There are two feisty parties in the church today. Let’s call them “spiritualizers” and “activists.” Chris Wright, in the second half of chp 8 (The Mission of God) says each emphasizes biblical truth but omits what the other emphasizes. He calls for an integrated approach: Wright’s “right.”
His thesis: “an exodus-shaped redemption demands an exodus-shaped mission” (275).
(I have called this concern a “robust gospel.” What does a “robust mission” look like if we believe in a robust gospel?”
1. Spiritualizers: In the exodus God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt; in the cross of Christ God delivered us from the slavery to sin. Wright shows that this view is true, but omits too much.
a. The sin of the Exodus, which is used as a parallel, was not Israel’s sin but Egypt’s oppression. One needs Isa 40-55 to get there. The analogy to Exodus would lead to the cross as liberator and victor over injustice.
b. The NT does not eliminate the OT vision but expands it and christologizes it. The NT does not exchange social vision for spiritual vision.
c. This view has a subtle Marcionite view of God: the OT God had concerns that, somehow, just shifted between Malachi and Matthew!
2. Activists (he calls them “politicizers”): God’s paradigm is undoing social injustice. Every act of throw off oppression is redemption.
a. First, the old view that Israel’s elective status changes things is not fair.
b. Second, the goal of liberation in Exodus was worship of God.
c. Third, the exile continues the Exodus story to show that sin, Israel’s sin, is in view and in need of forgiveness. Not just restoration to Jerusalem but also to God.
3. So he calls for an Integral interpretation
Both: a real exodus-shaped redemption leads to a real exodus-shaped mission.
Social action needs evangelism; evangelism needs social action.