A Theology of Missions

Ryan Glomsrud
Friday, December 17th 2010
Jan/Feb 2011

There is something about the topic “The Great Commission” that tests our resolve that Word and Sacrament ministry is the lifeblood of a growing and expanding church. This is probably because missions is an immensely practical task, and so frequently the connection between theology and mission is obscured in contemporary evangelicalism.

In this issue we begin with grace, hoping to make explicit that the commissioning and sending of the disciples by Jesus’the Great Commission’is preceded by a definitive work of grace, namely, salvation won and the inauguration of the kingdom of God through the person, message, and triumph of Christ on the cross and in the resurrection! We do not begin with the directive “Go,” but with Jesus’ prefatory announcement’indeed, as we are calling it, the Great Announcement: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” It is on this basis that Jesus commands us to “therefore go” with grateful hearts to be heralds of his good news.

As we move along this year, readers will note that this announcement is one of two bookends that buttress the famous commission. Most of us memorized the passage, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” only without much context. But keeping theology and mission together encourages us to take note of the bookends: first, Jesus’ great announcement of his finished work; and then, what we are calling the Great Assurance‘the theme of our last issue in 2011. After commissioning the disciples, Jesus concludes with a promise of huge importance: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Our evangelistic coming and going is always on the basis of those two promises.

Friday, December 17th 2010

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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