Missional Hermeneutic – Ending and Beginning

Old Testament:  Conclusion

The Old Testament includes the drama of God’s love for the whole of his creation. His mission to reconcile creation to himself and to the rest of creation has been in place since the beginning (Martens 59). Generally, the mission of God in the Old Testament has been characterized as “centripetal.” In other words, the nations were moving to Yahweh, the center. While that image is certainly dominant, there is also evidence of God’s desire for his people to move out into the nations as a witness to him. This “centrifugal” mission is more fully developed with the dawning of a new age, the birth of Jesus and the birth of the church.

New Testament:  Beginning

The mission of God finds full flower in the pages of the New Testament. Much of missiology has focused on the New Testament for rationale and models for missionary work. Therefore, we will link the impulses of mission in the New Testament to the findings of mission in the Old Testament. To accomplish this, we will look at the life of Jesus (particularly the Gospel of Luke), the work of the church in Acts, and the letters of Paul.

Tomorrow: Jesus and the missio Dei in Luke


A Taste of Missional Hermeneutics

The movement of the church in the 21st century will be marked by a hermeneutical adjustment. Rather than seeing itself as an organization founded on propositions that are based in Scripture, the 21st century church will see itself as a continuation of the story of God’s mission in the world, which had its beginning in the Bible. As the shift occurs, the church will more closely model the intention of the Holy Spirit. As Stephen Bevans says, “the way the Spirit calls this church into being is through mission.”

The Scriptures consistently communicate God’s mission. The Bible continues to use specific stories to tell a broader story of God’s mission of reconciling his creation. In other words, the micronarrative continually points toward the metanarrative. The strand begins at creation runs through the life of Jesus and continues today. A missional reading of Scripture places our micronarrative into the metanarrative. As Sandra Richter says, “The Bible is the saga of Yahweh and Adam, the prodigal son and his ever gracious heavenly father; humanity in their rebellion and God in his grace. This narrative begins with Eden and does not conclude until the New Jerusalem is firmly in place. It is all one story. And if you are a believer, it is all your story.”

The quote above is from Dr. Richter’s book The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament. It’s a very good, thorough handling of the Old Testament for all Christians. It would make great material for a small group that is really looking to dig deep.

Next, we’ll take a look at the Old Testament, including three micronarratives that point toward the metanarrative.