Times and Location  |  Contact  |  Calendar  |  Church Directory  |  Update Your Information  |  Subscribe  |  Give  |  Store  |  Who Is Jesus?
Home/New to DSC/About/Ministries/News/Events/Conference     Connect/Grow/Serve     Messages/Blog/Resources
Join the Christmas Choirs
December 4-24, 2017
Serve at a Navajo Christmas
Saturday, December 9 or 17, 2017

Blog


Oct 13

What is the Mission of the Church?

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link,The Church

That’s an important question. We’re called to do many things, but what is the one thing that informs and makes sense of every other thing we’re called to as Christians and as the church?

Yesterday, Kevin DeYoung posted an article written by Ryan Kelly about the word, “Missional.” In this post, Ryan follows up on his recent round table discussion with pastors Greg Gilbert and Kevin DeYoung on the subject of the mission of the church. Ryan argues for the centrality of gospel proclamation if all of the Church’s doing and helps clarify the relationship between showing mercy in tangible ways and sharing about Mercy in Jesus Christ, between offering help in this life and telling persons about the only Help for life eternal.

Ryan offers three suggestions to help inform the ongoing conversation concerning “the vocabulary and content of the church’s mission.” I’ll paste them here, along with highlights from each explanation. However, don’t waste your time reading it here – go to Kevin’s blog and read the entire article.

1) Insisting on a definition of missional or asking for specifics of one’s view of the mission is not curmudgeon fundamentalism—it’s still needed.

…There are a few take-aways here. 1) Those skeptical of the term missional should give the benefit of doubt about another’s definition until there’s reason to be concerned. The term itself has no necessary bearing on gospel fidelity. 2) Conversely, those who identify themselves with the term missional should be gracious and eager to clarify when another asks him what that word means. I’ve seen too many young pastors get bent out of shape simply for being asked what missional means to them. That’s silly. 3) We should all strive to avoid repetitive empty vocabulary, and instead make pains to be clear about what we think the church should be doing. Again, this is a good discussion if we navigate it openly and graciously.

2) Especially we younger evangelicals have to give a more sober and careful hearing to our fathers in ministry when they warn us with historical examples of when the church’s deeds eclipsed, or became, her gospel.

….Read Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism every five years. Read the work of George Marsden, especially Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism, which chronicles the missteps of both fundamentalism and left-wing evangelicalism in the last century. Surely we don’t think our generation or our camp is so sharp, so vigilant that we are above repeating such mistakes. So perhaps we young, mission-impassioned, ambitious types need to do a little less eye-rolling and a little more prayerful listening when others—especially those more historically astute and/or experienced—seem more cautious and suggest more careful nuance about the relationship between deeds and gospel.

3) Partly influenced by the need to protect the gospel, but mostly based on the Bible itself, it seems to me that there is warrant for prioritizing gospel proclamation over other important commands Jesus gives his followers.

  • While Jesus healed and fed, the gospel accounts culminate with the disciples’ commission to proclaim and make disciples. This doesn’t mean that this is all they are to do, but “famous last words” do seem particularly noteworthy, especially when they are quadruply given.
  • The book of Acts not only begins with another such commission (1:8), but continues with dozens of preaching/conversion stories to makeup a rather overwhelmingly consistent theme.
  • Paul insists that the facts of the gospel weekend—Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection—are of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3). Those who want to have social and cultural issues right alongside the gospel have to provide a satisfying explanation of what Paul meant here if he didn’t see any priority. I, personally, haven’t heard one yet.
  • The word “gospel” implies that there’s a message—a message which must be proclaimed. As Carson recently wrote: “…the very nature of announcing or proclaiming (good) news—whether ευαγγελιζω or kηρύσσω—is that words are the primary medium. What we might call the logocentrism of Scripture is massively reinforced by the nature of the gospel itself: it is news, good news, to be proclaimed.”
  • There are some very good NT scholars who have written on the mission of the church and have rather consistently put the emphasis of the church’s mission on its proclamation (e.g., KostenbergerO’BrienPlummer). As I’ve already noted, this seems to be a growing consensus among some of the most prominent missionalleaders as well.
  • Most agree that good deeds are, in part, validation of the gospel message to unbelievers. But by nature this sets up some kind of priority: the validation of a thing cannot be greater than or completely on par with the thing itself.

Again, visit Kevin’s site for the whole article.