The goal of the current series of posts is to show the relationship of biblical theology and mission. At this point, we are about halfway through telling the story of scripture – and seeing how it should inform both our missiology, and our philosophy of cultural engagement.
Following on from the previous entry, we are able to see that as Israel finally came into the promised land, their principle of cultural engagement was altered. At a later stage, I will use the catch phrase; “Open hand. Closed hand. Go!” to summarise all that a well-developed New Testament missiology should look like. That is to say, the church is instructed to keep a closed hand on the sacred (theology and holiness); while it opens its hands on issues of contemporary engagement with common culture. However, at this point in the story, note that the very opposite missional philosophy is in play. We could summarise it this way: Israel’s missional model is, with propriety: “Closed hand. Closed hand. Stay”.
As the people of God (at this point in the story) obey in keeping completely separate from the world, and make sure to govern all of life according to a theocratic principle, God would bring great blessing upon the nation. This would indeed serve the purposes of mission. For one thing, it would show forth the glory of God’s theocracy to all the surrounding peoples, in turn bringing them to marvel in awe at the splendour of the foreshadowed kingdom. Here, those such as the Queen of Sheba, would stand truly amazed as they looked upon the people of God, and the place of his dwelling. But, the reality is that this would only be for a brief moment in history. After seeing this glory, the shadows would need to be stripped away in order to yield to the infinitely greater substance.