H. Bavinck on Missiology

hermanbavinckbig-8534189Missiology in the first instance is not preoccupied with the question of what the truth is, but with the secondary question of how we are to present that truth about Christ. How are we to speak the truth about Christ in such a way that the gospel is comprehensible to its hearers? I might indicate in this connection that evangelization struggles with the same complexities. For, in the western world today, unchristian opinions and tendencies are certainly beginning to be seen in more audacious and flagrant forms, with the result that the difference between missions and evangelism is shriveling. In both terms, at issue is the demand to preach Christ relevantly and compellingly to people who do not know the one who is the Light of our light and the Life in our lives. The way of posing the issue in missiology is not the same as it is for dogmatic theology. For missiology, it is not about summarizing synthetically the truth of Scripture as that is mirrored in the church’s confession. Nor is it about apologetics, although missiology must often sharply and clearly expose the errors of false religion and ward off all the attacks concentrated against the gospel. But all of this is simply provisional and not yet its actual task. The essential task of missiology is missional. As soon as the church moves from a defensive posture concerning unbelief and superstition and assumes the offensive position of positively proclaiming the gospel, it unavoidably faces the weighty issue of the form in which the gospel must be rendered.”

Bolt, John (2013-06-03). The J. H. Bavinck Reader (p. 116). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.