Thoughts of a Living Christian

Musings of an amateur theologian and hopeful writer

Church as a Missional Society

The Church is being-driven, in that “its purpose and activity flow forth from the church’s identity,”[1] (i.e. ‘being’) and “its being is identified as that which turns upward, outward, and downward in communion with God, its own members, and the world.”[2] The Church’s entire purpose is rooted in its identity with the Triune God, who is “communal and co-missional,”[3] who has named the church, and of whose Kingdom the Church belongs – not to the kingdom of this world. The basis of the Church’s mission is relationship, and, finding its identity in a relational God who desires the Good News to be spread to all nations and all people, the Church step beyond the comfortable and prioritize outreach, aiming to have a tangible impact upon today’s society.[4] As “God relocated from heaven to earth to reach a lost world…So too we must relocate, living among those who do not confess Christ.”[5]

One thing in particular that stands out in this chapter is how uncomfortable it makes me feel while reading it. The theology and argument is sound and passionate, but it presents a difficult lifestyle for the Church to follow. The Church must step beyond what is comfortable in order to reach out to those who do not know Christ. We should not expect them to come to us, but rather, we should we going to them. This is certainly not easy. To an extent, it is troubling that something that is absolutely rooted in our identity in the Triune God is so uncomfortable. It is not usual, however, for people to enjoy intentionally stepping out into the uncomfortable. Hence, it must only be through the power and love of the Spirit that the Gospel can be spread to all peoples.[6]

References

Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994.

Harper, Brad, and Paul Louis Metzger. Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2009.


[1] Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger, Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2009). 237.

[2] Ibid. 237.

[3] Ibid. 238.

[4] According to Grenz, “As those who have responded to the gospel call and acknowledge the lordship of Christ, we seek to model what it means to live under the guidelines of the divine reign. Kingdom principles include peace, justice, and righteousness. But above all, the divine reign is characterized by love. Consequently, by being a true community of believers, we indicate what the reign of God is like; it is the community of love.” (Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994). 503).

[5] Harper and Metzger. 245. Further, we must recognize our sin before we can reach out to others. Harper and Metzger note, “Only when we see that apart from Christ we are as desperately lost as the prostitutes, demon-possessed, and tax collectors to whom Jesus ministered will we experience full redemption. Only then can we bear witness to Jesus as the good news so that others might experience redemption too.” (p.249).

[6] Harper and Metzger note, “May the coming kingdom of the nonhomogeneous and downwardly mobile God inspire us to hew out of those towering building programs of despair cornerstones of living hope to bear witness to God’s triune name.” (p.273).

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