Two books on mission that I have been reading of late are Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Peter T. O’Brien (in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series by IVP) and Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story by Christopher J.H. Wright. Those of you who are familiar with writing with also know that he is the author of the excellent book The Mission of God as well as the Old Testament triology Knowing the Father Through the Old Testament, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testamant, and Knowing the Spirit Through the Old Testament.
While I happen to have serious disagreements with Wright on his soteriological inclusivism (which he brings out in his current book – Wright has written some excellent material on biblical theology and the centrality of the gospel. Toward the conclusion of book, Wright shares how the cross shapes the whole of our mission. Here is an excerpt that I wanted to pass along:
“All Christian mission flows from the cross–as its source, as its power, and as that which defines its scope. It is vital that we see the cross as central to every aspect of holistic, biblical mission–that is, at the center of all we do in the name of the crucified and risen Jeus. . . . The fact is that sin and evil constitute bad news in every area of life on this planet. The saving work of God through the cross of Christ is good news for every area of life touched by sin–which means every area of life. Bluntly, we need a holistic gospel and a holistic mission because the world is in a holistic mess. And by God’s incredible grace we have a gospel big enough for all that sin and evil has touched. And every dimension of that good news is good news utterly and only because of the blood of Christ on the cross. Ultimately all that will be there in the new and redeemed creation will be there because of the cross. And conversely, all that will not be there (suffering, tears, sin, corruption, decay and death) will not be there because they will have been destroyed by the cross.”
– Christopher J.H. Wright, Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Presss, 2007), 188-89.