What is the church’s work of missions, and how should we carry it out? In this thorough study, Eric Wright roots missions solidly in the biblical text while giving modern, real-life examples of how missionary principles can be applied practically. He covers subjects such as missions and God’s kingdom, the validity of mission boards, the role of providence, the necessary spiritual gifts, the multi-ethnic nature of ideal churches, how to avoid dependency, the priority of church planting versus humanitarian ministries, and short-term versus life-long missionary commitment. This book reverses the drift away from theology into pragmatics, without denying the importance of a dynamic methodology that responds to changing conditions. Regular snapshots of missionary life as it is being or has been played out in real situations ground the whole book in reality.
Eric E. Wright grew up in Toronto, Canada. After his conversion, he studied Theology in South Carolina, USA, where he met and married his wife, Mary Helen. Called together to missionary service in the Muslim world, they ministered in Pakistan for sixteen years. There Eric became co-founder of the Open Theological Seminary, now serving over 1,500 students. After returning to Canada, Eric pastored Long Branch Baptist Church, Toronto, served as interim pastor in six other churches, and taught both the history and theology of missions at Toronto Baptist Seminary. Eric and Mary Helen have three married children and nine grandchildren. They live in Salem, Ontario, Canada.
"A good understanding of biblical theology provides the basis for effective cross-cultural missionary work in A Practical Theology of Missions. True missionary stories from several continents reflect the author’s global perspective that has been nurtured by his development of theological education by extension in Pakistan, followed by his teaching of missions at the Toronto Baptist Seminary, where he was my colleague for twelve years. I highly recommend his effort." - Rudolph H. Wiebe, lecturer at the Toronto Baptist Seminary for twenty-nine years and a principal lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Pankshin, Nigeria, West Africa since 2004
"This book is the climax of Eric Wright’s full life as missionary, pastor and author. It is on a theme he is most qualified to expound, the theology of missions. It distils decades of missionary experience and research, reflection and devotion. The book is thorough and balanced, and yet it is an inspiring book to read. In it the reader will find the threefold calling of the church.
Firstly, the church exists to give praise to God by word, action, prayer and worship. This is the very core of the life of the church, the glory of God constituting the dominating motive in every deed and prayer. Paul declared that grace was given to him to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ among the heathen. He says of God, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 3:10). The ultimate goal of the church lies above this world, on another plane. The church exists for God and his glory.
Secondly, the church exists to make known the glory of God’s Word to every generation of man. The context of this proclamation is to be through the exercise of loving, pastoral care of its members by opening up and applying to every person all of the Scriptures, individually and on the Lord’s Day.
Thirdly, the church exists to encounter and serve the world by bringing to all mankind the good news of Jesus Christ. Through his church Christ stretches forth his hands to those who are outside the light of his everlasting salvation. It constrains the ignorant and lost to come in, as though God were beseeching them by the church.
So Christ uses our words and lives to reveal the glory of his redemptive work to men and women, drawing them to his salvation. The work of mission has received great promises from God. They are our comfort and they also drive us to our knees." - Revd Geoff Thomas, Pastor since 1965 of Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK