Saturday is for Sermon Prep: Newbigin & Others on Mission
Like I do on most Saturday nights, I'm reviewing my message for Sunday. My researcher included several quotes in my ProTHEO research brief that relate to tomorrow's topic-- being a missional community, sent by Jesus, and blessed to be a blessing.
So, I will occasionally share some excerpts and quotes, using those research briefs, on Saturdays here at the blog.
On new gospel community that embodies mission:
"Contrary to some perceptions, Jesus didn't die and rise from the dead so we could attend religious services. Instead, Jesus was raised to be the first of a new humanity, a new creative work of God. As part of this work, we enjoy relationship with God and join him in his mission" (Jonathan Dodson & Brad Watson, Raised?, 54).
On our missional identity:
"We build our lives around our identity, around how we see ourselves. If you see yourself first and foremost as a businessman or a housewife or a professional, then you will build your life around this with church as part of an orbiting fringe of activities. But if you see yourself first and foremost as a member of God's missional people, then you will build your life around this identify. Jobs, houses, and incomes all still matter, but they are made to fit around your core identity" (Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, 144-145).
On what the world needs:
"Our large cities have substantial communities of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Muslims. Their native neighbors soon discover that they are, in many cases, much more godly, more devout, and more pious than the average native Christian. What, then, is the meaning of evangelism in this kind of society? It cannot be the sort of 'recall of religion' which has often been the way evangelism was understood. They do not need recalling to religion; they are generally very religious already" (Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 4).
On how a loving community is an apologetic for the gospel:
"And if we are surrounded by a world which no longer believes in the concept of truth, certainly we cannot expect people to have any interest in whether a man's doctrine is correct or not. But Jesus did give the mark that will arrest the attention of the world, even the attention of the modern man... Because every man is made in the image of God and has therefore aspirations for love. There is something that can be in every geographical climate, in every point of time, which cannot fail to arrest his attention. What is it? The love that true Christians show for each other, and not just their own party" (Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian).
On mission as an explosion of joy:
"There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command. It has been customary to speak of 'the missionary mandate.' This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification, and yet it seems to me that it misses the point. It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel. It one looks at the New Testament evidence one gets another impression. Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact? The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is more like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving" (Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 116).
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