David Bosch (1929-1992) was one of the foremost mission theologians of the twentieth century; a prolific scholar, committed church leader and active participant in the global conciliar and evangelical mission movements. His distinctive role in the South African church’s struggle against apartheid is less well known, however.
After reviewing Bosch’s background and exploring key themes in his understanding of mission and evangelism, Livingston explores Bosch’s legacy from the perspective of the missionary nature of the church. The church is God’s kingdom community, acting as a witness to and instrument of the coming reign of God. The church is God’s alternative community, simultaneously set apart from the world but also existing for the sake of the world, exemplifying the radical implications of Christ’s new community. It is also God’s reconciled and reconciling community, serving as a sign and embodiment of God’s love in Christ.
For those acquainted with Bosch only as the author of his magisterial Transforming Mission, A Missiology of the Road shows how Bosch integrated his theology and practice in a faithful, contextually relevant way within South Africa and the global church.
Part One: David Bosch in Context
1. Apartheid and Afrikaner Identity
2. Bosch’s Theological Pilgrimage: A Biographical Sketch
Part Two: Bosch’s Theology of Mission and Evangelism
3. Theology, Mission, and Missiology: Bosch’s Theological Method
4. The Historical and Theological Context of Mission: Major Motifs in Bosch’s
5. The Biblical Foundation for Mission
6. Mission, Evangelism, and Church Growth
Part Three: Crucial Theological Dimensions for a Missionary Church
Introduction: The Missionary Nature of the Church as the Theological Horizon for Bosch’s Missiology
7. The Eschatological Dimension of the Missionary Church: The Church as Witness to the Kingdom of God
8. The Ecclesial Dimension of the Missionary Church: The Church as God’s “Alternative Community”
9. The Soteriological Dimension of the Missionary Church: The Church as a Sign and Agent of God’s Reconciliation
Endorsements and Reviews
Livingston has performed an immense service by taking us behind Transforming Mission and showing where it came from: the agonies of apartheid South Africa, the unhappy warfare of theological camps labeled ‘ecumenical’ and ‘evangelical’, the quest for a concrete expression of the church as it is depicted in the Scriptures, and from faithful discipleship while engaging with church and society as they are. This book … is a considerable achievement.
Andrew F. Walls, University of Edinburgh
Now meet Bosch at work, Bosch before Transforming Mission, Bosch in the grist of the mill of his forming vision. Kevin Livingston is a savvy guide who provides clear exposition of Bosch’s earlier work, forged as it was during the years of struggle to end South Africa’s apartheid policies. He demonstrates effectively the continuing relevance of Bosch’s missionary ecclesiology for churches of the twenty-first century.
George R. Hunsberger, Western Theological Seminary, MI
All of us who have been influenced by David Bosch will find this book compelling reading. Kevin Livingston draws on his encyclopedic knowledge of Bosch and his work to take us deep into those influences – personal, spiritual, professional, theological, and political – that shaped him into the person who wrote Transforming Mission. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper, more textured understanding of Bosch.
John P. Bowen, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
… a very careful and extensive view into Bosch’s theological thinking before the publication of his Transforming Mission. … [Livingston’s] detailed discussions do not merely present a very complete picture of Bosch’s theology, they also give access to Bosch’s characteristic approach. … this is a very rich, well-written description of Bosch’s missiological thinking and for this it is to be recommended.
Stefan Paas, in Exchange, Volume 44, 2015