The nature and future of missional theologies/churhces

Report
THE NATURE AND CHALLENGES OF
“MISSIONAL” THEOLOGIES/CHURCHES
Faculty of Theology
Stellenbosch: 20 January 2015
[email protected]
IMPORTANCE OF “MISSIOLOGY” IN THE MODERN
HISTORY OF THE WORLD AND CHURCH HISTORY IN SA
Impossible to understand current constellation of nations (Europe, Americas, Africa,
Middle-East…) without understanding political/economic/cultural role of Christian
mission
In RSA: Missiology was the predominant subject- and church polity field where the
key decisions about separate church formation and socio-political ethics were taken
(not in dogmatics or the Biblical sciences)
WHAT ARE “MISSIONAL THEOLOGIES”?
MAKING MISSION THEOLOGICAL OR MAKING
THEOLOGY MISSIONAL?
1. Perspective from missiology (theology of mission/Apostolaatsteologie?)
2. Perspective from systematic theology
3. Perspective from the whole Christian tradition
How “new” is this? = DRC example: content and (ideological) framework
Examples of “non-missional” theologies?
WHAT ARE “MISSIONAL” CHURCHES?
INDENTIFYING MISSION WITH THE CHURCH OR THE
CHURCH WITH MISSION?
Difficult question of relation between “church” and “mission” party answered via
creed: We believe in… an apostolic church
Equation of mission with church?
Ecclesiological focus may under-estimate church as itself a result of mission
Under-estimate both mission of God in OT (law, prophets, wisdom) and mission
beyond the church
May supplant Holy Spirit with the church as the real subject of mission
MISSIONAL CHURCHES…
Equation of church and mission? :“The church is mission”
May diminish value of doxology for God’s own sake…(Schlink)
May “instrumentalize” inward/up-building/pastoring of the church (just “being”
church is a witness in itself?)
Assumption of a two-tier (multi-tier?) church: (non)-missional
Potential and dangers of a “missional church network”
Clarity about terms like “diacony”, “evangelization”, “mission”, “dialogue”…
MISSIONAL THEOLOGIES AND CONTEXTUAL
DISCERNMENT
Key issue: discernment of context (“first and core act of a missional church” ) to “see”
where God is already acting and to demonstrate to which questions a missional
theology/church is a more adequate response (examples: liberation/public
theologies)
Criterion by which to judge and guide context provides ethical dimension of MT :
“life-giving/enhancing” (John 10) transcends anthropological bias of “humanizing”
criterion (“missional” ethics?)
Includes self-critical discernment of mission history, social location of missional
churches, and a-symmetrical power between centre and margins (beautiful: “mission
from the margins”)
DISCERNING THE CONTEXT…
Some crucial contextual factors impacting on missional theologies:
*Communication revolution (e-church, virtual community, network societies)
*Rapid urbanization (inner city mission, urban mission, multi-cultural church planting)
*The rapid spread of an eclectic but powerful Pentecostalism (independent missiondriven churches, power of healing ministries, commodification of religion – competitive; effect
on mission of historical churches )
*The urgent need for religions of the world to establish via inter-faith dialogue broad
common ground (Judaims, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism)
*Developing a cosmo-centric spirituality to address ecological devastation
TOWARD A “MISSIONAL COSMOLOGY”? (MOVE MT
BEYOND FOCUS ON ECCLESIOLOGY)
The world is still being created by God in Christ through the Spirit and creation is a
source of revelation to us (Rom 1; Belgic confession, art. 2)
The whole of created order is on a mission towards God’s purpose and future
kingdom
There are numerous missionary activities of God in the world outside of the church there are many participants in the missio Dei (stones will call out; John 3)
Grace – including grace in Christ – is the basis of God’s providence to set up markers
of “life” in and beyond the church (Belgic confession, art. 13 versus Epicurian heresy)
MISSIONAL COSMOLOGY…
The Trinity – basis of missional theology - is consistently revealed in cosmic (not only
communitarian or social) terms (Gen 1; Wisdom, John 1, Rom 8, Eph 1, Col 1, Apocalyps)
Affirms the humble, crucified, kenotic church as participating in a unique (but not exclusive)
manner in God’s bigger cosmic mission to bring life, shalom and justice to all creation
May assist in guarding against the self-secularization of the church
May correct interpretation that “MT” and “missional church” are in fact motivated by an
attempt to regain lost ecclesial power and short-term enthusiasm rather than responding more
faithfully to God’s call to participate in His/Her mission
Will have a remarkable impact on the encompassing ethical character of MT
CREATION IS YEARNING FOR THE FREEDOM AND
GLORY OF GOD… (ROM 8) – GUIDING A MT?
Die skepping sien met gespanne verwagting daarna uit dat God bekend sal maak wie sy
kinders is….
Die skepping sal self ook bevry word van sy verslawing aan die verganklikheid, om so tot
die vryheid te kom van die heerlikheid waaraan die kinders van God deel sal he.
Ons weet dat die hele skepping tot nou toe sug in die pyne van verwagting….

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