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...He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and the needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 22:16
…theology..has no reason to exist other than to critically accompany the missio Dei.
David Bosch
For Christians, interpreting Scripture is a difficult task...because it is, and involves, a life long process of learning to become a wise reader of Scripture capable of embodying that reading in life.
Stephen Fowl and Gregory Jones, Reading in Communion, p. 29
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Galatians 5:6
Resurrection, not progress, not evolution, not enlightenment, but what the word means, namely, a call from heaven to us: 'Rise up! You are dead, but I will give you life.'
Karl Barth, Jesus Victor, from A Chorus of Witnesses
Theology has become like a troll, which though wise is 'small and ugly, not risking itself to be seen in public.'
Ched Myers, Who Will Roll Away the Stone? p. xxii
C.S. Lewis says...the proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in cosummation. So it is with the Christian doctrine of reward.
Archibald Hunter, A Pattern for Life
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The Christian claim is that the Christian faith does more justice to the facts, makes more sense out of life, illuminates life, opens life more to the grace of God that forgives and heals wounded consciences and bruised spirits than does any other faith.
John Leith, Basic Christian Doctrine, p. 7
In the 'locus imperii' there is a desperate need for Christians to offer hope and reignite the fires of political imagination and social innovation.
Ched Myers, Who Will Roll Away the Stone? p. 33
...it is clear that man cannot have practical intelligence unless he is good.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1144a37

 

 

 

Primarily from “The Missional Church in Perspective”…

 

 

 

1)  During the Protestant Reformation newly forming churches, established or persecuted, were concerned with clarifying what they believed and justifying the legitimacy of their historical experience.  Resulted in a variety of confessions, including the Belgic, Continental Reformed, 1561/Heidelberg, Continental Reformed 1563/Westminster Confession, English Reformed, 1646.)  Mission was defined in these confessional documents within a worldview of Christendom.  Here the church was established by the state.  The church was assumed to be responsible for the world.  It’s direct involvement was defined by the magistrate’s obligation to carry out Christian duties on behalf of the church in the world.

 

2)  Modern missions emerged largely from outside and to some extent from inside the established churches.  (insert Andrew Walls approach here)  A new organizational structure designed to function beyond the Christian duties of the magistrate was required.  One such structure was the mission society. (R. Winter “The two structures of God’s redemptive mission” and Cody Watson, Mission Orders and the Presbyterian Church)

 

3)  First immigrants to American colonies brought their existing ecclesiology and structures with them.  (notes from Presbyterian history) Their diversity led to the division between church and state.  This resulted in the denomination becoming the primary organizational structure of the church (first change in organizational life of church in over 1,400 years.)  (Niebuhr on Denominations)The denomination quickly became the norm for the church in the United States and through missionary efforts was spread throughout the world.  Aspects of free-church ecclesiology (Anabaptists etc) were incorporated into US church polities.

 

4)  Numerous interdenominational mission societies developed in 19th century. (Again, Walls) Then, because of internal church politics, increasing number of denominations withdrew from these cooperative agreements in order to form their own internal denominational boards and agencies.  Now two forms of mission societies formed:  (1)  independent of denominational churches (faith missions or parachurch orgs) and (2)  structures within denominational structures.

 

5)  The peak of foreign mission movement from West was at Edinburgh world mission conference in 1910, (Walls yet again) gathered to complete the challenge of the Student Volunteer Movement:  “the evangelization of the world in our generation.”  World War I dramatically disrupted the plans developed here.  Following WWI two critical developments.  (1)  The “younger churches” developed in the colonial system and with them the question of the relationship between the older and younger churches.  (2)  Move in West to clearly define the relationship of church to mission through three organizations which grew out of Edinburgh:  the International Missionary Council (IMC) formed in 1921, the Life and Work Movement formed in 1925 and the Faith and Order Movement, formed in 1927.  Life and Work and Faith and Order came together to form the World Council of Churches.  in 1948.  In 1961 WCC merged with IMC which became the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME).  Many evangelicals then withdrew from the IMC/CWME.  The IMC was assigned to commission status within the WCC making it effectively a subset of the church.

 

6)  By mid twentieth century the division between ecclesiology and missiology insufficient to resolve question of how church and mission related.

a-  Ecclesiology is a theological discipline which seeks to understand and define the church.  This has come primarily from historical creeds and confessions formulated in the past twenty centuries.  Few have an explicit awareness of the church’s responsibility for engaging in ministry in the larger world, apart from responsibilities assigned to the magistrate.  On mission field two options:  (1)  denominations transposing their ecclesiastical systems including confessional understanding of church as well as most of their Western-shaped practices including things like programs, music, organization and architecture.  This was challenged by many younger churches [I was taught the impotence of such an approach in places like Honduras].  WCC formed in 1948 because of this and focused on unity in midst of such diversity.  (2)  Misson societies and parachurch orgs which had no confessional understanding of the church became pragmatic in their development of churches in various contexts.  “Restoration tradition”, using NT to find patterns of church life to emulate, but diversity of practices in the NT plagued efforts to find common ground in this way.  But this still forms the primary approach to church planting and mission for many evangelicals.

 

b-Missiology is a theological discipline which seeks to understand and define the creating and redeeming works of God in the world.  These have traditionally come from organizational entities – monastic orders, mission societies, parachurch organizations, denominational boards and agencies – which developed alongside the church.  Few developed any meaningful interaction with the creeds and confessions of the church.  Schleiermacher, in his 1811 proposal for a theological curriculum, designated mission as a practical discipline dealing primarily with mission practice.  Fulfilling great commission major emphasis of movements working outside of or alongside denominations.  Church primarily responsible for activity of mission.  Just as discipline of missiology gaining viability in the academy, the climate related to foreign mission shifted.  By 1950’s validity of foreign mission called into question.  Missiology became marginalized as it was becoming institutionalized.  Alternative mission theologies developed primarily by Orthodox and Roman Catholic, but two strains of evangelicalism as well:  (1)  McGavran and church growth through school or World Mission at Fuller and (2) Focus on world evangelization through Billy Graham Association which morphed into the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE).  All are still very much at work in the world today.  Each movement continues to show high levels of suspicion toward the others.  Introduction of the Missional conversation has done some to form a bridge between the two.

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