Theology of World Missions - Lesson 3

The God of the Old Testament is a Missionary God (Part 1)

Developing your spirituality and practicing prayer are important elements in achieving a well-balanced theology. The Creator of heaven and earth is Lord of the nations. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. Throughout history, different people have applied that promise as a right of privilege for themselves rather than a call to service to others. God calls people, then sends them.

Peter Kuzmič
Theology of World Missions
Lesson 3
Watching Now
The God of the Old Testament is a Missionary God (Part 1)

Panoramic Overview of the Biblical Teaching on Missions


1. The God of the Old Testament is a missionary God.

a. The God of the Bible is the God of creation, not just a tribal God.

b. Mankind's failure and redemptive promises in Genesis chapters 1-11

c. Genesis 12: God's call of Abraham

1. 5 blessings contrast with 5 curses

2. New promise to Abraham is expressed in language similar to the language used in Creation.

3. This is the most unifying text of the whole Bible

4. Dangers of reductionism

  • Dr. Kuzmic provides a framework for the class based on 6 specific statements about a theology of missions. Our theology determines our worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. We need a theologically grounded missiology and a missiological focused theology.

  • Dr. Kuzmic talks about how God saved him and about his cultural background in Eastern Europe.

  • Developing your spirituality and practicing prayer are important elements in achieving a well-balanced theology. The Creator of heaven and earth is Lord of the nations. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. Throughout history, different people have applied that promise as a right of privilege for themselves rather than a call to service to others. God calls people, then sends them.

  • The book of Psalms is one of the greatest missionary books in the world. Isaiah's description of Messianic fulfillment at the end of history is a reminder of the role of Messianic people within history, similar to the "already but not yet" of the "kingdom of God" in the New Testament. Quiz questions are included at the end to clarify what Dr. Kuzmic thinks are the important points and because he includes some commentary on central issues of missions.

  • Professor Doug Birdsall first discusses the work of the Church in Asia. He then talks about 3 aspects of missions work: 1. Forming partnerships, 2. Sending churches, 3. Funding. One of the fastest growing groups of the Church in China is composed of urban intellectuals. In India, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, in addition to China, there are great opportunities as well as challenges.

  • Doug Birdsall continues by describing how to establish cross-cultural partnerships. Some of the most important considerations are determining what the needs are, selecting national leaders wisely, and planning for the national leaders to take complete control at some point.

  • 80-2000 project The scope of the Great Commission includes both the nation of Israel and the whole world. Matthew chapters 9 and 10 describe people as lost (sheep without a shepherd) and valuable (the harvest is plentiful). Jesus saw and had compassion. The heart of missions is seeing people the way Jesus sees them and loving them the way Jesus loves them.

  • Discussion of the meaning and application of this key passage of Scripture.

  • Joanne Harding about the AIDs crisis in Africa. It is a tragedy and a major challenge for world missions. A panel of experienced missionaries discusses the calling to be a missionary and practical ways to prepare to be a missionary.

  • Dr David Hilborn, Head of Theology Evangelical Alliance in the UK, discusses the theological framework of universalism, its historical development and the impact that it has on missions.

  • The political and religious climate in Yugoslavia creates unique challenges for people who are preaching the gospel there.

  • Dr. Timothy Tennent points out that the spread of vibrant Christianity in areas of the world besides the west, and the clash of Christianity with major world religions outline the framework for the focus of world missions.

  • Dr. Timothy Tennent shows how Christianity compares to other world religions by citing case studies of discussions with individuals of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Evangelicals must engage more seriously and more profoundly in the thought world of other religions.

  • What does Christ have to do with culture and what does the Church have to do with the world? Isolationists separate themselves and cannot have a significant impact on the world around them. Secularists identify with the world by compromising core beliefs to match the culture and don't have an impact because they are no different from the people around them. The Church often evangelizes from a distance instead of entering into the lives of people.

  • People will often respond more positively to the Gospel if you first find common ground in practical areas and use culture as a bridge for the Gospel into the world. The Gospel has to be forwarded to a new address for every generation.

  • Chuck Davis from Africa Inland Mission describes mission work in Africa and his personal experiences in Congo, Chad and other African countries.

  • The Gospel is a message that addresses sin in the lives of individuals and transforms society in areas like justice and charity.

  • World missions is a fundamental theme throughout the Bible. The book "Christ and Culture" proposes four models to explain the relationship between the Church and the world. Some people emphasize scriptures that focus on evangelism and others emphasize scriptures that teach the importance of meeting peoples' physical needs.

    Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but are not available at this time.

  • The Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism provided a forum for Christian leaders from different countries and denominations to establish some common goals and principles for communicating the Gospel and caring for people all over the world.

    Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but is not available at this time.

Dr. Kuzmič provides a framework for a theology of world missions based on a biblical worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. Our missiology needs to be theologically grounded, and our theology, missiologically focused. The documents that were written by delegates at the Lausanne Conference on World Missions have had a significant influence in defining and encouraging the practical application of a biblical view of world missions.

Theology of World Missions
Dr. Peter Kuzmič
The God of the Old Testament is a Missionary God (Part 1)
Lesson Transcript


In European universities. We have a custom that I don't think has been introduced in North American classrooms. Thankfully, there's something that is called academic cohort that. How many of you have heard of? What about the academic quarter? Now you're dead. Has nothing to do with the quota replacing water system, replace replacing semester system. No, no, no. Academic quarter refers to class always starting 15 minutes late. It's kind of quarter of an hour late. And the professors are treated as prima donnas in many of the European universities, which is now changing. And so professors are always late and they are allowed to be 15 minutes late. So the students know that the professor will be 15 minutes late, so the students come 15 minutes late and the whole thing has become kind of an institutionalized thing. The technical term is academic quarter. We will try not to practice academic quarter here. Maybe we can tolerate academic 5 minutes or something like that. Let us start with Premier Christy Wilson, Dr. Christy Wilson, who is now with the Lord, a former missionary to Afghanistan. I don't know. Some of you have heard the name. We have our J. Christy Wilson, Chaplain J. Christy Wilson, Center of Mission Studies. I met Dr. Wilson first time in the Koran, Iran, in 1973 when I was doing some teaching there. That's when Chavez Pahlavi was still in power before Armenia returned from his exile in France and started that awful fundamentalist Islamic revolution. Dr. Wilson was kicked out of Afghanistan. The church that he built there was totally destroyed. They actually dig into the grounds because they could have an underground church. So they wanted to make sure that beneath the ground of the church buildings, there was not some kind of an underground structure.


He later came to teach here at the Gordon Conwell Seminary. At that time, neither of us knew when we met in Iran. Iran knew that we would be some time colleagues. And Gordon Cornwell, I mentioning Dr. Wilson because he was very strong in spirituality of prayer, great emphasis on prayer. I called Dr. Wilson a practicing Protestant saint, and that's really who he was. Whoever you meet on this campus that has been here at a time when he was here will confirm that. And I would like to add my voice to that emphasis on spirituality as inseparable for our missions, for I am convinced that prayer is the most important meteorological work. Matter of fact, Carl Bart, the great neo orthodox, reformed theologian, probably the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century, and some of you who are in a more senior stage of your program, You will remember how Karl Bart changed the theological paradigm on the liberal European continent, reacting against his liberalism that he was taught by Adolf Carmack and others at the University of Berlin. For when he found himself a pastor of a small village congregation was safe in Vail, Switzerland. He found out he had nothing to say. That's what liberalism does. Thanks to me, the message and the conviction. In the truthfulness and power of the gospel. So he had quite a change he published. An explosive commentary on the book of Romans and that commentary. One of the famous historians of the European theological developments in the 20th century said that that Colbert's commentary on the Book of Romans fell like a bomb on the playground of European theologians. And certainly nothing has been the same since that time. Cut the story short here. Colbert later became the famous professor of theology, not systematic theology.


He didn't like the expression. He says, How can you systematize God or knowledge about God? He said. Whenever anybody says systematic theology, that's like saying wooden irony that doesn't go together. So when you look at his multi volume, he really had dogmatic church. Dogmatic. You will see what he calls it is church dogmatic. It's not systematic theology, although that's what it is. If we use the classical designation for the discipline. But interestingly, Colbert would give a lecture to the incoming freshmen. And many of you are new on this campus. A general lecture for which he became famous at the University of Basel. And in that lecture, among other things, and he has said many memorable things. MARTIN Very verbose in many ways was also very quotable. Like all the great minds in history, you look at August Saint Augustine and you look at some of the contemporaries, you see that sometimes they get that special inspiration where they encapsulate in one memorable sentence volumes of thinking. That's the genius of a great mind. Anyhow, I like to quote his sentence, and I'm doing it now because I'm preparing to play it right. He said, Some of you have studied German. I know this from the little diagnostic test we did last time. So I'll quote it in German and then translate. He says The victims that the logue issue are bite its dust, beat them. The most important theological work is prayer. Prayer. And actually, the way he puts it is praying a kind of a continuous attitude and activity. In a life. That is dedicated to God. The most important theological work is prayer. Let us never forget that. If I had some authority. Here, I would buy every incoming student a little book by a German theologian who was with also also with the Lord, now with a great one, a great preacher who also held motility or did write.


Getting to volume, systematic theology, evangelical theology. It's translated literally from the Germany of English dialog and three volume theological ethics. Many wonderful volumes of sermons, including the classic The Waiting Father. How many of you have come across Helmut Delicate? T h icl i c. K e. I recommend that you read get hold of anything that Helmut delicate is written, but he wrote a little book for aspiring young theologians and for freshmen in theological studies. It's called A Little Exercise. For young theologians, I think that's the German and the English title to some of you are nodding. So you've read that wonderful little sobering, enlightening, semi humorous. It's worth reading it. So if you are new to the field of theological studies, pick up that little booklet. I'm sure we have it in the bookstore. If not, you have the right to complain in the bookstore and ask for a Helmut Ilic is a little exercise for young theologians, and he would put a similar emphasis on the importance of spirituality for our well-balanced theology. Because theology is not just an intellectual Basque theology as well as theology. This class or any class you take. It's not just a question of cognitive input. It's not just a question. What happens with your mind? Although I will put a lot of emphasis on the development of Christian mind mindset, worldview. It's also developing and growing and men and women of God, the shaping of character and the growth in both knowledge and grace. The New Testament puts that together, knowledge and grace. Knowledge and holiness. They compare Christianity in different parts of the world. But I had the privilege of living or working. One of the dangers of North American Christianity is that because it's a country of liberty, not persecution, it's a country of plenty, no poverty, except if you go down, down some major cities, you'll discover that there is another another America that most of us evangelicals don't know, especially if you live on this holy hill, in this remote isolation from the realities of urban existence.


But because you live in a land of liberty, a land of plenty. The danger is of developing a kind of a self sufficient, sometimes even triumphalist and sometimes even self-righteous theology. Theology what? Sometimes that sometimes could be labeled of North American superiority. And that's why it's so important that we expand our vision, our worldview. And what happens then is that prior spiritual formation demands of discipleship, humble, authentic walk with the Lord and so many other aspects of Christian life and Christian maturity and balanced theological thinking are not there because you're not contextually challenged by pressures, by persecution, by poverty and so on to rely on the Lord. I say very often that the Church, under communism and in other antagonistic contexts, the church has survived because it was a praying church. It discovered the reality and the power of God. They did not have any economic power because they were discriminated against in the workplace. They did not have any social power. They were considered second rate citizens. They did not have any educational power. I look at the generation of my father and I remember my growing up and my early education, and because the privilege of receiving higher education was reserved for those who agreed to the Marxist line and were part of the nominal platoon under nomenclature. And so they really didn't have any power. And so driven to their knees, they discovered the power of God. And that's if there is a lesson to be learned from the church in China today, which is a most amazing phenomenon in the last 30 or so years, I just think that in the sixties, the so-called Cultural Revolution, in a very uncultured, brutal way, tried to eliminate any religion, any signs of religion from the face of that most populous nation in the world.


And yet there are those who claim that there may be 70. There may be. I have seen studies and statistics and claims that there may be 130 million born again Christians, vibrant Christianity. So if you read Philip Jenkins book, The Coming Christendom, which is the latest study of global trends in world Christianity, and he is not the only one, they will tell you that this century will be a Chinese century, not only in terms of what China, as the most populous nation and the nation that has tremendous economic growth and so on, will present in the world. But this may be the Chinese century also in terms of worldwide Christianity, enormous potential there. But again, what do we learn from them? Theological Seminary is that's something new. I was there with a team of international scholars five years ago visiting the Three Self Patriotic Movement and the House church movements, advising them on developing theological education. And there are now secular universities that are developing master's degrees in religious studies and Western civilization or whatever way they combine them. And they've got all kinds of creative things going on there, even in the neo-Marxist Secular Academy. But again, when you look at the and the church and you see the vibrancy, you see the. Mendez potential for the kingdom and the way they witness it brings you so close to what you read in the New Testament, what you read in the Book of Acts. It's really that primitive, powerful, enthusiastic, early Christian type of Christianity, and you kind of wonder whether we Westerners coming in with our education and with our theological sophistication and with our funds and our strategies and our technology, what will we do? Sometimes you want that we may do more damage than good.


I don't know. I just hope we'll coordinate better than we've done in Eastern Europe. And those countries have opened up. China is not opening up suddenly. It's a kind of an evolution. I'm saying all of this to say again and there's little globally discourses to say that spirituality, the importance of prayer, the importance of walking in the light and walking with the Lord should not be neglected as we are involved in theological education. We are that Pauline temptation, Pauline warning is relevant that the knowledge pops up so that we will not rely on our theological knowledge, but we will rely on our Lord, and so that our theological knowledge or our theological knowledge and all of that will be in the service of our Lord, in the service of His kingdom. Well, this sounds like a little ceremony that I didn't plan, but one more quote Beat the faucet and all are as wide. And if you read that great Scottish theologian first rate mind engaged on several fronts, Beatty Fawcett said more than once, he said the worst sin of Christians, I'm quoting him verbatim. He said The worst sin of Christians is, but they are less Smiths. And now I remember how I was caught. And a friend of mine reminded me of that. And I was involved in textual studies and planning to write a doctoral dissertation in in the area of textual criticism, a kind of a dissertation that only five people in the world would read. And it wouldn't serve the kingdom much. And I was going through a very dry period. Cause I was all into this intellectual pursuit and I was enthusiastic about things that didn't have much to do with God's values and with the priorities of his kingdom.


And when you come to that period, look for a friend who walks through the Lord and discover the love of Christ and discover the importance of prayer. Anyhow, I was not to preach, but I am inviting you to pray. I would suggest that you keep a prayer log and somewhere a prayer calendar we will be talking about the nations of the world will be reviewing world events. We will sometimes view videos where you will be reminded. And I would like to suggest that as you watch news, I hope you'll watch news, whether it's CNN or Peter Jennings, ABC Evening News, which you cannot watch tonight, because that's coming up in a few minutes or whatever news you watch what you read. As I said yesterday, The New York Times or whatever you do, just pray. This is this is a way of you watch the news about the tragedies in Iraq. You can pray, don't pray selfishly just for American soldiers and their safety. That's a legitimate prayer. And if that's the only thing you pray when it comes to Iraq, it's a little selfish patriotism, you know, and correct yourself there. Pray for your enemies. Pray for religious groups, pray for nations, pray for Afghanistan, and then pray for people. Just Emmanuel, just say the names. And if you make a note, you may remember them in prayers. Pray for the world. Let me throw in another angle to this emphasis on prayer. I'm deeply convinced and I'm convinced on two grounds and a very careful study of scriptures and also experience personal and international experience and observation. I've written on that. And the conviction is that prayer is the strongest political weapon. Now, I know for some people that sounds almost identical and unsupported.


How can prayer be political weapon? Consistently, scriptures study the history of revivals. Awakenings. If the Lord God is the Almighty God, ruler of the universe, and a whole lot of other nations, if we have that understanding of the sovereignty of God, and if that God invites you and me into partnership with Him through prayer and Scripture teaches because enormous amount of teaching on that and just amazing case studies, I think it's not difficult to come to that kind of a thesis that prayer is a mighty political weapon. So it's not just the ballot. It's not just that. Maybe will discuss that later in later in the course as we look at the political dimensions of world missions. We thank you, Lord, that you hear our prayers. We believe that you have brought every one of us to this class, to this campus, for a purpose. We believe that you have brought our brothers, Emmanuel and Samuel, for a purpose, and we are reminded tonight that part of that purpose is their reminder that we should pray for Afghanistan and for Nepal. Two very vulnerable countries. And yet people living there whom you love. We pray that your hand, your mighty powerful hand, will bring peace, stability, economic recovery to these countries. As the ministers that we have been praying for in these nations, glorify your name in our class. Help us to grow together, not only to learn facts about your world, not only to reflect upon your world as it relates to this world, but maybe all be open to be transformed by you into your likeness so that we too may become your transformative agents. Instruments of change. Ambassadors for your kingdom among the broken kingdoms of this world. We ask all of this in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.


Amen. Amen. Let me try in a couple of hours, if we can do that in a couple of hours. It may take a little longer to take a panoramic overview of the biblical teaching on missions. I should have put on your reading list a book that was published last year by our own President and distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Dr. Kaiser Mission in the Old Testament. Mission in the Old Testament. Israel as a light to the nations published by Baker. It's not a large volume. I suggest that you get the book. I will be doing first a survey on the Old Testament basis for missions, and then we will go on to the various parts of New Testament. Following on our thesis last time today, I want to put an emphasis on this part, the biblical material. And so we will survey the biblical material under five headings. If you want five pieces, you will remember that I mentioned last time that our God is a missionary. God, by the very nature mission is rooted in the very nature of God. He reveals himself as a missionary, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And that's what we will be showing here. Who creates a missionary? People who are working toward the missionary consummation. And so biblical history is really a history of the divine self-disclosure that has a redemptive focus. You can call this part the biblical foundations for missions. Now, I do want to put a little bit a little more emphasis on the first thesis. So the first one will be general survey. And please, we do not have time for exegesis here. And many of you have not had any biblical classes before. So I cannot go into Hebrew and Greek here and we don't have the time for it.


But I will put a little bit more emphasis on the first thesis, namely that the God of the Old Testament is a missionary God because that is neglected, that is very often totally ignored. People don't think of the God of the Old Testament as a missionary God. They don't think of the Old Testament as a missionary book. They think that the Old Testament is exclusively the history of Israel and that the God of the Old Testament is exclusively the God of Israel. And so in a popular survey of the Old Testament, we talk about the calling of Abraham and how God makes a covenant with Abraham, gives him certain promises. That covenant with Abraham is renewed with Isaac and then Jacob and then the 12 tribes whom he then later rescues from Egyptian slavery, brings them to the mount of Sinai, promises them to be there. God asks them to be His people. They are settled in the promised land. They are periods of their unfaithfulness, and that's why there are periods of exile. God sends them prophets to remind them of the covenant and prepares them for the coming of the Messiah. That would be a telegraphic survey of an average Christian understanding of what the Old Testament is all about. What we want to do in this class is to remind ourselves that the Old Testament does not begin with Abraham. All Testament begins with Adam. Old Testament does not begin with the Covenant. All Testament begins with the creation. Old Testament does not begin with the chosen people are chosen race. All Testament begins with the human race so that any comprehensive treatment of missions in the Old Testament must begin with God's creation and His purposes for humanity. Because the very notion of mission is intimately bound up with his saving plan, with his redemptive purpose.


And that purpose, that plan of God moves from creation. From the first book, the first chapter to the new creation. And so it has to do with the salvation. Salvation reaching out to the ends of the earth. That's where we have to begin to correct that false notion that we are dealing with a book exclusively and God exclusively devoted to Israel. Okay? The God of the Bible is not a tribal God. You know, you have tribal deities in the Old Testament. You have came mush. And who I think was the God of the moor abides and you have milk, the God of ammonites and so on. The creator of Heaven and Earth is the Lord of the Nations. He is very often referred to in Scriptures as the God of all flesh or the God of the spirits of all flesh. If you look, for example, at numbers 16, verse 22, I hope I have I'm not sure all of you brought your Bibles with you. So I did put some scriptures on overhead, although I do suggest that you do bring your Bible with you to the class number 1622. But Moses and Adam fell face down and cried out all God, God of the spirits of all mankind or all humanity. But if I sang the Virgin, says God of the spirits of all flesh. Then you have a universal designation. They are not saying you are our God. We want to remind you of the Covenant, although they could rightly do so. They recognize that he is above all other gods, all other divinities worshiped by their neighbors, by the other nations. And you have a similar expression in 2716 in numbers. May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all humanity, all flesh, appoint the men over this community.


Okay. That is the perspective on God throughout the whole of the Old Testament. If we were to summarize the creation, the universality of God's involvement, if we could put it this way, that God created the world and humanity distinct from himself and yet totally dependent on him, so that creation is not some emanation of the deity. And creation is not a part of him. Humankind while made in the image of God. And this is a very important concept, every human being, regardless of. A race of color, of skin, of ethnicity, etc., regardless of religion. Every human being is a carrier of what is called in the technical theological language Imago Day. Imago they the image of God. And so humans created in the image of God speaking biblically cannot be understood as somehow descended from him, as among some other ancient religions and ancient interpretations of humanity. Genesis one indicates very clearly the Lordship of the Creator over the whole of creation, including all humanity. Although humans have a special standing in the creative created order because they carry the image of God the Imago day. Now, of course, when you read the early chapters of the Book of Genesis, immediately after the creation comes the fall, Dr. Kaiser in his own way, and you'll hear him preach on Sundays. He summarizes the first 11 chapters, and he says there are three failures in Genesis 1 to 11. There is the fall, the first, the failure, and then there is the flood. And then there is the folly of the Tower of Babel. That is a preacher's summary, but a good summary of the first 11 chapters before we come to Chapter 12. We will well for a few minutes, because it's such an important chapter when we talk about world missions.


So you have the fall, the flood and the folly of the Tower of Babel. But it's very interesting that after each one of these three failures. You have God's redemptive response. You already have God's grace articulated. You have Genesis 315 after the fall and you know that Scripture, the promise of the seed of the woman, the first really the first redemptive promise in the scriptures. And then after the flood, you have the promise to Shem, and after the Tower of Babel, we will see you have the covenant or the promise, the calling and the promise of Abraham. And I will come to that Scripture in a few minutes. So what you have there is universal creation. That we start with the story of humanity. Then you have the failure, the fall, and the spread of sin. And when you read chapters 3 to 9 and please always read biblical history theologically, okay, everything you read and and do and think should have a theological perspective. Okay. And you see the spread of sin. In these chapters, you have the narration in chapter three of the fall, you have the murder of Cain. Chapter four When I speak to political leaders on violence and the killings in the world, and very often the question comes up, you know, where is the root of all of that? Is the social disorder. Is it the political anarchy in the world? Is it economic causes? Is it territorial claims? I always try to bring in a theological perspective, but you have to bring in a theological perspective in a nonsectarian way. And so I start with the first murder, the first murder in Genesis three. And then you have this wonderful opportunity to show to them that the evil in the world is not explained solely by social causes, that you always have to come back to the issue of human nature.


And then you come to reflect together on who we humans are and the Imago day. Okay. There is a fall, of course, but the image of God has not been erased. It has been distorted, but it has not been eliminated. And you have a wonder, not not a wonderful story, because the human history and the story of humanity is so heavily marked by sin, by selfishness, by violence, by hatred, by exclusion and so on. It is very difficult to say that it is a wonderful story, although you can read the other part of history and you can see the wonderful story of human love and sacrificial involvement. You have the Mother Teresa's living along with Saddam Hussein on the same planet and at the same time, you know, so you have a martin Luther King living at the same time that you have Adolf Hitler or Josef Victory, on which Stalin living in the same country with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. And we can always emphasize the one or the other. Now, we as followers of Christ, as ministers of the gospel, as people who think theologically, we have to have a comprehensive view. You have to have a balanced view. And as you study the history of humanity, you have to continually deal with this ambiguity, with this ambivalence of human nature. There is the Imago day in all of us, and that very fact is more important than any other isms. Don't look at human beings. Don't put them into categories of any isms, Marxism or Hinduism, capitalism or socialism or whatever other isms. Because human beings transcend all isms, because human beings are created in the image of God. And although there is sin and distortion and selfishness and so on. And human history gives us so many examples of that everywhere.


And our own personal life story has the evidence of that. Every human being created in the image of God is loved by God. So we are talking about humans whom God created. And although there has been an abuse of freedom he gave, which made him carry his image. That's one of the elements of it. And if you are in a more advanced and dim program here, I'm sure you have had theological anthropology and you've dealt dealt with this. And I don't want to overburden those of you who haven't gone through that educational and theological process yet here in the in that too much of a technical language and concepts, but always think of human beings as special. Don't write them off because of their religion or because of their ideology or because of their color of skin or their ethnicity. Think of them always as God's creation, fallen and yet redeemable. Okay, so you have this narrative after this creation. You have this narrative that takes you to the fall, that cataclysmic event of cosmic consequences affecting every human being. Genesis three And then you have that first murder, the two brothers in Genesis four, and you do have the flood. And there is another cataclysmic event. 6 to 8. And yet when you do that survey of human fall, humans sin individually and collectively. The amazing thing is that the judgment is not the last word. The judgment is not the final word. Okay. And that is where we come to Genesis 12. The call of Abraham. The text we are displaying here is our foundational text for the missionary vision of the whole Bible, not only of the whole Bible, really, of the whole missionary history. It is also, by many considered the most unifying text of the whole Bible.


It's as. We are beginning a new chapter in the revelation of God in history. Now, keep in mind that the first 11 chapters, Genesis 1 to 11 before this. Okay, before we come to Genesis 12, you have this universal scope. You have the universal outlook. Okay. Remember that that period covers as much time, although it's a minimalist chronology, it covers as much time as the rest of biblical history. The events from creation until the call of Abraham, Genesis one to Genesis 12, you will have as much time covered in this history as it is found in the rest of the Old Testament. And if I may throw in another note here, and you may want to go back now and read the first 12 chapters the night before you go to bed. Just read in one sitting. The first 12 chapters of the Book of Genesis on Apollo 11 and Genesis 1 to 11. And then these verses, because of what you see here, it takes you from the first couple. Another angle of looking at it, original couple to 70 nations that are mentioned in the table of nations in Genesis ten. That by itself in this compressed history, do you know the expression minimalist history? Okay, maybe you have an enormous history jam packed in a very, relatively speaking, brief narrative. And here you have the universal human history from creation, the first couple, the fall to 17 nations in the Table of Nations, Chapter ten. And then we come to a certain focus in Genesis 12, where the redemptive history. The missionary history of humanity begins in a special way. Okay. Now, this is a paradigmatic. Foundational scripture. Paradigmatic because of the series of promises that I mentioned here what happens? God calls Abraham, who will later be called Abraham.


And this is not contradictory. Now to this universalist universal history that we've mentioned, the first 11 chapters. Okay. It establishes it in a special way in the line purposes. God calls Abraham and tells him to leave his country, leave his people, leave his household, and move to another land, the land that he will show him. And then he gives him the series of promises I will make you. I will make your name great. Sorry, I will have to. We are dealing with different translations here. This is naive. Do you all deal with Nivi? I know you come from different denominations and some deal with revised or new revised standard version. And the more evangelical, less pluralist. You know, three church traditions have, by and large, adopted the Navy. I think I am reading from revised standard version. And you can compare. He says, I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you. I will curse and I'll notice the climax and all people. The magnitude here. Of the promise and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. I guess I am anti the Navy too. I thought I was doing a comparative translation work here. All people's honored will be blessed by you. Notice that in this calling which issues into a promise. Five times blessing either in the form of. Verb to bless or noun blessing. Five times blessing is mentioned. Very interesting because it's in contrast to the five curses in the earlier narrative describing the spread of sin. If you're interested to look into this, we don't have time to read them now.


314. Three. 17. Four. 11. 529 and nine. 25. I have to repeat this. The five curses. 314, three, 17, four, 11, five, 29 and nine. 25. And so here you have. Divine response. To the human disaster. The redemptive response. So human failure. And the focus is on what God will do. In him and through him if he had time to do the exegesis of the passage. In the broader context there, you would find a number of other contrasts. It's very interesting. For interesting, for example, he says, I will make your name great. What do you hear in that statement? In that promise, I will make your name great. Don't you hear the contrast? To what they tried to do in Bible the Bible builders in Chapter 11 just a little earlier in verse four especially, and you hear many of these other core divine corrections to human self-sufficiency in their self-destructive way of building history apart from him. So Genesis 12, the calling of Abraham and then Divine Promises. You remember that? Notice there is a command, lead and goal, followed by this series of promises which I said are paradigmatic for this salvation history. Okay, so he's asked. He's commanded to leave everything that was in the ancient world regarded as providing ultimate personal safety and security. But that is the wonder of our great, gracious, loving God. He doesn't demand what he doesn't supply. He doesn't leave you. He never leaves you with the negative. The demands are always followed by promises. You've read John starts book and you'll notice that he speaks about the gospel demands and gospel promises as he speaks about the gospel facts establishing the foundation. Okay. And here you have these wonderful promises following his demands. So this passage must be interpreted as God's gracious response, which reverses.


The sin and the downward spiral of chapters 3 to 11 from fallen. And this divine response, redemptive response, is so dramatic and so magnificent that it is expressed in the language of the new creation. A language that is similar to that of the new creation, the Divine Speech and Divine Command in Genesis 12 on us structurally similar to the speech and implied by the command of the beginning of the new creation. Genesis one three God spoke and his creative would calls creation into being. And now, after a series of human failures, God begins again. And his speech this time introduces a new phase in history by the calling of Abraham. And so, instead of the human attempt to establish a World center in Bible Chapter 11, you have Chapter 12, where Abraham is promised that around him and around his descendants, a great nation will be gathered a nucleus that will be the company of the redeemed. You have the beginnings in this promise of the new people of God. And of course, you have this restated, this Abrahamic covenant. You come to chapter 15. Some of you have studied that in greater detail. You have it restated, for example, in that wonderful passage in Joseph's narrative. Somebody could maybe read it. I'm not sure that I have it on the overhead here, but somebody just read 4910 in Genesis 18 is the thesis of the people's plural. You have an indifferent word. You have the restatement of the Abrahamic covenant and you have even in the in the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis, just write down the Scriptures because I don't have time to explicate them. Now. How in various forms? The Genesis 12 is repeated in the same book. For example, 1818, Genesis 1818, then 22, 1826, four and 2814.


You know, as you study scriptures, look at the scriptures that are repeated and not just repeat that, you know, the way New Testament quotes the Old Testament, which is so extremely important, and there have been hundreds of doctoral dissertations literally written on that, on how, for example, Matthew uses the Old Testament of how poorly in Romans uses the Old Testament because it's the old promise fulfillment motif. This is how the you need to view the Bible as a whole, the Old Testament as a book of promise. The New Testament is a book of fulfillments. But you can within the book, like here, within the Book of Genesis, I've just given you four scriptures where this very verse, this very promise of God is repeated that shows this frequency of appearance of certain themes shows they are central ality in the divine self-disclosure, their importance in divine economy of revelation here in the divine economy of redemption. So why did I say that This text is foundational and the most unifying text of the whole Bible? Let me now substantiate that statement. Obviously, it encapsulates God's saving purpose for humanity. The whole world will be blessed. To put it simply, will be blessed through Christ. Through Christ. Who is Abraham's seed? What we are basically saying is that the rest of the scriptural revelation is the unfolding of this promise to Abraham. The rest of the biblical story is the explication, is the commentary on God's promise to Abraham. And so the subsequent history is the fulfillment of this. For God first prepares Israel for the coming of the Messiah and then through His coming. There is a blessing for the whole world. And we would today, you and I, in this class, not be who we are, not be the followers of Jesus.


If it were not for this text, because we are beneficiaries of God's promise, the promise that God made to Abraham. Just think of it. Promise that was made some 4000 years ago is being fulfilled in your and my life, in the congregation to which you belong to which I belong. Let's just look at some New Testament scriptures to substantiate this claim of the promise and fulfillment. Look first at Galatians 329, and these are brief polling. References. If you want New Testament commentaries on Genesis 12, if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heir according to the promise. What promise? Genesis 12 Very clear reference that doesn't need any commentary or look at another scripture in New Testament. Romans 416 to 17. Now you will notice I am quoting from the two most theological New Testament epistles. Theological in the sense that they have this satirical, logical emphasis, the emphasis on justification by faith. You know, these are foundational documents for a reformation, all understanding of salvation. Okay. So theology. Romans in Galatians. But notice how they are a commentary on the promise to Abraham. Therefore, the promise comes by faith so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring, not only to those who are off the law, not only to Israel, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, plural. He he's our father in the sight of God in whom he believed the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were a very rich scripture. I wish we had an hour or two to do exegesis here.


But that's not our purpose. I'm just trying to show the connection here between the Abrahamic promise and the messianic fulfillment so that you will understand that God's purposes in the Old Testament were not limited to Israel. That York, however, is not the exclusive property of the people of Israel. Just one more scripture, and I hope I have you convinced in Galatians 38a little earlier than the first, the Scripture for Saul that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announce the Gospel in advance to Abraham. All nations will be blessed through you. All nations will be blessed through you. So what we have here. Should lead us to the following conclusion. The election of Israel did not mean the rejection of other nations. The nations of the world. In divine purpose. The the election of Israel was to make them the very means of salvation of the nations. An election is not a call to privilege. But a call to service. And the tragedy of the Old Testament is that Israel. Kept forgetting this. Now, that is a temptation of many nations in the world. I very often among American conservative American Christians hear the same language, the same theme in different variations. You know, whether you talk about the manifest is the Manifest Nation concept manifest this manifest destiny. And America being the chosen nation and the way some of the Old Testament promises that were given to that covenant. People are used without any critical contextual study to as applied to the American nation and so on. And there are other nations of the world. I was so shocked when I spoke about a long time ago, the earlier Millennium Goal, a group of a large group of Lutheran pastors, conservative Lutheran pastors in Norway, you almost got the impression that they thought that Yahweh was the God of Norway.


You know, before we blame the nations for making God their patriotic idol, which is one of the reductionist temptations of the so-called Christian nations. Think of the temptations that sometimes you and I personally are in where we make God our private God. Did you catch yourself in that temptation? I meet so many Christians who don't see God's sovereignty or don't see God as a global God. We don't view God as a lord of the nations. But you see, God is their own personal savior and Lord who meets their interior, spiritual and emotional needs. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. If that is only the personal part of the story, if that is only one part of your view of God. I do believe in the intimate relationship with Christ. I actually agree with that old hymn. And he walks with me and you know it. And he talks with me and he tells me I am his own. That is true. But that's not true. If that's all you believe and all you know, that's true only if at the same time you worship him as the Almighty, sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe, who is the Lord of all history and the Lord of all nations, and many of you upon graduation you will be pastors. And don't forget in your pulpit to put emphasis on both. Personal savior and lower, but at the same time not your little private God whom you can manipulate. Or on whom you have exclusive rights. Always keep the larger perspective in mind. Otherwise, you make him a private idol and that's dangerous. Of course, there are other dangers. I know Baptists who are convinced that God is a Baptist, and I know Pentecostals who are convinced that they have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit.


Soon as you talk about the Holy Spirit, it's Pentecostal charismatic spirit. And I know Lutherans who think that they are the only people who know Christ, who justifies by faith alone. And that's also reductionism, denominational, reductionism. So there are national ethnic reductionism that are denominational, which I call sectarian reductionism, and then, of course, private personal reductionism. And we must come again and again back to the full fledged scriptural revelation of who our great God is. Okay. So that we don't give in to temptation that is really to privatize God. Okay. Because they and their history shows us they overlook the fact that God had chosen one family in order to bless all families, that God chose one nation to bless all nations, one people to bless all peoples. Okay. They became so preoccupied with themselves and with their own history that they perverted the truth of God's love of divine election into the error of divine favoritism. And so you see them boast of their privileged status, and they are assuming that they are very often in their history, they are assuming that they are immune to the judgment of God. And that's that's what you have to when you study the Old Testament, study that dialectic. Let me put it differently so that they will not be misunderstood, that the dynamics of the institution and prophetic ministry, how the institution and the charisma clash, the institution, even the priesthood as an institution, the temple, as an institution. Okay. The Old Testament, if you want the sacrificial system, you know, and the preoccupation with themselves and the domestication of God within your own religious structures, which leads to Pharisee attitudes. It leads to self-righteousness. It leads to superior attitude. And that's how they look at other nations.


And God, in his irony, sends them to those nations to remind them of a number of things, and God sends them the prophets who always come with the word of hope, but who very often cannot bring the word of hope without a word of judgment. It's fascinating to study Israel's history from that perspective. Let's take a break and then we'll look at the Book of Psalms as we continue our walk through the Old Testament.