Just when I thought Chris Wright had just about said all he could say about God’s mission in this world, he comes out with a book that expands his work and extends into the more practical dimensions of mission. There’s always a little more to say about mission! Hence, his new book’s title: The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Biblical Theology for Life)
This book is in a new series of books from Zondervan that extend biblical theology into the life of the church. The books are (perhaps too) organized, they are fitted out with nice sidebars of quotations and charts and ideas, and they conclude each chp with both a summary and a set of good questions. I predict this new series of books will become a hit in classrooms around the world.
Now for Wright’s book. This book, again, extends his earlier works into a focus for the church’s mission. Wright famously expands the gospel to the mission of God in this world, and that means the whole church takes the whole gospel to the whole world. Thus, Wright has stuff on creation care and on social justice and on personal redemption — and he closes with a powerful statement. How asks which is primary — prayer or Bible reading? No one. Neither, he suggests, should we be asking if evangelism is primary and justice secondary. He believes in an integral mission and observes the centrality of evangelism.
There’s too much here to summarize and I sense blogging through the whole book would be unfair to the book. So, let me call your attention to a chapter on the attractional nature of the gospel and God’s mission: he begins with attracting curiosity in Deut 4:5-8, attracting seekers in 1 Kgs 8:41-43, 60-61, attracting admiration in Jeremiah 13:1-11, and attracting worship in Isaiah 60.
But this book is about the kind of church the church needs to be if it is to be true to God’s mission and to be a church that participates in God’s mission in this world. Here are his themes:
People who know the story they are a part of
People who care for creation
People who are a blessing to the nations
People who walk in God’s way
People who are redeemed for redemptive living
People who represent God to the world
People who attract others to God (see above
People who know the one living God and Savior (I’ll spell that our way, Chris)
People who bear witness to the living God
People who proclaim the gospel of Christ
People who send and are sent
People who live and work in the public square
People who praise and pray