Posted tagged ‘Christopher J.H. Wright’

Christopher Wright on Confronting Idols and Making Disciples

July 20, 2011

Christopher J.H. Wright is the author of two significant recent works related to mission, namely The Mission of God and The Mission of God’s People.  Last November, he sat down with Bill Kinnon and crew to discuss his plenary address from Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.  In the excerpt below, Wright explains how confronting idols is crucial to the mission and how making disciples is ground zero. Check it out.

[vimeo 16753429]

Christopher J.H. Wright on “False Dichotomies of Mission”

July 9, 2009

Christopher J.H. Wright, author of numerous books although most notably The Mission of God, was recently asked (here and here) on Koinonia (Zondervan Academic blog) the question,

“In what way have we as evangelical Christians failed to grasp or live out the fullness of God’s missional intent? How (if at all) has our theology of evangelism been weak?”

Summarily speaking, Wright believes evangelicals have created false dichotomies and separated things that ought to be kept together because the Bible keeps them together; furthermore, evangelicals have given priority of one over the other.  The five specific areas are noted below, including what Wright sees as “regrettable bad results.”

1. We have tended to separate the individual from the cosmic and corporate impact of the gospel, and to prioritize the first. That is, we put personal salvation and individual evangelism at the centre of all our efforts, (and of course individual evangelism is an essential part of our commitment).

The church is not just a container for souls till they get to heaven, but the living demonstration of the unity that is God’s intention for creation, in itself a ‘preaching’ to the principalities and powers because of what God has accomplished and proved in the creation of ‘one new humanity’ in Christ. . . . The bad result of this weakened theology is that Christians evangelized by such a truncated version of the biblical gospel have little interest in the world, the public square, God’s plan for society and the nations, and even less understanding of God’s intention for creation itself. The scale of our mission efforts therefore is in danger of being a lot less than the scope of the mission of God.

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The Cross Shapes the Whole of Our Mission

October 27, 2008

Two books on mission that I have been reading of late are Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Peter T. O’Brien (in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series by IVP) and Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story by Christopher J.H. Wright.  Those of you who are familiar with writing with also know that he is the author of the excellent book The Mission of God as well as the Old Testament triology Knowing the Father Through the Old Testament, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testamant, and Knowing the Spirit Through the Old Testament.

While I happen to have serious disagreements with Wright on his soteriological inclusivism (which he brings out in his current book – Wright has written some excellent material on biblical theology and the centrality of the gospel.  Toward the conclusion of book, Wright shares how the cross shapes the whole of our mission.  Here is an excerpt that I wanted to pass along:

“All Christian mission flows from the cross–as its source, as its power, and as that which defines its scope.  It is vital that we see the cross as central to every aspect of holistic, biblical mission–that is, at the center of all we do in the name of the crucified and risen Jeus. . . . The fact is that sin and evil constitute bad news in every area of life on this planet.  The saving work of God through the cross of Christ is good news for every area of life touched by sin–which means every area of life.  Bluntly, we need a holistic gospel and a holistic mission because the world is in a holistic mess.  And by God’s incredible grace we have a gospel big enough for all that sin and evil has touched.  And every dimension of that good news is good news utterly and only because of the blood of Christ on the cross.  Ultimately all that will be there in the new and redeemed creation will be there because of the cross.  And conversely, all that will not be there (suffering, tears, sin, corruption, decay and death) will not be there because they will have been destroyed by the cross.”

– Christopher J.H. Wright, Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Presss, 2007), 188-89.