12 Theses on the Church’s Mission

“Twelve Theses on the Church’s Mission in the Twenty-First Century: In Interaction with Charles Van Engen, Keith Eitel, and Enoch Wan,” in MissionShift: Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium (ed. David J. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer; B&H, 2010), 62-70.

It is hard to imagine a more important task than to reflect on the church’s mission in the world today. I count it a privilege to be part of this conversation and of the collaborative effort of reflecting biblically, critically, and constructively on the church’s missionary task. It is not necessary to agree with everything Charles Van Engen says to appreciate his useful and competent essay, which is eminently suitable to serve as the basis for further discussion.

I am writing this response as a New Testament scholar, born and raised in Vienna, Austria, theologically trained at Columbia International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and now teaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am not attempting to provide my own definition of mission, but (with apologies to Luther) I am setting forth 12 theses that I hope will be useful guideposts for further discussion on this vital topic. These theses flow from my reading of Van Engen’s essay, with which I will interact along the way. At times I will also touch on the responses by K. Eitel and E. Wan.

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