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….