles to locate entries of specific interest.

Readers of this journal should be forewarned that the title of the Asian Handbook is a bit misleading since the first five parts and 75 chapters are focused more on ecumenism in Asia than on theological education. This is not to say that the latter is absent from 90% of the volume. But it is to say that outside of a chapter on the Sunday school movement, those interested in Christian higher education will have to persist through the first 625 pages—on historical, contextual, biblical, theological, peace-justice, women’s, indigenous, and ecclesiastical perspectives on Asian ecumenism—in order to find those nuggets of information regarding theological education.

Christian higher educators that persevere cover to cover, however, will attain a much broader and deeper contextual frame of reference for understanding the promise and challenges related to theological education across the Asian world.

Part VI, “Ecumenical Formation in Asian Theological Education,” consists of seven chapters.

These cover the ecumenical challenges confronting theological education, models of learning and teaching ecumenism, the ecumenical ethos of Asian theological education, the role of Asian diaspora theologians and scholars, future prognostications, a case study of a Korean curriculum,

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K ha n U niv ers ity ] a t 2 2:4 9 1 4 D ec em be r 2 01 4 146 BOOK REVIEWS and an overview of theological library systems. As can be seen, even here, the ecumenical dimensions of theological education in the Asian world are pronounced. What is equally noteworthy, however, is that “ecumenical” in the Asian context is much broader than merely mainline Protestant. It often includes the broad spectrum of evangelically oriented churches, traditions, and movements.

All 113 chapters in the Handbook of Theological Education in Africa are focused in one or another way on theological education (notice that the word “ecumenism” is not in the title in this case). They are also arranged in six parts, although the fourth is further organized into six subsections of articles. A half dozen of the contributions scattered across the volume are in

French, focused as they are on theological education in Francophone regions and countries.