Tim Casteel's Reviews > A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story

A Light to the Nations by Michael W. Goheen
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it was amazing

My favorite type of book - an expert who has done a TON of reading, synthesizes and organizes all his learnings into a cohesive, accessible book (it would take you decades to read all the books that Goheen cites- 622 endnotes in a 226 page book!).

Goheen’s book will help you read your Bible better. Quoting Christopher Wright:
"the mission of God (and the participation in it of God’s people) [is] a framework within which we can read the whole Bible. Mission is . . . a major key that unlocks the whole grand narrative of the canon of Scripture.”

A wide ranging explanation of missions and the church (making the case that the church=mission), rooted in the story of God. Goheen goes far beyond typical ecclesiology:
* beginning with the people of God in the Old Testament (which he says "has been conspicuously neglected” and adds "ecclesiology does not truly begin with the New Testament”; additionally - most missions books start with the Great Commission, or at best, the life of Christ. Goheen roots Missions in the purpose of Israel which becomes the purpose of Christ which becomes the purpose of the Church)
* as well as explaining how we got to now (through church history - from aliens living under persecution, to Christendom, to the enlightenment, to modern times).

Immensely helpful.

I picked up the book, trying to understand gathering vs scattering: how the mission of God went from a centripetal force (sucking in to Jerusalem; with exile/scattering being THE punishment for sin) to a centrifugal one (with the Holy Spirit intentionally pushing out and scattering his people, not as punishment but on mission).

Goheen: "Gathering becomes a terminus technicus for salvation”. And I’d argue the opposite is true as well- scattering in the OT is shorthand for the wages of sin (equivalent to hell).
The short of Goheen’s answer: we are now a centrifugal/scattered people, embodying the presence of God among the nations in centripetal, contrast communities that suck people in to Christ.

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Reading Progress

November 20, 2019 – Started Reading
November 20, 2019 – Shelved
December 14, 2019 – Finished Reading

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