There is theology. Then there is theology that is a pleasure to read. This book is definitely in the latter category. Chris Wright apologises in his introduction for any elements in the books that echo its origin in sermons that he has given – but this to my mind is a strength; he’s worked hard to make the ideas he’s sharing simple enough to speak, be heard and understood. Having said that – those sermons will not have been short ones; there’s tons of good stuff here.
Not that this affects the depth of what Wright has to say; he has a profound thesis that he presents with clarity all the way through the book. It is this: The mission of God’s people must reflect the mission of God. Having written a whole book* on the latter (which he then unsurprisingly quotes widely), he now looks at the former and traces the echoes of the calling given to Abraham through the prophets which is expressed by Jesus and then in the thoughts of St Paul and St Peter, the early church leaders.
Some notes that Chris Wright makes right at the beginning should be echoed here. This is theology that directly connects to mission: ‘No theology without missional impact: No mission without theological foundations.’ Additionally – this is theology that addresses the whole Bible – it starts in Genesis and ends up in Revelations. The fact that Abraham has already been mentioned is not by chance; the covenant made with him is a key point in Wright’s understanding of what God’s people are supposed to be about.
This is the question then: what is God up to – and how are we to echo it in the 21st Century? The answers that Wright gives include ones that address life inside the church and out, at work, in the spheres of ecological response and public domain as well as the witness to and procamation of the Gospel message.
What’s your mission?
* The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bble’s Grand Narrative, Christopher J.H. Wright, pub. Downers Grove, Il: IVP, and Nottingham: IVP, 2007