By Michael McEwen
Christopher J.H. Wright is the international director of the Langham Partnership International (known in the United States as John Stott Ministries). Langham Partnership provides literature, scholarships and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries. Wright has written several books including commentaries on Deuteronomy and Ezekiel, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God and Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament.
As this year’s Page Lecture Series speaker, Wright discussed the topic, The Bible and the Mission of God. Drawing upon his book, The Mission of God: Unlocking The Bible’s Grand Narrative, Wright’s first lecture was “Reading the Whole Bible for Mission, What Happens When We Do?” and his second examined “God, Israel and the Nations: The OT and Christian Mission.”
Wright stated, “The Bible is God’s engagement with God’s world through God’s people for God’s purposes.” Understanding this underlying theme throughout the Scriptures, Wright said, we begin to live into that same story.
Noting how many evangelicals use the Old Testament as a “check box” for prophetic Messianic foretellings of the coming Christ, Wright contended, “Jesus spoke of himself by referencing the entirety of the Old Testament [Luke 24:27], and this is something we can never forget when reading the Old and New Testament.”
Reading in the Bible that God is intimately engaged with his world, specifically culminated in Jesus of Nazareth, Wright said, “We are to read all of the Bible missionally. Thus, God is with a mission and humanity has been given a mission and that is to live before all peoples as redeemed witnesses of the True God.
“If you read everywhere and anywhere in Scripture,” noted Wright, “the purposes of God are redemptive and missional. Many evangelicals miss the holistic purposes of what it means to be God’s people.” Discussing the importance of behavior, society, ethics, politics and other various arenas in life, Wright acknowledged that God desires for us to promote these spheres well and live them faithfully before him.
“From the beginning to the end of the Bible, God’s ‘business’ is definitively the Nations,” said Wright. “Nations, I define, are not to be understood in the modern sense like nation-states, but peoples of common degree of culture, traditions and language.”
After walking the chapel attendees through the Old and New Testament, Wright concluded, “Here is this marvelous vista of the Nations in Yahweh’s international and sovereign providence. All nations are created by God, under God’s governance and all fall short of God’s glory and stand under his judgment. Thus, the Scriptures remind us that like Israel, all Nations can experience the redemptive grace and mercy of God.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.