Earliest Christian Mission to All Nations
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This rich study offers the best explanation available of the Christian mission to people of every ethnic group. In plumbing the depths of Matthew's Gospel and other ancient documents, James LaGrand provides a full biblical description of the messianic mission to all people everywhere. He also demonstrates the contemporary relevance of the discussion, showing, for example, why certain modern developments--from Church Growth principles to political apartheid--contradict the Christian gospel. Now available in a paperback edition with a new preface by Richard Bauckham, LaGrand's work offers a valuable perspective on the church's mission. "LaGrand's book is enormously gratifying for many reasons besides its exhaustive comprehensiveness. The author's style is delightfully readable, his concepts crisp and clear. He carries his message forward with consistent coherence and a truly estimable facility with the ancient biblical languages and the contemporary languages of Western scholarship." -
James LaGrand investigates the text of Matthew's Gospel to straw how the first Christians understood and claimed Israel's messianic mission to people of every ethnic group immediately after Jesus' death and resurrection.^LaGrand first examines the Hebrew Bible and other ancient documents to uncover the meaning in Matthew's time of the terms "Israel" and "the nations" in relation to fellowship and witness. This interesting background study not only demonstrates that "Israel" was understood much more broadly than its usual ethnic basis, but it also has contemporary relevance, showing, for example, that certain modern developments -- from the "homogeneous unit principle" of the Church Growth movement to political apartheid -- contradict the Christian gospel.^In the second part of the book, LaGrand discusses Matthew's Gospel in the context of Israel's literature, as a document written later than Paul's letters but before A.D. 70., and shows that, following Jesus' death and resurrection, his followers came to view the Gentile mission as a logical extension of Israel.^First published as part of the University of South Florida's International Studies in Formative Christianity and Judaism series, this paperback edition of LaGrand's work includes a new preface by Richard Bauckham, an author's note, redrawn maps, and an extended index.
LaGrand has served as teacher in Nigeria and as a guest lecturer in New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, is pastor of Beacon Light Church, Gary, Indiana.