Posts Tagged ‘Mission’

I received this in the post from Amazon this morning.

IVP – Salvation to the Ends of the Earth

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Dr Goheen is going to be speaking at a conference in Bristol in a few weeks time.  Click here for details, there are still places available.

Here are a few lectures of his which I came across on the internet. They are excellent. Here is the link. (scroll to the bottom of the page) Here is the blurb for the lectures.

Dr. Goheen’s first session explores the gospel as the announcement that all of creation and human life is being renewed, and the church’s mission to make known that gospel in life, word, and deed. Understanding the comprehensive scope of the gospel is mission critical as we pray, work, study, and live in this world as God’s kingdom witnesses.

This second session explores how our capitulation to the Western worldview has limited the gospel and narrowed our mission. In order to fully embrace the big gospel of Jesus, we need to understand how we shrunk God?s big story in the first place.

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I am delighted to announce the forthcoming ‘Living at the Crossroads’ Mission, Worldview and Evangelism conference. This conference will take place on 4th April 2009 at Trinity College, Bristol, UK. The conference is based around themes from the recently published book ‘Living at the Crossroads’ by Craig Bartholomnew and Micheal Goheen.  Speakers include Micheal Goheen and, good friend and cheeky storyteller, Mark Roques

To keep up to date with this conference and obtain booking information go to the conference blog.


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Chris Wright Mp3

About the lecture:
The Bible challenges us with a robust affirmation that God is sovereign over the stories of all nations in history. But it also focuses on God’s purpose for biblical Israel in particular. How are we to connect these two great themes? And what do they tell us about God’s mission and our part in it?

Click here

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Mark 7:24-30


In  the Beginning….

God created a beautiful, wonderful universe, majestic in its galaxies, all of this out of nothing. He created a place called earth which teamed with life. God saw this world and said ‘Its good, very good’, he delighted in it. In this world he placed humanity, who although made from dust was also made with the breath of God. This ‘animal’ was also an image bearer.


However, humanity messed it up. The world in its beauty became marred. Evil, ugliness and pain replacing goodness, beauty and delight.


Rescue Plan


God doesn’t just destroy the world, but he embarks on a major rescue plan. A plan by which he would call a people to himself, who would be in his image bearers. A people who would build a community who would be a light to the nations, a people who would bring healing to this broken world. They were, to steal a Tom Wright phrase, called to be a doctor to the world. These people were the covenant family, Israel.


Rescue Plan Gone Wrong


God’s covenant people, who he showered with his grace, the people he called as his servant to be a blessing, abused their position of privilege. They forsook there allegiance to YHWH and their vocation to be a blessing. Instead of being a light to the nations, they put up the walls and pronolunced judgeemnt on the outsider. God punishes Israel and sends them into exile.


Rescue Plan Redeemed


God does not give up on his rescue plan for the world.  He calls Jesus, who was filled with the Spirit of God, to reconstitute Israel around himself. The exile is over, the covenant promises are being fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus. Sin is being removed, the enemy being defeated, and the Spirit of YHWH is at work to build the kingdom, restore the covenanat. Jesus followers are called, in line with the ministry of Jesus, to be a blessign to the nations.


Mark 7:24-30 we see Jesus reaches out to the outsider, to those who are classed as irrelevant or enemies of the Kingdom of God.

1) She is a gentile (note the double emphasis on this in v26)

2) She is a woman (In the cultural context women were often despised)

3) Her daughter has a demon (She is unclean)


Gentiles were often seen as being ‘dogs’. v27

To refer to a human being as a ‘dog’ is deliberately offensive or dismissive (cf. 2 Sa. 16:9; Ps. 22:16; Phil. 3:2); Jews typically referred to Gentiles as dogs. The diminutive form (used in biblical literature only in this pericope), perhaps indicates the status of the dogs in Jesus’ image as dogs of the house rather than of the yard, but it does not remove the harshness of picturing Gentiles en masse as ‘dogs’ as opposed to ‘children’. It is the sort of language a Gentile might expect from a Jew, but to find it in a saying of Jesus is shocking.

 France, R. T.: The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle : W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2002, S. 298

Although Jesus appears to buy into the ethnocentric racism of the day- he doesn’t. He gives priority to the mission for Israel (Is 49:6) but offers healing and restoration of this gentile outsider. In Mark Jesus’ parables are often misunderstood but she understands it, even responding in way which carries on  the parable.

This woman’s contending with Jesus is a fulfillment of Israel’s vocation; she, a Gentile, is a true Israelite. Martin Luther, who himself contended much with God, found in the story of the Syrophoenician woman a great wonder and comfort. She, said Luther, asked for no more than her due. “She took Christ at his own words. He then treated her not as a dog but as a child of Israel.”

Edwards, James R.: The Gospel According to Mark. Grand Rapids, Mich; Leicester, England : Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002 (The Pillar New Testament Commentary), S. 222

As a church we are united to Christ, and share with him the vocation to be a light to the nations. Like Jesus though, the story of the gospel, is tied in the the story of Israel. To lose the story of ‘Israel’ in our presentation of the gospel is to distort it.



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Mark 6:7-13 (ESV)
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

Jesus disciples are sent out to continue and extend the ministry of Jesus. They are not simply proclaimers of the message of Jesus but bring in their life and ministry an extension of the kingdom.  They are to continue the lawbreaking reign of the kingdom of God. At least some 2nd temple Jews saw the defeat of spirits as being integral to the messianic reign.

The Testament of Levi: 18

And he shall open the gates of paradise,

And shall remove the threatening sword against Adam.

11 And he shall give to the saints to eat from the tree of life,

And the spirit of holiness shall be on them.

12 And Beliar shall be bound by him,

And he shall give power to His children to tread upon the evil spirits.

13 And the Lord shall rejoice in His children,

And be well pleased in His beloved ones for ever.

14 Then shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob exult,

And I will be glad,

And all the saints shall clothe themselves with joy.

Charles, Robert Henry (Hrsg.): Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004, S. 2:315



Why are the disciples commanded to take with them a cloak, belt, sandals and a staff? Some scholars argue that they are wandering cynic philosophers. Evidence for this stems from the writings of the philosopher ascetic Musonius Rufus (Ad 30-100)  who said


Wearing one tunic is preferable to needing two, and wearing none but only a cloak is preferable to wearing one. Also going barefoot is better than wearing sandals, if one can do it, for wearing sandals is next to being bound, but going barefoot gives the feet great freedom and grace when they are used to it.”



      1) There is no evidence for the presence of cynics in Galilee

      2) Cynics philosophers had to carry a bag, staff but no shoes. Whereas the disciples are commanded to wear shoes but not to carry a bag.


So why were the disciples commanded to carry these things? It makes historical sense to see some connection between the ministry of Jesus and the flight from Egypt as portrayed in the book of Exodus.


Exodus 12:11 (ESV)
11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.


Jesus disciples then are seen to work in continuity with the mission of Jesus. The slavery from exile has begun, the kingdom has come, the wrath of God in the judgemnt of exile is being exhausted, the eshaton has arrived.

The parallel in dress, in other words, is identical with the Exodus apparel but only loosely similar to Cynic dress. These four items of clothing recall the haste and expectation of the Exodus. They suggest that the mission of the Twelve announces something as foundational and revelatory as the Exodus from Egypt, and that the disciples must be as free from encumbrances as were the Israelites, to serve their God in a new venture.

Edwards, James R.: The Gospel According to Mark. Grand Rapids, Mich; Leicester, England : Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002 (The Pillar New Testament Commentary), S. 180

Guillich fails to mention the symbolism of the exodus in Word Biblical Commentary and actually draws a paralell between the cynic philosophers and the ministry of the early church. 

 Hengel (Leader, 28) sees here an intentional parody of the frugality demanded by the Cynic itinerant preachers (cf. 1 Thess 2:1–12). Such a reading may reflect conditions in the early Church mission that found itself “competing” with other movements.

Guelich, Robert A.: Word Biblical Commentary : Mark 1-8:26. Dallas : Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 34A), S. 322

R.T France offers the following,

The travelling religious teacher with staff, sandals, and a single χιτών but with no travelling pack or provision for the journey fits into a recognisable strand which extends from Elijah and John the Baptist through to the mendicant friars of the Middle Ages and several religious orders today. Outside the Judaeo-Christian tradition the Cynic preacher filled a similar role (see note on the πήρα, v. 8). Jesus’ intention in sending them out in this way is not so much to encourage asceticism as such (they are after all to expect and accept hospitality), but to emphasise that loyalty to the kingdom of God leaves no room for a prior attachment to material security.

France, R. T.: The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle : W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2002, S. 249

In defence of the the ‘exodus motif’ I would say that a reading of Marks gospel which brinsg tot he forefront themes of exodus and Deutero Isaiah is more authentic. If you look through previosu posts you will see that the theme of Isaiah/End of Exile returns again and again. The exodus motif is a hypothesis which finds verification from the text and it provides a coherent picture for the historical Jesus.  The disciples are to show their loyalty to the kingdom by carrying these simplistic possessions. (as with France)


Application:  The church should remember the now and not yet aspect of the kingdom We are are not simply to preach Jesus (although this is crucial and important) but we like the disciples of old are to bring God’s reign into the world. We are, in one sense, to be Jesus to the world. We are a community in the process of returning from exile, we have been released from bondage, but are waiting the arrival of the fullness of the kingdom.


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Mark 5:21-40This pericope contains two combined healings stories in one unified narrative. The literacy style of Mark (or earlier eyewitnesses) is evident is seeing the structure of these stories (A.B.A) and in the similarities between the two characters who are healed.

Woman with Hemorrhage Jairus’ Daughter
Female Female
Called ‘daughter’ (v34) Called Daughter (v35)
Woman ill for 12 years (v25) Girl 12 years old (v42)
Jesus asks question (v31) Jesus asks a question (v39)
Jesus in contact with uncleanness (menstrual bleeding) Jesus in contact with uncleanness (corpse)

In this story we see that Jesus becomes unclean according to the Jewish ceremonial law, but in the process he offers healing and restoration.

I only want to pick up one verse in my posting today.

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Jesus heals this lady, but this healing is more than just physical restoration as it restores her relationship to her society, family and worshipping community.


The commentaries offer the following explanation.

The OT formula of reassurance and blessing, ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην (cf. Jdg. 18:6; 1 Sa. 1:17; 2 Sa. 15:9), confirms that she may now enjoy at last the šalôm which she has long needed, and the further assurance ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγός σου makes it clear that her cure is not a merely temporary remission. ὑγιής, despite its English derivatives, relates to physical health, not to ‘cleanness’; the effect of the cure will be, however, to remove her impurity and restore her to a normal place in society.


“Go in peace” expresses a common Semitic farewell. But it represents more than simply a dismissal formula here. Together with the following imperative, it sets forth the full meaning of the previous declaration, “Your faith has made you well!” Going in peace means to go as one “restored to a proper relationship with God” (Schweizer, 118). Her healing, though certainly including her physical illness as the next statement indicates, involved more than simply the physical dimension of her existence (cf. 2:5–11).

Jesus interaction with a person is holistic.It brings shalom to more than one sphere.  Human beings, when touched by Jesus, see results which exceed physical or spiritual needs due to the interconnected of the various spheres of our existence. The soul (mind, body, spirit) experience a restoration to wholeness. The kingdom of God is not just physical healing, nor is it simply ‘gospel proclamation’, it is the restoration of the whole of creation to how God wanted it to be. This lady would one day die for the fullness of the Kingdom has not yet arrived, but it is here and is having an effect on all areas of life.

IN our lives do we see that conversion (a touch by the saviour) impacts more than just the spiritual sphere of our lives. The church also needs a holistic mission which seeks to bring Christ’s lordship into all areas of life.

A quote from Tom Wright seems appropriate. It is taken from his book ‘Surprised by Hope’ which could well be his best book yet. It is taken from Chapter 12 entitled ‘Rethinkign salvation: heaven, earth and the kingdom of God’.

Heaven’s rule, God’s rule is thus to be put into practise in the world, resulting in salvation in both the present and the future, a salvation which is both for humans and, through saved humans, for the wider world. This is the solid basis for the mission of the Church.’

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