Often one of the hardest tasks for the author of a book is to choose a suitable title. It somehow has to capture in a few words what the book is about and to do so in a way that will pique the interest of potential readers.
One title that I think has stood up well is Gospel Ferment in Malawi, a collection of theological essays that I published twenty-five years ago. At that time, some of the essays were historical and others were contemporary. Now they are all historical! But, happily, a reprint has just come off the press. So it can continue to be available to students and others.
The use of the term “ferment” was intended to invoke the capacity of the Christian message to stir things up. Its initial introduction to the Malawi context in the late 19th century certainly brought a ferment of transformation. It did so again during the 1990s when Malawi underwent a major social and political transformation in which the Christian message proved to be a significant factor.
I hope the book might act as a prompt, in Malawi and elsewhere, at times when there is little ferment and it seems like the Christian message is comfortably accommodated in the prevailing landscape. If it is not involved in the life of society and bringing about transformative change, then we have somehow lost our way as regards making known the gospel.