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Missional God, Missional Church

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Missional God, Missional Church

Hope for Re-evangelizing the West

"As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). With the reality of broad-scale secularization in the West and the attendant cloud of insignificance hanging over the church, is there any hope for the re-evangelization of the West? In this comprehensive theology of mission, Ross Hastings directs the fretful gaze of the church to the trinitarian commission of John 20. There we find Jesus granting peace to his disciples by breathing his Spirit on them. He formed them into his community of shalom, the new humanity. Leaving their locked room, these "sent ones" went out to participate in God's own ongoing mission to the world. Hastings tackles the dual challenges of isolation from and accommodation to the surrounding culture. Building on the works of David Bosch, Lesslie Newbigin, Christopher Wright and Darrell Guder, the author offers a particularly theological defence of the missional church. He corrects numerous dichotomies that hinder the church. He is particularly concerned to emphasize that the missional church is as gathered, both the deep church, deep in its eucharistic, liturgical, preaching, and communal life, and as scattered, it is the wide church, in which the whole people of God are missional in fulfilling not just the Great Commission and Great Commandment, but through their work and domestic lives, the cultural mandate, the bringing in of the new creation. This comprehensive theology of mission opens possibilities for renewal of faithful effort as we join in Christ's mission to the world.




1. The Greatest Commission

Outlines of John 20:19-23 and of This Book

Matters of Interpretation

Defiant Optimism

The State of the Western Church

2. Breaking Free Through Discerning Inculturation

Inculturation Without Enculturation

Cultural Disconnection of Western Churches and Breaking Free

3. Breaking Free of the Entrapment of Indiscriminate Enculturation

Indiscriminate Enculturation of the Western Churches

Despair Leading to Isolation

Despair Within Even the Radical Emergent

The Despair Undergirding Radical Orthodoxy

Hope in the Christocentric, Trinitarian Church

4. Greatest Co-Mission: The Missional Trinity

What Does It Mean to Be Trinitarian?

The Trinity and the Power of Relationality

The Trinity and the Dignity of Personhood

The Trinity and Coinherence

The Immanent and the Economic Trinities (Two Trinities or One?)

The Trinity and Creation

The Trinity and Election

The Trinity and the Church: Unity with Diversity


5. Communities of Christ's Risen Presence

Church as Christocentric Community

Church as Celebratory Community

Church as a Community of Shalom

Church as a Missional, Open Community: A Community of Hospitality

Church as Essential Community

Church as the One Catholic Community

Church as Community That Is Both Lively and Old

Church as a Missional Community

Church as a Catechetical Community

6. Mission of Incarnation and Resurrection

The Incarnation-Resurrection Dynamic Reaffirms

God's Creation and Confirms the Church's Mission as a Creational Mission

The Incarnation-Resurrection Dynamic Affirms That Christian Mission Is a New Creational Mission

7. Communities of Christ's Crucified Presence: Beautiful Scars

Communities of Christ's Crucified Presence: Joy Generated by Beautiful Scars

Communities of Christ's Crucified Presence: Through Christocentric, Cruciform Worship, Teaching and Community Life

8. Mission About the Cross, Mission Under the Cross: His Completed Redemption

Mission About the Cross

Mission Under the Cross


9. Communities of the Triune Missional God: Mission the Mother of Theology, Theology the Mother of Mission

Biblical Evidence of God as Missional

Theological Considerations of God as Missional

The Nature of the Missional Church

10. Mission as Theosis

Participation in the Son's Sentness by the Spirit

Participation in the Son's Sentness by the Spirit

Implications of Incarnational and Pneumatic Theosis for the Church's Mission

11. Communities of the Spirit: Gathered and Scattered

The Spirit in the Missional Church Gathered

The Spirit in Missional Church Moral Formation

The Spirit in the Missional Church Scattered

12. Communities of Forgiveness: Mission of Absolution and Freedom

Remission at the Heart of the Gospel

Remission Expressed in Participation with Christ by the Spirit

Remission as an Initial and Permanent Saving Act and as an Ongoing Relational Practice

Remission and Reconciliation as a Sign of the Kingdom


Name and Subject Index

Scripture Index



R. Paul Stevens

"Drawing on theological conversation partners throughout the history of the church, and more importantly the text of Scripture, Ross Hastings has crafted the definitive work on the missional church. Hastings brings into a dynamic synthesis years of pastoral experience and academic research and teaching. This is theology at its best: grounded in the Word of God, immensely practical and founded supremely on the beautiful reality of the missional triune God. After a careful analysis of our societal and ecclesial reality, Hastings takes us on an inspiring tour of trinitarian theology, Christian humanism, the kingdom of God and a deep ecclesiology. The end result of God's mission, he argues, is the inbreaking of the kingdom, shalom in the world and a fully human existence for people inside and outside the church. Thus the missional church would be both wide and deep. Would that this book were read and applied by every church leader."

J. I. Packer

"This expository tour de force integrates all the main themes of half a century's missiological reflection. Its central thesis, that the heart of the missional heart of John's gospel is the Easter evening narrative, is totally convincing."


Rod Wilson

Former President of Regent College, Vancouver

"With his characteristic commitment to the church as well as his facility with and passion for trinitarian theology, Ross Hastings offers a perspective on ecclesiology and mission that cuts through the extremes that are so prevalent in the contemporary ecclesiastical culture without being esoteric on the one hand or overly pragmatic on the other."

Darrell Johnson

"Ross Hastings—pastor, theologian, scientist, lover of people—has written what can only be called a 'game-changer.' With Spirit-infused passion, insight, precision and grace, Ross has engaged all the major players in the missional conversation and has significantly moved the conversation forward. Massively forward! Working with the Easter evening story of the resurrected Jesus in John 20, Ross moves things forward by relentlessly and joyfully drawing us deeper and deeper into a thrilling vision of the inner life of the triune missional God. As a result, we can face the challenges before us out of renewed intimacy and 'intoxication' with the Great Missionary. This is the book we will return to again and again!"


Andy Harrington

"Ross Hastings has written a masterful work that, while taking a step back in order to look at the sad state of much of the Western church, offers hope based on deep theological truths and a renewed understanding of what we as a community of believers are called to embrace. Looking at missional concepts from a communal context, Ross sounds a clarion call for the church to become what it was intended to be, a community of shalom, healing and forgiveness in a hostile land."


  1. ​Larlee, Randene. “Missional God, Missional Church: Hope for Re-Evangelizing the West.” Canadian Theological Review 2, no. 1 (2013): 109–11.

  2. Rozko, J. R. “Missional God, Missional Church: Hope for Re-Evangelizing the West.” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 49, no. 4 (October 2013): 506–7.

  3. Simon, Chris. “Missional God, Missional Church: Hope for Re-Evangelizing the West.” St Mark’s Review 228 (May 2014): 145–47.

  4. Womack, Deanna Ferree. “Missional God, Missional Church: Hope for Re-Evangelizing the West.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 37, no. 4 (October 2013): 243–243.

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