Missiology: Rise, demise and future at the university


  • Pieter Verster




Mission, Missiology, University, Future, Re-establish


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.