Book Review on "Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry"

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BOOK REVIEW ON
"CROSS-CULTURAL CONFLICT:
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS FOR EFFECTIVE MINISTRY"

DMSC 920: Communicating Christ: Barriers and Bridges
Name: Lalrosiem Songate
Book Title: CROSS-CULTURAL CONFLICT: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS FOR EFFECTIVE MINISTRY Author: Duane Elmer
Publisher: IVP Academic an imprint of Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois.

Overall Purpose of the Book:
The purpose of the book as explained by the writer himself is " to clarify issues in intercultural and interracial conflict, to provide insights on the different ways people of various cultures handled conflict, to evaluate these according to the Scripture and to provide practical guidelines for (1) helping us live more harmoniously with our cultural differences, (2) developing a positive strategy for dealing with conflict and (3)communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ more effectively and ministering the nurturing grace of God" (p.22).

Contents of the Book:
The book is divided into three sections. Section-I talks about Understanding Conflict and Culture. Section-II talks about Cultural Diversity and Conflict Resolution and section-III talks about the Implication for the Gospel message.

The first section talks about the fact of cultural diversity and that this diversity is the creation of God Himself. "After completing the creation, God looked around, saw a vast array of diversity in all he had created and declared it "very good" (Gen.1:31). Diversity is rooted in the creative activity of God" (p.23). Naturally diversity is likely to breed conflict and division but the unity in the midst of diversity is what brings out the glory of God. Christians need to see the diverse culture and the potential for conflict that such diversity can bring about but at the same time learned to be equipped to promote unity in diversity according to the will of God.

The second section deals with the role of mediator in conflict resolution which is used effectively in the Asian and African countries and also the various forms of approach to conflict resolution bringing out biblical guidelines for the same.

The third section deals with the implication of cross-cultural conflict resolution to the gospel message. As Christians, our responsibility is to preach the gospel to other people which normally involves other cultures which again naturally brings out cultural tensions and conflicts. Bringing out its Christian relevance through the description of the conflict between God and humanity and the steps God himself initiated in order to resolve our conflict by sending his son Jesus Christ to mediate between God and humanity, he brings out the Christian principles of cross-cultural conflict resolution which can greatly enhance the effectiveness of our missionary efforts.

Evaluation of the Book:
I will describe briefly my evaluation of the book as follows:
First, mission basically means sharing the gospel with someone who do not know. This normally involves a contact with others who are of a different culture. In any kind of intercultural contact, whether it is a business contact, a political contact or even in a religious contact, conflicts are bound to occur because of the cultural differences. This cultural differences is an important issue especially in a Christian mission enterprise because a lot of one's effectiveness depends on how well one respond to this issue . This is where the value of this subject covered in the book comes in. The following statement is worth noting;

The better we are at interpreting the culture, the fewer conflicts we will experience, the more we will be able to build authentic relationships, and the greater will be our ability to communicate God's truth" (p.14).

Secondly, the presentation of Western cultures versus two-third world cultures clearly brings out the vastness of differences in cultures and the books is basically written for Western audience to help them understand this cultural...
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