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The missiological shift like the situational shift of the missional church is filled with stark contrasts between how mission was conceived in the traditional church a hundred or so years ago and how it ought to be conceived today in the Post-Christian West. Michael Goheen who is one of the leading scholars on Lesslie Newbigin’s life and thought spoke at an Acts 29 church planting conference. Goheen filled out what the stark contrasts are between traditional church and the missional churches understanding of mission:

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Goheen’s helpful comparison could be expanded upon (indeed he does so elsewhere in his writing). Lesslie Newbigin in Mission in Christ’s Way offers a helpful understanding of the nature of mission in relation to the Kingdom of God and the Spirit of God;


The church is
only true to its calling when it is a sign, an instrument and a foretaste of
the kingdom. But, on the other hand, talk about the kingdom is mere ideology if
it is not tied to the name of Jesus in whom the kingdom is present and if it
does not invite men and women to recognize that presence, to do the U-turn..
.”

Perhaps it is
unfortunate that the history of mission is so often written by missionaries.
They over-estimate their role. It is the Holy Spirit who is the primary
missionary; our role is secondary. Mission is not a burden laid upon the
church; it is a gift and a promise to the church that is faithful. The command
arise from the gift. Jesus reigns and all authority has been given to him in
earth and heaven. When we understand that, we shall not need to be told to let
it be known. Rather, we shall not be able to keep silent
.”


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The missiological shift for the missional church seeks to
offer a missiology for our Post-Christian Western culture by reconsidering as
Goheen & Newbigin did above the nature of mission itself, and the
relationships between the church & mission. I hope you can see the pattern
forming: the situational shift from Christian to Post-Christian is causing new
contextual theologies to reform our understanding of the church. As these
contextualization’s are coming into shape the theological shift from viewing
God as having a mission to being a missionary God is also reshaping and
reviving the original missionary character of the church. Which in turn is
causing the missiological shift above.

 

Discussion Questions:

 

1.   
Read and discuss John 20.21. How did the Father send the Son in
mission? How does the Son send the church in mission? Who does the Son promise
would empower and accompany the church in mission (read John 17; Acts 1-2)?

2.   
How does mission of the church relate to the proclamation and presence
of the Kingdom of God in Jesus ministry?

 

 

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