Christopher J. H. Wright: Reading Whole Bible to Understand God's Mission

Jun 18, 2011 01:10 PM EDT

Langham Partnership International (LPI) International Ministries Director Rev. Dr. Christopher J. H. Wright is in Taiwan for a series of seminars, where he will speak on the topic of “Dreamers of God’s Kingdom – Vision of God’s Kingdom, Motivation for You and Me.”

Wright was the keynote speaker for the Lausanne III conference held last year and one of the people who drafted the ‘Cape Town Declaration’. At this year’s Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE) conference held in Indonesia, he will be speaking as a keynote speaker.

On June 13, Wright began his lecture series with the topic of “Mission of God”, in which he spoke on the importance of reading the whole Bible for mission – the core message in his book “The Mission of God.”

The Old Testament authority said that we are reading the Bible for our own self-interests, but for the sake of understanding God’s mission; the whole Bible is a literary dedication for the recording of God’s mission. God is a God of mission, so the church and believers should also bear the mission.

At the pastoral seminars held on June 16, Wright spoke of the “God in Missions” in the morning lecture and “Old Testament Ethics and Church Pastoring” in the afternoon. In the first session, he led the participants in reviewing the Bible from the perspectives of the God of mission, man of mission, the Israel of mission, and the Jesus of mission – to help them understand how to read the entire Old Testament from the perspective of the mission of God.

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In the afternoon lecture, Wright said that we obey God’s laws, because of God’s salvation and grace. For God has first performed his salvation, we then experienced his grace, and out of a heart of gratitude, we obey God’s commands. Therefore, when preaching of God’s commandments, it is important to build upon the foundation of God’s grace.

The books of laws are not just the description of laws after laws, but they are a type of a holistic illustration of the lifestyle for a society, community, and men built according to God’s mercy and grace, he said. When Christians obey these laws, the people around see through them God’s mercy and grace and become especially amazed and curious in view of these values.

Moreover, God’s purpose in giving the laws is for molding his people, so that they will be distinguished from the nations; they will become the light and salt of the world, and many will be drawn to God because of them. The book of the laws reminds Christians that they bear the commission of missions, which means that as the people of God, they must live out a distinguished life from the nations.

Wright said that the strong narrative of the Old Testament laws and ethics is to become like God. Israel’s laws are to be the model or example for the nations, through which the principles, values, and laws of life can be realized. Then, this can be applied to today’s society, economics, and politics. When one realizes God’s heart towards Israel and the principles of the laws, then one can use this to pin-point the issues of social ethics and justice, challenging the church and the society.

“Constructing Heavenly Kingdom Culture Conference” is jointly hosted by Campus Evangelical Fellowship, Chinese Christian Evangelical Association, Grace Baptist Church in Taiwan, and China Evangelical Seminary.