Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia

Mark A. Noll and Carolyn Nystrom. IVP Books, $25 (300p) ISBN 978-0-8308-3834-9

Because Euro-Americans are largely unaware of Christian history in Africa and Asia, the authors set out to tell stories of Christian leaders from Korea, China, Africa, and India. These narratives from the 19th and 20th centuries stand on their own rather than filling the pages with assessment and evaluation, because "it is important first simply to know before trying to judge," the authors write. Profiles of influential Christian voices and activists range from Archbishop Janani Luwum, a martyr in Uganda murdered by Idi Amin's regime in 1977, to Dora Yu, a woman considered the foremost Chinese evangelist during the early 1900s. The otherwise brilliant book suffers from uninspiring front matter, and while one strength is the incredible detail harvested from missionary journals, biographies, and autobiographies, the first chapter immediately bogs down in minutiae of church politics surrounding its subject, Anglican martyr Bernard Mizeki. The value of this book is the window it opens to a diverse world. The authors maintain that these stories show indelibly that the Holy Spirit has been active across the world and across time. (Apr.)