Thursday, 28 July 2011

Missional Journal 5, 3 (July 2011)

‘Where are the missional Evangelicals?’, asks David Dunbar in his latest Missional Journal.

He wonders whether the missional discussion has not seemed sufficiently ‘biblical’ to some scholars; since most of the early participants in the missional movement ‘were not trained biblical scholars’, it perhaps allowed ‘the perception that “missional” was not strongly based in a biblical understanding of church and gospel’.

To help address this issue he appeals to Chris Wright’s works, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative (Nottingham: IVP, 2006) and The Mission of God's People: A Biblical Theology of the Church's Mission (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), highlighting what he sees as a few helpful points.

So, with Chris Wright, he holds that a ‘missional hermeneutic has been especially helpful in reframing issues in ways that seem more comprehensive and faithful to the entire biblical narrative’.

Election, for instance, has traditionally been understood in terms of salvation (with associated debates about sovereignty, free will, and the justice of God); but election can be reframed in terms of mission, with Abraham and his family becoming the agent of blessing to the nations, and with the early Christians seeing themselves ‘as participants in the story of Abraham, the missionary expansion narrated in Acts represented the logical development of salvation history’.

He also draws on Chris Wright’s arguments for integral or holistic mission, not least based in the exodus event which becomes a lens through which Jesus’ death and resurrection are understood. Not only does this makes clear ‘that God's redemption of Israel was multi-faceted (in political, economic, social and spiritual dimensions, according to Chris Wright), it also means that ‘if the cross initiates the new exodus experience of the people of God, then the cross must be understood as central to every element of holistic mission’.

In short, Dunbar encourages his readers to ‘try reading the Bible from the grand perspective of the mission of God’.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tremendous stuff!