The Church’s Missionary Identity

 I’ve read a bit of Richard Bauckham before (some of his stuff on Revelation, specifically), so since I enjoy his writing and since the topic interests me, I’m reading Bauckham’s Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003).  I’m still in the middle of it, but so far so good.  Here’s a section I appreciated (from p. 25).

“Precisely by anticipating the universal goal so immediately [that is, the New Creation – s.l.], the New Testament leaves very widely open all the penultimates of history.  It does not, as so many Christians down the ages have wanted it to do, give the church in any particular time a specific temporal position in a predicated sequence of history leading from then to the parousia.  Rather, it puts all its readers where its first readers stood – between the church’s commissioning by Jesus and the future coming of Jesus.  The New Testament gives the church in every age its missionary identity by plunging it into the midst of the biblical story where the words of the great commission still ring in its ears.”

Well said!

shane lems

sunnyside, wa