Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A truly biblical church

I will going to speak this coming March in a Pastor's retreat from Myanmar about missions. I'm looking for materials I can use. Browsing some books in my shelf, I found this one.

Patrick Johnstone says this about what it means to be a truly biblical church.

Scripture, theology, the Church, and even Christians would not exist without mission. Therefore, a theology without mission is not a biblical theology, a Church without mission is not longer truly the Church and a Christian without mission is no true disciple. For Christians, mission is not an optional extra for the fanatical few or for the specially anointed, it is a fundamental definitive of who we are in Christ and why we are in Christ.
And Johnstone quotes David Bosch in his book Transforming Mission
Mission... is seen as a movement from God to the world; the Church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. There is a church because there is mission, not vice versa.
Johnstone then challenges the Christians for not understanding this concept and not seeing this vision. He says that it is a failure...

.. they miss God's purpose, God's intimacy and God's blessing. Living for the fulfillment of this vision of the Father is the most noble, most enriching, most meaningful purpose can have in life.

How can any child of God claim to be following Jesus if they have no concern for the lostness and need of the peoples in this world? HOw can they expect the promise of his abiding presence with them, 'I will be with you always,' if they have not been willing to obey the command '...go and make disciples of all peoples...'
Then he goes on to say that any church should not claim to be biblical and a Christian cannot be a true Christian if they do not place at the heart of their ministry agenda--God's heart for a lost world.

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is defined by mission--for it is composed of those who were won to salvation by mission, and how have the awesome responsibility to win others as their mission. If it is not missionary in its theology, daily life, and commitment, it no longer has the right to claim to be the Church. The viability and health of the the Church and of ourselves, as children of God, cannot be separated from the task of world evangelization.

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