The Catalyst for Emerging Church Leadership, CECL, lead by Mick Noel at Biblical Seminary, sponsored an event for local Christians about “the gospel and the church that is emerging.” John Franke, a leading professor at Biblical, and I were the speakers and Dave Dunbar, a theologian and the President at Biblical Seminar, participated in the dialogue.
First comment: perfect structure. Each of us had 25 minutes to talk but that was followed by 45 solid minutes of questions and conversation — and good, solid, suggestive, thoughtful questions came our way. Apart from my comment that I thought dispensationalism was a bad mistake — which didn’t sit well with some, the conversations went well.
Second, I’m always game to hear John Franke. John is about the only theologian I know who is doing a full-scale theology through the hermeneutical grid of “our missional God.” It’s not unusual to find missional (or even mission) in a theology, but no one has yet started there and learned to articulate theology on that basis. I think of David Bosch and Lesslie Newbigin, who are two of my heroes, but no straight-forward theologian has done this to my knowledge.
This means John always has stuff to say — and he gave a stimulating 25 minute talk about missional and emerging as one-and-the-same thing (bravo for John). And he gave points about this: God is missional, the church is missional, etc..
Third, my talk was about seven mistakes we make when ‘gospeling’ with others. Since this is dear to my heart and I haven’t worked this into anything to publish, I’m working my way into the theme. It began out in Seattle at the Vineyard church with Rose Swetman and Todd Hunter, and I developed a few more ideas at Biblical.
Biblical is making these talks available online. When I’m informed of the link, I’ll pass it on to you.
Here’s my favorite question — and it was asked about five times in five different ways: How do you make an already-formed church into a missional church? (I didn’t have the chutzpah to suggest that Reformed churches, since they are always reforming, should have the least issue with this, but the simple fact is that many Reformed churches are more tailored for 16th Century Europe that 21st Century postmodern West.) My answer: be missional yourself, surround yourself with some other missional folks, stay in loving communication with your leadership, and only break away if it becomes intolerable or insufferable. Why stay? Simple: there is nothing so compelling as a missional group.