Spring 1994 · Vol. 23 No. 1 · p. 2 

From the Editors: Mission and Pluralism

Elmer A. Martens

Professor Hans Kasdorf
In recognition and appreciation of Dr. Hans Kasdorf
Professor of World Mission

The church is committed to mission, the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. Among Mennonite Brethren and elsewhere Professor Hans Kasdorf has popularized the expression “Global Mission.”

The articles that follow explore current challenges in global mission. On a theoretical level a much-discussed issue is religious pluralism. Is Christianity exclusive? Is there only one way to God? How do Christians deal with the claims by other religions that their way of belief and practice secures salvation?

And how is salvation defined? Gordon Nickel, seminary teacher in Pakistan, reports on some grass roots thinking about the Islamic approach to salvation. Gordon has moved beyond the on-the-street interview, and has helpfully and extensively laid out the views from the academic side of the question. R.S. Lemuel, an Indian church leader, reports on how Hindus have and currently do interpret salvation.

With the stage set by these views about religion in Asia, Victor Adrian sorts out some of the options now proposed in addressing religious pluralism. Delbert Wiens brings further biblical material to bear, although more obliquely, from Stephen’s sermon in Acts. A bibliographical essay by Walter Unger is helpful in directing Christians to books in which different answers are given to the agenda posed by religious pluralism.

At a practical level, Harold Ens and Frances Hiebert speak to the issues of mission partnership and unity.

A new feature is a section headed “Faith and Learning.” Here instructors from the supporting schools tell how they go about their task.

This issue of Direction on global mission honors Professor Hans Kasdorf, who, after fifteen years of teaching missiology at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, has retired. Seminary President Henry Schmidt offers a tribute. A retired Seminary colleague in New Testament studies, Dr. D. Edmond Hiebert submits an exposition. Hans, your instructional colleagues in Mennonite Brethren Higher Education rejoice in your achievements and thank God for you, your diligence, your rich contribution and inspiration.

The fall issue of Direction takes up denominational subjects, specifically, matters Mennonite.