This remarkable book begins by examining the biblical material on mission, focusing specially on the ethical witness of the Christian community. The author then turns his attention to patterns of mission from history, seeking to learn, from three distinct past examples (the Spanish conquistadores, Anabaptists, and the missionary congress in Edinburgh, 1912), how the Church has interpreted its mission in the world. A final section discusses changing views on the church's missionary undertaking in the world after the 2nd World War. It assesses the debates over the concept of missio Dei and 'the church for others'. It then considers the question of the church's preferential option for the liberation of the poor, its commitment to peace in the shadow of the threat of nuclear war and its missionary obligations in multi-religious and secular worlds.
"I cordially welcome Andrew Kirk's fine study. Drawing upon the Bible, history and theology, he has expertly reflected upon the Church and the world, in relation to both mission and the socio-ethical order. He has thus brilliantly met the requirements of the series in which his book appears, and has made a substantial contribution to debates which lose nothing of their importance with the passage of the years."
- Alan Sell, General Editor, Christian Doctrines in Historical Perspective
"From time to time a book appears that forces us to re-examine what we have taken for granted about Church and world. Andrew Kirk's bracing and bold book does this. Based on wide reading, readiness to challenge commonplace assumptions, and by highlighting topics generally neglected in mission theology, this work refreshes and inspires."
- Wilbert R. Shenk, Senior Professor of Mission History, Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Pasadena, California