Abstract

The OT continues to be neglected in Christian theological reflection. Recent treatments of evangelism and mission illustrate this tendency. The book of Jonah offers a narrative context for the retrieval of a robust OT witness, not only for practices of evangelism but also for Christian biblical theology. Relating Jonah directly to the topic of Christian vocation confirms "verbal proclamation" to be a reductive account of evangelism. The concept of evangelism should instead be expanded to include the entire missio dei of global reconciliation, particularly through the imitatio dei of God's people in their care for creation and all its creatures. Social justice, peace, and ecological concern are not beyond the scope of evangelism. Moreover, such a reading of Jonah demonstrates that the two testaments are not divided by a fundamental, sequential distinction between centripetal and centrifugal movements of God's people vis-à-vis the world. God sent a prophet of Israel to Nineveh and Jesus' disciples are charged to gather diverse peoples into the unified family of God. While recognizing the existence of discontinuity between the testaments and yet avoiding a supersessionist hermeneutic, Jonah can be read according to a trajectory of divine action that unites all of Scripture and warrants the OT's Christian witness. Throughout Scripture's story, God is the main actor in salvation. Even the recurrent resistance of God's people to a communal life of imitatio dei finally yields to the power of God's love for all.

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