Missional hermeneutics in a Malaysian context

Author: Rev Anthony Loke is Academic Dean at Seminari Theoloji in Malaysia, where he also lectures in Old Testament.


It gives me great pleasure to respond to Chris’ paper, ‘Prophet to the Nations’: Missional Reflections on the Book of Jeremiah. I will provide a response to each of his four main points.

Firstly, concerning the missional framework of the biblical narrative, Chris has rightly reminded us that what we read in the book of Jeremiah must be related to the ‘great overarching framework of the biblical narrative’ lest we only look at the trees but miss the whole forest. Israel was elected to be God’s covenant partner and therefore to be a witness to all peoples. Christians in Malaysia are part of God’s people living their lives as a constant witness to the peoples around. Malaysia is a multi-pluralistic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious nation where people of many different faiths live together. If the Christians in Malaysia fail to live up to God’s expectations and standards, we will be like the people of God who fail in Jeremiah’s time. Yet, thankfully, the story does not end there. Having ‘exposed the reality of failure and judgment’, God is able to demonstrate that there is the hope of a ‘new covenant restoration’. Nations will also be offered the same promise for restoration as for Israel. In spite of our many failures at times to live up to God’s high standard, the message of grace is the same message we proclaim to the people of other faiths today. They too can come to God and offer their worship to him one day.

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