Today has been full of meetings and travel and I suspect that I won’t have the energy or inspiration to write anything myself. In the absence of that, I’d like to point you to two excellent posts, which are sort of related to each other. The first is by Mark who writes on The Greater Commission:
Understanding what God commands, but being ignorant of the revelation of God that prompts the command actually affects the way we carry out that command. If we hear Jesus’ call to make disciples of all nations, but don’t see the missional nature of God’s actions running through the Bible, we’ll be tempted to think that mission is our job – a task God has given us to complete alone. And so we’ll devise whatever strategies we can to accomplish that task as quickly and easily as possible. On the other hand if we understand that mission is at the heart of God’s character, and Jesus’ command is actually an invitation to be part of what God is doing, we’ll depend completely on him, in the knowledge that we are part of something so much bigger. We won’t be tempted to cut corners when we think God isn’t looking, or to achieve our goals in ways that are contrary to how God works.
Our culture values following instructions. As Christians we’re always tempted to reduce the Christian life to following rules, hoping that if we work hard enough at completing the tasks set before us, we’ll finally stand in front of God and hear him say “Well done good and faithful servant”. But I’m not sure that God defines obedience in this way.
The Bible teaches us that God cares deeply that we obey his commands, but that, despite what our reductionist culture teaches us, those commands can never be divorced from his relationship with us. We should obey God’s commands, but unless our obedience is a response to the revelation we see of him, and is a product of our relationship with him, we’re no better than the Pharisees in their hollow adherence to the rules.
Ultimately we need to have a whole-Bible understanding of God’s mission, not so that we can carry out the right commands and follow the right rules, but so that we can know the missional nature of our God, and through our relationship with him, respond by joining with him in sharing his nature with people from all nations. (Read More)
And the second, very challenging, but rather long, post is from Onesimus online:
But Christianity here (in Kenya) is still a remarkably Western game. The way churches are organized, the way theological education is undertaken, the way leaders are trained, the way evangelism is done, the way sermons are preached, the way ‘worship’ is understood, the way aid is given, the way structures are devised—the assumptions are entirely Western, and the results are appliquéd over great swaths of very non-Western ways of thinking and being, and with universally dubious results (ok, an overstatement, perhaps, but you get my drift). Because this is simply the way things are done here, seemingly everyone makes the assumption that we are all doing what should be done.But too few people are connecting the dots between the shallowness of Christianity around us and the inability of the ‘gospel’ as it is assumed and presented to engage with the actual lives all these people actually live… (Read More)