Mission in the Gospels
R. Geoffrey Harris, SCM, 2004, 302 pp., £17.99, ISBN 0 716 20577 7
On looking at new books, I am one of those annoying people who
turns to the last chapter first, in an effort to get a clearer understanding of the contents. On reading parts of the final chapter of Mission in the Gospels, I was introduced to reflections on the nature of God, hospitality, freedom, discipline and integrity as key elements of mission in today’s world. I needed to find
our more about the scriptural basis for these contemporary mission themes. I was not disappointed as
systematic exploration of the understanding of mission in the four gospels precedes this final chapter.
Geoffrey Harris presents Matthew’s concern to show mission as an integral part of discipleship. Mark’s gospel is seen as brimming with the good news and in particular the signs of the good news offering salvation to all, while Luke provides us with the full content of God’s mission as it is fulfilled in the person and action of Jesus. As someone who has had time to reflect on the words and life of Jesus, John is presented as having a vision of mission that is Trinitarian and corporate. Taken as a whole, these insights create a new understanding of mission as ‘the constraint of love for all people which is already at the heart of God’.
A plea for the training and education of the laity as a tool for mission stands alongside gentle encouragement to share everyday stories of people caring for and working alongside others. We are all involved and are called to acknowledge our responsibility as disciples today.
This is a recommended read for all who are involved in showing the relevance of scripture today for our engagement in God’s mission. I would particularly hope that all Local Preachers could study this book as there is much here that combines worship and mission.
Reviewed by Susan Johnson, District Mission Enabler for Darlington District. The review first appeared on the Methodist Church of Great Britain website.
Headline Spring 2007 p.26.