God Dwells Among Us exemplified biblical study in service of every day mission. Beale and Kim state upfront, “The goal of this book is to strengthen biblical conviction for sacrificial mission” (14). In this regard, this book succeeds on all fronts. They argue further,
“Mission does not begin with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, but mission is God’s heartbeat from Genesis 1 until the new heaven and earth become the dwelling place of the Lord God Almighty in Revelation 21-22” (16).
They accomplish this by first laying the foundation for this claim. That foundation begins with an understanding of the Garden as a temple and with Adam and Eve as missionary agents tasked with expanding and multiplying image-bearers into the entire world.
Providentially as I was reading God Dwells Among Us, the staff at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and I were discussing how to encourage missionally minded Christians to pause from their activity to behold the beauty of God and His creation. Beale and Kim address this several times. Most succinctly:
Since true life and substance are found in the presence of God, we must regularly drink deeply from the river of his delights. In our weariness, though, we often seek life from entertainment, empty friendships and ceaseless activity, which all fail to bring life. (23 also see 24, 26, 29, 33, 57, 86, 134)
Consider this in context of the Great Commission. Jesus says, “Go and make disciples and I will be with you always.” In a much greater way than ever before, we have the promised and persistent presence of God with us as we go out on mission to make, mature, and multiply disciples.
When our missional endeavors fails, we must ask why. When we wonder why the church lacks the power to heal broken systems, cities and neighborhoods wrecked by power and greed, and hearts addicted to perversions of the true beauty found in the face of Jesus Christ, we must ask why. What we may find is that we have traded in standing before the face of Lord of all the earth and gazing at his beauty to fuel for mission for cheap carnival tricks and slight of hands.
Beale and Kim urge Christians to see all of Scripture as driving towards a final temple that fills the earth. Christians then will be earthly minded in all the rights ways—ways that reflect the coming kingdom and multiply image bearers fueled by the promised and persistent presence of God and for his glory.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Mathew B. Sims is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and a contributor in Make, Mature, Multiply (GCD Books). He completed over forty hours of seminary work at Geneva Reformed Seminary. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and the project manager for the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Mathew offers freelance editing and book formatting services. He is a member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.