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A Biblical Theology of Missions: From Perfect Community to a Chosen Community toward Restored Community

A Biblical Theology of Missions: From Perfect Community to a Chosen Community toward Restored Community

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Published by Brandon Rhodes
A trinitarian engagement of the mission of the church defined as participating in God's restoring all community in Christ.
A trinitarian engagement of the mission of the church defined as participating in God's restoring all community in Christ.

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Published by: Brandon Rhodes on Mar 14, 2007
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A Biblical Theology of MissionsFrom Perfect Communityto a Chosen Communitytoward Restored Community
Brandon RhodesBox #679IS 612, Prof. TrautmannApril 21, 2006
 
Mission was born in the perfect community of the Trinity, was assigned to a people in the forming of God’s holy community of believers, and has the purpose of expanding that peaceable community to all people for God’s glory. This community-to- be-spread is not merely one of religious conversion, familial-institutional membership,moral living, government reform, inward spirituality, or social action. Rather, this holycommunity is nothing short of the reign of God among the elect on Earth, and as suchenlists degrees of all of the above traits. Community members obey mission as Christ’sambassadors (2 Cor 5:20) among a fallen culture not yet acquainted with the lovingSovereign of the Cosmos, gentle King Jesus. The duty of that community is to proclaimGod’s kingdom as they live in joyful obedience under it.The outline of this cursory consideration of a biblical theology of missions thusfollows the above direction: it proceeds from the triune God through a redeemedcommunity toward the whole of creation for God’s glory.
The Missio Dei: Born in Perfect Community
Ultimate reality, the triune God of the Bible, is the perfect community. For “Godis the social Trinity, the community of love.”
1
Because “God is love,” (1 John 4:16) weunderstand that a fundamental attribute of God is that he relates. His love is not just anattribute that would exist without humanity or the rest of creation as its object; even if there were only God, there would still be expressed love among the Father, Son, andSpirit. Love is not a divine attribute, but a divine experience. Humanity experiences it asa unilateral or linear love (
 from
God
to
us), when it is really an
inclusive
love, beckoning
1
Grenz, Stanley. Theology for the Community of God, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers,1994), 93.
2
 
others to partake and experience this love. It is not an
attribute of 
, but a
 pull toward 
. Hisgoal, his dream, is relationship with creation. Indeed, as Grenz notes, “God’s ultimateintention for creation is the establishment of community.”
2
Thus, Christianity’s “mission has its origin on the heart of God.”
3
The call to proclaim Christ risen is then an expression of God’s bigger plan, the
missio dei
. This big plan is “directed to the establishing of a reconciled people from all nations to live withina renewed creation and enjoy the presence of their Redeemer God. This biblical vision of community is both the goal of history and the experience of each person who has come toknow God.”
4
 The mission of God’s people must be kept in this bigger context: it is a particular expression of the
missio dei
which the Lord has commanded.
5
Neither themission of national-ethnic Israel nor the mission of eschatological Israel, the church, arethe entirety of the
missio dei
, but are driving elements of its completion. It must beremembered that even the other-than-human of creation participates in God’s big plan of community: Isaiah proclaims to “shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, youmountains, you forests and all your trees,” (Isaiah 44:23) and that God’s people “will goout in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song beforeyou, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (55:12). Make no mistake, itwould be spiritually arrogant and biblically ignorant to believe that God’s holycommunity can fulfill more than its mandated share of the
missio dei
.
2
Grenz, 151.
3
Bosch, David. J. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, (Maryknoll, NY: OrbisBooks, 1991), 392.
4
Grenz, 66.
5
Bosch, 391.
3

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