Based on the recommendation of a former pastor of mine, I have started reading “The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative” by Christopher J.H. Wright. It is still early (I haven’t reached page 100 yet) but I have found much value in what I have read so far. The book seeks to look at Missions from the grand narrative (the eschatological history through the Old and New Testament) of the Bible. It isn’t a Missions Theology perhaps, but it seems to me to be a refreshing first step… a Biblical theology of missions.
If that (a Biblical theology of missions) was its only accomplishment (drawing missions inductively from the entire Biblical text) it would be a worthy accomplishment. Wright, however, seeks to go further and suggest a missional hermeneutic for Biblical interpretation. At first thought, this seems flawed. It suggests a Procrustean process of jamming the Bible into a mold, and changing the interpretation to fit that mold while removing or ignoring things that ultimately don’t fit. (I am sure many/most of us can come up with examples of this). But the Bible, as God’s message of love and hope to man is arguably a direct product of God’s mission, and a clear proclamation of that same mission. As such, missional interpretation seems quite appropriate.
I have heard many people involved in Christian missions say that they do missions because of the “Great Commission.” But there are a few more GREATS needed.
1. We may do missions “because” of the “Great Commission.” But
2. The Great Commission is simply application of the “Great Commandment.” But
3. The Great Commandment is simply a summarization of the “Great Communication” (God’s Special Revelation). But
4. The Great Communication is simply the literary form of the “Great Creation” (Referring to God’s revelations in physical creation, in narrative creation, in self-disclosure). But
5. The Great Creation is the artifacts and observed behavior of God our “Great Christ.” (In this case, Christ is used, utilizing the ‘C’, to described God as the one who reigns.)
Anyone who stops at the Great Commission, has stopped way too early.