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New Testament and Mission

Historical and Hermeneutical Perspectives

Johannes Nissen

This book brings together insights from two fields of study: biblical scholarship and missiology. The Great Commission in Matthew’s Gospel is often seen as the biblical foundation for mission. The New Testament, however, reflects a variety of models for mission. Each model is examined with regard to historical meaning as well as hermeneutical significance. The final chapter focuses on three issues of great importance for the present situation: unity and diversity in mission, the gospel in relation to cultures, and Bible and dialogue models.


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4. The liberating ministry of Jesus and the Acts of the Spirit: Themission perspectives of Luke-Acts 49


4. The liberating ministry of Jesus and the Acts of the Spirit: The mission perspectives of Luke-Acts Introduction Luke differs from the other evangelists at one essential point: he not only wrote a Gospel, but also the Book of Acts. This factor is important for the theme of mission. The existence of two books from the same author raises a number of questions: How is the story of Jesus related to the story of the church? To what extent is Jesus a model for the church? Where do we see a continuation and a discontinuation between the two books? And how is the gospel communicated to a non-Jewish audience? It has often been argued that Luke's salvation history consists of three distinct epochs: (1) the epoch of Israel, including John the Baptist; (2) the epoch of Jesus' ministry which is seen as the middle period of salvation; and (3) the epoch of the church inaugurated by the day of Pentecost. In his famous work, H. Conzelmann has characterized the second period as "Die Mitte der Zeit". Furthermore, he maintains that the Holy Spirit in Luke's writings was "no longer the eschatological gilt, but the substitute in the meantime for the possession of ultimate salvation."' There are good grounds for believing that this reconstruction is correct by insisting that the church lived in an era which differed in crucial respects from the period of Jesus' earthly ministry. But it is misleading to argue that Luke regarded the church's mission in...

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