Introduction to This Issue

The Reformed Review is pleased to present this issue on the Reformed Church in America’s mission in Chiapas, Mexico. As the Mission Statement of the Reformed Review says, one of its goals is to “preserve the history of mission in the Reformed Church in America.” Because of its proximity to the United States and Canada, because of its dramatic story, and because of its rich results, this mission in Chiapas in cooperation with the Presbyterian Church of Mexico has drawn continuous and strong support from the people of the R.C.A. We are pleased to tell its story here.

Long-term missionaries and an administrator for the Chiapas mission have written the articles in this issue. J. Samuel Hofman begins by providing an overview of the history of the Chiapas mission, providing good treatment of both the conflict and cooperation that went into it, especially in its first generation. Charles Van Engen situates the Chiapas mission within the history of missiological thought and practice, and draws several pertinent conclusions for world mission in general. Vernon J. Sterk discusses the missiological factors that contributed to the remarkable growth of the church in Chiapas. Finally, Roger DeYoung discusses the rise of mission partnerships between classes and churches and the Chiapas churches. The issue ends with a comprehensive list of the long-term cross-cultural missionaries from the R.C.A. who served in Chiapas.

The Chiapas mission of the R.C.A. is winding down, having helped during most of the twentieth century to build a strong indigenous church that can stand steadily on its own feet and do its own mission. Now we should raise the question: Is God calling the R.C.A. to carry out a similar cross-cultural mission to a key part of the world in the twenty-first century?

Robert E. Van Voorst