Book Review on “God and the Nations”

Book Review on “God and the Nations”

Hedlund, Roger E. God and the Nations: A Biblical theology of mission in the Asian Context. Delhi: ISPCK, 2008. Pp. 381.

Generally, God of the Bible is initially taught and understood as the God of Israelites by the majority but this book is focused on projecting the relationship of God and nations including Israelites. The author has written the Biblical theology of mission in the Asian context by comparing the mission in the Old Testament and New Testament based on the missionary nature of God such as his act of creation, covenant, solution of the Fall, human dignity, and universal salvation in Christ. The historical representation of the Biblical mission from the events in the Garden of Eden, The Fall, Noahic covenant, Abrahamic covenant, Sinaitic covenant, Davidic covenant was fulfilled in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. The very basic teaching element of this book is about the missionary God as God of the whole creation and nations who is not isolated and far from them but he has been very near to them since the beginning of their creation and caring for them and trying to reconcile the depraved relationship.

The culture and context presented in the Bible are dominated by Asian geography, context, and civilization but Biblical teaching is presented by the Western missionaries to the Asians is in western wrapping paper. That has caused the Asian perspective towards Christianity as a strange religion. The author has presented the Biblical teaching not as a foreign production but as our reality in Asian style.

The talks about the validity of God’s covenant with the people of Israelites, its application in the whole humanity, learning from the historical events in which God was active in social transformation, spiritual discipline, and the divine-human relationship. Biblical theology is greatly interested in history not in myth as Canaanite and Hindu religion but as the real event that also testifies the genuine parent of nature of God over the whole nations. The description of prophetic ministry in the book by Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and other minor prophets among the Israelites as well as Gentiles projects God’s active intention and his desire of usual communication with humans. At the same time, the people’s rejection to live according to God’s will also provide the human depraved stage from the morality, spirituality, and holiness of God.

The author has also presented the missionary aspect of the New Testament, missionary Jesus Christ, his work of salvation, and Great Commissions in terms of worldwide mission as the cornerstone for the foundation of the mission. It was followed by the Apostles, Churches, Missionaries, and ministers till this age. Regarding the failure of the nations to govern the world, the high demand for the perfect Kingdom has been always felt by the people. Jesus teaching about the arrival of the Kingdom of God among nations and the day of the Lord yet to come shows hope for the accomplishment of the unfulfilled demand of the perfect Kingdom of God.

The task accomplished in the Cross by Jesus, the mandate given at the time of the ascension of Jesus, and the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is the major turning point for the beginning of the worldwide mission. Mr. Hedlund’s work of raising the theology of mission from the Bible is appreciable because it has given the new perspective and reason to apply in our Nepalese context of Christian mission. His compulsory emphasis on the spiritual equipment for mission provides every reader to feel the need of every gift of the Holy Spirit as well as an exorcism that has been ignored or excluded or not practiced by many theologians and ministers of several denominations. In the context of Nepal, these two factors are strictly dominant to reach the people’s needs and preach the gospel.

The use of the resources in this book is outstanding because the author has done a lot of research, study, and analysis that has helped this book to be a quite acceptable resource for the mission subject. The reader of this book will find it very helpful and rely on the data presented.

At the same time, the author has missed providing the final hope of the day of the Lord yet to come. The book would be better enough if the author would have thought about finishing the theology of mission with the major climatic part of the history in the future with an elaborated conclusion. This book is very informative and analytic as well as preferable to study at least once by the Christian readers for the book has become noble enough to explore the theological aspects of the mission mandate of God.

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