If chp 1 of Christopher Wright, The Mission of God, took issue with various ways Christians have tried to make sense of a missional calling, chp 2 explains his own big ideas … and, again, drink these in because they are valuable for the long term.
How does “missional” change your “theory” of Scripture? What does “authority” mean when it gets connected to “missional”?
First, the Bible itself is the missional God in action. God communicates (missionally) with human beings. That, my friend, is what the Bible is: God communicating with us. And, Wright observes that more often than not it is missional activities that give rise to the biblical books.
Second — and I like this one — framing the Bible in terms of the missional God reframes how we understand the Bible’s authority. How so? Most frame authority in terms of command. Chris Wright says wait a minute. Authority is reality: it is living inside the reality of this world. And, authority is not just restruction; authority “authorizes” and creates freedom. The authority of the Bible, then, is that it brings us into contact with the reality of God. What realities?
2.1 The reality of the God of the Bible
2.2 The reality of this Story that tells the Story of this reality. Answers these questions: Where are we? Who are we? What’s gone wrong? What is the solution?
2.3 The reality of this people: as it celebrates its past and looks to its anticipated future.
This reshaped understanding of authority leads us to Jesus:
In whom we meed this God
In whom this Story finds its climax
In whom we are this people.
Third, the Bible urges us to think in terms of indicatives (what is) and imperatives (what we should do); the indicative is the foundation of the imperative. So, we begin with God — who God is — and that leads to what we are to do.
He thus says biblical mission is more than the great commission and more than the great commandment; biblical mission begins with the great communication (God’s communicating of himself/Godself).
Finally, his missional hermeneutic leads us to think of:
God’s mission: to bless the nations through Israel.
Humanity’s mission: fill, replenish, govern, cultivate the earth.
Israel’s mission: to bless the nations.
Jesus’ mission: restore Israel and propel into a universal mission.
Church’s mission: to witness to God’s salvation.