Friday, November 02, 2007
Book Review: Announcing the Kingdom
Since beginning the process of becoming an international missionary, I am seeking to become more knowledgeable of God's missionary task in light of His revealed Word. One book I recently pulled off of my shelf is Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God's Mission in the Bible by Arthur F. Glasser. As a well-known and respected missiologist, I knew that Glasser's analysis would be important to read and digest.

The author's intention is to unfold the mission of God throughout redemptive history. As a result, his work is divided into six parts: God's mission in the beginning, God's mission through Israel, God's mission among the nations, God's mission through Jesus the Christ, God's mission through the Holy Spirit by the church, and God's mission extends to the end of time. Through exploring the theme of the kingdom of God through Scripture, Glasser seeks to provide insight for missionary work in the new millennium.

In reading the book, I appreciate Glasser's desire to understand missions through the lens of biblical theology. Too often missions books focus on international ministry in light of contemporary sciences. While these areas may provide insight into our God given task, the Christian's primary and central source for the study of missions is Scripture. Glasser roots his discussion with the proper starting point—the Word of God.

However, the author's unveiling of the kingdom of God needs to be founded upon a more robust covenant theology. There were many areas in which I disagreed, and they are too many to handle in this review. But to mention a few, he appears to hold to inclusivism (holding out the possibility of salvation in Christ to those who have never heard the gospel), does not like confessional Calvinism (because of our belief in reprobation), is weak in his ecclesiology (does not believe Scripture sets forth a specific church structure), and holds to premillennialism (admittedly not the dispensational version). Some of these issues are more troublesome than others, but I frequently could not find biblical support to ground Glasser's claims.

Additionally, while I appreciated many of the author's mission insights, they seemed "tacked on" to his survey rather than flowing from his engagement with Scripture. It is almost as if I was reading a biblical theology overview with some missionary application thrown in. With this being the case, it seems better for one to read a distinguished biblical theology (say Graeme Goldsworthy's According to Plan) along with an introductory work on missions.

Announcing the Kingdom was informative, but I admit that I was hoping for more and would hesitate recommending it to others given some of my reservations. Maybe I'll find what I am looking for in Christopher J. H. Wright's massive work The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative. We'll see!

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I am a former Mormon who has been saved by Jesus Christ. Now I am a missionary involved with the Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR). I seek to live in light of Paul's words: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

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