Thursday, April 10, 2008

Missional basis of the Bible

For some time, I have been meaning to pick up and read Chris Wright’s The Mission of God. However, I had been cramming a lot lately (I still am) that I have to set aside reading for a while. Last night, the children went to bed early and Narlin being away, I surprisingly found time to read myself to sleep.

The book is about interpreting the Bible from a missional perspective. Wright argues that although the Scripture provides the biblical basis for mission it is more correct to think on the idea of a missional basis of the Bible. “The entire Bible is generated by and is all about God’s mission."

However, that concept is not new to me. I heard about this in one of the mission courses I attended, I believe though that many of the ideas taught in that course came from this book.

I like what I have been reading. Since I do not have the time to do any book reviews (had not done many in the past and not in the near future). I point you to an excellent review over at εν εφέσω.

Here are some interesting thoughts:
Slowly but inexorably the world of Western academic theology is becoming aware of the rest of the world. The impact of missiology has brought to the attention of the theological community in the West the wealth of theological and hermeneutical perspectives that are, in some cases at least, the product of the success of mission over the past centuries.. Mission has transformed the map of global Christianity. From situation at the beginning of the twentieth century when approximately 90 percent of all the world’s Christians lived in the West or North (i.e. predominantly Europe and North America), the beginning of the twenty-first century finds at least 75 percent of the world’s Christians in the continents of the South and East—Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia and the Pacific. The whole center of gravity of world Christianity has moved south—a phenomenon described, not entirely felicitously, as “the next Christendom.” Others prefer terms such as the “The Global South” or “The Majority World.” (p. 38)
Wright believes that Western Academic theology if it wants to be relevant in contemporary and more so in the future Christianity should be engaged in doing theology with “The Majority World.” Failure to do so will mean that Western academic theology would find itself in the margins.

He also believes that Western Protestant could no longer assert that their method of interpretation of the Scripture is the only valid method. We should accept the fact that different culture read and understand the Bible differently from us (although I am Asian, the methods I learned are western). As Wright says,
We live in a world of a multinational church and multidirectional mission. And appropriately we now live with multicultural hermeneutics. People will insist on reading the Bible for themselves, you see. There is a great irony that the Western Protestant theological academy, which has its roots precisely in a hermeneutical revolution (the Reformation), led by people who claimed the right to read Scripture independently from prevailing hegemony of medieval Catholic scholasticism, has been slow to give ear to those of other cultures who choose to read the Scriptures through their own eyes, though the situation is undoubtedly improving. (p. 39)


mike said...

Thanks for the link - its an excellent book. I enjoyed reading it immensely.

Joey said...

You're welcome. the pleasure is mine. Excellent review.