Missions in the Apostolic and Postapostolic Periods
Rev. Kantilal Lavhade (B.A. B.D. M.Th. Missiology)
Mission has its roots in the apostolic and postapostolic periods. Mission originated in those periods and now we can see the tremendous growth of mission everywhere in the world. "The aims of mission are derived from Scriptures, Jesus and the apostolic era..."1 In this short paper the main emphasis will be to show missions in the apostolic and postapostolic periods.
1. Mission in the Apostolic Period (To 100 AD))
In the apostolic period, according to Jey Kanagraj, Jerusalem was not only the origin of missionary movement but also the center of on-going missionary activities. He sees Jerusalem as the origin of missionary proclamation to the whole of humanity as the fulfillment of the scripture.2 George Purves also stated that when time drew near for the disciples to begin, Jesus sent them back to Jerusalem to proclaim the Messiah in the holy city.3 In Jerusalem Jesus gave the Great Commission to his disciples.
According to Barnabas, the history of mission in the world started on the Day of Pentecost when Peter preached the gospel and on the same day three hundred people were added to the church. He further points to the mission of the early church which stared with 120 disciples; most of them were uneducated and timid. Within thirty years of the foundation of the church, Christianity grew and multiplied in Judea, Galilee and Samaria. Soon the mission expanded to other parts of the Roman Empire. The faithfulness and the obedience of the disciples and the first century Christians believed and followed: to peach the gospel to every creature, to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins, and to teach them to obey all the commandments given by Jesus.4
J. Muthuraj pointed to the fact that mission in the New Testament is understood basically as the growth and expansion of the religious movement which was centered around Jesus of Nazareth....
Bibliography: C. Barnabas, History of Mission World, Trichy: IIICS, 2003.
Cairns, Earl E. Christianity through the Centuries, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1961.
Claydon, D. "Aims of Mission", John Corrie ed.,Dictionary of Mission Theology, England: IVP, 2007.
Hastings, Adrian ed., A World History of Christianity, Michigan: WBE Publishing Co., 1999.
Kanagaraj, Jey. "Jerusalem and Diaspora Mission", Dharma Deepika, July-December (no 2), 2001.
Kane, J.Herbert. A Concise History of the Christian World Mission, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978.
Moffatt, Samuel. A History of Christianity in Asia, Vol. I, New York: Orbis Books, 2006.
Muthuraj, J. "New Testament Studies and Mission: Mission of the Early Church revisited", Religion and Society, Vol. 48/3, September 2003.
Purves, George. Christianity in the Apostolic Age, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914.
Tuttle, Robert. The Story of Evangelism: A History of the Witness to the Gospel, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984.
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