Missiology as Leaven
J. Nelson Jennings
Published in Global Missiology, www.globalmissiology.org, January 2021
He told them another parable. ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened’ (Matthew 13:33).
The articles in this issue exemplify how missiology instinctively operates like leaven. The authors probe a kaleidoscope of topics, thus collectively exploring a striking array of kingdom arenas. Jesus’s parable of how leaven spreads throughout flour, illustrating how God’s kingdom spreads its presence and effects into all aspects of creation, points to how every area of life and the world is open to missiological inquiry.
A quick rundown of the articles’ titles shows the leaven of missiology widely at work:
“Inquire, Introspect, Involve: The Inquiry 2020 and Christian Missions in India”
“A Relational Aid to Multicultural Fields: Cultural Metacognition”
“Globalization and the Language of Worship: Is the Spread of English a Boon or a Bane?”
“When ‘Go’ Becomes ‘Stay’, One Is Left to Ask, ‘Where Do We ‘Go’ from Here?’ Viewing the ‘Go’ of the Great Commission as a Command to Contextualize the Gospel to the Nations!”
“God’s Plan for the Fullness of Time: Overhauling Ralph Winter’s ‘Ten Epochs’ and ‘Three Eras’ Models (Part I)”
“‘The Trinity Is Not Our Social Program’ and the Social Arian Temptation: Recovering from Mortifying Spin – Contextualization Gone Awry 4 (Christology) (Part II)”
“An Investigation of the Social Identity of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in Bangladesh in Light of the Set Theory, Critical Contextualization, and Self-Theologizing Teachings of Paul Hiebert (Part II)”
“Book Review: I Will Give Them an Everlasting Name: Pastoral Care for Christ’s Converts from Islam”
These articles fan out into the social sciences, interpersonal relationships, various ethnic and geographic settings, linguistics, biblical exegesis, theology, history, interreligious conversion, visual models, pastoral care, worship, psychology, social ethics, and a number of other fields. The several multi-part articles attest as well to the considerable depth that missiological studies must often go in their various areas of exploration.
God’s mission is to redeem all parts of his complex world: “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Some analysts have understandably reacted, “If everything is mission, nothing is mission.” Others have pointed out that the missio Dei and missions are not the same, the latter pointing specifically to Christians’ participation in God’s kingdom mission. These concerns notwithstanding, the study of God’s mission and of Christian missions - missiology - necessarily spreads into all arenas of God’s worldwide, world-penetrating kingdom presence and activity. Missiology looks widely while centering on the evangel, as Chris Wright has pointed out (Wright 2014). This issue’s articles likewise center on the gospel of Jesus while working their way hither, yonder, and in all sorts of directions, exemplifying the leaven of missiology.
Enjoy, critique, interact, and probe widely.
Wright, Chris (2014). “Integral Mission and the Great Commission: ‘The Five Marks of Mission’.” Available online at https://www.loimission.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Chris-Wright-IntegralMissionandtheGreatCommission.pdf (accessed January 21, 2021).