A Light to the Nations by Michael GoheenMichael Goheen, a key writer in the field of Bible and mission, has just brought out a new book, which I’m looking forward to reading very much. In this post I want to do two things: highlight A Light to the Nations, and make you aware of other useful resources by Goheen that will aid those engaged in the thinking and practice of Bible and mission.

1. A Light to the Nations

There aren’t many book-length treatments of a missional hermeneutic of the Scriptures (exceptions would be Chris Wright’s The Mission of God, Bauckham’s The Bible and Mission,  Beeby’s Canon and Mission, and Brownson’s Speaking the Truth With Love), so Goheen’s book is a very welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the subject.

One of the interesting (albeit overly-simplistic) questions to ask of anyone writing on Bible and mission is, ‘Is this a biblical scholar with an interest in mission, or a missiologist writing about biblical studies?’. Goheen is Geneva Professor of Worldview and Religious Studies at Trinity Western University and his doctorate was on Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary ecclesiology. Check out two volumes he has co-authored with Craig Bartholomew on the Biblical story and worldview, The Drama of Scripture and Living at the Crossroads.

Here’s the blurb and contents for A light to the Nations from Baker Academic’s website:

There is a growing body of literature about the missional church, but the word missional is often defined in competing ways with little attempt to ground it deeply in Scripture. In A Light to the Nations, Michael Goheen unpacks the missional identity of the church by tracing the role God’s people are called to play in the biblical story. Goheen examines the historical, theological, and biblical foundations of missional ecclesiology, showing that the church’s identity can be understood only when its role is articulated in the context of the whole biblical story–not just the New Testament. He shows that the Old Testament is essential to understanding the church’s missional identity. Goheen also explores practical outworkings and implications and offers field-tested suggestions, putting Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary ecclesiology to work in shaping the contemporary church. The book is written at a level easily accessible to students in missions, pastoral, worldview, and theology courses as well as pastors, church leaders, and all readers interested in the missional church.

1. The Church’s Identity and Role: Whose Story? Which Images?
2. God Forms Israel as a Missional People
3. Israel Embodies Its Missional Role and Identity amid the Nations
4. Jesus Gathers an Eschatological People to Take Up Their Missional Calling
5. The Death and Resurrection of Jesus and the Church’s Missional Identity
6. The Missional Church in the New Testament Story
7. New Testament Images of the Missional Church
8. The Missional Church in the Biblical Story–A Summary
9. What Might This Look Like Today?

A Light to the Nations is sure to be an important text in this whole area. I’ll blog about it in more detail as I read it over the summer.

2. Other Michael Goheen resources on Bible and Mission

Goheen has a fantastic array of resources freely accessible online. The best thing to do is go to the allofliferedeemed website, which has all the links. Here are a few highlights:

‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’: J.E. Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary ecclesiology‘ [a full script of his doctoral thesis]

Notes Toward a Framework for a Missional Hermeneutic

Continuing Steps Towards a Missional Hermeneutic

The Urgency of Reading the Bible as One Story

Reading the Bible . . . and articulating a worldview

A Critical Examination of David Bosch’s Missional Reading of Luke


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