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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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8. Hope and witness: Mission in 1 Peter and the Book of Revelation . . 143

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8. Hope and witness: Mission in 1 Peter and the Book of Revelation Introduction The remainder of the New Testament consists of various books — Hebrews, the Pastorals, the Johannine letters, 1 and 2 Peter, James, Jude and Revelation — which do not contain any references to the Great Commission. Nor do they have any suc- cessful stories about the spread of the gospel or strategies of the gospel proclama- tion. Many scholars would therefore argue that they offer little material that bears directly on the issue of mission. The main emphasis of these writings is on the pastoral aspects of the church. Thus James emphasizes internal congregational matters, and the Pastorals are exhortations to Christian leaders to take responsibility for the life of the communi- ties. Emphasis is laid on the sound doctrine and on warnings against false tea- chings. Yet the failure by some to find mission in these letters might be the result of a narrow definition of this term. Thus, F. Hahn states that in the Pastorals "the concentration on the life and strengthening of the churches is so strong that it is now largely impossible to speak of an understanding of the mission, in the sense in which the phrase has so far been used and was characteristic of oldest Christia- nity".' However, even with their domestic concern, the Pastorals are not silent on the mission issue. Several aspects of the letter's message are worth noting and contribute, at least indirectly, to an overall New Testament...

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