Obedient Nations--background read
This phrase is new to most people, even to the missiology types. I've been encouraged by more than one friend not to use it for various reasons. It certainly is not hip or post-millennial. It's not got any current missiological use. I suppose that's part of my reason for sticking with it. It applies the "discipled nations" idea to the most compelling aspect of that now overused phrase. So many seem to be happy to use even discipled nations without really grasping the inherent meaning. So, in some ways, this is simply my way of heightening what we mean when we speak of discipled nations. Nations clearly meaning more than both the colonial geo-political groupings of the past and more than what the unreached people group friends have made of the ethno-linguistic grand collage of peoples, both reached and unreached.
I've hosted two different round-tables in the past few years. The first asked the question: "Can transformation be measured?" It was primarily a research question, but it had, at its heart, this deeper question about national transformation or, as we're saying here: obedient nations. The more recent round-table was simply exploring the deeper meanings of this obedient nations phrase. And it was time well spent with a small handful of mission-minded friends.
I believe with increasing conviction, that not only is this a fresh angle on the missio Dei-- the mission of God, but that it will grow in its influence of the global efforts to "finish this task." In my books, this task is not how so many have couched it, in terms of reaching the last unreached people group, or planting the last church--within walking distance of everyone on the planet, or many other versions of this missional task. I personally believe that so much, maybe even all that we are now doing in the name of this task, can in fact be summed up in this larger task of seeing all the nations taught to obey Christ...seeing all the peoples of the earth embrace the values of the Kingdom of God. So ... friend, read on!