Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Our mission isn't to be friendly or cuddly

Conrad Gempf looks at Acts 13 & 14 and finds some lessons about being a missional church:

The early Christians' idea of being missional wasn't about shaping the gospel in a way that made sense to everyone and conformed to their culture and expectations. The early Christians' gospel conformed to Jesus. And Jesus was about provoking a decision: are you for him or against him?

You and I would be convinced we were doing something wrong if, say, we planted a new church and it angered half the neighbourhood -- we'd want the non-believers in the area to find the new church a pleasant or at least innocuous addition to the neighbourhood, not something that they'll find so irritating that they rise up against it (and us). When this happens to Paul and Barnabas they are filled with joy -- it's a job well done. It's not that they seek to irritate, it's just that their goal isn't primarily to be friendly or cuddly, but to tell the truth about God and Jesus Christ.

Amen, and amen.

Update: Dan Edelen has more to say on Conrad's post at Cerulean Sanctum.


Blogger JP said...

speaking of church Milton, I was wondering what your opinion on this was: A hot little topic that was in the Christian Chronicle newsletter:

Creating some stir in coC circles....

1:47 AM, April 28, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

The content looks very good, on-target, and sound to me. I wouldn't think there should be much argument about the writers' historical interpretation, or even their call to worship today in a way similar to the early church.

I also didn't detect any of the smug, arrogant stridency that over the past ninety years or so has hindered any realistic efforts at true Christian unity in our churches. Churches of Christ should indeed be seeking unity, but we don't do much to bring it about, I don't think, when we blithely equate the slightest doctrinal or practical error with absolute apostasy and an anti-Christian spirit.

In short, the writers' interpretation of what Christians should be doing is right on target. What remains to be worked out is how we will view and address those who don't see it exactly as we do at this point. To be effective, that working out must be done with a liberal dose of humility and prayer.

6:07 AM, April 28, 2005  

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