There is a growing body of literature about the missional church, but the word “missional” is often defined in competing ways with little attempt to ground it deeply in Scripture. In A Light to the Nations, Michael Goheen unpacks the missional identity of the church by tracing the role God’s people are called to play in the biblical story. Goheen examines the historical, theological, and biblical foundations of missional ecclesiology, showing that the church’s identity can be understood only when its role is articulated in the context of the whole biblical story—not just the New Testament. He shows that the Old Testament is essential to understanding the church’s missional identity. Goheen also explores practical outworkings and implications and offers field-tested suggestions, putting Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary ecclesiology to work in shaping the contemporary church. The book is written at a level easily accessible to students in missions, pastoral, worldview, and theology courses as well as pastors, church leaders, and all readers interested in the missional church.
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Based on the whole biblical narrative, this book is a powerful presentation of what it takes for a missional church in the twenty-first century to be ‘A Light to the Nations.’ It is both compelling and persuasive!
—Gerald H. Anderson, director emeritus, Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, CT
In the face of the weakened ecclesiology of a church mired in a postmodern, consumeristic, entertainment-oriented morass, Michael Goheen in A Light to the Nations masterfully calls his readers to a renewed missional imagination. Goheen traces the missional theme through Scripture, enabling us to see that his vision is not really new but the rediscovery of the robust, missional ecclesiology that has always characterized the people of God at their best. Goheen leads us into an expansive vision of what it means to be God’s called, eschatological people embodying the new creation. If you long to understand what it really means to be a missional church, not as a simple slogan but as our deepest identity, then this book is the indispensable road map. I heartily recommend it!
—Timothy C. Tennent, president and professor of world Christianity, Asbury Theological Seminary
Michael W. Goheen is professor of missional theology at Newbigin House of Studies, San Francisco, and Jake and Betsy Tuls Professor of Missiology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also minister of preaching at New West Christian Reformed Church in Burnaby, British Columbia, and is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Drama of Scripture, Living at the Crossroads, and a work on Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary ecclesiology.