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Comprehensive Gospel, Comprehensive Mission. Michael Goheen Burnaby, B.C. Good news of the kingdom. The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1.15. Headline news!.

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good news of the kingdom
Good news of the kingdom

The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!

Mark 1.15

headline news
Headline news!

God is acting in love and power in Jesus by the Spirit to restore the whole creation and all of human life to again live under His gracious rule.

observations on the gospel
Observations on the gospel
  • It is the climactic moment of long story of universal history
fox and the crow
Fox and the Crow

A fox compliments a crow: “My you have a lovely voice; won’t you sing me a song?”

What is the meaning of this event?

fox and the crow1
Fox and the Crow

The crow sits perched high in a tree with a piece of meat. There is a famine in the forest and all the animals use different strategies in an attempt to get the meat. The fox compliments the crow. It opens its mouth; the meat falls out and the fox runs away with it.

Don’t be deceived by flattery!

human life shaped by story
Human Life Shaped by Story

“The way we understand human life depends on what conception we have of the human story. What is the real story of which my life story is part?” (Newbigin)

“. . . a story . . . is . . . the best way of talking about the way the world actually is.” (Wright)

bible tells story of world
Bible tells story of world

“ . . . the whole point of Christianity is that it offers a story which is the story of the whole world. It is public truth” (Wright)

hindu s comment
Hindu’s Comment

I can’t understand why you missionaries present the Bible to us in India as a book of religion. It is not a book of religion–and anyway we have plenty of books of religion in India. We don’t need any more! I find in your Bible a unique interpretation of universal history, the history of the whole of creation and the history of the human race. And therefore a unique interpretation of the human person as a responsible actor in history. That is unique. There is nothing else in the whole religious literature of the world to put alongside it (Badrinath).

bible as universal history
Bible as universal history
  • Normative: True
  • Universal: True for all people
  • Comprehensive: Give meaning to all of human life
observations on the gospel1
Observations on the gospel
  • It is the climactic moment of long story of universal history
  • Goal of the story—salvation:
    • Restoration
    • Comprehensive scope
god s response to sin
God’s Response to Sin

While justly angry, God did not turn away from a world bent on destruction but turned to face it in love. With patience and tender care the Lord set out on the long road of redemption to reclaim the lost as his people and the world as his kingdom (Our World Belongs to God, 18).

god s mission restoration
God’s Mission: Restoration

“The Bible renders to us the story of God’s mission through God’s people in their engagement with God’s world for the sake of the whole of God’s creation.” (C. Wright)

God’s mission: Restore whole creation and bodily life of humankind.

biblical story as six act drama
Biblical Story as Six Act Drama
  • ACT ONE God Creates His Kingdom: Creation
  • ACT TWO Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
  • ACT THREE The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated
  • ACT FOUR The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
  • ACT FIVE Spreading the News of the King: The Mission of the Church
  • ACT SIX The Return of the King: Redemption Completed
observations on the gospel2
Observations on the gospel
  • It is the climactic moment of long story of universal history
  • Goal of the story—salvation:
    • Restoration
    • Comprehensive scope
  • God is acting climactically in history
    • Announcement that God’s power to heal and restore is breaking into history
    • In the person and events of Jesus
    • Reveals and accomplishes restoration
  • Church’s mission is the historical logic of the gospel
comprehensive gospel comprehensive mission1
Comprehensive gospel, comprehensive mission

If the gospel is comprehensive in scope, then the church’s mission is as wide as creation!

not one square inch
Not one square inch!

There is not one square inch of the entire domain of human life of which Christ, the rightful Lord over all, does not proclaim: “This is Mine!” (Abraham Kuyper)

our world belongs to god comprehensive mission of church
Our World Belongs to God: Comprehensive mission of church

The Spirit thrusts God’s people into worldwide mission.

He impels young and old, men and women,

to go next door and far away

into science and art, media and marketplace

with the good news of God’s grace. . . . (32)

Following the apostles, the church is sent—

sent with the gospel of the kingdom . . .

In a world estranged from God,

where millions face confusing choices,

this mission is central to our being . . . (44)

The rule of Jesus Christ covers the whole world.

To follow this Lord is to serve him everywhere,

without fitting in,

as light in the darkness, as salt in a spoiling world. (45)

continuing the kingdom mission of jesus
Continuing the Kingdom Mission of Jesus
  • Announced kingdom with his words
  • Demonstrated kingdom with his deeds
  • Embodied the kingdom in his life
  • Challenged idolatry stood against kingdom
  • Sought justice of kingdom for those marginalised by unjust structures
  • Prayed for coming of kingdom
  • Formed kingdom community

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (Jn. 20.21)

truncated gospel truncated mission

Truncated Gospel, Truncated Mission

IVCF, Calgary

Michael Goheen

Burnaby, B.C.

clash of stories
Clash of stories

In our contemporary culture . . . two quite different stories are told. One is the story of evolution, of the development of the species through the survival of the strong, and the story of the rise of civilization, our type of civilization, and its success in giving humankind mastery of nature. The other story is the one embodied in the Bible, the story of creation and fall, of God’s election of a people to be the bearers of his purpose for humankind, and of the coming of the one in whom that purpose is to be fulfilled. These are two different and incompatible stories (Newbigin).

missionary encounter
Missionary Encounter
  • Normal position of church in cultural context if church is faithful
  • Clash of ultimate and comprehensive stories
  • Requires church that believes gospel and is committed to shaping whole life by it
  • Offers credible alternative
  • Call for conversion
  • Encounter takes place in every sphere of life
claimed and counterclaimed
Claimed and counterclaimed

‘There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.’ (CS Lewis)

narrowing of salvation
Narrowing of Salvation

The early Christian belief [i.e.,Scriptural belief] that the Fall and Redemption pertained not just to man, but to the entire cosmos, a doctrine already fading after the Reformation, now [under secularism of 19th c.] disappeared altogether: the process of salvation, if it had any meaning at all, pertained solely to the personal relation between God and man (Richard Tarnas).

narrowing of salvation1
Narrowing of Salvation

Ever since the Enlightenment, western culture has found it difficult to articulate a clear and compelling vision of God’s relationship to the world. In reaction to the Enlightenment, the theological stream of pietism has tended to confine the presence and action of God to the interior subjectivities of the individual believers: “You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart!” . . . Since we find ourselves in a scientific, rationalistic, technologically driven society that leaves little room for God, it is simpler and more accessible to shift the focus to human experience instead (James Brownson et al.)

truncated gospel
Truncated Gospel
  • Otherworldly salvation
  • Future salvation
  • Individual salvation
truncated mission
Truncated Mission

I look at this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat, and said to me, “Moody, save all you can.  God will come in judgement and burn up this world . . . The world is getting darker and darker; its ruin is coming nearer and nearer.  If you have any friends on this wreck unsaved, you had better lose no time in getting them off.” (DL Moody)

important issues at stake
Important Issues at Stake!
  • Recovery of comprehensive gospel
  • Recovery of who Jesus is
  • Recovery of comprehensive mission
  • Can notion of ‘worldview’ help?
worldview recovering a comprehensive gospel and mission
Worldview: Recovering a comprehensive gospel and mission
  • Worldview first arose in German philosophy (weltanschauung)
  • Introduced into North America by James Orr and Abraham Kuyper
  • Made popular by Carl F.H. Henry, Francis Schaeffer, Al Wolters, Brian Walsh and Richard Middleton, James Sire, Arthur Holmes, and others
need for worldview
Need for Worldview

No one, I think, whose eyes are open to the signs of the times, can fail to perceive that if Christianity is to be effectually defended from the attacks made upon it, it is the comprehensive method that is rapidly becoming the more urgent. The opposition which Christianity has to encounter is no longer confined to special doctrines . . . but extends to the whole manner of conceiving the world. . . . It is no longer an opposition of detail, but of principle. The circumstance necessitates an equal extension of the line of defence. It is the Christian view of things in general which is attacked, and it is by an exposition and vindication of the Christian view of things as a whole that the attack can most successfully be met (James Orr).

need for worldview1
Need for Worldview

If the battle is to be fought with honour and with a hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against principle; then it must be felt that in Modernism the vast energy of an all-embracing life system assails us, then also it must be understood that we have to take our stand in a life system of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power. (Abraham Kuyper).

agreement between orr and kuyper
Agreement between Orr and Kuyper
  • Christianity has a unified and comprehensive worldview derived from a central belief
  • Modern worldview is a unified and comprehensive vision of the world (universal story) that also derives from central belief, is fundamentally religious, is embodied in forms of life and activity, and is antithetical to Christianity
  • Christianity’s only defence against the power of comprehensive modern worldview is to develop an equally comprehensive worldview.
  • This worldview has bearing not only on the religious (theological, ecclesiological) sphere but on the whole of cultural life.
worldview studies
Worldview Studies
  • Biblical story with centre in comprehensive gospel
  • Central storyline of Bible
  • Western story as comprehensive vision of life
  • Encounter between stories: Living at the crossroads
  • Involves embracing true insights and challenging idolatry
neglected themes
Neglected Themes
  • Suffering involved in encounter
  • Need for vital spirituality
  • Need for vibrant community