The Arts As Witness in Multifaith Contexts

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Roberta R. King, William A. Dyrness
  • Westmont, IL: 
    IVP Academic
    , November
     256 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Jose Abraham forthcoming.


In search of holistic Christian witness, missionaries have increasingly sought to take into account all the dimensions of people's cultural and religious lives—including their songs, dances, dramatic performances, storytelling, and visual arts. Missiologists, educators, and practitioners are cultivating new approaches for integrating the arts into mission praxis and celebrating creativity within local communities. And in an increasingly globalized and divided world, peacemaking must incorporate the use of artistic expressions to create understanding among peoples of diverse faiths. As Christians in all nations encounter members of other religions, how do they witness among these neighbors while respecting their distinct traditions?

Building on sessions at the 2018 Missiology Lectures at Fuller Seminary, this book explores the crucial role of the arts in helping people from different cultures and faiths get caught up in the gospel story. Scholars and practitioners from throughout the world present historical and contemporary case studies and analyses. Their subjects include the use of Christian songs during the Liberian civil war and Ebola crisis, social critiques in contemporary Chinese art, interreligious dialogue through choir music in Germany, aesthetic practices of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico, and how hip-hop music empowers urban young people in globalizing Mozambique.

These essays foster a conversation about the work that missiologists, art critics, ethnodoxologists, and theologians can do together to help guide church leaders in promoting interfaith and intercultural relationships. While honestly identifying weaknesses in the church's practice, the contributors call all Christians to understand the power of art for expressing cultural and religious identity, opening spaces for transformative encounters, bridging divides, and resisting injustice.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Roberta R. King is a professor of communication and ethnomusicology in Fuller Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies. She specializes in global Christian worship and witness as an ethnomusicologist in mission. King is the author of Pathways in Christian Music CommunicationMusic in the Life of the African Church, and A Time to Sing: A Manual for the African Church.

William A. Dyrness is professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books, including Modern Art and the Life of a Culture (with Jonathan Anderson), Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian WorshipReformed Theology and Visual CultureChanging the Mind of Missions (with James Engel), Theology Without Borders (with Oscar Garcia-Johnson), and was a general editor of the Global Dictionary of Theology.


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