This book spans the breadth of the Biblical basis for missions, theological implications, history of missions, as well as what missionaries face in cross-cultural situations and mission strategies for reaching the world. While primarily being a great textbook for missions classes, it is also a great read for churches to go through to understand what missions is and why it should be part of every believer’s life. Jesus left us with the command to go and make disciples, teaching them His commands. This involves not only evangelism and the spread of the gospel but discipling new believers to then go out and evangelize and disciple others.
The book begins with what the missionary call is and the importance of knowing God and His Word. It then goes on to show the Biblical foundation for missions. In order to properly “do” missions, one must start with what the Bible says about it and this book goes through the overview of Scripture and how missions is evident throughout the Bible, from God’s choosing of one man to become a nation that would proclaim Him and spread His name to the gift of His own Son as the sacrifice that would make a true relationship with Him possible. It then discusses the importance of theology in missions, knowing who God is, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Scripture, etc.
An overview of the history of missions, how it expanded from the early church after Jesus’ ascension to modern day missions, is given in the next section of the book. Then the cultural implications of missions, dealing with different worldviews and cultures, as well as the various world religions that one encounters, is discussed. Next, mission strategies are discussed such as the need for making disciples, as well as church-planting. What a missionary faces in changing cultures and what to expect from culture shock is also given to help potential missionaries be better prepared for the experiences they will face. The need for the local church to be involved in missions and the ever-changing state of global missions is looked at in the final chapters.
An excellent overview of what missions is, the Biblical, theological and cultural implications, as well as a brief history of missions, this book makes for a highly recommended resource for those preparing for missions and the churches that support them.
“It is absolutely critical that everyone who engages in Christian mission understand how fundamentally theocentric that mission must be. God himself issues the marching orders. He defines the task. He prescribes the means. He provides the resources and the power to accomplish it. He gets all the glory. A healthy obsession with the glory of God safeguards his people from the idolatry of thinking they are primary, and it also purifies their methodology because if the end is his glory, then the means must glorify him as well. Because he is sovereign, missionaries will not be tempted to engage in manipulative means, and they will not despair in the face of opposition. Furthermore, the mission of the people of God is not some minor addendum to the life of the church but God’s assigned task to them that connects them to God’s design for all of human history. Because it is fundamentally God’s mission, it is not an option.”
“The fundamental problem facing every human being is sin: guilt before a holy God and corruption in every aspect of our nature. Even the most educated, healthy, well-fed unbelievers on earth still face eternity under the wrath of God for their sin. Such people have many needs, and all of them should elicit compassion from Christians, but their greatest need is salvation in Jesus Christ.”
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher B&H Academic in exchange for my review.