Missiology: Rise, demise and future at the university

Pieter Verster


Although a latecomer as discipline, missiology had an impressive rise in
the history of theology. Gustav Warneck’s “Evangelische Missionslehre (1897-1903)” resulted in
missiology being regarded as an extremely influential discipline. This was not at all strange as
Christian mission was a worldwide endeavour and accepted as the most important calling of the
church. Throughout the 1900s missiology and missiological conferences continued to be the centre
of theological discussions. With the political emancipation of Africa and the East, the whole
concept of missions was challenged and this led to the demise of missiology as a discipline at
universities. Influential missiologists, such as Johannes Verkuyl and David Bosch, published
works of high theological value, but it seemed as if sociological, cultural and interreligious
studies displaced missiology at university. Many seminaries are still putting up a brave fight
to save missiology, but at university level it seems that classical missiology as discipline is
being displaced. The future of missiology must, however, not be regarded as obsolete, but rather
as an irreplaceable part of theology and faith.


Mission; Missiology; University; Future; Re-establish

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5952/55-3-4-670


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ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

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