There are many people who enthusiastically pour their lives into mission work. They want to make a difference--to convert a lost soul, to help start a church. They have the optimism that believes some lasting good will be done, that God will be glorified. History shouts, however, that missions do not succeed on enthusiasm alone. The importance of the Bible and missiology is graphically illustrated by the Student Volunteer Movement. Before 1900 it was guided by Scripture and current missions thinking. Later, a slow but certain shift away from the word of God and sound cross-cultural methods of evangelism caused this once powerful movement to become an impotent system supported by the lingering echos of uninformed hype and enthusiasm. Thousands went out as missionaries under the banner of the Student Volunteer Movement. It was the single most successful missionary organization in history in terms of number of recruits who went to the field. But it died! It died for lack of adhering to a firm biblical and missiological foundation.
It is dangerous to have zeal without knowledge. For those who do will make haste by stray from the path. Proverbs 19:3.
The Journal of Applied Missiology speaks to this concern. This issue is no exception. The articles contained herein are the written texts--somewhat shortened to fit into the limited space of the journal--delivered at the Teachers of Missions Workshop, February 26 and 27, 1993, in Dallas, Texas. It is hoped that through this effort various views on mission may be molded into sound, effective principles of missiology. Should that happen...let God be praised.