Whole Gospel, Whole Church, Whole World
We must believe, live, and communicate all that makes the Christian message staggeringly comprehensive good news.
by Christopher J. Wright
Christianity Today October 2009
The phrase the whole gospel suggests that some versions of the gospel are less than whole--partial, deficient, or (most important) not fully biblical.
The great Christ-centered, Cross-centered redemptive truths of the New Testament do not nullify, but rather complete, all that the Old Testament reveals about God's comprehensive commitment to the wholeness of human life, God's relentless opposition to all that oppresses, spoils, and diminishes human well-being, and God's ultimate mission of blessing the nations, destroying all forms of evil, and redeeming his whole creation, for his own supreme glory in Christ.
The expression the whole church insists that mission is the task of all Christians, not just of the clergy or professional missionaries. Mission is far too important to be left to missionaries.
The Church is "called out" in order to be "sent out," as the the Lausanne Covenant puts it. The vogue expression missional church is really nothing new. What other kind of church is there than the one that God created for mission? A friend said to me recently, "To me, missional church sounds like talking about 'female women.' If it's not missional, it's not church." As someone else has said,"It's not that God has a mission for his church in the world, but that God has a church for his mission in the world."
Church is not just the mechanism delivering the gospel. It is also the product of the gospel, and is to be the living, visible proof of the ethically transforming power of the gospel.
In such a world of need, the followers of Jesus are called to bring good news and to be good news. No single one of us can be engaged in everything that a holistic mission demands. The same thought doubtless occurred to God, which is why he created the church with a multiplicity of gifts and callings, so that we can as a whole church, bear witness to the whole gospel in the whole world. May this global conversation generate more intelligent understanding and more focused action as we participate with God in his global mission.
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