On mission with God: Living Sent

Ed Stetzer
Recently on The Exchange blog, missiologist Ed Stetzer summarized a Trinitarian theological perspective on mission. His post was titled "What Mission is and Why it Matters." Here are excerpts (and click here for a similar previous Surprising God post):
During the past half-century, there has been significant shift from understanding mission as simply the geographical expansion of the Christian faith from the West to the non-Christian world towards a more expansive understanding of mission as God's mission--particularly within a Trinitarian theological framework. This tenant has become known as the missio Dei... 
In short, "mission" refers back to its fixed basis - to the movement of the Father in sending His Son and Spirit. God, who is ontologically "missionary" and, as God is the acting subject in His self-revelation, He maintains the initiative in this activity.
This divine missionary activity includes yet another noteworthy shift in thought: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sending the church into the world. Mission is therefore God's work in the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. There is a church because there is a mission, not vice versa.
The mission of God calls us toward action. Christians, individually and corporately are called to live pressing toward missional activity in the world.
A "Kingdom mentality" draws on the prevailing missionary text of John 20:21 - Christ, in His own "sentness" commands the sending of the Christian community. Missio Dei, therefore, expresses this missionary existence of the Christian community. We are to live sent. 
The New Testament undoubtedly places the mission of the church within the larger context of God's purpose to restore the whole creation (Rom. 8:18-25; Col. 1:20). But it also gives the church a focal occupation in the life of the Kingdom: God's biblically mandated vessel for His redemptive agenda in the world. 
...The Father sent the Son to accomplish this redemption and sends the Spirit to apply this redemption to the hearts of men and women. Included in God's mission is the missio ecclesia whereby He empowers the church for witness and service that leads to witness. Believers are called to share the gospel with people so they can come to know Christ. Moving from God, through the church, to the world, God's redemptive work results in people of every tribe, tongue and nation responding in lifelong worship of the God. Ultimately the missio Dei will encompass all of creation when God creates a new heaven and new earth.

Comments

  1. This article shows the importance of evangelizing in Trinitarian theology correct?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A trinitarian theology declares that the triune God has a mission in the world: by the Father, through the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit; and believers are called to take part in that mission with Jesus, by the Spirit.

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  2. Anonymous8/25/2013

    Ed Stetzer asserts:

    "Believers are called to share the gospel with people so they can come to know Christ."

    Really? Who are the believers that are supposed to share the gospel with other people? For there are a large number of divided church groups, claiming they have all been sent by Christ to preach the gospel. For example, we have the JWs, the Mormons, the Catholics, a vast number of Baptists, Pentecostals and thousands of non-aligned groups, all supposed to be preaching the gospel.

    Yet, the Apostle Paul was inspired to ask: "Is Christ divided"(1 Cor.1:13)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Believers" are not defined by any one church institution or denomination. Rather we are talking about the universal body of believers and their calling to share in the mission of God in the world.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous8/29/2013

      Ted

      >"Believers" are not defined by any one church institution or denomination<

      All believers are linked to some organisation, whether it be the ones mentioned or any other.

      >"Rather we are talking about the universal body of believers..."<

      The universal body of believers are not disorganised, fragmented groups wondering around the world. They are associtaed with some religious organisation.

      If it is true, that those religious organisations do not agree on every aspect of the divine revelation, how can we know who has been sent to preach the gospel?

      The bible clearly states that Christ is not divided, and that God is not the author of confusion. And it clearly evident that there are divisions and confusion among many "Christians," that are linked to or associated with all religious organisations. So they don't all preach the same things.

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  3. I don't disagree that most believers are connected with a local church and many local churches are connected with a denomination. But to suggest that one local church or one denomination has all the truth, and therefore others who might teach some matters somewhat differently are not believers is historically untenable and also overlooks the testimony in the NT that there were differences of opinion/teaching among the first Christians on some matters. A key issue here is agreement not on peripheral matters but on the "main and plain" core teachings of the gospel. Those things are nicely summarized in the Apostles' Creed and in the Nicaean Creed--creeds the preponderance of Christians historically (and today) embrace as summaries of the main teachings of the Christian faith.

    ReplyDelete

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