MT520 – Book Review – The Good News of the Kingdom

19Sep08

Van Engen, Gilliland, and Pierson, eds. The Good News of the Kingdom (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1993)

The Good News of the Kingdom is an anthology of ecumenical missiological thought in tribute to the life and work of missiologist Arthur Glasser.  Like Glasser’s own writing, the Kingdom of God as a theological theme ties this work together.  We are introduced to Arthur Glasser as a Citizen of the Kingdom and overview of his work.  Appropriately for this course, and exemplary of Glasser’s theology, Part I deals with the Biblical foundations of mission.  Building from here the text addresses issues of Kingdom theology, Ecumenical Relationships, Evangelical Concerns, Missiological Issues, and Contextual Considerations.  In sum, these serve as an excellent overview of the field of Missiology and Arthur Glasser’s breadth of contribution to the same.

As this course deals with the biblical foundations of mission, the first part of the book is most applicable.  Building a strong missiological hermeneutic and understanding of how the scriptures form and inform our mission is paramount.  However, the rest of the text is helpful in appropriating a fuller panorama of missiological concerns.  As a missionary on the campus of Northern Kentucky University, the investigation and interplay of ecumenical, evangelical, and modernity are daily issues.  The thoughtful and careful attention to all of these concerns is helpful to me as a minister.  What is more, in this election year David J. Bosch’s chapter on church-state relationships was invaluable and enlightening.

Specifically, Bosch’s treatment of the Anabaptist approach to church-state relations was eye-opening.

The church simply exists in society in such a way that people should become aware of the transitoriness, relativity and fundamental inadequacy of all political programs and solutions.  The believing community is a kind of antibody in society, in that it lives a life of radical discipleship as an “alternative community” (92).

The inadequacy of the “Constantinian” and “pietist” approaches had been apparent to me and, admittedly, a cause of much frustration as I survey the church in America today.  However, I was unsure how to distinguish pietist separation from Anabaptist “antibody-ness”, Bosch’s elucidation has been imminently helpful to that end.  Further, the fact that Bosch sets this all in the context of mission is helpful.  This missiological context of church-state relations moves the conversation from abstract possibilities to a lived engagement with God’s Kingdom mission.  I find myself increasingly drawn to an Anabaptist approach, but appreciative of “reformist” and “liberationist” movements as well.

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “MT520 – Book Review – The Good News of the Kingdom”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: