Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review

Jeremy and I are continuing to pray about and discuss which mission trip we want to take next year.  We are torn between Sudan and Brazil, so stay tuned on that!

It's a great feeling to finally be finishing some of the assigned books for this semester.  This weekend I finished one that I particularly enjoyed, and it has me thinking more about our "mission" while we're here on this Earth.

The True Story of the Whole World by Craig Bartholmew & Michael Goheen

This is an easy read (unlike all the other books we're reading) and walks you through the entire Bible with an emphasis on the "story" aspect of scripture.  It is divided into acts and scenes, which is a neat way to think about our history and future.  

Act 1:  creation
Act 2:  the fall into sin
Act 3:  Israel's story
Act 4: (climax) the story of Jesus
Act 5:  the church's story
Act 6:  the return of the King (redemption)

According to this book, we are currently in Act 5 Scene 2 in which the church is supposed to spreading God's message into all the world.  To me, two things strike me as interesting and unique about the way these authors view the story of the world.  

1.  Kingdom:  These authors truly view God as King and this world a part of His kingdom.  It's true that the thing that Jesus talked about the most was the kingdom of God.  It's interesting that having been a Christian for quite a while now, I don't hear other Christians or even churches talking too much about the Kingdom of God.  God's kingdom is His people, in His land, under His rule.  It is present with us now, but it will not be complete until the King returns.  The kingdom theme colors the entire book.

2.  Salvation/Redemption:  These authors portray salvation and redemption in a very different light than I am used to, but I like it!  Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book about salvation:
Salvation is not an escape from life in creation into "spiritual" existence; it's the restoration of God's rule over all of creation and all of human life.  Christians have also misunderstood salvation as merely the restoration of a personal relationship with God, important as that is.  Salvation goes much further: it restores the whole life of humankind and ultimately of the non-human creation as well to God's original intention in creation.  
This is the kind of salvation that the church is called to share with all the world.  I guess I have always thought of salvation in a personal way....God's saving me from sin, death, hell, etc.  This is true!  But the scope is SO much wider.  When the king finally does return, ALL things will be redeemed and returned to His original intention, wiped clean of sin.  This includes every aspect of our lives.  The final chapter of this book details some examples of how we can find our place and live in His story today while hoping for that future re-creation.

All this relates to our everyday mission to share Christ with the people we interact with and to take His message into the world.  But, this book takes it a step further and says,
It is not enough to just carry out personal evangelism in these areas of our lives.  Our whole lives- the way we live as citizens, consumers, students, husbands, mothers, and friends- witness to the restoring power of God.
I think this part of the book very much relates to one of my favorite verses which I included in the header of this blog: Col 3:17 Whatever you do whether in word or in deed do in the name of the Lord Jesus.  

So, if this sounds interesting to you, read this book!  It's inexpensive and a quick read, but there's a lot packed in there.  It'll challenge you to think in a new way about His-tory.

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