Bosch, Witness to the World (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1980), pp. 179-80. My underlining.
The mooring of mission to the doctrine of the Trinity led to the introduction of the expression missio Dei (God’s mission) at Willingen. The term was in all probability coined by Hartenstein. He intended it to give expression to the conviction that God, and God alone was the subject of mission. The initiative for our mission lay with him alone (missio ecclesiae, the Church’s mission). Only in God’s hands our mission could be truly [sic] called mission. In the period after Willingen the concept missio Dei gradually changed its meaning. It came to signify God’s hidden activities in the world, independent of the Church, and our responsibility to discover and participate in these activities.
It’s interesting how the final idea is, at least in part, the basis of Roxburgh’s advice. Again, strange to see ideas from 1952, reported on in 1980, offered as the latest and greatest solution to the Church’s problems.
Just to repeat what was in the previous post, and speaking more generally of the use of missio Dei: the missionary focus on the world as we follow God’s initiative is right. The side-lining of the Church is a grave mistake.