Monthly Archives: July 2008

Missional and Attractional Takes on "People"

My Thursday post for SearchWarp is up:

Missional and Attractional, Part 2

I’ve begun elaborating/clarifying on the chart.

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Word-Centered Missionalization

In the comments thread of Ed Stetzer’s recent Movemental Christianity post Timmy Brister shared some really excellent thoughts on word-centeredness. I wanted to lift Brister’s remarks and highlight them here, not only because I think he’s right on, but because I think, in the context of Christian “movementalism,” this sort of thinking reflects the possible disparate streams within the missional movement.

What I mean is, while communities self-identifying as missional all seem to share some very common theological and methodological values (which, as far as I can tell, immediately sets this movement apart from whatever the emerging church movement is/was), there is nevertheless at least one bifurcation within the missional movement on some fairly important matters of ecclesiology.I think this bifurcation may be demonstrated by the relative ways those within the missional movement may resonate (or not resonate) with the following outline:

Should[n’t] a movemental Christianity seek to have an undercurrent more grounded in biblical principles and eternal realities?

. . . What I find as movemental Christianity in Scripture is rooted and validated by the Word. You can find this, for instance in

* “those who received the word” (Acts 2:41) resulting in 3,000 added

* “many of those who heard the word believed” (Acts 4:4) resulting a totaling now 5,000

* “and the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7)

* the first scattering from Jerusalem to Samaria is described as “those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4)

* after …

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Called Into the Fullness of Christ

We recently began a study of John’s Gospel at PRAXIS, Element’s “third place” small group, and something really awesome jumped out at me from this passage this week. Check out John 1:35-51:

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, …

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Missional and Attractional Landscapes

My newest SearchWarp article is up:

Missional and Attractional, Part 1

Gonna start on that chart on Thursday.

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What Are We On Mission to Do?

My next SearchWarp piece is up:

What Does a Missional Church Do?

Next week I’ll begin expanding on the attractional/missional chart.

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Keller: The Gospel is Both One and More Than That

Read an excellent piece by Tim Keller in the print version of Leadership, so I thought I’d find it online to share. Good stuff.

The Gospel in All Its Forms

An excerpt:

Simon Gathercole distills a three-point outline that both Paul and the Synoptic writers held in common. (See “The Gospel of Paul and the Gospel of the Kingdom” in God’s Power to Save.) He writes that Paul’s good news was, first, that Jesus was the promised Messianic King and Son of God come to earth as a servant, in human form. (Rom. 1:3-4; Phil. 2:4ff.)

Second, by his death and resurrection, Jesus atoned for our sin and secured our justification by grace, not by our works (1 Cor. 15:3ff.) Third, on the cross Jesus broke the dominion of sin and evil over us (Col. 2:13-15) and at his return he will complete what he began by the renewal of the entire material creation and the resurrection of our bodies (Rom 8:18ff.)

Gathercole then traces these same three aspects in the Synoptics’ teaching that Jesus, the Messiah, is the divine Son of God (Mark 1:1) who died as a substitutionary ransom for the many (Mark 10:45), who has conquered the demonic present age with its sin and evil (Mark 1:14-2:10) and will return to regenerate the material world (Matt. 19:28.)

If I had to put this outline in a single statement, I might do it like this: Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from …

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Ray Ortlund’s Gospel Manifesto

My new friend and mentor Ray Ortlund, Jr. gave me a copy of his book, A Passion for God: Prayers and Meditations on the Book of Romans, which I began savoring yesterday. I’d like to share the Afterword from the book with you, because it is as prophetic and powerful an evangelical manifesto for gospel reform as I’ve ever read.

It’s a little long (for a blog post) but is definitely worth your time.

An Earnest Call For Evangelical Leaders To Recover The Gospel From Its Present Humiliation

A wave of authentic revival sweeps over the church when three things happen together: teaching the great truths of the gospel with clarity, applying those truths to people’s lives with spiritual power, and extending that experience to large numbers of people. We evangelicals urgently need such an awakening today. We need to rediscover the gospel.

Imagine the evangelical church without the gospel. I know this makes no sense, for evangelicals are defined by the evangel. But try to imagine it for just a moment. What might our evangelicalism, without the evangel, look like? We would have to replace the centrality of the gospel with something else, naturally. So what might take the place of the gospel in our sermons and books and cassette tapes and Sunday school classes and home Bible studies and, above all, in our hearts?

A number of things, conceivably. An introspective absorption with recovery from past emotional traumas, for example. Or a passionate devotion to the pro-life cause. Or a confident …

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Reforming When You’re Not in Charge

Every week someone asks me, via e-mail or in the comments, how one might influence a church/pastor toward more gospel-centered reform when one isn’t in a position of leadership or direction.

I’ve (sort of) addressed this issue in a previous post of mine called What To Do If Your Pastor Doesn’t Preach Jesus.

But Greg Gilbert has actually been blogging a series on this specific issue over the last few weeks at the 9 Marks blog, Church Matters. I thought it might be of some help to some of my readers. Here are the links:

Church Reform When You’re Not the Pastor (Intro)

Church Reform When You’re Not the Pastor #1

Church Reform When You’re Not the Pastor #2

Church Reform When You’re Not the Pastor #3

Church Reform When You’re Not the Pastor #4

It’s good stuff, and there may be more coming in the series, so stay tuned.

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This Jesus is Spectacularly Beautiful

Some John Piper goodness to take you into the weekend.

What he describes has happened to me. I hope it has happened to you too.

And I hope that as you gather to worship this weekend, you are led to behold Jesus as spectacularly beautiful.

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The Church Is Not Jesus

This is just weird.

I was reading that (HT: BHT) and thinking, This is weird. I wonder if a whole mess of it just has to do with the blogger not liking Driscoll in general. Because I read the excerpt from Driscoll and think, Yeah. What’s so controversial about that?

The whole time I’m perusing the calling out of the man for idolatry of the family, I’m also thinking something everyone even in the comments seems to miss: The Church isn’t Jesus.

One of the commenters cites this Scripture: “”Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Yep. I’d add that anyone who loves the church more than Jesus is not worthy of Jesus.

As far as I understand what Driscoll is saying, and I’ve heard him preach on this very subject numerous times, what he’s saying is that family is more important than his job.

By accusing Driscoll of idolatry based on the excerpt provided, these critics are making the mistake of equating Jesus with his Church. And in doing so, they are indicting themselves. They are being idolatrous. Of the Church.

Loving Jesus means loving His Bride, no question. But loving the Bride more than the Groom is sinful.

This site and many like it talk about the ins and outs and nuts and bolts of the big-C Church and the little-c churches a lot. But it is Jesus we’re supposed to …

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