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Fall 1987 · Vol. 16 No. 2 · pp. 74–75 

Book Review

God's New Envoys

Tetsunao Yamamori. Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1987.

Reviewed by Roy Just

In this well-written book, Dr. Yamamori calls for a new breed of Gospel emissary to penetrate those countries substantially closed to traditional missionary approaches which by the turn of the century will contain 83% of the world’s 4.2 billion non-Christians. He is the leader of one of the world’s most respected relief and development organizations, Food For The Hungry. Coming from a Buddhist/Shintoist background, he himself is the Christian product of one of God’s New Envoys to Japan, a U.S. Air Force chaplain who took his witness to the Japanese people seriously. Dr. Yamamori has substantial training in Bible/Theology as well as a doctorate in Sociology of Religion and has served as a minister. He brings a full-orbed biblical view to the proclamation/development issue by saying, “The battle over evangelism versus social action in the Church’s mission is both wasteful and unnecessary” Even today traditional missionary methods can be applied only to a shrinking minority of the world’s unevangelized peoples.

To realistically address this situation, Dr. Yamamori is calling for a new force of 100,000 “envoys” who must find their own employment and point of contact in these “closed” countries. Because many countries more or less closed to traditional missionary work are developing nations, they need a great variety of professional and semi-professional skills for which envoys can train and find ready employment. These {75} envoys, through a positive lifestyle and in a very discreet manner, call subtle, yet powerful attention to their faith. As social contacts open up and questions are asked, they share their faith in complete dependence, confidence and patience, trusting the Holy Spirit to produce spiritual fruit. If, as is hoped, a fellowship of believers develops, the envoys seek to develop leadership within that group so as to make it as indigenous as possible from the very beginning. Full cognizance must be taken of the potential for insecurity, hardship, and perhaps even persecution. This calls for courage, deep commitment to Christ and His mission and, where indicated, a call to celibate service. A special kind of resilience, vitality, sensitivity, and training will be required.

Besides excellent chapters on the mandate, selection, training and strategy of God’s New Envoys, a very helpful chapter on the growing, unfinished task uses charts and graphs to show in which countries the greatest challenges lie, the extent of resistance or openness to the Gospel, and the types of people groups to be found there. Yamamori uses practical, factual illustrations and a challenging, interesting, and simple style to illuminate a complex scene. His own optimism and personal experience solicit a positive intelligent response in the reader. A list of schools and helpful agencies, both Christian and secular, provide practical points of contact to enter this global venture. This book addresses all of us. It not only shows us how to become World Christians, it also will inspire us to begin that important process.

Dr. Roy Just
Professor of Missions
Fresno Pacific College

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