THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS
A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO
DR. C THOMAS WRIGHT
NOVEMBER 09, 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Thesis Statement: A main aspect of being a Christian to spread the word of Jesus Christ, therefore all Christians participate in missions. Introduction
Old Testament Texts Related to Missions
Missions in the Old Testament are primarily concerned with the individual and the community of God’s people cooperating with God in his work.1 The Old Testament contains numerous verses that relate to missions, but the one that stands out begins in Genesis 12:1-3. These verses state, “Now the Lord had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family
and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you
and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
New Testament Text Related to Missions
Nature of God
The scripture discussed above and other scriptures throughout the Bible show us that God’s mission is directly related to his own nature. Missio Dei is taken from the latin word meaning “mission of God”.2 The Latin term missio Dei is often translated as the “sending of God” or the “mission of God” and is derived from the very nature of God himself, “encompassing everything God does in relation to the kingdom and everything the church is sent to do on earth.”3 When we examine scripture in context we see that “God is the initiator of His mission” sent to redeem his people through Christ, and then through the Church.8 The nature of God and mission is to reach all nations. We read throughout the bible, beginning with God calling Abraham and leading to the coming of Jesus Christ. Today, modern churches are reaching out to the communities in an attempt to win others over to God. The nature of God and mission could not exist without one another. Mission Theology in Relation to Other Aspects of Theology
In modern day cultural terms, mission is not often thought of as a theology, and is rarely related to other aspects of theology. When scripture is closely examined, we see God indeed calls all nations worship him, which then makes it “natural to build a theology of mission at the core of all theological studies.”9 How mission theology relates to other aspects of theology is similar to how the nature of God relates to mission. Mission theology is at the center core of all theology, and the foundation to building a good mission theology stems directly from the Old and New Testament scriptures, especially when read as a whole unit. David Bosch, a late twentieth century missiologists, explained that the “theology of mission concerns itself with the relationship between God and the world in the light of the gospel”, and all other theology constructs either go through mission theology or is built upon the foundation of mission theology.
As with every theology, mission theology has several constructs, or themes, that define it’s meaning. Mission theology is generally defined by the themes that include, but are not limited to, the “kingdom of God, Jesus Christ, the glory or God (or worship of God), and the great commission”, and can also include themes like missio Dei as discussed above.11 Although these themes are a basis for mission theology they are by no means a complete view, and one’s view often depends upon the lens they look through when it comes to “biblical reflection.”12 There have always been wide ranging opinions on theological issues so when discussing mission theology within more liberal theological circles the central theme or motif for mission theology might be “justice or liberation”, where an...
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