Missio Dei

Vol. 5.2 | Summer 2019

God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:3-8

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17

Mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God.

David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission, 389-90

It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill to the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church, creating a church as it goes on its way.

Jürgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, p. 64

The Church, embodying in its own life the mystery of salvation and the transfiguration of humanity, participates in the mission of Christ to reconcile all things to God and to one another through Christ (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-21; Rom 8:18-25). Through its worship (leitourgia); service, which includes the stewardship of creation (diakonia); and proclamation (kerygma) the Church participates in and points to the reality of the Kingdom of God. In the power of the Holy Spirit the Church testifies to the divine mission in which the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

World Council of Churches, The Nature and Mission of the Church, p. 10

The church’s true and authentic organizing principle is mission. When the church is in mission, it is the true church. The church itself is not only a product of that mission but is obligated and destined to extend it by whatever means possible. The mission of God flows directly through every believer and every community of faith that adheres to Jesus. To obstruct this is to block God’s purposes in and through God’s people.

Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p. 82

In this volume, we explore the missio Dei – the mission of God. This is a nuanced theological concept that requires navigating and connecting various areas of study, including biblical theology, missiology, ecclesiology, and soteriology. However, rather than treating each of these areas separately, the missio Dei reminds us of the trinitarian nature of God’s work in and for the world. More so, the missio Dei provides a guiding orientation for how Christian communities can come alongside and join the work of God’s Spirit, sent into the world. In this sense, an abstract (even “Latinized”) theological concept becomes exceedingly practical and even necessary for the life of the church: mission does not start with us; it starts with God. For if we are not participating in God’s work of mission, then we can only be participating in our own mission – quite possibly apart from God’s. In this volume of Resonance, we invite you to help guide our journey through the meaning and application of the missio Dei in Liturgy, Scripture, Witness, and Tradition.

A Few Examples of Potential Lines of Inquiry (Arranged within the chiastic pattern of the issue)

This is not a restrictive list. It is simply a way to spark your thoughts.

Liturgy (exploring the theme in practices of Christian worship)

  • What aspects of our worship service equip us for participation in the missio Dei?
  • How is a “gathered” church also a “sent” church?
  • What is the connection between the missio Dei and “the people of God”?

Scripture (exploring the theme through scriptural exegesis)

  • Provide exegesis and application of the missio Dei from a Bible passage listed here.

Witness (exploring the theme through the experience of Christian discipleship)

  • What are the implications for mission starting with God instead of with us? How has this realization changed your practice of mission?
  • Trace the journey of a missional theologian like Lesslie Newbigin or an organization like the World Council of Churches.

Tradition (exploring the theme through historic and/or systematic theology)

  • Describe key elements of missio Dei theology.
  • Trace the emergence of missio Dei theology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Who are the key theologians? What are the key elements of their theology? What are critiques of the theology?
  • What is the significance of the missio Dei for the life the church? For missionary movements? For evangelism?

Crux (central article by a special guest)

  • By invitation only.

Proposal Deadline: December 1, 2018
Article Submission Deadline: January 26, 2019

Would You Like to Participate in this Volume?