Monday, January 9, 2012

Mission as Mediating Salvation

Christian missions are often motivated by the desire to mediate salvation to all. In other words, a soteriological motif may indeed be the throbbing heart of missiology. Also, one’s theology of mission is closely dependent on one’s theology of salvation (e.g. the scope of salvation should define or determine the scope of missionary endeavor).

So, what salvation does the church mediate in its mission? One, the church mediates a salvation that is realized in this life, today (Luke 4:21; 19:9; 23:43). In other words, salvation is “now” or “already” salvation as the one who is saved is saved in respect to a very wide spectrum of human circumstances (i.e. spiritual and physical [see Luke 5]).  Two, salvation is something that begins in this life. That is, salvation is a process that is “not yet” fully realized or experienced in the life of the believer. Salvation is initiated by the resurrected Christ (Rom 5), and furthered by God’s gift (i.e. the Holy Spirit [Rom 8]). Moreover, reconciliation, as surely a key aspect of salvation, is referred to in a future tense (see Rom 5:10).     

Therefore, from this “already”/“not yet” aspect of salvation there emerges an imperative: Get involved in the ministry of salvation! Mission means being involved in the ongoing dialogue between God (who offers his salvation), and the world (who needs his salvation). Moreover, mission means being sent to proclaim in deed and word that Christ died and rose for the life of the world, that he lives to transform human lives (Rom 8:2) and to overcome death. That is salvation, and the reason why the church’s mission mediates salvation.[1]

[1] See David J. Bosch’s Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, 20th Anniversary Edition (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2011), 402-10.

No comments:

Post a Comment