Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Mission of God's People, by Chris Wright

I have already begun quoting from Wright's book as I have been working through it; however, I think there is benefit to look at some of his thoughts in the beginning of his book to get a sense of where he is going with things. Here Wright gets us to think intentionally about how we think when the word "mission" is mentioned. These are some of the foundational questions he plans to engage in his book:

… mission is [often thought by Christians as something] either that specially commissioned Christians manage to do full-time, if they can get enough “support” to do so, or something that other Christians (the vast majority) do in odd moments of time they have to spare from the necessity of having to work for a living. Maybe they can fit a “mission trip” into a vacation, or go on a “church mission” over the weekend.

But what about the rest of life? What about the rest of the “world”- the world of work, the public arena, the world of business, education, politics, medicine, sports, and the like? In what sense is that world the arena of the mission of God’s people, and what does such mission consist of? Is it only the moments of evangelistic opportunity in that world, or can our work itself participate in God’s mission?

To push the question further, do the people of God have any responsibility to the rest of human society in general beyond the imperative of evangelism? What content do we put into biblical phrases like being a blessing to the nations, or seeking the welfare of the city, or being the salt of the earth or light of the world, or doing good (one of the commonest expressions used by Paul and Peter)? Do these concepts figure in our biblical theology of mission?

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