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”.