Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (Perspectives) is a fifteen week course about the global purpose of Christians, designed around four vantage points or “perspectives” – Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic. The course has the objective of opening the eyes of Christians to the vision that God has a “world-size” role for every believer in His global mission. The point of this course is to simply show practical examples of how missions can be done wisely and well, against the background that God will fulfill His promises.
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3).
I have embarked on the Independent Study Online format of the Perspectives study program and will periodically share a perspective on different lessons.
With Lesson 6 – The Expansion of World Christian movement – I began the Historical Section of Perspectives. It reviews ways God moves forward with His mission to reach all peoples of the earth.
Ten Epochs through 4,000 years – The lesson presents the Kingdom of God throughout human history, as instants of time in history divided into 10 epochs of approximately 400 years each, showing God’s redemptive work. Epochs are: Patriarchs, Captivity, Judges, Kings and Post-Exile (2000 – 0 BC) and Romans, Barbarians, Vikings, Muslims and Ends of the Earth (0 – 2000 AD).
The Counter-attack on Evil – In addition to the kingdom of God, another dominant theme is God’s war against evil. God intervenes in the suffering of people under the domain and the device of evil.
Four Mechanisms of Missions – Throughout history God’s wonderful blessing pass through four mechanisms of mission: 1. Voluntary Going (Example – Paul and Barnabas going on their missionary journeys). 2. Involuntary Going (Example – Jonah reluctantly going to Nineveh). 3. Voluntary Coming (Example – Ruth choosing to go to Judah from Moab. and 4. Involuntary Coming (Example – Slaves brought from Africa to America).
The two structures of God’s Redemptive Mission – Throughout history when we speak of the “Church” we see two fundamental structures: the congregational structure and the mission structure, named “Modality and Sodality” respectively. Modality refers to nurture-oriented congregational church structure and Sodality refers to task-oriented mission structures. Protestantism, movement began in northern Europe in the early 16th century as a reaction to medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices. They critiqued and openly expressed doubt concerning the legitimacy of missionary structures (Sodality). For 200 years there was virtually no mission outreach. However in the year 1800 the Protestants for the first time equipped themselves with organizational structures of missionary and began to make up lost time. By the latter half of the 19th century, there seems increasingly to be two separate structural traditions – Modality and Sodality – and Protestant missionaries exploded.
This is an amazing study of God moving to reach all nations. I got the chance to connect more dots in my understanding of the global spread of the faith across the epochs. The Counterattack on Evil is critical because Satan opposes God’s work and would not want God’s glory to cover the earth. The four mechanisms demonstrate how God presses His mission forward with or without the full cooperation of His chosen people. I appreciate the legitimacy of both structures (Modality and Sodality), and the necessity for both structures not only to exist but to work together harmoniously for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. A great start to the Historical Section.
– Garfield Miller, Missionary Society (Jamaica)