#30 – Darrell Whiteman

Martin Rodriguez sits down with Darrell Whiteman, missiologist and retired professor of cultural anthropology. Whiteman shares about his experiences as a missionary, anthropologist, and professor and reflects on his hopes for the future of the field.

Our Guest

Darrell Whiteman is a missiological anthropologist, passionate about helping people in diverse cultures connect the Gospel and biblical values to the deepest part of their worldview. He remains active in the training and orientation of missionaries with several denominations in the United States and around the world as the founder and director of Global Development, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to enable missionaries, pastors, and lay people to better distinguish the universal message of the gospel from their local interpretation and practice of living out the gospel within their communities.

Whiteman received his PhD in anthropology from Southern Illinois University. After serving as a United Methodist missionary in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Whiteman was a professor of cultural anthropology and, later, the dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary for twenty-one years, as well as vice president and resident missiologist at The Mission Society in Atlanta, Georgia, for nine years. He recently served as the interim executive director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, CT, and adjunct professor at Yale Divinity School. He served on the board of trustees of the American Bible Society for twenty-seven years. He is the past president of both the American Society of Missiology and the International Association for Mission Studies and served as editor of the journal Missiology: An International Review from 1988 until 2003. He is also the founding chair of the Network of Christian Anthropologists and a former president of the Association of Professors of Mission.

In addition to scores of journal articles and book contriubtions, Whiteman has authored or edited five books, including Melanesians and Missionaries (1983); An Introduction to Melanesian Cultures: A Handbook for Church Workers (1984); Missionaries, Anthropologists, and Culture Change (1985);World Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit (2009); and Paradigm Shifts in Christian Witness: Insights from Anthropology, Communication, and Spiritual Power (2008).

Publications Mentioned

  • Charles H. Kraft, "Dynamic Equivalence Churches: An Ethnotheological Approach to Indigeneity," Missiology: An International Review 1, no. 1 (1973): 39–57.
  • Darrell Whiteman, Melanesians and Missionaries: An Ethnohistorical Study of Social and Religious Change in the Southwest Pacific, illustrated ed. (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2002 [1983]).
  • Paul G. Hiebert, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985).
  • Eugene A. Nida, Customs and Cultures: Anthropology for Christian Mission, rev. ed. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1975 [1954]).
  • Darrell Whiteman, "Contextualization: The Theory, the Gap, the Challenge," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 21, no. 1 (1997): 2–7.
  • Darrell Whiteman, "Contextualization: A Passing Fad, A Syncretistic Danger, or a Biblical Mandate?" Doon Theological Journal 18, no. 2 (2021): 21–39. (This didn’t appear until 
                early 2023)
  • Darrell Whiteman,  "Why is Christianity Perceived as a Foreign Religion?"  in Leave the Farm and Follow Me: Essays on Theology and Mission; Festschrift in Honour of Rev. Dr. Graham Whitfield Houghton, ed. Richard Howell (Farukh Nagar, India: Caleb Institute, 2023), 385-405.


Hosted by Martin Rodriguez

Produced by Greg McKinzie