Gary B. McGee on Holistic Mission

A fellow AGTS grad I know, William Molenaar posted this article by the late Gary B. McGee, former professor of Church History at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and I wanted to share it here:

“Apart from the adapted holiness formula of the ‘full gospel’ (salvation, baptism in the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and the second coming of Christ) that historically provided the core of Assemblies of God theology, its missiology has lacked an integrating theological theme. Following the lead of evangelicals after World War II, some A/G writers began to explore the meaning of the kingdom of God (the rule of God in the hearts and behaviors of believers) as a present reality for the mission of the church, but without discounting the future millennial reign of Christ….

While Pentecostals have naturally gravitated to passages such as Matthew 4:23-26 which records the preaching of Jesus accompanied by signs and wonders, they also need to reexamine the implications of Luke 4:18-19….

Continued biblical exposition of the kingdom of God offers Pentecostals the best prospect of developing a holistic theology of mission capable of integrating historic concerns for taking the gospel message to unreached peoples and expressing Christian compassion by ministering to physical and social needs…. Emphasis on the ethical teachings of the Kingdom (e.g., the parables) will help church members to review the best insights of their holiness heritage. More importantly, it will equip them with a prophetic witness that challenges the entrenched materialism and apathy that flourishes within their own ranks, addresses personal sins, and reproves the corporate evils that pervade the power structures of the world: social injustice, economic exploitation, militarism, and racial and gender discrimination.

Some may fear, however, that the above will lead to politicizing of missionary activities. Although the traditional apolitical stance should be retained, missionaries in their role as educators of future church leaders must expound on the social implications of Kingdom values, lest they be surprised when members of mission churches begin to combat problems in ways that are less than biblical….”

–Gary B. McGee, “Saving Souls or Saving Lives?” Paraclete: A Journal of Pentecostal Studies (Fall 1994): 18-19.

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