how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth

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book review: What is the Mission of the Church?

I first wrote about this book a few weeks ago here, and mentioned that I had hoped to blog my way through it, highlighting some of its thought provoking points and quotes. I’m now kicking myself even more for failing to do that, because there’s so much worth discussing in this book and one post can’t accurately portray its depth or communicate all its main emphases. But I guess that’s why it’s called a review, not cliff notes. So instead of trying to give a thorough synopsis, and since you can already tell from the past few sentences that this is going to be a positive review, I thought I’d try to provide a list of characteristics of this book that directly influence its quality. Of course there’s the subject matter, and those who are particularly interested in these topics may need no other reasons to read the book, but unfortunately there are plenty of books out there with good subject matter and even good conclusions that don’t go about addressing it in the most effective manner. This book is theological but readable, deep, but engaging, unique within its subject matter without reinventing the wheel unnecessarily, and its authors (Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert) manage to be very sure of their standing without needing to be arrogant, condescending toward, or dismissive of contrary opinions. This is an incredibly difficult line to walk.

The full title of the book is What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission, and it sets out to do just that. It looks at the idea of mission (with all of that word’s Christian society loaded connotations), specifically related to the church and asks the question of what it is that Jesus has sent us into the world to do. It explores Biblical “missional” and “social justice” passages, looking critically at them for the truths that really can be drawn from context and in the larger picture of the Biblical narrative as a whole, and it delves into the discussion of topics such as the kingdom of God, the idea of shalom, the Great Commission, and, of course, good works and social justice. It does all this through, and while being…

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the tension of wealth

I’m reading a book right now called What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission, by Kevin DeYoung (who also wrote the gem of the little book Just Do Something) and Greg Gilbert. I’ve been reading it for a while, not because it’s hard to get through or boring, but mainly because I kept pausing to read things like Sports Illustrated. And other things with slightly more meaning. And also, it’s a well-written and thought-provoking book, which means…well, it means that it provokes thought, which tends to make it take longer to get through. But it’s been well worth it.

Anyway, I’m not finished yet, and will have to do more of a full book review at that point, but a [very] brief synopsis is that, as the title indicates, this book dives into the idea of the loaded word of “mission” as it relates to the church. What does it mean and what doesn’t it mean? What is it that the church is placed in the world to accomplish? What does social justice have to do with that, and how do evangelism and social justice interact? It’s a lot of questions my team wrestled through during our time living and working in Africa, and around which we had a lot of profitable, and sometimes heated, discussions. But they’re important discussions to have and it’s an important question to define, as it lies at the heart of the role and impact of Christianity in the world. Continue reading