Author: Prof. Gordon McConville, Professor of Old Testament Studies, University of Gloucestershire.
This is a remarkable book, the latest and fullest fruit of Chris Wright’s extensive work on understanding the Old Testament in the light of the church’s obligation to mission. It takes mission to be the unifying theme of biblical theology, and most remarkably does so by taking the Old Testament as its primary text. This is by no means to the exclusion of the New Testament; on the contrary the two Testaments are interwoven in this story in such a way as to demonstrate their combined testimony to the ‘mission of God’, which is nothing less than to bring restoration to the creation. Yet the emphasis on the Old Testament is striking, because much Christian biblical theology operates with a dualistic approach to the Bible, in which the destiny of the Old Testament is simply to be superseded by the New; and also with a dualistic approach to salvation and spirituality, in which the national, political, military, social and economic aspects of the Old Testament story of Israel are puzzling and embarrassing. Wright’s approach is a far cry from such dualisms. Rather, he grasps the challenge of the Old Testament, as absolutely necessary to an understanding of God’s work in the world. In this way it is not so much a biblical theology of mission, as a biblical theology per se, in which mission is presented as the unifying factor.
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