Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: What Is the Mission of the Church?

What Is the Mission of the Church?

From the publisher:
Christians today define mission more broadly and variably than ever before. Are we, as the body of Christ, headed in the same direction or are we on divergent missions?
Some argue that the mission of the Church is to confront injustice and alleviate suffering, doing more to express God’s love for the world. Others are concerned that the church is in danger of losing its God-centeredness and thereby emphasize the proclamation of the gospel. It appears as though misunderstanding of mission persists.
Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert believe there is a lot that evangelicals can agree on if only we employ the right categories and build our theology of mission from the same biblical building blocks. Explaining key concepts like kingdom, gospel, and social justice, DeYoung and Gilbert help us to get on the same page—united by a common cause—and launch us forward into the true mission of the church.
How the book is organized:

This book is divided into three sections.

The first section is called "Understanding the Mission."  In this section, which encompasses a quarter of the book, the authors do a careful study of several Biblical texts and define what the mission of the church should be.  In essence, they begin the book by immediately answering the question posed in the title.  In their words, the mission of the church is "to go into the world and make disciples  by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship the Lord and obey his commands not and in eternity to the glory of God the Father."

The second section of the book is called "Understanding the Categories."  Topics included are the gospel, social justice, God's redemptive role and the new heavens and new earth.  There is a lot of exposition and defining in this section.  

The last section is called, "What We Do and Why We Do It."  This is the section that people like me read first - application.

What I thought:

This book is thorough, thoughtful and Biblically based.  It is well researched and heavily footnoted.  The authors do an excellent job of anticipating objections to or misunderstanding of their position and face them head on.  This authors also wrote with a humility that should disarm the defenses of their critics.  

I received this book free from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.

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