Academic journal article International Review of Mission

"Perceiving Frontiers, Crossing Boundaries": Report of the Partnership in Mission Consultation of the Council for World Mission

Academic journal article International Review of Mission

"Perceiving Frontiers, Crossing Boundaries": Report of the Partnership in Mission Consultation of the Council for World Mission

Article excerpt

Please note that the following is excerpted from the report. Those interested in the full report are asked to address their request directly to the Council for World Mission, Livingstone House, 11 Carteret Street, London SWIH 9DL, United Kingdom. Readers may also note that a major portion of the October 1987 issue of the IRM was devoted to the life and work of the Council for World Mission (CWM).

A. Enlarging CWM's understanding and practice of holistic mission

17. When the new Council for World Mission was proposed in 1975, it was understood that world mission could not be limited to any one understanding of mission. There was a recognition of the multi-faceted character of mission identified in the following key-terms: conversion; reconciliation; liberation; sacrificial caring; preaching and teaching. All these aspects of mission were seen as grounded in biblical teaching, so that none of these could be isolated from the others and given pre-eminence as the controlling motif and motivation for mission. Basic to our understanding of holistic mission is the mission of Jesus himself: "The time has come. The reign/realm of God is near. Turn around(repent) and believe in the good news (gospel)" (Mark 1:15). The content and context of proclaiming the good news through deed and word is the reign/realm of God. Jesus proclaimed the good news through his teaching, healing, feeding and caring. It is this understanding of mission that undergirds what CWM calls "holistic mission."

18. In 1983, in a mission statement, an attempt was made to explicate holistic mission using certain key biblical texts. In that statement, prominence was given to the commission in Acts 1:8. Jesus says to his disciples, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." This text brings together four important emphases of holistic mission:

* Mission is first and foremost God's mission in which the church is called to participate. The primary mover in the continuing mission of the Father through the Son is the Holy Spirit.

* The disciples are empowered for mission. Mission requires courage. Basic to witnessing is the possibility of both suffering and rejection. A martyr is one who has accepted the cross as an inevitable part of witnessing (martureo) to Jesus.

* The call to mission is not so much a commission as a promise: "You will be my witnesses."

* The movement of mission is from Jerusalem to the end of the earth - from the local to the global.

This text was followed by John 20:21f. which, besides reinforcing the role of the Holy Spirit in mission, brings in the dimension of the "sending" (missionary) God. The Father sends the Son who sends the disciples. It brings to the fore mission in Christ's way. II Cor. 5:18f. is seen as amplifying the commission in John 20:21f. "God was in Christ reconciling the world to God . . . and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . . and entrusted to us the message of reconciliation." The mission of the church is set within the global framework of God reconciling to Godself all of creation. To be sent by the Son as the Father has sent the son is also to emphasize the nexus between mission and unity for which Christ prayed, "Father I pray that they may all be one. May they be one so that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 17:21).

19. These texts were not simply collected at random, but came out of the mission practice of CWM that uses the action-reflection model of discerning the mission of the church in terms of God's mission. Continuing the same method, we also have to review CWM's understanding and practice of holistic mission so that we may respond to the contemporary situation. When we do this, other biblical themes and texts also commend themselves and enlarge our understanding of holistic mission.

20. The first theme that commends itself is creation, for two main reasons. …

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