This past Thursday, Christopher Wright was at Tyndale University College and Seminary to present a lecture entitled, “The Mission of God and the Cape Town Commitment.” Wright’s contributions to missional hermeneutics, as well as his massive textbook, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative, have been hugely influential on the theological curriculum at Tyndale in recent years. Wright is a consummate “churchman” whose current role as the director of Langham Partnership International has involved him in teaching ministries across the globe. While chairing the Lausanne Theology Working Group, he was the chief architect of “The Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action.”
Wright’s lecture focused on the development and tectonics of “The Cape Town Commitment.” He grouped his reflections around four major themes: 1.) the Bible; 2.) Jesus Christ; 3.) the Gospel; and 4.) the Mission of God. Those who have ventured into Wright’s work will not be surprised by these headings or the content that was included in each section. Although Wright is a clear communicator, he is by no means the most eloquent of speakers. His rhetoric is relatively plain and unadorned. However, as a friend of mine noted, when you hear Wright speak you have a keen sense that you are in the presence of one who has been immersed in the world of the Scriptures. The level of biblical integration displayed both in his formal presentation and in the informal conversation which followed was truly remarkable.
Rather than recap his entire lecture, I’d like to share just a few of the “tweetable” lines from Wright’s lecture and off-the-cuff comments.
On Scripture: “We love the Bible as a bride loves letters from her husband.”
As inspiration for Bible teachers: “Jesus spent the day of the resurrection teaching the Old Testament to the disciples.”
On the work of Christ, “Christ destroyed not the enemies, but the enmity.”
On the mission of the church, “The church is a benevolent virus in the body politic.”
On evangelism and mission, “The front line is wherever faith meets unbelief.”