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Christian Church acknowledges its missionary function as truly the core of Christianity, the heart of the Church. Through Christ's teachings, mission is the foreground of His legacy to the Church, the instrument for redemption. The guiding principles at the basis of the Church's mission exist as transparently related by the Bible which in itself transcends all worldly knowledge and phenomena. God, as the Holy Trinity, reveals Himself through the biblical record in order to communicate with man candidly and openly, sends His only son into the world in order to claim Him back to the offspring of wholeness, and puts forth a missionary pattern for His followers: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34, 15:17 King James Bible) "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16) Christian missions therefore are not of man but from God, however man is called to serve God's mission. Moreover, such as Christ was sent into the world to be at the service of humanity, the church's mission is understood also in terms of serving the world. While man's duty is to love his peers, following God's example, the Church is commissioned by God to bring forth the enactment of good and loving examples. As William James Abraham, a theologian and philosopher from Ireland, understood, "if we are to take initiation into the kingdom of God seriously, then we need in our evangelism to find room for conversion, baptism, and a commitment to love God and neighbor as elements of initiation."
Evangelization is thus the legacy mission of the church, as derived from Mark's gospel in the New Testament. Moreover, John's gospel reveals that a missionary is anyone who loves another such that he or she seeks to contribute to the other person's redemption. The mission, the apostolate, or the outreach recalls thus the dynamic of Christ's church, the latter being defined not as a static organism which reflects a certain historic timeframe, but an organism that is in motion and which is adaptable to changes in history but does never forget to serve Christ. Through Christ's sacrifice, the church became missionary, its mission being to teach the liberating truth to the entire world.
In the Old Testament, God calls Abraham to serve as a channel of communication between Him and the world. He commissions Abraham to be the progenitor of a new people, a nation that will ultimately serve to bring salvation to all others (Gen. 12:1-4). Thus, Israel will set forth the path of knowledge upon the only existent God who mankind shall praise. God's work is thus to ensure redemption to the entire human creation by giving Abraham the mission to form and teach the people who will eventually support the evangelization of all nations: "Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him [?]" (Gen 18:18) If, in the New Testament, the church is called to fulfill God's plan, in the Old Testament, Israel is the instrument of servitude to the world, being called by God to reveal to all men everywhere the truth so that man can redeem himself. Furthermore, God commissions others as well to proclaim his word to heathen nations. In the book of Jonah, God commands the latter to preach His word to the city of Niniveh (1:2, 3:2). Because Jonah fulfills his mission, "God repented of the evil, that he had said that he will do unto them; and he did [it] not." (Jonah 3:10) God thus brings redemption to humanity through the intermediary of the prophets who are called by God to spread His word and to fulfill His will.
Genesis tells us that God created the world and that everything created by God in the world exists to serve man (Gen. 1:26). Because of this, "the centre of creation is man."
Therefore, between humanity and God there exists a firm interrelationship ensured by God's work of creation. Because God is all loving, He does not abandon His creation even amidst man's wrongful doing and his separation from the divine. This is why God's plan includes salvation for all people. Moreover, the love which God yields for humanity is incommensurable which is why He sent Christ into the world for the salvation of all. Even though man chose alienation, God, as the forgiving Father, did not abandon His children but further revealed his love for all men by appointing prophets and sending them on missions of proclaiming the true word and divine knowledge so that every soul may repent and be redeemed. Because "we are of God" (John 4:6) and "God is love" (John 4:8) results thus that every man bears God's mark and is a reflection of Him. However, because man has been given free will, he can thus, whether consciously or unconsciously, choose separation and sin. Even so, God does not turn away from creation but instead becomes Himself a missionary of love and forgiveness. Because God has a purpose, that of bringing the fallen back under his blessing, His mission is thus that of ensuring redemption to everyone. God's all loving and all forgiving nature allows everyone to enter His kingdom provided man's return into fellowship. To ensure this, God requests from Abraham the forming of a nation that will be exemplary to other. Furthermore, God's covenant with Abraham "makes quite explicit the relationship between God's promised intentions on the one hand and Abraham's faith and obedience on the other."
Generally extending this idea to all humanity, what is to be understood is that God's plan will always include all humanity insofar as the latter pledges alliance with God. The broader context is thus that, "The call of Abraham, and the history of Israel which begins at that point, is the beginning of the restoration of the lost unity of humankind and of the broken fellowship with God."
The coming of the Messiah is yet another point in the restoration process by which God demonstrates his infinite love and his intention to bless all the people on Earth.
Two theological arguments that relate to mission theology are the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit in the world, as sent by God and the existence of the Church as having been entrusted by God to complete the mission until the end of times. In a biblical-dogmatic sense, the sending of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is an expression of God's love towards man. The Holy Trinity thus cares for the love which will redeem humanity and will bring man back into the fellowship with God by means of free will. The Father, godhead and principle of unity, He, who was intent on creating the human being, desires, as well, for humans to be redeemed through the Son: "In this was manifested the love of God toward us because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him." (John 4:9, 4:14, Luke 9:55) There is nothing thus that God would not do for man, even accepting the suffering and sacrifice of the Son who is sent into the world to proclaim the divine will and to testify the supreme love so that the entire world may be saved. David C. Bosch, the late renowned missiologist and theologian, acknowledged that, "Mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God."
God therefore provides the intention, the Son is the interceder, and the Holy Spirit -- the mystery which man cannot yield to understand through worldly knowledge. It is thus through a Trinitarian participation that God has become a missionary and through this, "God's being became generally available, and this provides the base material for the missionary task."
This is to say that, by having revealed himself completely, God has set forth the guiding principles of missionary objectives: love, righteousness, sacrifice. From this perspective, the Holy Trinity is constantly on a missionary quest since the historical coming of Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit into the world becomes generic through each Christian's assimilation of the Trinitarian bearings through the work of the Spirit. The Son and the Spirit are thus God's messengers who will subsequently call others to fulfill God's plan. The apostles will have served God's purpose of creating yet another "Israel," the Holy Church. This is why, when the Church is referred to as apostolic, it is important to understand that such a nomination underlies the intrinsic connection which it has with the apostles. Therefore, because God sent Christ into the world, Christ subsequently having sent the apostles (John 20:21), the Church becomes invested with the same mission of mediating…[continue]
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