A couple years ago I was introduced to the writings of Christopher J.H. Wright. My first exposure was to a massive book called The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. It quickly became one of my favorite books (you can read my review of it here). In that review I noted that, “I would absolutely love to see a condensed version of this book for those that are more casual readers”.
I was delighted to see what I thought to be a shorter version: The Mission of God's People . I was further delighted to receive this book free from Zondervan in exchange for a review. Much to my surprise I discovered that this is not actually a condensed version of The Mission of God. It is very similar, and draws from Wrights’ earlier works, but this book is more a follow-up. As Wright notes:
In this book, I am asking the “so what?” question on behalf of those of us whom this God of the Bible has called into saving and covenant relationship with himself-the church, the people of God from Abraham to the population of the city of God in Revelation. Who are we and what are we here for? If the Bible renders to us the grand mission of God through all generations of history, what does it tell us about the mission of God’s people in each generation, including our own? What is our mission? (Wright, 17, The Mission of God’s People)
Wright’s goal in this book is to spell out specifically the mission of God’s people. He begins by explaining that this mission (which is really God’s mission) “requires the whole church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world” (Wright, 26). What follows is an explanation of what this “whole gospel” entails.
He begins with the big story and encourages believers to take the whole story to the whole world. Where he goes next may seem surprising to some. His third chapter is dedicated to creation care. Many may read this and think that Wright has a liberal agenda. He does not. He has a gospel agenda. What I appreciate about Wright is that “his gospel” is always centered on the finished work of Jesus Christ. But “his gospel” is also full-orbed, touching every sphere of life.
There are still 9 more chapters and about 200 more pages after chapter 3, but they can be summed up easily. These chapters are a call to proclaim the living God with our life and with our lips. Wright gives a passionate plea (rooted in the OT) for personal holiness. He also encourages the verbal proclamation of the good news. He closes the book by showing the relationship between worship and missions as well as showing the relevance of mission for today.
Wright is a great author and is always a compelling read. He is dedicated to Christ and the Scriptures. What you read flows from a full-orbed, and well thought out biblical theology. You may not agree with everything Wright says but you will certainly have a good understanding of where he is coming from.
This is, however, another example of a Wright book that could be very beneficial but is a little redundant in places. Even though a good read it still would benefit from being shortened by about 80 pages. I’m still looking for a condensed version of The Mission of God. Perhaps a condensed version of the two combined would be helpful. Nonetheless, you will greatly benefit from reading this book.
There are also a few relevant questions at the end of each chapter. I am not certain that this would be conducive to a small group, but using this book when getting together with a few fellow believers to discuss missions may be beneficial.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars