Missional isn’t some new trend. Well, maybe it is; but it shouldn’t be. God is a missionary God and the Bible is testimony to His mission. In this next section of Chapter 2, Missional Manifesto, McNeal looks at the Bible through missional lenses. Here’s what he sees…
First the purpose of the Bible changes. In the church-centric world, the Bible is God’s gift to show us who He is and how we should live as His people. That’s good, but that’s not everything, according to McNeal. The Bible also communicates God’s story so we can understand His world and our part in it. It is a guide for us on how to live while on mission. He states, “By forcing us to see the disparities between the kingdoms of this earth and the kingdom of God, it becomes far more disruptive than informational” (p. 27).
He then hits just a few of the highlights (by his own admission). He starts with the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12.1-3). God has created a people, through Abraham, for the purpose of blessing the nations. Then he hits some key characters that show God is comfortable working outside Abraham’s line: Melchizizedek (a mysterious priestly figure of Yahweh in Abraham’s story); Jethro (Moses’ wise father-in-law); Jonah (who was called to preach to the Assyrians); and even Jesus (whose genealogy, birth, and early childhood were filled with Gentile interaction and influence).
McNeal next tracks several passages that indicate God is concerned with blessing people globally, not just in the “church” or “people of God.” Some of the verses? 1 Peter 2.9; John 3.16; Matthew 27.37-40 (love your neighbor no matter who they are); Ephesians 4.13 (we need to do a better job loving as Evangelicals and Mainliners need to do a better job of speaking the truth of Jesus); 1 Peter 3:15b (we need to live in such a way that people ask why we’re different); Matthew 5:13-15 (salt & light are not neutral presences, they influence).
In John’s gospel, the church is ‘sent people.’ We like to be considered ‘called out,’ which is shorthand for being called out of the world into the church. McNeal says, “Missional believers of Jesus understand they’re being called out all right – called outside” (p. 34).