World renowned Biblical scholar Rev. Dr. Chris J. H. Wright hosted two seminars, in which he delivered a very important message to the Chinese churches in Hong Kong and in the world, at the mega-church EFCC Yan Food Church in Hong Kong on June 13th.
Wright, the international director of Langham Partnership International, preached his messages with the theme of “The Mission of God – Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative”, and Dr. Philemon Choi, the chairman of Hong Kong Langham Foundation, interpreted Wright’s message into Chinese.
Wright led the participants to see “The Mission of God” from the Bible. He said that Christians typically confirm our understanding of “Mission” with the Bible, but there is a need to surpass such kind of understanding, “Bible is a recording of God’s Mission.”
“The entire Bible wants to reveal God’s purpose of wanting to achieve the goal of the salvation of the entire human kind through God’s citizens,” said Wright, who is the chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group which is involved in preparing for the third major congress in Cape Town for October 2010, and the designated Bible expositor for CCCOWE 2011.
He expressed that “Mission” is often times understood as activities related to proselytizing. While the work of evangelizing belongs to a part of “Mission”, but its origin comes from “God’s Mission.” In another words, the meaning of “Mission” is not limited to meaning just doing missions or other evangelizing activities, but is referring to what the entire Bible points to, which is "God’s Mission."
Wright said that it is necessary to set the “Mission” as the center to interpreting the Bible. Beginning from God’s creation, till the fall of man, till the salvation through Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and till the new heavens and new earth as recorded in the book of Revelations, the entire Bible centers on “Mission” as the core.
Through the entire seminar, he spoke of the Mission of God that extends to the mission of the Israelites, who are God’s chosen people, of the mission of Jesus Christ that extends to the mission of the church, and of how God’s mission penetrates through the entire Bible and the history of salvation.
Dr. Patrick Fung, international director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International, responded to Wright’s speech from the perspective of missions. He said that average people emphasize on the Biblical basics of missions, but Wright reminds that the mission ministries should turn back to the Bible’s mission.
“We often times think that we should do missions; however, in reality, it is not that we are doing it, but it is God who has been, is, and will continue to do, so we must make this as our focus,” said Fung.
“Today, we use the English word “Mission” upon our ministries, but in times of crisis and troubles we only have “mission” without “God’s Mission”, focusing only on our own strategies, numbers, performances, and results; but God’s mission isn’t only numbers, but it is to make all tribes, all people, and all nations to come under the name of God and to confess that God is the Lord.”
Rev. Dr. Carter Yu, president of China Graduate Theological Seminary (CGTS), said that Wright gave an important message and the key to unlocking the Biblical narratives, enabling a deeper understanding of the Bible, God, personal life, and the world.
“Dr. Wright told us that we cannot only have missions, for God himself has a mission, and the word of the Bible itself has the guidance towards mission”, said Yu. “When a man lives, he has a mission; if a man does not have a mission, then he is incomplete. Mission is the core of man, and that only by living out the mission can it count as living.”
“The Mission of God – Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative” was sponsored by Langham Foundation Ltd, co-sponsored by Chinese Co-ordination of World Evangelism (CCCOWE), Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement, EFCC Yan Fook Church, and Fellowship of Evangelical Students.
Wright will returned to Hong Kong again in September to give lectures on topics of Old Testament Ethics and church and market places, and various other relevant subjects.