New book by MNU professor explains the fullness of mission

Nov. 20, 2013 - by Katy Ward

New book by MNU professor explains the fullness of mission 

By Steve Baska
November 20, 2013
New book by MNU professor explains the fullness of mission

The Christian mission to the world must include “telling, doing and being,” without shirking any of those three elements, explains MNU professor Dean Flemming, Ph.D., in a new book.

The book, Recovering the Full Mission of God: A Biblical Perspective on Being, Doing and Telling, was published by InterVarsity Press in October 2013.  The book’s topic was prompted by Flemming’s observation that it has become popular for some Christians today to focus almost totally on the “doing,” actions such as serving the poor, while others think Christian mission is primarily about proclaiming the Christian message with words. He wanted to discover how Scripture views the relationship between speaking and living the gospel.

So to explore the topic with scholarly research, Flemming did an overview of the Old Testament, then examined the New Testament message in the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s letters, 1 Peter and Revelation.

“I found that there was a seamless integration of all three elements of telling, doing and being,” he said. “I think that can be instructive for the church today.”

In the past, evangelicals have often focused on the telling, while today many Christians focus on the doing of social justice and deeds of compassion. At the same time, many Christians have neglected “what is behind the doing and the telling, and that is who we are, our identity. Our missional identity is integral,” he said.

One reason Flemming wanted to tackle this subject comes out of his own experience. “In the church settings in which I was raised, mission was primarily seen as a verbal activity. It meant preaching the gospel to all nations, winning converts and planting churches. On a personal level, it meant witnessing to others with words.”

New book by MNU professor explains the fullness of mission Dean Flemming, Ph.D., MNU professor of New Testament and Missions

“Then I went to teach the Bible to Asian students in the Philippines. Many of my Christian friends there were struggling with how to biblically approach issues like poverty, injustice, and corruption. I saw people in desperate need everywhere I looked. I realized that caring for human needs was as much a part of the church’s mission as telling the story. They couldn’t be separated. More recently, teaching in Western Europe, I saw that people there, above all, were initially attracted by lives that had been genuinely transformed by the love of Christ. The text they read in our lives can nurture an openness to hear why we live and love the way we do.”

Flemming, who came to MNU in 2011 after 24 years in mission service in Asia and Europe, is professor of New Testament and Missions. He wrote the book in non-technical terms for easy access by students, pastors and anyone in cross-cultural missions, he said. “I really tried to find a marriage between mission studies and Biblical studies in this book.”

This is Flemming’s second book with InterVarsity Press, which is a division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. The first, Contextualization in the New Testament, received a Christianity Today book award. Flemming also published Philippians: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Beacon Hill Press), which was a given the Smith/Wynkoop book award by the Wesleyan Theological Society.

Reviews of the book have been strong. In a review, Christopher J. H. Wright of the Langham Partnership wrote that “the portraits of Jesus and Paul are particularly balanced and convincing, while the lessons we learn from the early church and the book of Revelation are truly eye-opening.” Reviewer Michael Goheen, a professor of missional theology at Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, wrote that “With sterling biblical scholarship, Dean Flemming demonstrates clearly from the biblical story, and especially the New Testament, that the church's mission is full-orbed, encompassing life, word and deed.”

Flemming, a 1975 alumnus of MNU, has taught at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines and European Nazarene College in Büesingen, Germany. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and has pastored churches in Ohio and Japan. His book is available at InterVarsity Press at http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=4026, or at Amazon.com.

 

MNU News

Sunday, July 31
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
IMG 8874
Nurtured Roots Grow Strong

Nurtured Roots Grow Strong

Pioneering freshmen come to MNU to pursue an education, anxious, brave and hopeful. Four particular students, never dreaming their paths would cross, came from near and far. Some paths seemed clear…

Read More
Kyle Ford
Pursuing God’s Call: Diving into Dentistry

Pursuing God’s Call: Diving into Dentistry

Would you ever think that a radio advertisement could lead someone to discovering their calling? That is exactly what led alum Kyle Ford (’13) to…

Read More
81427390F111
Second Career Choice Was Easy

Second Career Choice Was Easy

As a university, MNU is finally old enough to have alumni who are considering or have entered a second career. When Joe Ledbetter (’81) decided it was time recently to retire from a 25-year career…

Read More
Grittman Davis VBall
Coach Puts Communication Degree to Work

Coach Puts Communication Degree to Work

Though she played college volleyball, coaching a team wasn’t at the top of her list when Britney (Grittman ’14) Davis was deciding on a post-college career. However, after being admitted to the…

Read More
CY 3
Hard Work, Discipline and Confidence Pay Off

Hard Work, Discipline and Confidence Pay Off

“It’s funny how the game of football can make a difference in someone’s life,” says Corey Young ('14), an MNU sports management…

Read More
Mabee
Unique Partnership to Provide College Experience to Developmentally Disabled

Unique Partnership to Provide College Experience to Developmentally Disabled

Lakemary Center and MidAmerica Nazarene University are partnering to meet the needs of students diagnosed with certain developmental disabilities…

Read More
Brady Braatz
Braatz Named Chaplain

Braatz Named Chaplain

MNU President David Spittal announced the appointment today of Rev. Brady Braatz as MNU University Chaplain.  Braatz is a 2001 graduate of MNU with a bachelor’s degree in business…

Read More
300 Leaders Expected for PALCON

300 Leaders Expected for PALCON

MNU is one of three locations for the Church of the Nazarene’s Pastor and Leaders Conference (PALCON) this summer. The gathering for clergy “on the front lines of ministry” is an opportunity…

Read More
Relentless2016big
Summer SERVEteams

Summer SERVEteams

MNU SERVEteams are hitting the road this summer, traveling the MNU region to serve in churches, camps, District Assemblies and more. Together the groups will serve at 38 different events.The 19…

Read More
Sports
Jordan Eckley & Jason Jones Earn National Honors

Jordan Eckley & Jason Jones Earn National Honors

Two Pioneers were listed among the 2016 NAIA Baseball All-America selections, announced by the national office...(click title for more)

 
Lee Dobbins Named Head Softball Coach

Lee Dobbins Named Head Softball Coach

Director of Athletics Kevin Steele has announced Lee Dobbins as the next head softball coach at MNU...(click title for more)

 
Track & Field Speed & Power Camps

Track & Field Speed & Power Camps

The purpose of these camps is to give athletes from ALL SPORT BACKGOUNDS instruction on movements to develop speed and power within a track and field setting...(click title for more)

 
Latest Photos
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich