Missionary Monks: An Introduction to the History and Theology of Missionary Monasticism
Missionaries go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, while monks live cloistered in a monastery and focus their lives on prayer and studying Scripture--correct? Not exactly. When we study the history of Christian mission, especially from...
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Missionaries go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, while monks live cloistered in a monastery and focus their lives on prayer and studying Scripture--correct? Not exactly. When we study the history of Christian mission, especially from around 500 to 1500 CE, the key missionaries that we constantly encounter are monks. In fact, if we don't have monks in this period then we have very little in the way of Christian mission. Our aim in this book is to examine the phenomenon of missionary monks--those who pursued both a monastic and missionary calling. We will meet the monks and monastic orders, narrate their journeys in mission, and evaluate their approaches to and thoughts about mission. ""Church historian and missiologist Ed Smither is the perfect person to bridge two academic fields and offer us a comprehensive look at monastic Christian missions. His historical overview covers all the bases with readability and depth. Perhaps his most important contribution is the 'theology of mission' that calls us to imitate the globe-trotting monks in their love for God and lives of sacrifice. Everyone interested in contemporary missions needs to read this book; for in its pages we come face to face with our great predecessors who first took the Gospel to faraway lands. These are friends we need to know, and Smither offers them to you. Don't miss out!"" --Bryan Litfin, Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute ""Some Christians falsely conclude that monks are of little earthly good because they are so preoccupied with prayer that they do little for the kingdom of God. This book definitively shows that this is an incorrect conclusion. In an easily readable and accessible manner Smither demonstrates that monks from all areas and eras of the Christian world have been engaged in mission, bringing the gospel to all people. It will change your view of monasticism."" --Greg Peters, Biola University; author of Reforming the Monastery and The Story of Monasticism ""In Missionary Monks, Edward L. Smither has taken the Protestant Reformation lid off a treasure trove of God's intriguing missional history and theology with scholarly authority and rich prose that enlightens contemporary adventures in the expansion of Christ's kingdom."" --Robert L. Gallagher, Chair and Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, Wheaton College Graduate School ""Having studied the life and thought of the monk Basil of Caesarea intensely and having traveled to Iona and Lindisfarne, two key Celtic monastic settlements, this book struck a responsive key with me. One need not agree with all that monasticism stood for to appreciate elements of the piety and theology of these remarkable 'missionary monks' as Smither describes them. A much-needed history that fills a great lacuna."" --Michael A. G. Haykin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Edward L. Smither is Professor of Intercultural Studies and History of Global Christianity and Dean of the College of Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University.