Encounters Mission Journal on the Bible and Mission

Encounters issue 29 - The Bible and MissionThe Encounters Mission Journal issue based on Chris Wright’s Redcliffe lecture on The Bible and Mission (and specifically, his missional reading of Jeremiah) is finally here! It’s been a lot of work to put together in a short space of time, but all concerned have done a great job. As well as the transcript of the lecture and a link to a downloadable audio file, it features eight response articles from a wide range of people with a lot of interesting things to say.

Here is part of my editorial:

This issue of Encounters revolves around Dr Wright’s excellent lecture and explores the idea of a missional reading of the Bible, in theory and practice. As well as the lecture and question and answer session transcribed in full, the edition also includes a number of responses from a variety of contexts. It has been a truly global venture with contributions from Malaysia, India, Colombia, Asia, the US and the UK.

John Risbridger and Krish Kandiah consider missional hermeneutics in the setting of the UK Church. David Spriggs writes on the relationship between the Bible and missional engagement in the ‘public square’. Eddie Arthur reflects on what a ‘missional hermeneutic has to say to those who translate and desseminate the Scriptures’. Brian Russell and Milton Acosta discuss missional hermeneutics as a method of reading the Bible. Finally, Anthony Loke and Rabbi and Chitra Jayakaran share what a missional hermeneutic might mean for their own contexts of Malaysia and India, respectively.

And these are the articles:

Lecture:  “Prophet to the Nations”: Missional Reflections on the Book of Jeremiah.
(Revd Dr Chris Wright)

Q and A:  Lecture question and answer session.

Response 1:  A UK pastor’s perspective.
(John Risbridger)

Response 2:  A missional hermeneutic and Scripture engagement.
(Eddie Arthur)

Response 3:  Jeremiah and mission in the public square.
(Revd Dr David Spriggs)

Response 4:  What does mission in exile really look like?
(Dr Krish Kandiah)

Response 5:  Breaking open the text.
(Dr Brian Russell)

Response 6:  Missional hermeneutics: some opportunities and questions.
(Dr Milton Acosta)

Response 7:  Missional hermeneutics in a Malaysian context.
(Revd Anthony Loke)

Response 8:  Missional hermeneutics in an Indian context.
(Rabbi and Chitra Jayakaran)

Over the coming weeks I’ll be reflecting on some of the points made in the issue. To read the articles or listen to the lecture, follow this link:

Go to The Bible and Mission – Issue 29 of Encounters Mission Journal

A missiologist and a biblical scholar review Chris Wright’s The Mission of God

missionofgodBack in April 2007 I edited an issue of Encounters Mission Ezine, on the theme of Mission and the Old Testament. Every now and then I will blog on these articles as contributors came up with some really interesting stuff.

At the time, Chris Wright’s The Mission of God had just come out so we featured an interview with him about it. As the book spans both Missiology and Biblical Studies, I was interested to see what specialists from each discipline would make of it. So I asked both Dr Kang-San Tan, Head of Mission Studies at Redcliffe College, and Prof Gordon McConville, Professor of Old Testament Theology at the University of Gloucestershire, to review it.

Both described The Mission of God as “remarkable”. Here are a couple of extracts from their reviews.

Prof Gordon McConville:

The product of Wright’s readiness to embrace the particularity of Israel in his view of mission is a holistic Gospel.  The exodus model shows that political freedom is part of God’s purpose for humanity; similarly, the Jubilee (Leviticus 25) illustrates an economic aspect.  Such facets of social existence are inseparable from the spiritual life, and the twin dangers of over-spiritualizing and over-politicizing the Gospel are well addressed (pp. 275-88).  Mission ultimately embraces all dimensions of human life, including praise (p. 132), pastoral and ethical concerns (pp. 182-86), and environmental issues (pp. 397-420).  And this vision informs evangelism, since ‘the fundamental theology behind [the Jubilee] also lies behind our practice of evangelism’ (p. 300).  In these ways, the particularity of Israel is put to the cause of a universal proclamation.  In God’s purpose, Israel not only witnesses to the nations, but the nations are finally brought under covenant obedience along with Israel.  Ultimately too, the divine mission overcomes death, for a biblical concept of salvation is distinguished from all others by its promise of the defeat of death itself (p. 440).
Read Prof McConville’s review article in full

Dr Kang-San Tan:

Although it was not the expressed purpose of the book, The Mission of God contributes towards the closing of the existing gap between missiology and biblical studies.  Instead of separating theology and biblical studies from mission contexts, Wright approaches the texts of scripture through a mission paradigm.  In some circles, theological and biblical studies have been considered academic and scientific, while missiology still finds itself under suspect by scholars of other academic disciplines.  Part of the distrust may come from missiologists using biblical proof-texts to justify their mission theories and strategies.  To some extent, Wright demonstrates in action, more than words, that mission readings and careful exegesis of scripture are both needed for critical missiology.
Read Dr Tan’s review article in full

Encounters 26 on issues and trends in mission

Issue 26 of Encounters, the bi-monthly topical mission journal for which I serve as reviews editor, is now out. In celebration of reaching 25 issues Encounters canvassed a number of ‘mission people’ to ask how they would reflect on the journal so far and what issues had been missed or need addressing. It is an excellent analysis of current trends and issues in mission and includes contributors such as Jonathan Ingleby, Ida Glaser, Martine Lee, Jonathan Rowe, Rose Dowsett and Paul Thaxter.

In Jonathan’s editorial he mentions that two contributors note the importance of “Re-appropriating the Bible for mission”. In her contribution Ida Glaser suggests that,

Biblical interpretation is going to be increasingly important. My hobby horse is reading the Bible faithfully in the context of other faiths and of Islam in particular. There are also interesting questions about not only developing local interpretations but also teaching the Bible in different contexts…

And, of course, those different contexts raise the issue of how non-Christians read and respond to the Bible. So often we think of mission in terms of what Christians do – the Islamic context alerts us (or should do) to the importance of understanding what non-Christians are likely to be thinking about Christianity, about Christ and about the Bible before we ever meet them.

While Jonathan Rowe asks, “What about biblical issues from the NT as well as the OT? Or the influence of particular biblical books or theological themes (creation, resurrection) on our understanding of mission?”

Some interesting comments. Rowe’s point about the OT refers to the issue I edited in April 07 on Mission and the Old Testament. He is right, of course, that there are numerous possibilities for developing the theme. Watch this space…

Do check out Encounters Mission Ezine. It’s free and full of excellent stuff. Check out the Encounters tab above for a listing of all the issues or go direct to Encounters Mission Ezine.

Welcome! So what’s it all about?

Hi and welcome to the bible and mission blog! A few brief comments about myself and the reasons for this blog.

I’m a UK-based lecturer in Biblical Studies at Redcliffe College, a centre for mission training in Gloucester, England, and a PhD candidate in Old Testament at the University of Gloucestershire.

I want to use this blog as a forum for exploring two of my passions, the Bible and mission. How does mission feature in the whole Bible? How does the Bible shape our mission thinking and practice? These are my two main questions, but I’m sure others will crop up along the way.

In April 07 I edited an edition of Encounters, an online mission journal. It was on the theme of Mission and the Old Testament and illustrates the kinds of things I want to develop here on this blog and elsewhere.

I hope you will join me on this journey, Tim