The twentieth century marked the end of an era in western relations with Asia and Africa, and in Christian missionary enterprise. The Gospel had reached the ends of the earth, and the churches founded as a result of missionary effort, albeit representative of precarious minorities, had a new relationship with their mother churches, and had taken up their own evangelistic tasks. Were missions an historical contingency? Is there theological necessity for the churches to continue, in an ecumenical area, to send missionaries across secular and national boundaries? A re-examination of the Biblical basis of mission was an essential part of the search for an answer to this question. Blauw has surveyed what twentieth-century theologians felt about the problem.
Blauw bases his account of the foundation and motivation for mission on theological and biblical research. The author shows that: "a 'theology of mission' cannot be other than a 'theology of the Church', as the people of God called out of the world, placed in the world, and sent to the world."