Christopher J.H. Wright. The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. 2010
Theology, it seems is all about God. It rummages around in what (mostly dead) people have thought and written about God, God’s character and actions, God’s relationship to the world, to human society, God’s involvement in the past, present and future, and the like. Mission, in happy contrast, is all about us the living, and what we believe we are supposed to be doing in the world.
So, in mutual suspicion, theologians may not relish their theories being muddled by facts on the ground and the challenging questions thrown up by the messiness of practical mission. Practitioners of mission, in quick riposte, may not wish to see their urgent commitment to getting on with the job Christ entrusted to us delayed by indulgent navel-gazing about obscure long words ending in -ology.
And so the dangerous result is that theology proceeds without missional input or output, while mission proceeds without theological guidance or evaluation.
There should be no theology that that does not relate to the mission of the church – either by being generated out of the church’s mission or by inspiring and shaping it. And there should be no mission of the church carried on without deep theological roots in the soil of the Bible.
No theology without missional impact; no mission without theological foundations.