missio Dei – Mission – Missions: How do they relate?

My colleague and friend, Keith Whitfield, has posted a series on defining the term “missional”, especially in light of the GCR Task Force report to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention employing this term as an impetus for broad-sweeping changes to the relationship organizationally between conventional bodies.

Here are links to his conclusions (in part six, you will find links to his introduction to the overall usage of the term missional in missiological literature):

What is the Missional Gospel? Part 6

What is the Missional Gospel? Part 7

Note his discussion of missio Dei and its relation to the mission of the church.


What do you think the relationship is between missio Dei, the Mission of the Church, and Missions?

How would you define the terms?



Add yours →

  1. The church is blessed to be used by God in His mission.
    Missio Dei puts the focus on God to convert and the church to be faithful in spreading the Gospel.

  2. Here is a link to a post on the matter. http://remissioned.com/2010/03/14/missio-dei/

    Where are you working on your degree?

    • Reformed,
      Thank you for sharing the link. I am pursuing my degree @ Southeastern Bapt. Th. Sem.

      So, if I understand you correctly, you view missio Dei as God’s activity in converting individuals to Christ, while you view missions as the church’s activity in obeying the Great Commission by proclaiming the gospel? Am I restating that correctly?


  3. Yes. Since I hold to reformed theology, it makes since that way. My prof at Southern [SBTS] can be blamed if it’s wrong. It’s good to meet another seminarian. I’m a long way from where you are. I’m only 2 semesters into my M Div.

    • My Friend, I appreciate you commenting on my blog. I would love to have your feedback on anything I post in the future. I’ll also add you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work on the studies!

      Regarding missio Dei, the reason why I am so curious to your view is that there are so many different views on the subject. Even among the reformed! Many credit Karl Barth with introducing the subject to theological studies (with a firm reformed-ish background) others trace it back to Luther. Certainly the idea is not foreign to Christian theology prior to the reformation. It is quite interesting to me how much this term has received attention in the past decade or so.

      I definitely want to affirm the role of God in the salvation of souls. It is His work, by the Spirit, through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ (hence it is a triune activity!). I also want to extend the missio Dei beyond just his role in individual salvation. It among other things must include the consummation of all things in Christ, involved the new creation (in all its aspects). As part of that providential activity, the church participates in the missio Dei as the People of God gathered to be both a sign and witness to God’s irrupting Kingdom. That statement is a mouthful! So missions is the activity of the church in obedience to the Great Commission in evangelism, yes, towards the end of making disciples of all nations.

      In a nutshell, I think this is very similar to what you have said, though perhaps a little bit different. I want to emphasize more the Christocentric nature of both missio Dei and mission(s). (Still, this doesn’t really change what you have said…I’m assuming you would agree, based on what you have written.)

      What do you think?

      What books are you reading to this end?

      Wes (i.e. wlh)

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