Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mission, Contextualization and Canon (Christopher Wright)

I am reading a great essay written by Rev Dr Christopher Wright. I really like Wright's missional reading of Scripture. The following two quotes about the canon, mission and contextualization are particularly insightful.

The task of recontextualizing the word of God is a missional project that has its basis in Scripture itself and has been part of the mission of God’s people all through the centuries of their existence. The finality of the canon refers to the completion of God’s work of revelation and redemption, not to a foreclosure on the necessary continuation of the inculturated witness to that completed work in every culture.

So, then, we should take into account not only the missional locatedness of today’s readers, but also the missional locatedness of the very first readers of the canonical texts. The Scriptures, after all, are not disembodied pronouncements dropped from heaven, but collections of texts that addressed living people in specific contexts, who were therefore called upon to respond to them, in faith and action. What can we know about those original contexts, and how can we discern the misisonal drive and energy that the texts injected into them?

Chris Wright then uses Jeremiah to illustrate how this works. I think he has given us much to ponder.

(The above two citations are from Christopher J H Wright, “Mission and Old Testament Interpretation,” in Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address, edited by Craig G Bartholomew and D J H Beldman (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 188.)

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