When faced with the choices of going to Spain to reach the unreached or going to Jerusalem to serve the poor Christians there, Paul chose Jerusalem. According to a number of modern writers on mission, Paul got his priorities all wrong!
Barnabas took Mark and disappeared from Luke’s narrative, but he entered our future marking the path for those who would be the disciples of Jesus. That path requires trust – sometimes, often times, almost every time – of those who are marked by failure in relationship.
Our understanding of the world should evolve and increase as we engage with people and cultures different to ourselves. This means we should gain a wider understanding of Scripture and have some of our long-held certainties challenged.
Putting Romans 1 and Revelation 8 next to each other and seeing what happens.
Because we focus on Paul and on the great names in history we forget the role of the vast majority of missionaries whose names are found in the book of life, if not in church history books.
In other words, Apollos was a converted African Jew, who did further Bible training in Asia and who ministered in Europe. His background and formation were not just international, they were inter-continental. Not only that but Apollos came from outside of the centre of the contemporary mission movement of the time – he wasn’t one of Paul’s companions from Ephesus, he came from the margins.
The church’s mission is our participation (in the power of the Spirit) in the Father’s purpose to reconcile everything to himself through the death of the Son. We do this through making disciples by bearing witness to Jesus in word and deed.
Some interesting stuff, some encouraging stuff and some downright disturbing stuff. A roundup of things that have caught my eye over the last month or two.
In a democratic society such as ours, we have a responsibility to make our voice heard and to vote according to our consciences. Those with strong party-affiliations should campaign and do their best to ensure that someone else forms the next government – but they still have to pray for this one.
Reading Romans through an Eastern lens thus restores a more Pauline perspective by bringing together the false Western dichotomy between “spiritual” and “secular.” We need not accept the false dilemma between evangelism and social ministry.