The Privilege of Calling: The Mosaic Paradigm for Missions (Deut. 26:16–19) -- By: Daniel I. Block

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 162:648 (Oct 2005)
Article: The Privilege of Calling: The Mosaic Paradigm for Missions (Deut. 26:16–19)
Author: Daniel I. Block


The Privilege of Calling: The Mosaic Paradigm for Missions (Deut. 26:16–19)

This is the final article in a four-part series “Rediscovering the Gospel according to Moses,” delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 3-6, 2004.

Daniel I. Block

Daniel I. Block is Professor of Old Testament, Graduate Biblical and Theological Studies, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

For almost two decades George W. Peters, one of the great missiological statesmen of the previous century, held high the torch of missions not only on the campus of Dallas Seminary but also around the world.1 In his teaching he emphasized the contrasts between the missiological strategies in the Old and New Testaments. Although one may recognize a universal agenda in both Testaments, the differences in the strategies may be summed up in the phrases “centripetal universality” and “centrifugal universality.” He wrote, “Centrifugal universality is in effect when a messenger of the gospel crosses frontiers and carries the good news to the people of no faith. Centripetal universality, often mistaken for particularism, operates like a magnetic force, drawing distant peoples to a central place, people, or person. The latter is the methodology of the Old Testament, with Israel and the temple as the center designed to draw people to themselves and to the Lord.”2

The centripetal feature of God’s missiological strategy in the Old Testament is seen in the Lord rescuing Israel from slavery and drawing Israel into a covenant relationship with Himself as a glorious trophy of grace so that the world might know that He alone is God and that He alone can meet their deepest needs if they cast themselves on Him.

Although Deuteronomy 26:16–19 is not cited by Peters in his book on missions, this remarkable passage can help in developing a theology of missions that is truly biblical. This short passage is not an isolated text. On the contrary it is intimately linked both to Moses’ preceding exposition of the Law revealed at Sinai and to what follows, that is, the covenant blessings and curses in chapter 28. Deuteronomy 26:16–19 functions as a critical hinge in the overall flow of this second address. But these verses are also linked to Exodus 19:3–6. It seems that as Moses made this profound statement in Deuteronomy...

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