A deceptively simple question. What would be your answer?
Some might reply ‘Because Jesus commands it in Matthew 28’
Or ‘So that friends, neighbours and strangers will know the goodness and love of God’
Or ‘To save people from judgement’
Or ‘Guilt – i feel I ought to.’
While not denying these, Dickson has a different central motivation – the oneness and glory of God.
The Bible is consistently, emphatically and thoroughly monotheistic. The witness of the Psalms for example link worship of the one true God with mission – if there is one true, almighty and glorious God then all people are created to know and love and worship him and his people are to tell of his greatness – ‘for great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods’ (Ps 96:4).
Even in Mt 28, the ‘therefore go’ connects the ‘Great Commission’ with the absolute authority of the Son. Mission flows out of the reality that God alone is due absolute allegiance from all of creation.
Dickson puts it nicely: mission is more than a rescue mission, it is a reality mission – ‘it is our plea to all to acknowledge that they belong to one Lord.’ See how the same theme is in 1 Peter 3:15 – Christians give reasons for their hope out of reverence for Christ as Lord.
So how does this challenge popular thinking about evangelism and mission in a culture where many people appear not to ‘need’ the gospel at all – they are wealthy, happy, independent, successful, and content? Where evangelicals often try to engineer (or wish they could) a crisis that will prompt a sudden need for God but which all too easily slips into ‘a gospel to meet your needs’ or a ‘Jesus to complete your life’?