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

Thursday, August 17
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
CareerLife Calling
Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

More career-focused opportunities for juniors at MNU will launch this fall with a newly expanded mentoring program. Built on the positive impact of…

Read More
Kassidy Chuning headshot resized
Alum Finds New Perspectives, New Growth

Alum Finds New Perspectives, New Growth

Kassidy (Ritchel ’14) Chuning worked hard and played hard.  During high school, she played basketball and volleyball while maintaining a coveted GPA. Strong family values were woven into the…

Read More
Aaron Tiffany w guitar
Business Major Answers the Call

Business Major Answers the Call

Aaron Tiffany (Business Administration, ’05) isn’t exactly where he thought he’d be after graduation from MNU. Or actually, he is. “Going in to college I didn't know what I wanted to…

Read More
Sunberg Named GS
Alum Named 43rd General Superintendent

Alum Named 43rd General Superintendent

MNU Alumnus, Dr. Carla (Johnson ’83) Sunberg, was elected the 43rd General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene June 27, at the denomination’s General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana.…

Read More
Jason Heidi Menard
Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy

Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy

Some people might say that alum Jason Menard, just 7 years out of MNU, is too young to be a high school assistant principal and athletic director.…

Read More
Stowe in China
MNU Professor Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

MNU Professor Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Ramona Stowe of MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) for a 10-month fellowship project…

Read More
PrayerWalk2016-74
Visit MNU Exhibit at GA2017

Visit MNU Exhibit at GA2017

If you’re attending The Church of the Nazarene General Assembly or any of the associated conventions June 21 to June 29, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana, be sure to stop by the MNU exhibits.…

Read More
mnugrad-004
MNU Mourns Passing of Former President Ed Robinson

MNU Mourns Passing of Former President Ed Robinson

Dr. Edwin H. Robinson, fourth president of MidAmerica Nazarene University, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 27, 2017. Dr. Ed, as he was…

Read More
MNU website 162
Chem Students’ Research May Help Other Universities

Chem Students’ Research May Help Other Universities

MNU chemistry research students are working on new ways to explore the interactions between gold nanoparticles and photoswitching molecules under the…

Read More
Sports
MNU Cross County and Track & Field Announce 2017 Signing Class

MNU Cross County and Track & Field Announce 2017 Signing Class

MNU Cross Country and Track & Field are prepped for another great season...

 
MNU Finishes Top-30 in Learfield Directors' Cup

MNU Finishes Top-30 in Learfield Directors' Cup

After a successful 2016-17 season which saw several Pioneer squads qualify for Nationals, MNU ranked 27th in the NAIA and 2nd in the Heart in the Directors' Cup...

 
Lindsay Smith Named Next MNU Cheerleading Coach

Lindsay Smith Named Next MNU Cheerleading Coach

OLATHE, Kan. - Director of Athletics Todd Garrett has announced Lindsay Smith as the next head coach of MNU Cheerleading.

 
Latest Photos
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement