When people ask what kind of theological research I enjoy (yes, I said ‘enjoy’ – I am bit of a theology nerd) I usually break it down into three aspects that I see as interwoven and interdependent. These are trinitarian theology (the communion of Father, Son, and Spirit and our participation in the divine life), narrative theology (our participation in and formation by the biblical narrative and the story of Christ), and missional theology (our ecclesial participation in the missio Dei of which Father, Son, and Spirit are the dramatis personae or primary actors). I see these as intimately interrelated with how we are created in the imago Dei, sexuality, how we should view human relationships, the nature of the church, and (yes) the mission of the church.
On the mission of the church, one of the best books I’ve ever read is Christopher J.H. Wright’s monstrous 535 page The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. The product description on amazon.com reads,
Most Christians would agree that the Bible provides a basis for mission. But Christopher Wright boldly maintains that mission is bigger than that–there is in fact a missional basis for the Bible! The entire Bible is generated by and is all about God’s mission. In order to understand the Bible, we need a missional hermeneutic of the Bible, an interpretive perspective that is in tune with this great missional theme. We need to see the “big picture” of God’s mission and how the familiar bits and pieces fit into the grand narrative of Scripture. Beginning with the Old Testament and the groundwork it lays for understanding who God is, what he has called his people to be and do, and how the nations fit into God’s mission, Wright gives us a new hermeneutical perspective on Scripture. This new perspective provides a solid and expansive basis for holistic mission. Wright emphasizes throughout a holistic mission as the proper shape of Christian mission. God’s mission is to reclaim the world–and that includes the created order–and God’s people have a designated role to play in that mission.
Folks often ask me for a good primer on missional theology and I find that I can’t recommend Wright’s book because, well, 535 pages does not a primer make. So, I was rather pleased when I ran across the two videos below which are something of a condensed version of the book. In the videos Wright covers ‘God with a Mission’, ‘Humanity with a Mission’, ‘Old Testament Israel with a Mission’, ‘Jesus with a Mission’, ‘The Church with a Mission’, and ‘What does it mean to read the Bible from a missional perspective?’
In the first video Wright covers ‘Reading The Whole Bible For Mission: What Happens When We Do?’ and asks ‘a biblical basis for missions’ or ‘the missional basis of the Bible?’
In the second video Wright covers ‘God, Israel And The Nations: The OT and Christian Mission’ – which is good to counteract the tendency all to often to leave Israel and the Old Testament out of our story as Christians.