“christianity takes up mankind – or to put it concretely, the church takes up the society with which it lives – into its own horizon of expectation of the eschatological fulfillment of justice, life, humanity and sociability and communicates in its own decisions in history its openness and readiness for this future and its elasticity towards it.
“one of the first senses in which this happens is in the missionary proclamation of the gospel, that no corner of this world should remain without god’s promise of new creation through the power of the resurrection. this has nothing whatever to do with an extension of the claim to sovereignty on the part of the church and its officials, or with an attempt to regain the old privileges accuring from the cult of the Absolute. “missions perform their service today only when they infect men with hope’ (j.c. hoekendijk, mission – heute). this kindling of live hopes that are braced for action and prepared to suffer, hopes of the kingdom of god that is coming to earth in order to transform it, is the purpose of mission. it is the task of the whole body of christians, not merely the task of particular officials. the whole body of christians is engaged in the apostolate of hope for the world and finds therein its essence – namely that which makes it the church of god. it is not in itself the salvation of the world, so that the ‘churchifying’ of the world would mean the latter’s salvation, but it serves the coming salvation of the world and is like an arrow sent out into the world to point to the future.”