What Are Obedient Nations?
obe·di·ent | \ ō-ˈbē-dē-ənt , ə- \
is a word that some people told me I shouldn't use. While I've wrestled with this, I believe it gives us a clarion call to new dimensions of this unfinished task of the missio Dei.
As the Body of Christ around the world has heightened its own obedience to the Great Commission—that we are to "disciple ALL the nations...teaching THEM to obey all that I've commanded you"—so many biblical pioneers and preachers have reduced this passage to only (albeit commendably) "make lots of disciples from every nation, baptizing...teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded." But I believe that Christ was talking about obedient NATIONS, and that is why I have launched this site: to open the conversation more widely to those for whom this is a relatively new idea or one that needs lavish attention, especially at this moment in the missio Dei.
na·tion | \ ˈnā-shən \
I use this term loosely, because there are two primary categories of nations. The first is the nation-state, or geo-political entity. This is the collection of 200 countries around the world, such as those that make up the United Nations, etc.
The other category is one that missiologists such as Donald McGavran, Ralph Winter, and others have coined based on the biblical word, ethne. To them, the ethne of our Scripture and of our world are not the geo-political countries, but rather the "ethno-linguistic" groupings of humanity, which consist of over 16,000 such groups, thousands of them still considered to be "unreached people groups," or UPGs.
I believe that our Creator embraces both concepts, based on his redemptive acts throughout history.You can read more about my biblical study of this language here.