We see in Scripture the reflections of our own prejudice rather than the disturbing message …

The Christian mission is inconceivable without the Christian Scriptures. It is the Bible that supplies the mandate, the inspiration, the direction, and the power for our witness and service in the world. Without the Bible we would have neither the authority nor the inclination to engage in Christian mission. With the Bible, on the other hand, we are stripped of every excuse for opting out of it.

Above all, we need the wholesome wholeness of the biblical perspective. Only the Bible can correct our skewed vision, redress our imbalance, broaden our narrow interests, and liberate us from the petty preoccupations in which we imprison ourselves. Consider the breadth of biblical mission.

First, the Bible relates to the whole world. It is true that Scripture lays much emphasis on God’s covenant of grace, and on his steadfast love for his covenant people. Yet Yahweh, the God of Israel, is no tribal deity like Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, and Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. He is the living God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Ruler of the nations, and the Lord of history. So even in the Old Testament, in which God’s judgment on the nations is pronounced, the salvation of the nations is also promised. Johannes Blauw was doubtless correct in his book, The Missionary Nature of the Church (1962), that the Old Testament perspective was not so much one of “mission” (Israel going out to win the nations) as of “universalism” (the nations being included one day). He added that a “centripetal missionary consciousness” (the nations flowing to Jerusalem) was replaced by a “centrifugal missionary activity” (the disciples going out ...

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