by Howard Peskett and Vinoth Ramachandra
Neither commentary nor sermon, The Message of Mission gives sparkling consideration to fifteen key texts of Scripture that focus on mission in “the grand narrative of the Bible.
InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426, 2003, 288 pages, $16.00.
—Reviewed by Evvy Hay Campbell, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, Illinois.
Neither commentary nor sermon, The Message of Mission gives sparkling consideration to fifteen key texts of Scripture that focus on mission in “the grand narrative of the Bible.” A distinctive of Howard Peskett and Vinoth Ramachandra’s approach is the extraordinarily relevant applications they make of Scripture to contemporary life. Selfish ambitions that result in excessive fossil fuel emissions, a millennial jubilee to remit crushing debt, and educating and protecting immigrants are all thoughtfully discussed.
The Message of Mission is organized around four compelling issues. The first explores the world horizons of mission, starting with the glory of Christ. The second focuses on Old Testament passages that deal with God’s international purposes and the people chosen to participate in the fulfillment of those purposes. The third examines New Testament texts that deal with the Great Commission, Pentecost and mission as carried out in Acts. The book then ends in a worshipful consideration of creation’s song in Psalm 104 and the descent of the Holy City in Revelation 21.
Most engaging is the wealth of illustrative material Peskett and Ramachandra weave into their exposition and applications. There is the glorious “A Song to David” written by eighteenth-century poet Christopher Smart who spent seven years in an English asylum for the insane, and painful personal insights articulated by science fiction writer H. G. Wells and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche at the end of their lives. The authors draw from deep wells by bringing the writings of Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper and Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard to bear on the discussion of mission. The reader is treated to a feast of experienced insights and disturbed by an increasing sense of personal responsibility as the authors craft their points.
The scholarship of The Message of Mission is considerable and its style is without pedantry. The reader is left both wanting more and simultaneously needing space for further reflection. Above all, the book requires accountability from those who delve into it, a natural consequence from participating in such a careful exploration of how God’s Word applies to life today. The accompanying study guide necessitates both measured thinking and thoughtful responses. This is not a book to be read in one sitting. Neither is it a text that can be absorbed quickly by those who engage in mission on the run. Yet it is precisely those of us in that situation who need this book the most. The Message of Mission is a highly worthwhile read.
Check these titles:
Miller, Darrow. 1998. Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures. Seattle, Wash.: YWAM Publishing.
Samuel, Vinay and Chris Sugden. 1999. Mission as Transformation. Oxford, England: Regnum.
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