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God at Work in the World

Theology and Mission in the Global Church

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This volume offers an up-to-date articulation of the theological grounding of the missionary endeavor. Lalsangkima (Kima) Pachuau argues that theology of mission deals with God's work in and for the world, which is centered on salvation in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pachuau proposes an understanding of the theology of mission that is comprehensive and theologically faithful by addressing several key theological themes: the Trinity, the incarnation, soteriology, ecclesiology, and gospel-culture relation. He brings a global perspective to mission theology, grounding it in the missio Dei as well as in the notion of contextual theology, and points the way forward with a new understanding of mission--no longer as "the West to the rest" but as Christians of every place reaching out to unbelievers wherever they may be found. Pachuau explains that theology of mission is related to theology as a discipline and recognizes recent critiques of "missions," offering a compelling response rooted in the very nature of God.

God at Work in the World will appeal to professors and students of mission and intercultural studies as well as missionaries and mission leaders.

Introduction: A Theological Viewpoint on Christian Missions
1. The Triune God in Mission
2. God's Mission of Salvation (1): Biblical Images and Christological Motifs of Salvation
3. God's Mission of Salvation (2): Dimensions and Scope of Salvation
4. The Living Church in God's Mission
5. Fully God and Fully Human: Theology and Culture in the Mission of God
Conclusion: A Summary of a Theology of Mission


"Pachuau's book sets forth a theology of mission by drawing from a wide range of contemporary trinitarian theologies, theologies of religion, and different church traditions. Its unique strength lies in the way the author deftly fleshes out and integrates the best from divergent views and traditions, including those with which he clearly disagrees. In a day and age when works that claim to be inclusive often conceal ideologies that exclude contrary views, Pachuau's book is a rare example of a truly inclusive theology of mission."

Simon Chan, editor of Asia Journal of Theology; former professor of systematic theology, Trinity Theological College, Singapore

"Pachuau has followed up his landmark World Christianity with another remarkable work, God at Work in the World. In this notable book, Pachuau explores the vital frontier between a theology of mission rooted in the missio Dei and the more often neglected connections with Christology and ecclesiology that are so essential for a biblical and robust understanding of the mission of God. In a day when the missio Dei is frequently and awkwardly disconnected from the life and witness of the church, Pachuau restores that vital connection in many reflective and surprising ways. This book is also a rich conversation between disciplines that listens to voices from around the world and back through time. This is Pachuau at his best. May God at Work in the World be widely read!"

Timothy C. Tennent, president and professor of world Christianity, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Although there are many books about mission theology, few engage the work of theologians as deeply as this one does. Moreover, Pachuau widens the field to include global as well as Western works. The splendid result challenges any mission activity that is not rooted in reflection on the mission of the triune God and on the contextual nature of all theologies."

Kirsteen Kim, Paul E. Pierson Professor of World Christianity, Fuller Theological Seminary

"God at Work in the World is the work of a mature scholar who has pondered the questions of mission, salvation, Christology, ecclesiology, and global culture over a lifetime of scholarship and teaching. It is a work that is the product of wide reading, not only of major Western scholars but also of scholars from the majority world--as a book on global Christianity should be. Lalsangkima Pachuau has offered to fellow scholars and students around the world a firm introduction to the theology of mission that is not only profound but also accessible and sometimes even provocative. His approach is balanced, thoughtful, and ecumenically sensitive and will be an important addition to any theological or missiological library."

Stephen Bevans, Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Professor of Mission and Culture, Emeritus, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

"The intimate connection between Christian mission and theology has been receiving fresh attention with a growing awareness that the two are inextricably bound together. In this volume, Lalsangkima Pachuau makes an important contribution to this developing conversation and its ongoing significance for the church in its local and global expressions. Anyone interested in the relationship between theology and mission will benefit from the clear and concise wisdom offered in this valuable work."

John R. Franke, theologian in residence, Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis; author of Missional Theology

"God at Work in the World delves into some of the most pertinent and persistent theological themes at the heart of modern missiology with rare probity and passion. Comprehensive in its scope and compelling in its style, this work pries open the myriad ways in which theology informs and transforms mission, inviting readers to revisit this intersection from a global perspective. All in all, this is a timely and telling reminder that the only way for mission to be or become the heartbeat of the church in a changing world is to stay in rhythm with the will and work of God in our world today."

Peniel Rajkumar, global theologian, United Society Partners in the Gospel; associate tutor, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford

"One complaint from the colonial era concerned Western theology's implicit claims of the universality of its local embodiments of the Christian faith. Our constructive response lies in discovering the nature of the gospel's universality within its different embodiments across times and cultures and in discussion with a multitude of contexts. This is Kima's intent: to open the formal theological enterprise to the challenges in method and material as they exist within world Christianity. While one might like to push Kima further in the direction he has initiated, the first step on a such an unsettling journey is always the most difficult. God at Work in the World is a beacon on that path, and it must be congratulated."

John G. Flett, professor of intercultural theology and missiology, Pilgrim Theological College, The University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia

"Pachuau has a gift of reexamining, re-presenting, reconstructing, and reworking issues and themes related to the revisioning of the understanding of mission in the twenty-first century. In this book, he offers us a refreshing and reinvigorating theology of our working God, with whom we are called to work in the tasks of renewal, reconciliation, and the rejuvenation of our relationship with God and with one another in the places where we live, study, work, face shared challenges, and worship within an interfaith and ecumenical reality. This book reminds us of the possibilities of sharing, caring, interacting, and witnessing to God's ongoing love for the world and all people--a task informed by renewed biblical exegesis, the rereading of debates and discussions in the early church, and the reclamation of a theological heritage that testifies to how we can work with our working God in embracing and transforming our world."

J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Dean and H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures, United Lutheran Seminary

The Author

  1. Lalsangkima Pachuau

    Lalsangkima Pachuau

    Lalsangkima Pachuau (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the John Wesley Beeson Professor of Christian Mission and the dean of Advanced Research Programs at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is also a member of the Center of Theological...

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