Posted tagged ‘Missiology’

The World’s Most Typical Person

March 3, 2011

HT: Joe Holland

Word Lens Is a Game Changer

December 17, 2010

The iPhone has empowered my life in a number of ways, not the least of which is an all-in-one gadget.  It is my phone, alarm clock, GPS, calendar, iPod, camera, jump drive, dictaphone, web browser, reader, video camera, scanner, Bible, and a host of other things, many of which I used on a daily basis.  The kinds of things the iPhone can do is truly remarkable, and of the most remarkable things to come out is the Word Lens app.  Check out this video:

Currently, you can go from English to Spanish and vice-versa, and I believe more languages are coming out in the future.  I am already thing about the missiological implications of such an app.  Interpreters and translators can look at notes in one language and check out the translation into another language.  Personally, I find myself logistically planning for mission work in other countries where documents and correspondence requires translation.  To think that simply holding my iPhone camera up to the text for an interpretation baffles me.  And excites me.

This app indeed is a game changer and one which makes me all the more glad I have an iPhone.

Kostenberger on the Church’s Mission in the 21st Century

October 8, 2008

Andreas Kostenberger, on his blog (which is also available in Spanish!), recently shared twelve theses for the church’s mission in the 21st century.  Often when we hear of the church’s mission, it is couched in a pragmatic discussion, focusing on methodology to the neglect of theological reflection.  Kostenberger’s excellent theses, I believe, should serve as contours in future missiological study and practice. Here are his theses:

(1)   The church’s mission-in both belief and practice-should be grounded in the biblical theology of mission.

(2)   Reflection on the church’s mission should be predicated upon the affirmation of the full and sole authority of Scripture.

(3)   The church’s mission should be conceived primarily in terms of the church’s faithfulness and responsiveness to the missionary mandate given by the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture.

(4)   The church’s understanding of its mission should be hermeneutically sound.

(5)   The church’s mission is to be conceived ultimately in theocentric rather than anthropocentric terms.

(6)   The church’s mission, properly and biblically conceived, is to be trinitarian in its orientation, but not at the expense of neglecting the distinct roles of the three persons within the Godhead.

(7)   The contemporary context of the church’s mission, while important, ought not to override the church’s commitment to the authority of Scripture, its need to be grounded in the biblical theology of mission, and the understanding of its task in terms of faithfulness to the gospel.

(8)   The church is the God-ordained agent of his mission in this world today.

(9)   The way in which the kingdom of God is extended in this world today is through regenerate believers acting out their Christian faith in their God-assigned spheres of life: the church, their families, their workplace, the societies in which they live (Eph 5:18-6:9; 1 Pet 2:13-3:7).

(10)  There is no true lasting social transformation apart from personal conversion through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(11)  Human organization does not necessarily entail a lack of acknowledgment of God and his initiative in mission.

(12)  The church’s task today is to nurture, renew, and plant churches composed of a spiritually regenerate membership and constituted in keeping with the biblical teaching regarding church leadership.

I would love to see a discussion started on these twelve theses.  Kostenberger has recently written some excellent works, including Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: The Trinity in John’s Gospel (which I am currently reading).  I encourage you to check out Kostenberger’s works.  My hope is that we could see a more robust commitment to ecclesiology wedded to an unrelenting resolve in missiology that is grounded in a theocentric vision where God’s glory is the goal.

Take a moment and read the entire article.  It will be well worth your time.

Bruce Ashford on Church Planting Movements

August 26, 2008

Bruce Ashford is the Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies and associate professor of philosophy and intercultural studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He is also on the team of the best SBC blog, Between the Times, and has written some very helpful articles on a theologically-driven missiology as well as contours of a great commission resurgence.  While I would like to commend all his articles to you, allow me to post an exerpt speaking to church planting movements.  You may recall that I wrote briefly about a word-driven movemental Christianity and raised several questions regarding David Garrison’s paradigm that is being used (seemingly uncritically) by the IMB (and others).  Dr. Ashford writes (emphasis mine):

In recent days, much has been said about Church Planting Movements (CPM), and rightly so. David Garrison defines a church planting movement as, “a rapid multiplication of indigenous churches planting churches that sweeps through a people group or population segment.” Evangelicals, including Southern Baptists, have long been praying for and working towards the birth of CPMs among the unreached people groups of the world, and indeed, even in our own country.

But there is much work left to be done to ensure that, here in the United States and across the oceans, our methodology is driven by the Scriptures. It must be biblical theology that gives church planting methodology its starting point, trajectory, and parameters. Of the many substantial missiological issues that cluster around CPM theory, here are two that must be treated:

First, in regards to CPM as a goal: As laid out in Part Three of this series, our ultimate goal, above all others, is the increase of God’s glory. No goal that we have should subvert this goal. For this reason, we are concerned not only with rapidity, but also more importantly with the purity of the gospel and the health of the church. On the one hand, if the church multiplies rapidly, but is not healthy, the long-term picture is bleak. An inordinate emphasis on rapidity will likely lead to reductionist methods of evangelism and discipleship that will harm the church in the long term and actually curb its growth. On the other hand, if the church is “doctrinally pure,” but not seeking to multiply, the long-term picture is bleak. Or maybe it would be better to say that a church cannot be doctrinally pure without praying for, and working toward, the healthy and rapid growth of God’s church.

A final note regarding CPM as a goal: CPMs are not the only worthwhile missiological accomplishment. Sometimes, God does not grant such a thing or He does not grant it immediately. In Hebrews 11, we read of men and women of great faith whose reward was not a CPM; instead, their reward was torture, destitution, affliction, and martyrdom. Many faithful workers who labor in prayer and in deed, hoping with all that is within them to see a CPM, never see the birth of a CPM. This does not mean that their labor is in vain. If they have labored for the glory of God, then He is pleased with their efforts. (Also, it should be pointed out that the early church experienced its most explosive growth only after many years of prayer and work. See Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Early Christianity.)

Second, in relation to leadership development: The rapid reproduction of the church will lead to some challenges in leadership identification and development. If multiple churches are planted in a short period of time, the churches are faced with the question of how recent is “too recent” for a believer to be recognized as an elder. Further, in a context where the church is persecuted, how will these elders train for pastoral ministry? Also, how will they be discipled if they are not able to read? These are not hypothetical scenarios; there are multiple church planting situations, globally, that are facing these challenges at any given time. We must take seriously the biblical teaching concerning the church, discipleship, and elder qualifications and work hard to apply it in challenging situations such as the one above.

Dr. Ashford is hitting on many of the things I have attempted to bring up but only in a more articulate and substantive way.  There’s no question that we all want to see a movement where churches are being planted and multiplied, but pragmatism cannot and must not win the day when it comes down to what drives our methodology.  As Ashford explains, we must have a theologically-driven missiology, one where the Word of God does not merely play a supporting role but is the driving force behind the movement.