An Acted Out Doxology

I’m reading Lesslie Newbigin’s splendid book, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.  I came across these lines: “Mission is an acted out doxology.  That is its deepest secret.  Its purpose is that God may be glorified.”  Quite right, I think.  Something to take to heart, personally, corporately, ecclesially.

  1. The thought is beautiful, and I think I get it. My question is how is “mission” used here? Is it broadly defined as, perhaps, “love thy neighbor as I have loved you”? So that if we reach out to any neighbor in love, we are acting out doxology because, in doing so, we are not only acting as God would have us act but also acting as living examples of His love on Earth (the former being our personal mindset as we act in praise of God or to His glory; the latter being how our actions may be received or perceived by observers, i.e., as God’s love for all humankind manifested through our actions). Or is “mission” used in the sense of going out among peoples to preach His word? (Not trying to play 20 questions but asking out of curiosity — I have no formal training like the two of you!)

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    1. Thanks Debi. Newbigin is using mission in a rather broad sense. It is participating in God’s mission, which is the life and salvation of the world. I rather like your take on it: love God and love neighbor summing it up. And this, of course, happens near and far. This helps also, Newbigin thinks, when it comes to sharing the Gospel. If we remember that our goal is not primarily to save soul’s from eternal perdition or to increase the number of people who attend church, but rather to glorify God, then our work in mission will be more faithful.


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