Announcing the Kingdom – Analytical Report
Arthur Glasser is dean emeritus of what is now called the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Glasser became a Christ-follower in his late teens and has a rich missional history as both a practitioner and professor. He and his wife served as missionaries in China (1946-1950) with China Inland Mission as well as taught at a number of seminaries. He is an author of other missional books like The Good News of the Kingdom and was a founding member of the American Society of Missiology in 1972.
In Announcing the Kingdom, Glasser takes us through a panoramic view of Scripture – from Genesis to Revelation – with a missional lens. He demonstrates that the God of Scripture is a Missionary God, who desires to work through His missionary people, so that “His kingdom would come and His will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Glasser traces God’s Mission from the Beginning of time until the Consummation in six different parts. The first three parts focused on the Hebrew Scripture. He trace’s God’s mission for all nations from the creation of the world, to the creation of his people Israel, and shows how God’s mission was furthered even when His people lived in exile among other nations. The second three parts of his book focused on the New Testament. He begins by showing how the Father worked through His Son Jesus, then through the Church by the power of the Spirit. He concludes by examining the book of Revelation to demonstrate the continued theme of King and Kingdom from creation to the renewed heaven and earth.
What I liked most about this book is that Glasser helps us to view the entire text with a missional lens. He is able to draw out rich missional lessons from each section of scripture, whether it is from the life of Abraham, the life of Israel, the church or Jesus himself. The rich quotes that are sprinkled throughout the text often caused me to stop and ponder our awesome God and His mission. Throughout the book he helps us to remember God’s heart for all nations, and calls us to partner with our missional God to bring about His kingdom, always reminding us that our mission is in good hands – the hands of our triune God.
While the theme of missio dei was traced from Genesis to Revelation, some themes of God’s mission seemed incoherent. For example, in the chapter on the powers, he states, “â€¦they [the powers] do this through incarnating themselves in existing structures in society and in cultural traditions and religious institutions” (337) and states that “Paul goes beyond the familiar New Testament thesis that Christ’s redemption delivers his people from the guilt of sinâ€¦ Paul speaks of Christ as One who also liberates his people fromâ€¦ bondage to the powers.” (336) Yet when talking about Jesus he said, “While he advocated sharing with the poor, he did not condemn the economic system that helped make people rich.” Glasser might benefit by reading Wink’s triology on The Powers and Ched Myers Binding the Strong Man.
With that said, I deeply appreciate Glasser’s humility as he closes his book (373), admitting to “truths that have appeared to conflict” and imperfect perception. His humility causes me to humble myself before our awesome missional God for His service.