The book is a theology of the mission of God with the holiness of God and suffering as major themes. God’s holiness is the basis of his mission and suffering is his primary method to accomplish his work in this world. I do not know of any other theology of mission that approaches and develops the subject as I have. Once I had settled on the theme of suffering in reference to mission, I met Scott W. Sunquist, Formerly the Dean of the School of Intercultural Studies and Professor of World Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary and now the President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, at a missiological conference and I heard about his new book, which is an introductory book in mission and missiology, He views suffering as a necessary part of God’s mission to the world. This, of course, resonated with me since I was coming to the same view as I developed my theology of mission. He writes: “Among the basic concepts necessary for understanding Christian mission is “mission has a temporal reality –it participates in the suffering of God.” Mission starts with God and he determines the means by which is done. He continues: “Mission is from the heart of God, in each context, and it is carried out in suffering in this world for God’s eternal glory.”
Suffering and persecution are often the reality of persons seeking to fulfill God’s mission in the world through missionary work or evangelism or merely witnessing to their faith. The suffering also comes as result of suffering for righteousness’ sake. God’s righteousness or holiness is modeled in the lives of his believers and this is an affront to non-believers, who may seek to persecute those whose lives exemplify God’s righteousness or holiness.
My book deals with the reality of persecution and suffering for Christ’s sake as a part of fulfilling God’s mission from both a theological and missiological perspective.
Title: Suffering and the Mission of God: A Theological and Missiological Perspective
Part 1 A Theology of God’s Mission to the World
Chapter 1 The Mission of God: The Occasion for Persecution and Suffering
Chapter 2 The Mission of God in the Old Testament
Chapter 3 The Mission of God in the New Testament
Chapter 4 The Mandate for Evangelism and Appropriate Contextualization
Part 2 towards a Theology of Persecution and Suffering in Relation to the Missio Dei
Chapter 5 Persecution and Suffering: Theological and Philosophical Questions
Chapter 6 Themes of a Theology of Persecution and Suffering
Chapter 7 Theology of Hope-Key to Understanding and Withstanding Persecution and
Chapter 8 Great is Your Reward: A Theology of Rewards
Bibliography I have used classic missiological texts and materials that stretch across the 20th century and some newer works in the 21st. I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible to show that the work of a theology of mission has always been a significant part of mission studies for decades. But, what was often left out was the aspect of suffering for Christ and the possibility of persecution. However, when one reads the biographies of the great missionaries of the past, there has always been recognition of the place of suffering in the prospect of missionary endeavor. While it was most likely in the minds and the personal theologies of mission of these great missionaries, it did not translate into the theologies of mission produced by scholars of the past. That needs to be rectified and that I what I have attempted to do. 1 Scott W. Sunquist. Understanding Christian Mission: Participation in Suffering and Glory. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic (a division of Baker Publishing Group), 201, xii. 2 Ibid..