God’s mission is on every page of Scripture.
In Theology of Mission: A Concise Biblical Theology, J. D. Payne traces the theme of mission throughout Scripture. The Bible is a story of God’s mission. God takes initiative to dwell with humanity. He desires to be known. To this end, he sends and is sent. Through Christ, God redeems sinful humans and recreates the cosmos. And he has invited his people to join in this mission.
Payne shows that God’s mission is on every page of the Bible and is foundational to the church’s own existence. With reflection questions following concise chapters, all readers can consider their place in God’s work.
Most of our churches need to teach their people more clearly what the mission of God in the world is all about, need to align their own missions more closely with God’s mission, and need to do so from the Bible—unpacking God’s purposes for us more fully than the usual passing references to the Great Commission do. This book by J. D. Payne will help them do these things. It offers a whole-Bible theology of mission that demonstrates that God is glorified in the blessing of the nations with the gospel. I pray that many read it and respond with greater resolve to play their part in God’s drama of redemption.
—Douglas A. Sweeney, dean, Beeson Divinity School
Goldilocks found that some of the porridge was too hot, some too cold, and one bowl just right. Similarly, many books on the theology of mission can either be too superficial or too detailed (dense!). J. D. Payne has provided an invaluable service to his readers by writing a text that is ‘just right’—just right in depth of biblical reflection, scholarly engagement, and practical application. This book is my number one recommended text for a biblical theology of mission.
—Robert L. Plummer, Collin and Evelyn Aikman Professor of Biblical Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
As a missional hermeneutic continues to take hold among biblical scholars and missiologists, it is yielding rich fruit. J. D. Payne’s Theology of Mission is a great example of this. Attentive to the unifying thread of mission and to the diversity of the missional context in different parts of the scriptural canon, Payne provides deepening insight into the rich kaleidoscope of mission in Scripture. Highly recommended for those who want to be growingly faithful to their missional identity.
—Michael W. Goheen, professor of missional theology, Covenant Theological Seminary
“sending to the world → proclaiming hope through judgment → entering relationship → receiving blessing” (Page iii)
“Prior to the fall, God comes to Adam and Eve, enters into relationship, and blesses them. As his image-bearers, they were to populate the planet with other image-bearers (Gen 1:28). God’s mission meant he would be glorified by his vice-regents throughout the world. The planet would serve as a temple where people would have intimate fellowship with the Creator without knowing the mediatorial function of a priest. Rather, mankind would be a holy priesthood unto God.” (Page iv)
“The Bible is comprised of multiple stories that unite to form one grand story revealing God and his mission” (Page 1)
“Election does not entail self-glorification, but calls the elect into a life of service to the world for God’s glorification.” (Page 15)
“The universal blessing arrives when the particular people take the good news to the nations” (Page 16)
J. D. Payne is professor of Christian ministry at Samford University and author of several books, including Apostolic Church Planting: Birthing New Churches from New Believers and Developing a Strategy for Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Cultural Introduction. He has previously served as a missionary, pastor of church multiplication, and associate professor of church planting and evangelism.