Thursday, December 2, 2010

Newbigin’s Trinitarian Theology of Mission

From The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (Chapter 6):

From "the beginning of the gospel" (Mark 1:1) when Jesus came into Galilee preaching the kingdom of God, the concern of mission is nothing less than this: the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of the Father of Jesus over all humankind and over all creation.  I have spoken of mission in three ways.  It is the proclamation of the kingdom, the presence of the kingdom, and the prevenience [previous-ness] of the kingdom.  By proclaiming the reign of God over all things the church acts out its faith that the Father of Jesus is indeed ruler of all.  The church, by inviting all humankind to share in the mystery of the presence of the kingdom hidden in its life through its union with the crucified and risen life of Jesus, acts out the love of Jesus that took him to the cross.  By obediently following where the Spirit leads, often in ways neither planned, known, nor understood, the church acts out the hope that it is given by the presence of the Spirit who is the living foretaste of the kingdom.

This threefold way of understanding the church's mission is rooted in the triune nature of God himself.  If any one of these is taken in isolation as the clue to the understanding of mission, distortion follows.

1 comment:

Abdul Asad عبد الأسد said...

Trinitarian - Originating, Sustaining, and Ending with God - that's the "Missio Dei" which is so easy for us to lose sight of. Along these lines, have a look at Tennent's newest book, "Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century" found here:
Tennent said he wanted to wait until he turned 50 to write it, because he wanted to have enough years of reflection before putting his definitive thoughts on missiology in print. And this book is the result.