Mission Work: The Lutheran Way – What is the Message?

Lutheran Society for MissiologyThe following thoughts are reproduced from an article by Eugene W. Bunkowske in Missio Apostolica (Vol. III, No. 2, 1995).  Check out the Lutheran Society for Missiology website.  Among many resources, you will find the most recent copy of Missio Apostolica in PDF format.

What is the Message?

The message from a Lutheran focus is based on the Word of God. For the Lutheran missiologist, this means Scripture alone (sola scriptura) decides matters of faith and life, not the doctrinal decisions of denominational meetings, nor church councils, nor the dictates of a church president, nor the pope, but only the inspired, inerrant Word of God in the Bible.  Mission Work: The Lutheran Way does not think of the Bible as a text about what man may think God is like but as God’s own revelation of himself as to who he is and what he has done in Christ for the salvation of all humankind.[1] The Lutheran Confessions in the Book of Concord are also very important to Lutheran missiologists, not because they are God’s inspired words but because Lutherans recognize the Lutheran Confessions as a correct exposition of what the Bible says.

The message of Lutheran missiology is called the Good News. The technical New Testament term for the Good News is the Euangelion. This message can be neatly unpacked under the following four points:

  1. The divine declaration that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) who is Lord (Matt 16:13-20).
  2. The historical proclamation of Christ’s life of perfect obedience, death, resurrection, and exultation for the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation (Php 2:5-11).
  3. A summons to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus Christ (Luke 24:47).
  4. A call to function as a family member in God’s family business of “seeking and saving the lost.” This is the new life in Christ, committed to gospel witness (2 Cor 5:17-19).

[1] 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Cor 2:13; Cf. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration (FC SD) VI and XI.

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