Despite a growing body of literature and teaching resources, the word "missional" is a term that remains largely undefined in any specific way, even a biblical way. Michael Goheen, a leading thinker on the subject of biblical narrative seeks to provide this missing definition by deriving it from and correlating it with its use in the biblical story.
Goheen accomplishes this task in A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story. He unpacks the missional identity of the church by tracing the role God's people are called to play in the biblical story. Goheen provides this analysis pulling from the both the OT and NT, and then outlines what it means to be "missional" in our culture. Thus, building from the biblical story, Goheen transitions into a practical theology for the church today from which it can build a mission oriented structure to serve the larger context in which it finds itself.
This is an excellent book for churches who are struggling with their identity, and who seek to reach their communities but want to support their practices with biblical principles. Thus, this book is an excellent resource for church leaders, board members, administration, and those who are contemplating church planting.
There is a growing body of literature about the missional church, but the word missional is often defined in competing ways with little attempt to ground it deeply in Scripture. Michael Goheen, a dynamic speaker and the coauthor of two popular texts on the biblical narrative, unpacks the missional identity of the church by tracing the role God's people are called to play in the biblical story. Goheen shows that the church's identity can be understood only when its role is articulated in the context of the whole biblical story--not just the New Testament, but the Old Testament as well. He also explores practical outworkings and implications, offering field-tested suggestions for contemporary churches.
Michael W. Goheen (PhD, University of Utrecht) is Director of Theological Education and Scholar-in-Residence at the Missional Training Center--Phoenix. He is also Jake and Betsy Tuls Professor of Missiology at Calvin Theological Seminary, as well as Senior Fellow of Newbigin House of Studies and minister of preaching at New West Christian Reformed Church in Burnaby, British Columbia. He is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including The Drama of Scripture, Living at the Crossroads, and a work on Lesslie Newbigin's missionary ecclesiology.
Goheen expertly traces the continuities of and developments in the Bible's grand story of the people of God, showing that at every stage God's people exist for the sake of God's mission to all the peoples of the world. Here is the biblical depth needed for the contemporary church's reflection on and practice of its missional identity.
University of St. Andrews, Scotland; Ridley Hall, Cambridge
"A book that stands out from the crowd and merits careful attention, A Light to the Nations is a much-needed and well-crafted basic text for the biblical study of the missional church. Based on careful reading and interpretation of an impressive range of biblical scholars, Goheen's book engages the scholarly voices that merit serious interaction, lays out the major themes of a biblical theology of the missional church, and offers an integrative approach that will stimulate further investigation. Certainly it will become a staple of college and seminary syllabi dealing with the church and its mission. Pastors, congregations, and mission agencies will find in this book biblical orientation for faithful mission in a time of rapid and challenging change.
--Darrell L. Guder
Princeton Theological Seminary
A Light to the Nations masterfully calls readers to a renewed missional imagination. Goheen traces the missional theme through Scripture, enabling us to see that his vision is not really new but the rediscovery of the robust, missional ecclesiology that has always characterized the people of God at their best. Goheen leads us into an expansive vision of what it means to be God's called, eschatological people embodying the new creation. If you long to understand what it really means to be a missional church, not as a simple slogan but as our deepest identity, then this book is the indispensable road map. I heartily recommend it!
--Timothy C. Tennent
Asbury Theological Seminary
Based on the whole biblical narrative, this book is a powerful presentation of what it takes for a missional church in the twenty-first century to be 'A Light to the Nations.' It is both compelling and persuasive!
--Gerald H. Anderson
Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, CT