(how to tell the biblical story
in a way that makes a difference)

Mission and the “history of redemption”

Chris Wright’s The Mission of God’s People is methodologically one of the best books on a biblical theology of mission that I have come across. I will be recommending it in the workshops that Wes and I will be doing at the Communitas staff conference later this week. Wright argues that mission arises out of the whole story of the people of God told in scripture and that mission must engage the whole life of the people of God, and I agree with him. The book is a careful, thorough, scholarly, but very readable exposition of the thesis.

But I think that Wright misses an important dimension to the biblical story and as a result overlooks a crucial aspect of the missional task today. The point can be illustrated by considering this diagrammatic representation of the biblical story, which I have adapted from the book (40). It is fairly typical of evangelical narrative theologies. Creation, fall and new creation are the enclosing sections of the biblical story; the large space in the middle is filled with “Redemption in History”.

31 Jul 2018

The central claim of the New Testament regarding the risen Jesus is this: because he was faithful unto death in fulfilment of his mission to Israel, the God of Israel raised him from the dead and gave him the authority, which formerly belonged to God alone, to judge and rule over the nations—meaning, at least in...

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26 Jul 2018

This is the third of three posts outlining the biblical narrative for the purpose of constructing a narrative theology for mission. The first part presented us with Israel as a new creation people called to worship and serve the living God, in the midst of hostile nations, over a long period of time. That...

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17 Jul 2018

The Old Testament story left us with a two-part eschatological expectation. During a period of great historical crisis the God of Abraham would demonstrate his righteousness or rightness, first, by saving and restoring his servant people, and secondly, by establishing his own rule over the nations in place of the...

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11 Jul 2018

My friend Wes and I are running some workshops at the Communitas International staff conference this summer, aimed at helping leaders who do not necessarily have formal theological training instil in their communities a good grasp of how scripture informs church and mission. How do we do credible, practical...

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4 Jul 2018

Marc Cortez has written a book called ReSourcing Theological Anthropology: A Constructive Account of Humanity in the Light of Christ. I haven’t read the book, but I know a man who has, and I propose to take issue with the central thesis of Cortez’s book on the strength of Owen Strachan’s mostly...

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26 Jun 2018

Last month the Pew Research Centre published the results of a survey of the level of religious commitment of people in Western Europe who self-identify as Christians. The basic finding appears to be that people who call themselves “Christian” in Western Europe are less actively religious—less likely to go to church...

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20 Jun 2018

Jörg Frey offers a useful critique of N.T. Wright’s understanding of Paul’s apocalyptic in his chapter in God and the Faithfulness of Paul—the massive response to NT Wright’s massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God.1 I was asked what I think...

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14 Jun 2018

I make the point frequently that there are two basic approaches to the interpretation of the Bible operative in the church today, a theologically determined method and a historically determined method. The church tends to regard the historical method as detrimental to orthodox belief and the theological method as...

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