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Some Thoughts on a Biblical Theology of Mission - Part 2

The Bible opens with a dance. The first three verses, in fact, draw a picture of this dance – a waltz of universal proportions with the elegance of flawless yet artistic expression. God creating – the Spirit hovering – the Word being spoken. God the Father, God the Spirit and God the Son moving and flowing in those first opening lines of Genesis. Lesslie Newbigin, in The Open Secret, gives a framework for this dance, this mission – a Trinitarian framework. He looks at mission through a three-pronged lens – “as proclaiming the kingdom of the Father, as sharing the life of the Son, and as bearing the witness of the Spirit” (Newbigin: 29). Newbigin’s theological framework is deeply embedded in the Trinitiarian perspective of mission as faith, love, and hope as a reflection of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His perspective echoes that ancient dance that continues to being light and life into a dark and rebellious world.

Certainly Newbigin is on to something when he observes that “God is indeed active in history” (Newbigin: 39). It is by faith, love and hope that this activity manifests in regards to mission. It is by faith that we proclaim the reign of God, love as Jesus loved by virtue of the incarnation, and put our hope in the obedience to the Spirit. It is when we join the dance that we fully live in mission and for mission.

And Revelation chapter 5 gives a glimpse of the picture of an overarching theology of why we do mission. Speaking of Jesus the text says that “You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (NASB). Jesus has purchased all of God’s people of all time. Because of this purchase we can be guaranteed that the work of mission, the work of evangelism, the work of indiscriminately preaching the gospel until His elect come in, cannot fail. We have the purchase of the Son with the work of the Spirit backed by the sovereignty of God. His purposes cannot fail, and therefore we have the confidence to be on mission with God.

Newbigin, Lesslie
1994 The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

image: crossroads by PedjaP

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