Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review of The Mission of God by Christopher J.H. Wright

Author: Christopher J.H. Wright

Pages: 585 pages

Publisher: IVP Academic

Price: 25.99

Genre: Theology/Evangelism/Biblical Theology

Quick Summary:

Christopher Wright’s hope in this book is that we might discover that “Mission is what it’s all about”. Of course he is not saying that the Scriptures are not Christocentric and glory of God focused. Wright spells out his thesis in the beginning, “our mission (if it is to be biblically informed and validated) means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation.” And, thus, the book follows that flow.

Part One is foundational. In the first two chapters Wright attempts to formulate a missional hermeneutic (a way to understand the Bible and mission). Secondly, Wright lays the groundwork for mission by introducing us to the God of Mission. All mission flows from the fact that God desires to make Himself known. Thirdly, we look in depth at the people that God redeems and their continuing mission. Lastly, our eyes are opened to the arena for God’s mission.

From beginning to end this book is about God being on a mission and His call for us to join Him on that mission. Everything flows from mission.

What I Liked:

Wright is an amazing OT scholar. He opens up passages of Scripture and sheds light upon them in such a way that they come alive. He helps the reader to make connections that are not easily made, and does so without needlessly stretching texts. There are statements within this book that cause the heart to beat in worship. You will read things and be inspired to follow God in mission. You will read things that cause you to weep at the comprehensiveness of God’s plan and the beauty of its finality in Jesus. Even though it is 585 pages long—Wright never bores you.

His chapter on idolatry is worth the price of the book. There are sections of this book that would make me want to give it 6 out of 5 stars. One statement in particular blew my mind and I feel it necessary to share it with you as an example of what this book contains:

“Ultimately all that will be there in the new, redeemed creation will be there because of the Cross. And conversely, all that will not be there (suffering, tears, sin, Satan, sickness, oppression, corruption, decay and death) will not be there because they will have been defeated and destroyed by the cross. That is the length, breadth, height, and depth of God’s idea of redemption. It is exceedingly good news. It is the [banner over all of our] mission.”

What I Disliked:

It is not a boring 585 pages but sometimes a tad redundant. Wright is so thorough and makes his point so well that sometimes you want to scream out, “okay I get it!!!” In this way he reminds me of reading Jonathan Edwards. This book probably would be a very effective 350 pages. It took me so long to read through this book that it lost some of its momentum from early on. It is filled with such gold that it is worth the labor of panning for it; however, I would hate to see someone not purchase this book because its thickness scares them. This book is not only for the scholar, it is for every pastor and missionary; but it is also for every believer. I would absolutely love to see a condensed version of this book for those that are more casual readers.

Should You Buy It?

Even if it takes you a long time to read it, this book needs to be in your library and one that you read often. Buy a copy and take it slow, you will thank me later.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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