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Introduction: Migration

Migation is inextricable from missiology because mission is rooted in the sending of the Son and the Spirit from the Father, a sending in which all Christian disciples are called to participate (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; John 20:21). This section of FULLER magazine develops a mission theology of migration following the Missiology Lectures held in October 2020 on “Migration, Transnationalism, and Faith in Missiological Perspective.”1 These seven articles represent several different fields used in missiological enquiry.

The first is biblical studies. The Bible tells the story of the migration of God’s people as they participate in God’s mission. Carly L. Crouch, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, organized an earlier Fuller conference on migration in 2020, “The Bible on the Move.”2 In her article, she shows how Jeremiah and Ezekiel were already theologizing about migration 3,000 years ago as they reflected on the mass displacement of the people of Judah from their homeland.

Second, because it was the practice of Jesus, integral to mission is working for justice and peace. Lisseth Rojas-Flores, associate professor of clinical psychology at Fuller, details the current situation of Latinos seeking sanctuary in the US. Citing the scriptural demand for compassion, she calls for more humane policies toward immigrants and their children. Alexia Salvatierra, assistant professor of mission and global transformation and co-organizer of the 2020 Missiology Lectures, holds up a theology of grace which challenges “the territorial impulse” that hinders people from helping migrants.

From a world Christianity point of view, from Acts 2:5–11 onward, migration is the study of diasporas and transnationality. Daniel D. Lee, academic dean of Fuller’s Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry, argues that, given the particularity of the incarnation, shaping identity is a necessary starting point for theology. Matthew Krabill, editor of the journal Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue, notes how the plurality of immigrant Christianity in the US is disruptive to its settled patterns of church life, and calls for the “otherness” of immigrant churches to be respected.

Considering world mission, Martin Munyao from Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, who was a Global Research Institute fellow at Fuller last year, urges local churches to think about how the pandemic’s increasing restrictions on mobility will help and hinder international mission work. Lastly, my own contribution points to the possible one-sidedness of the theology of hospitality towards migrants and complements it with a mission theology of migration.

Written By

Kirsteen Kim, Paul E. Pierson Chair in World Christianity and Associate Dean for the Center for Missiological Research

Migation is inextricable from missiology because mission is rooted in the sending of the Son and the Spirit from the Father, a sending in which all Christian disciples are called to participate (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; John 20:21). This section of FULLER magazine develops a mission theology of migration following the Missiology Lectures held in October 2020 on “Migration, Transnationalism, and Faith in Missiological Perspective.”1 These seven articles represent several different fields used in missiological enquiry.

The first is biblical studies. The Bible tells the story of the migration of God’s people as they participate in God’s mission. Carly L. Crouch, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, organized an earlier Fuller conference on migration in 2020, “The Bible on the Move.”2 In her article, she shows how Jeremiah and Ezekiel were already theologizing about migration 3,000 years ago as they reflected on the mass displacement of the people of Judah from their homeland.

Second, because it was the practice of Jesus, integral to mission is working for justice and peace. Lisseth Rojas-Flores, associate professor of clinical psychology at Fuller, details the current situation of Latinos seeking sanctuary in the US. Citing the scriptural demand for compassion, she calls for more humane policies toward immigrants and their children. Alexia Salvatierra, assistant professor of mission and global transformation and co-organizer of the 2020 Missiology Lectures, holds up a theology of grace which challenges “the territorial impulse” that hinders people from helping migrants.

From a world Christianity point of view, from Acts 2:5–11 onward, migration is the study of diasporas and transnationality. Daniel D. Lee, academic dean of Fuller’s Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry, argues that, given the particularity of the incarnation, shaping identity is a necessary starting point for theology. Matthew Krabill, editor of the journal Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue, notes how the plurality of immigrant Christianity in the US is disruptive to its settled patterns of church life, and calls for the “otherness” of immigrant churches to be respected.

Considering world mission, Martin Munyao from Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, who was a Global Research Institute fellow at Fuller last year, urges local churches to think about how the pandemic’s increasing restrictions on mobility will help and hinder international mission work. Lastly, my own contribution points to the possible one-sidedness of the theology of hospitality towards migrants and complements it with a mission theology of migration.

Kirsteen Kim

Kirsteen Kim, Paul E. Pierson Chair in World Christianity and Associate Dean for the Center for Missiological Research

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Fuller Magazine

Carly Crouch, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, examines how displacement in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel shapes our theology of God’s relationship to God’s people