Did the New Testament give rise to mission or did mission give rise to the New Testament? Many Christians are inclined to think it is the former but the New Testament itself is a product of mission itself. With this in mind, we begin this course by clarifying some key terms (e.g. missional, hermeneutic) before turning to the New Testament documents. Through our study of these and the assessments given the student learns how to approach the New Testament from a missional perspective that appreciates its rootedness and relevance in the first-century cultures, its complex story-like unity with the Old Testament, and its multifaceted witness to the climactic nature of Jesus and his work.
This course will enable the student to appreciate and approach the New Testament from a missional perspective and to learn to be sensitive to interpreting it in a rich and theological manner. The student will also discover the coherency of the missional message of the New Testament documents which brings salvation from sin, justice for the poor and oppressed, and ultimately and corporately redemption for the world, including the entire cosmos.
Every Christian, regardless of their sphere of service, needs to properly understand that the New Testament is not merely a blueprint for a biblical basis of mission. It is much more than this for these ancient documents evolved from a context of mission, hence a missional hermeneutic provides fresh and innovative ways for us to think about what God in Christ is doing in his world. This does not deny our involvement in the mission of God but it does save us from an anthropocentric approach (i.e., ‘I am going on a short-term mission overseas’). What we should be thinking, regardless of the nature of our ministry is, ‘God has already been on a mission for millennia and I am merely joining him as he brings it to completion’. Taking this course not only helps us understand the nature of the New Testament documents themselves but to also get our missional priorities right
This course grapples with the New Testament books in order to tease out their coherent missional message.
The course especially addresses this core value with respect to all the documents which comprise the New Testament to enable students to be sensitive to reading them through a missional lens.
While God is on a mission, he works through flawed human beings in achieving it. An understanding and appreciation of this reality will empower the student to actively engage missionally in their own cultural context.
In order to understand the New Testament missionally, this necessarily entails grappling with the cultures (Jewish, Greco-Roman) out of which the message evolved.
Understanding the missional thrust of the New Testament entails being agents for change in the communities and churches where we are right now.
Learners will be exposed to a missional hermeneutic of the New Testament via the material covered during the course which they can use and apply in their daily lives.