Elijah, you’ve asked me what biblical foundation I have for my mission theology. Dude, that’s a tough one. Because my biblical foundation is the bible. All of it.
Like handkerchiefs up a magician’s sleeve, any single missional passage pulled from scripture is knotted to another, and that to another, and another… Every verse, end to end, is needed for the feat your asking me to pull off.
Like one of your professors, Arthur Glasser, once wrote, “The whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is a missionary book, the revelation of God’s purpose and action in mission in human history.”
So let’s look at the whole thing from 30,000 feet. I’ll try to finish by the time you graduate from Fuller.
In the beginning God decided to create. His will was done without resistance – He spoke and everything was. (Genesis 1)
Man and Woman were crafted to live in relationship with each other and God – like God, or in the “image” of God. (Genesis 1:27)
Life in the Garden of Eden was declared “good” by God. Man and Woman were together with God, exercising dominion over a peaceable creation – orderly and intimate – every atom created by God and for God and not itself (Genesis 2:7,8, Psalm 19:1-4, 97:6 Colossians 1:15).
Then, with some help from Satan, Eve began to question whether God was truly good and trustworthy (Genesis 3:1-5).
She chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, effectively choosing to determine for herself what was right and wrong instead of choosing to follow God’s determinations. Adam did the same and together their actions were tantamount to proclaiming themselves gods – as God (Genesis 3:6).
They rejected their God-given role as His beloved but inferior subjects, rejected their work as his governors of creation and instead, for the first time, used creation to serve themselves (Genesis 3:6).
Immediately, intimacy with each other, creation, and God was greatly diminished (Genesis 3:10-12, 17-19). Intimacy with one another was diminished by a new inner opposition to equality: a desire to dominate, compete and self-satisfy (Genesis 4:8). Man’s intimacy with creation was diminished as he struggled against it, forcing it to provide for him (Genesis 3:17-19). Intimacy with God was diminished by a new desire to self-rule and self-satisfy (Genesis 3:10). And on top of all this chaos and collapse of goodness and order, Man and Woman were sentenced to death (Genesis 2:17) and forced to leave Eden (Genesis 3:24) – no more walks in the Garden with their Maker.
Promise & Grace
In the aftermath of rebellion grace was shown: God clothed Man and Woman personally and preserved their lives (Genesis 3:21). Instead of cold angry silence, God spoke hope. He promised an ongoing battle between spiritual evil and mankind. He prophecied to Satan that one of Woman’s offspring would one day “crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Eve’s descendent would suffer but Satan would one day be totally destroyed (Genesis 3:15).
Mankind, creation and God were once in intimate harmonious relationship with one another. When that intimacy and order was lost in mankind’s quest to become God, God did not abandon Man and Woman. He preserved their lives, promised them a deliverer, and told Satan he’d better wear a helmet.
So God’s mission to reunite creation with creation and Creator began.