Christian missionaries generally head out to the field with a single assessment of the human condition--humans are fallen, sinful creatures in need of salvation. Yet, as the history of missiology developed it found itself confronting other models of the human condition in anthropology and sociology that it had to incorporate into its theological models.
Taber offers a brief history of the interface between missiology and the social sciences. He contends that this relationship has been largely superficial and uncritical, even though it has brought a number of helpful dimensions to both disciplines. Taber provides Christian missiological critiques of social scientific views of human nature, cultural relativity, and human freedom. But Taber also argues that the social sciences can provide helpful tools in designing a missiology for the western world primarily because the social sciences "arise from the common spirit of the age."
Charles R. Taber teaches at the Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, Tennessee. He is the author of The World is Too Much with Us: "Culture" in Modern Protestant Missions.
"In this book, Charles Taber has set out to blunt Ockham's razor by insisting that missiological thinking in our era must adopt for itself not just a traditionally narrow theological position but one based on the broad spectrum of thought offered by the social sciences. In a few pages he has identified both the promise and limits of the social sciences, and thereby clarified the task of doing missiology in our era. His work is both an example and a guide in the task he has done so well to define." Lamin Sanneh, Professor of History and of World Christianity, Yale University--Sanford Lakoff