God's Mission and the Millennium Development Goals

(or) Why should we as Christians care about the MDG's?
March 19, 2007



A Paper Prepared for the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
Camp Allen, Texas
17 March, 2007


I am delighted to be back with you the bishops of the Episcopal Church as you meet to pray and worship together, study Holy Scripture together, and take counsel together for the sake of the Church and its faithfulness to God's mission. Now I do know that there are some pressing and emotional issues that might be on your hearts and minds at this time. I think particularly of the recent Communiqué from the Primates Meeting and consideration of the report from the Anglican Covenant Drafting Committee.

I am indebted, though, to the Presiding Bishop, the Planning Committee, and the College for Bishops Advisory Committee, for suggesting that you begin this meeting with a consideration of the big picture of what God is calling us to do and be in the world as Christians, rather than focusing immediately on the more inner-ecclesial squabbles and difficulties which seem to preoccupy so much of time as church leaders today. It is my understanding that the College for Bishops, working with the Planning Committee and under the direction of the Presiding Bishop, will increasingly provide, if you will, some "curricular direction" to those parts of your House of Bishops meetings that are learning and educational opportunities. I further understand that with the encouragement of Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori, the chosen focus for the "educational sessions" of your House of Bishops meetings for the next few meetings will be the Millennium Development Goals. Needless to say, I am delighted by this focus on the MDG's because I believe the Goals both challenge, and empower, the Church to new levels of participation in the missio Dei, the mission of God.


So with this new educational vision before you, what I think we are about today is that I will first give a broad sweep missiological and scriptural framework in which to consider the MDG's and then this afternoon we will spend a second session looking at one of the Goals in particular, name Goal #7: To ensure environmental sustainability, or we might better say, "to ensure the sustainability of creation and this "fragile earth our island home."

One last little note before we begin: what we are considering today with respect to the Millennium Development Goals does in fact have everything to do with The Episcopal Church's response to the Primates' Communiqué and the developing Anglican Covenant. For if we do not ask the bigger question first, namely: What is the Church for? What is it that God's wants the Anglican Communion to be about in the world today? then we will never be able to solve our Anglican family difficulties. Keeping our eyes on the prize, keeping our eyes on God's mission, is the only way forward. And thanks be to God, the Millennium Development Goals can really help us here.


Now, those of you who know me, or have listened to me in past House of Bishops presentations, might recall that I am by training and vocation a missiologist, a scholar and activist for God's mission. You probably are not be too surprised then by my beginning our consideration of the MDG's with a discussion of Christian mission, or more specifically trying to answer the question: What is mission? Once we look at the theological understandings of the nature of mission I want us then to move to a quick review of mission as it is presented in Holy Scripture. It is my bias that only by having a well thought out missiological and biblical understanding of mission, can we Christians play our appropriate role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Much of what I am about to say, I have said and written before.[1] There is nothing new here. Those of you, in particular, who were at the September 2001 House of Bishops meeting in Burlington, Vermont, might recall having heard some of these remarks before. I must say, however, that since our time together in Burlington, I simply am amazed at how far The Episcopal Church has come with respect to our understanding of, and commitment to, mission. A mere six years ago, "mission" was still a dirty word conjuring up images of culturally insensitive proselytism as a handmaiden of the Western imperial project, or as a colleague of mine at EDS used to say, "mission as the Church's efforts to clothe the Hottentots." But today, the word "mission" and in particular the words "God's mission" roll of the tongues of many of you with ease and alacrity.


So as you, the House of Bishops, begin this learning venture of considering the Millennium Development Goals over the next few years, let us pause and reconsider the theological and biblical warrants for mission and thus be better equipped to answer the question: Why should we as Christians care about the Millennium Development Goals?



What is Mission?
Mission in 19th and first half of the 20th centuries made sense. Mission during this period, what mission scholar David Bosch has described as the "Mission in the Wake of the Enlightenment," was something that Christians in Europe and North America did "over there to other people."[2] Conversion of "the heathen" through the spread of churches and the advance of Western "civilization" went hand in hand. The abuses (and contributions) of missionaries and the close connection between mission and imperialism in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific are well documented and need not be rehearsed here.[3] Suffice it to say that throughout the nineteenth century and for the first half of the twentieth century the Western churches had their missions, missiones ecclesiarum (church's missions). These missions, as dependent outposts of European and North American Christianity, usually in some "far off" part of the world, sought to extend church models and cultural world-views of the Enlightenment.


In the middle of the twentieth century, significant shifts in the theological and ecclesiological terrain of an emergent global Christianity began to shake the ground of missiological thought. Fissures opened up between older established models of mission and new understandings of mission in the emerging post-colonial, post-modern world. Discussion in ecumenical councils turned from the role of the churches' missions to wrestling with the nature of the mission of the Church, the missio ecllesiae.[4]Mission was seen less as something done by voluntary associations of Christians and more as the central calling of the Church. These theological shifts led individuals such as Emil Brunner to state: "The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning" and Stephen Neil to proclaim: "The age of missions is at an end; the age of mission has begun."[5]


The predominance of this ecclesiocentric view of mission in the immediate post-World War II era was short lived. While ecumenical missionary conferences promoted the coterminous nature of Church and mission, individual theologians and missiologists were beginning to look beyond the Church for the locus of God's action in the world. Increasingly the Church was seen as being an agent, at best, or extraneous, at worst, to God's intervention in the wider struggles of the world. The missio ecclesiae (the Church's mission) was to give way to the missio Dei (God's mission.)


Johannes Hoekendijk was one of the first mission thinkers to lead the charge against prevailing church-centered definitions of mission. He criticized such as leading to a form of evangelism whose goal it was to maintain and extend the bridgehead of the Western Enlightenment church. Hoekendijk said:


To put it bluntly; the call to evangelism (the call to mission) is often little else than a call to restore ‘Christendom,' the Corpus Christianum, as a solid, well-integrated cultural complex, directed and dominated by the Church. And the sense of urgency is often nothing but a nervous feeling of insecurity, with the established Church endangered; a flurried activity to save the remnants of a time now irrevocably past.[6]


In short, Hoekendijk argued that "Evangelization (mission) and churchification are not identical, and very often they are each other's bitterest enemies."[7] Hoekendijk wanted to move mission from an ecclesiological to an eschatological point of departure. For him, the goal of evangelism, the goal of mission, was not to extend the Church as the Corpus Christianum but rather to participate with God in God's new creation, to work for God's shalom, God's salaam. Hoekendijk was the first of his generation to suggest that it was God's mission in the world to bring about God's shalom, God's Kingdom, God's Reign.

Most missiologists today would affirm that the mission of God, the missio Dei, is God's action in the world to bring about God's Reign. The Trinitarian God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, has effected a new order, a new shalom; one in which all of creation can find new life and new hope. Whereas some earlier proponents of the missio Dei eschewed the role of the Church in God's mission, today's mission thinkers affirm that the Church, as the Body of Christ in the world, does have a crucial role to play in the salvation work of God. The Church is called and uniquely empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate with God in God's mission of justice, compassion and reconciliation.

Although the Church has a unique and crucial role in God's plan of salvation, it does not have, however, exclusive rights on participation with God in God's mission. Thus many advocates of the missio Dei, especially missiologists from religiously plural contexts, see the possibility of cooperation with people of other faiths in God's universal mission. The South Indian theologian S. J. Samartha emphasizes:


In a religiously plural world, Christians, together with their neighbors of other faiths, are called upon to participate in God's continuing mission in the world. Mission is God's continuing activity through the Sprit to mend the brokenness of creation, to overcome the fragmentation of humanity, and to heal the rift between humanity, nature and God.[8]


In these difficult times of war in Iraq and Afganistan, it is particularly important that we as Christians recognize and lift up our commonality with the other great Abrahamic faiths, especially Islam, in God's project of mending the brokenness of creation and healing the rift and fragmentation between humanity.


Participating with God in the healing of the world, effecting God's shalom, is at the heart of God's mission, is at the heart of our common calling as Christians.



The Biblical Call to God's Mission[9]
The great American Episcopalian biblical scholar and Christian educator, Verna Dozier once said to me: "Christians should be able to tell the whole Biblical story in fifteen minutes." Dr Dozier was a skilled and accomplished story-teller in the best of the African America oral tradition. Multitudes of students sat spellbound at Dr. Dozier's feet as she broke open the books of the Bible weaving them into an integrated and synthetic story of what God is up to in the world. In Verna's telling, the Bible has a common thread, a common theme, a common message that runs from Genesis clear through to Revelation. And that common thread is that God loves the world and all that is in it, and God seeks to make all things new and whole. For we missiologists the love of God for the world and the desire of God to make all things new is consistent with missio Dei theology. Thus for Verna Dozier, and for mission scholars alike, it is imperative that we see the Bible as an integrated whole with a clear and unified message. And that message has everything to do with the mission of God, the missio Dei.

Now I want to argue, all of Holy Scripture is the story of mission, is the story of God's mission. I want to emphasize that the whole Bible, Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament, is a revelation of God's mission in the world. Notice once again how I say God's mission, not the Church's mission, or your mission, or my mission but God's mission. For ultimately it is God's mission that our Lord Jesus came to bear witness to, it is God's mission that the Church proclaims in the world today, and it is God's mission that we share in by virtue of our baptisms. So what is this mission? What is God's mission as given to us in Holy Scripture?


In the opening chapter of Genesis we learn that God is the God of all creation. Out of God's love, God brought everything into being, the heavens, the earth, all living creatures including humanity, and "it was good." At the very start of the Biblical story we learn that God is a God of the whole cosmos, a universal God, who watches over and cares for all of creation.[10] The story continues, however. No sooner had this universal, loving God created humankind, then we turned our backs on God. In our sinfulness, we chose to live unto ourselves. We became alienated from the love and power of God and we became alienated from each other. And so the Cathechism in the back of the BCP describes sin as "the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation."[11] Sin is less about actions and more about a state of separation, separation from God, separation from each other, separation from all creation. Sin is about isolation, division and broken relationship.


But God did not want humans to be alienated from God and from each other. The loving creator chose to rebuild the bonds of love that had been severed through human sin. God's mission was to reconnect with humanity and heal the divisions that separate us. The central element of God's mission, the missio Dei, is God's desire to restore to unity that which had become broken; to reconcile a divided world, to heal a hurting humanity.

To fulfill this mission God chose a particular people as an entry point into the world. Through Abraham and Sarah and their descendants, God began a new relationship with humankind. God says to Abraham:


Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. . . . I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. (Genesis 17:5-7)


The whole of Hebrew Scripture is the telling and retelling of the quest for relationship between God and God's chosen people.


To help define this relationship God gave the Law. The Law stood as God's assurance of love and faithfulness. In the giving of the Law, God sought to establish Israel as the leadership of a new world order. By following God's commandments the chosen people would stand as a beacon of hope in a world separated from God.


God's covenant with the Jews was not, however, an exclusive arrangement. The new relationship begun with Abraham, and clarified by the Law, was intended for all of humanity, a light to the nations. God's covenant was to be the vehicle, the door, by which all the peoples of the world could be joined both to the almighty Creator and to each other. Israel's role in God's mission was to serve as a centripetal force pulling all of humanity back into relationship with God.[12] Abraham and Sarah's descendants thus were to be agents of reconciliation between God and an errant humanity. All the nations were to come to God through the Covenant.

The prophets, especially the servant songs of Isaiah, testify to this calling. In Isaiah 42 God says to his chosen people:


I am the Lord I have called you in righteousness , I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 42:6-7)


And again in Isaiah 49


It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)


The servant songs of Isaiah proclaim clearly that God's mission in the world is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth, to set free those who are oppressed, to open the eyes of the blind (Isaiah 42:6-7); to heal the separation between God, humanity and all of creation; to restore to unity with God all the peoples of the world and all of creation.

The story of God's mission, however, does not end with God's covenant with Israel. It goes on. As Christians we affirm that because of God's love for the world and desire to be united with all of humanity, God took one final decisive step. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God enters the world anew and takes the responsibility for God's mission directly upon himself.


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17).


In Jesus, God creates a New Covenant, a new means by which all the world could be joined to the Creator. Jesus was sent into the world to be the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) As the human form of the creator God, Jesus mission is coterminous, one and the same, with that of the Creator. His mission is God's mission.


Jesus said to them: ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. . . For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of the Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life. (John 6: 35, 38-40)


The ultimate act of Jesus self-giving participation in God's mission is his sacrifice upon the cross and victory over death. The joining of Jesus' pain and suffering with our pain and suffering on the cross is where we are passionately connected with God, with one other, and with all creation. On the cross is where this new relationship, this right relationship, with God and each other is effected. In Jesus' resurrection three days after the agony of the cross, we are given the promise of restored life in him. This is what we mean by Jesus' atonement. As Martin Smith has described, Jesus' atonement is our at-one-ment: our at-one-ment with God, and our at-one-ment with each other.[13] In Jesus' death and resurrection we are given the means by which we become one with each other and with God. In the death and resurrection of Jesus the divisions between God and humanity are overcome, and the promise of reconciliation is made real.


The reality that Jesus takes on God's mission in his incarnation, death and resurrection is not, however, a departure from the mission that God entrusted to Israel. Jesus did not come to break down the Law but rather to fulfill it. Jesus testifies to his fulfillment of the Isaiah prophesy in the fourth chapter of Luke:


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)

Over and over again, Jesus demonstrates his solidarity with, and preferential option for, the poor, the sick, the outcasts and those at the periphery of society. The gospels are a living testimony to Jesus' life and ministry as the source of God's salvation for the world. In Jesus the Reign of God is made real and tangible in our broken world.


Although Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and prophets, there is however, a difference between God's mission as it was entrusted to the Jews and how it was realized in Jesus the Christ. Whereas Israel represented a calling in of humanity to union with God, Jesus turned the direction of God's mission around. Instead of a centripetal force, God's mission, realized in Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, becomes a centrifugal force, a going out. Jesus demonstrates in word and deed that the Reign of God, made real in the sending of God's son, must continue to expand, to move out to the ends of the earth. "As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." (John 17:18) Jesus thus sends out his disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be the bearers of His mission, God's mission, in the world.


And Jesus called to him the twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. . . So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. (Mark 6: 7, 12-13)


And to the seventy Jesus said:


Go your way; Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you. (Luke 10: 3, 8-9)


Notice here that God's mission, fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus and then furthered by the sending out of the disciples in the power of the Spirit, is multiform. There is loving service, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and setting free the oppressed. But these acts of love are always coupled with the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, God's mission of restoration and reconciliation is realized through acts of love and justice combined with the proclamation of Jesus as the Christ, the Savior of the world. The wholeness of God's mission is discovered in the combination of the Great Commandment, to love one another as God has loved us (John 16:12-17) with the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19) Proclamation without loving service are empty words, and good works without naming Jesus as the Christ are simply honorable deeds.


The movement of God's mission in heralding and making real the Reign of God to the ends of the earth is exemplified in the life and writings of Paul. I do not have time here to examine the complete mission theology of Paul but I do want to highlight two fundamental aspects of his role in God's mission. The first is that Paul and his co-workers reached out to the Gentiles with the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is true that in the Gospels we are given evidence of Jesus mission to the Gentiles, see for example our Lord's healing of the Centurion's slave (Luke 7:1-10) and his curing of the Syrophoenician woman's daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). But it is in the life and ministry of Paul that God's mission expands beyond Jerusalem.


The second thing we want to emphasize about Paul's mission theology is the full development of the Church as the Body of Christ in the world today. In his letter to the Ephesians we find Paul's testimony that all who follow Jesus Christ, Jew and Gentile alike, are united with God the Creator. Paul says:


And Jesus came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:17-21)


As followers of Jesus Christ today, as the Church, we too share in this household of God and thus are called to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near. Participation in God's mission, therefore is at the heart of the baptismal call. Baptism is our commission, co-mission, in God's mission. Just as God sent Jesus into the world, and Jesus sent his disciples to the ends of the earth, we too are sent in mission.


Returning to the "Catechism" we find the profound missiological affirmation on the relationship between the Church and God's mission. The Cathechism states that: "the mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.'[14] The calling of the Church, the calling of every Christian, is to participate with God in the restoration of unity between ourselves and God and ourselves and each other; to participate in the missio Dei. It is the work of the Church to herald and effect the new order where alienation, division and separation give way to inclusion, reconciliation, and unity. As the Body of Christ in the world today, we are called to work for the restoration to unity of all people with God and each other in Christ. Participation in God's mission, effecting God's shalom, therefore is at the heart of the baptismal call. Baptism is our commission, co-mission, in God's mission. The imperative is clear.


The eminent missiologist David Bosch perhaps has said it best:


Mission is, primarily and ultimately, the work of the Triune God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, for the sake of the world, a ministry in which the church is privileged to participate. This is the deepest source of mission. . . there is mission because God loves people.[15] because God loves the world.



The MDG's, God's Mission and our Response
I want to close these remarks then with a few brief concluding thoughts related to the relationship between the eight Millennium Development Goals, God's mission and our response as Christians.


In the year 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit, all of the member nations of the United Nations pledged to achieve eight specific goals for the world by the year 2015. These eight goals, not surprisingly grew out of existing commitments and initiatives of the United Nations. More specifically the 192 countries of the United Nations committed themselves by 2015 to:


1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;


2) achieve universal primary education;


3) promote gender equality and empower women;


4) reduce child mortality;


5) improve maternal health;


6) reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;


7) ensure environmental sustainability;


8) and develop a global partnership for development.


These seem like incredibly ambitious goals, and truth be told, with only eight years until 2015, the nations of the world not quite living up to the promises made at the Millennium Summit. But it is important to emphasize that these Millennium Development Goals, are just that, goals. They are not some kind of unified super-national, global, integrated United Nations Program to cure the ills of the world. Rather they are a vision, a vision of what can be, a vision of a restored, reconciled world, a vision of shalom (if I may build on Johannes Hoekendijk's and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffert's Schori's understanding of shalom). What is called for in the goals is not then a singular, unified program but a movement, a movement of all the people of the world for the sake of the world, a shalom movement for the sake of "the least of these."

And here is where the Church, the Body of Christ generally, and the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church in particular, can play an incredible important role in the movement to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. As I have emphasized above, being faithful to the call to God's mission, participating with God in effecting God's shalom, is what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus. The MDG's thus serve as an invitation to get on with what God wants us to be about; to join with sisters in brothers in Christ, with people of other faiths, with wider global civil society to be about the repair of the world.

As Anglicans then, as members of a family of 38 regional or national churches, in 164 countries with close to 80 million members, the Anglican Communion is one of the single best networks to foster and advance the movement to achieve the MDG's. Government, academic, and cultural leaders alike, from Prime Minister Tony Blair, to the economist Jeffrey Sachs, to the rock star Bono of U2 have all recognized the key leadership opportunity of Churches, and the Anglican Communion in particular, in the global movement to achieve the MDG's. I want to say again that the movement is not about a single quick fix, a one off program, that is done today and forgotten tomorrow. No it's about building a movement, a movement of God's people in response to the missio Dei. So as Christians, as Anglicans, as Episcopalians, we have a key, if not central role to play in the shalom movement of the MDG's.

There are a variety of ways by which we can participate, as individuals, as parishes, as diocese in this shalom movement. Just a few ideas include (an I know you are well aware of these oppotuinities):


We can join the One Campaign, and specifically the OneEpiscopalian response to the Campaign, joining our voices in political advocacy to challenge our government to live up to our county's commitment to the MDG's.

We can give of our own money and resources to meet the goals. The Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church, and every Episcopalian has been invited to give 0.7% of our income to international relief and development, through parish, diocesan, or national programs such as the new three million dollar MDG Inspiration Fund to fight malaria and other disease coordinated by Episcopal Relief and Development, or through secular Non-Governmental Organizations. Recall that often where our money goes so do our hearts.

And we can educate ourselves about the reality and plight of the poor, through immediate relationships with sisters and brothers in Christ around the world in Companion Diocese relationships or through excellent study resources such as the book What Can One Person Do, or the study guides, Eradicating Global Poverty published by the National Council of Churches or God's Mission in the World by the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations.[16] I want to highlight here Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation as a wonderful resource to help the Episcopal Church respond to the shalom movement of the MDG's.


So why should we Christians care about the Millennium Development Goals? We should care about the MDG's because God wants us to. We should care about the MDG's because they are one way by which we as Christians can join with God and with each other in the restoration and reconciliation of the world. We should care about the MDG's because they help us to be more faithful participants in God's mission to "restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ." As we participate with God in this shalom movement through the MDG's let us never be afraid to name the truth of what God has done, and wants for the world, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit let us and live the possibility of the missio Dei. Jesus said: "I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) Thanks be to God! And thank you.


_____________
[1] Part of this section first appeared in: Ian T. Douglas, “Baptized into Mission: Ministry and Holy Orders Reconsidered,” Sewanee Theological Review 40 (no. 4, Michaelmas 1997): 431-443. The same themes were picked up in the address to the House of Bishops in September 2001, published as: “Restoration, Reconciliation, and Renewal in God’s Mission and the Anglican Communion,” in Ian T. Douglas, ed., Waging Reconciliation: God's Mission in a Time of Globalization and Crisis, (New York: Church Publishing, Inc., 2002), 213-233.


[2] David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 262-274. .


[3] For an overview of the Episcopal Church, USA and its foreign mission history see: Ian T. Douglas, Fling Out the Banner: The National Church Ideal and the Foreign Mission of the Episcopal Church, (New York: Church Hymnal Corporation, 1996).


[4] The meetings of the International Missionary Council in Whitby, 1947, and Willingen, 1952 were particularly concerned with the missionary nature of the Church.


[5] Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions (New York: Penguin Books, 1964), 572.


[6] Johannes C. Hoekendijk, “The Call to Evangelism,” International Review of Missions 39 (April 1950): 163. Parenthetical addition by the author.


[7] Ibid., 171, Italics in original.


[8] S. J. Samartha, One Christ - Many Religions: Towards a Revised Christology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995), 149.


[9] This biblical study has been published as Chapter Two “The Mission of God” in: Sabina Alkire and Edmund Newell, What Can One Person Do? Faith to Heal a Broken World, (New York: Church Publishing, Inc., 2005), 42-60.


[10] Grant LeMarquand has appropriately pointed out that God’s mission did not begin with the Fall but with creation. God’s mission in creation was to extend the love that is of the essence of God for the whole cosmos. Grant LeMarquand, “From Creation to New Creation: The Mission of God in the Biblical Story, “ in: Ian T. Douglas, ed., Waging Reconciliation: God's Mission in a Time of Globalization and Crisis, (New York: Church Publishing, Inc., 2002), 9-34.


[11] From “An Outline of the Faith,” in; The Episcopal Church, The Book of Common Prayer (New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1979), 848.


[12] See: Johannes Blauw, The Missionary Nature of the Church (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962), and Donald Senior and Carroll Stuhlmueller, The Biblical Foundations for Mission (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1984).


[13] Martin L. Smith, SSJE, Love Set Free: Meditations on the Passion According to St. John, (Cambridge and Boston: Cowley Publications, 1998), 5-13.

[14] The Book of Common Prayer, 855.


[15] David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Book, 1991) 392.


[16] See: Sabina Alkire and Edmund Newell, What Can One Person Do? Faith to Heal a Broken World, (New York: Church Publishing, Inc., 2005), Lallaie Lloyd, Eradicating Global Poverty: A Christian Study Guide on the Millenium Development Goals. (New York: National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 2006), and Alexander Baumgarten, God’s Mission in the World: An Ecumenical Studt Guide on Global Poverty and the Millenium Development Goals, (Washington DC: The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, 2006).

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