Salvation in a Prologue to Missional Discussions

jesus-peace.jpg Ed Stetzer suggests that we can avoid the trouble that shipwrecked the missio dei movement in part “by going back and looking at the roots of the missional movement and having a robust theological discussion that heightens our awareness of the issues at hand.”

To this end, our synchro-series turns its attention first to the intersection of missiology and soteriology. One might expect this relationship to be “a given,” but perhaps for just this reason it bears a slightly closer inspection. In his intro-post on Monday, Ed notes that “some consider the transmission of salvation as a physical process” (sacramentalist) while “[o]thers think that salvation is transferred by moral action[, where] salvation is not so much something to be acquired by some individual or organization and conveyed to others, as it is something created by shifting the state of affairs.” Thirdly, he writes, “Evangelical theologies have generally represented a third idea: salvation is a work of grace, accomplished by Christ, and received by faith alone. In the meritorious sense, the recipient is passive.”

Prologue to Missional Discussions

oed.jpg Seems a little odd to be writing a prologue after all this time, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a back-story, as may be inferred by those who may have noticed posts at other blogs with this same title. I’ve written a lot about the meaning of missional, its distinctives, and what it means to be missional — besides innumerable casual mentions on this blog. I finally drafted a missional series index that lists the posts I did during my major series (2007) defining the concepts inherent in the term as well as the nine-post series I did (2008) summarizing the missional synchroblog when more than 50 bloggers participated in hashing out what it means to be missional. With a couple of other miscellaneous posts thrown in, this is a total of 25 posts just from me. That’s a lot of words, and some may wonder why I’m doing this once again. No, it’s not because I skipped it last year and am overdue, but it’s for two major reasons.

A New Kind of Conversation: Why I Might be Neo-Emergent

new-kind-xnty-cover.jpg Brian McLaren’s new book (A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith) has just been released, and it’s already causing a bit of a firestorm. I’m still awaiting my copy, but plan to look through it at his ten questions and interact with those once I’ve been able to consider them in more detail. In the meantime, there are a few things upon which I really feel the need to comment, and since I have a ready-built platform, there’s nobody to stop me. I apologize for the length of the post — I went back to see if I could split it up into two parts, but it just doesn’t work very well to do that. It’s long, but I think it’s important. Thanks in advance for bearing with me, and reading on. And if you get bored, skip down — I summarize at the end.

Just What is Missional?

Blues Brothers:  On the Missio Dei. This is a summary of some of the posts I’ve written over the past couple of years defining missional. Most notable among these are two series that I did on the subject. The first was my exploration of the topic, and the second was a summary of the posts contributed in a synchroblog on the question. I’ve marked a couple of the notable posts with an asterisk.

Defining Missional Series (August-September 2007)
The Dangers of Missionalism & The Dangers of Language
Aloha, Missional
*Missional Essentials: A Short List
*Understanding Missional: Personalizing the Central Tenets
Missional Definitions: A Brief Survey
Missional Interlude, with Post-Christendom Considerations
Missio(nal) Dei?
Missional Reading, Pre-Missional
Coming Up… (Summary; overuse of “missional”)
The Keys to the Missional Kingdom (Kingdom of God)
The Mission of Missional
Missional Theory: Cultural Relativity vs. Ethical Relativity (Contextualization)
Interpreting Christ (incarnation)
Missional as the Defragmentation of Missions

50 Ecumenical Blogs

The Biblical Learning Blog Has complied a list of the Top 50 Ecumenical Blogs, and for some reason they stuck me on it in the “Emergence Outreach” category. My crony Bill Kinnon, who slotted in under the “Reaching Out” category. Meanwhile, I’m reading Sarah Bessey’s excellent post In which [she has] discovered that [she doesn’t] care about the emerging church anymore and wondering if they might take away the latest designation for my wall if I’m not as emerging as I once was.

The Church & The World in the Decade Ahead

wheat-field.jpg Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted, and got back on track regarding my thoughts on The Decade Ahead for the Emerging Church. As I set up my thoughts and predictions (scary word) in that post, I asked three pairs of questions, the last of which was, “where is the world outside the church in all of this? Do they benefit at all, or are they worse off?” And then I pretty much didn’t answer that one, just the other two. This set of questions is fundamentally different because they have to do with the church’s interaction with the world, and are therefore the most important (certainly to the missional crowd, at least). For these reasons, I felt a separate post was warranted.

The Decade Ahead for the Emerging Church

foggy-fjord.jpg Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted. It’s easy to get lost when you’re talking about the future, which is inherently hard to see anyway. But let’s get back on track nonetheless. As I was saying, the emerging church was set to become more mainstream, and it has done so in the past couple of years. This is not to say that the self-fashioned heresy-hunters are happy, but that’s not something that’s about to happen anyway. (Not ever, that’s their schtick.) Evangelicalism, however, has become more comfortable with certain forms and contributions from the emerging church. For those who followed along in the past year, you might think this is convenient, because evangelicalism is dead as well as the emerging church, or they’re at least on side-by-side deathbeds. What a pretty pair they make, gasping for breath to tell you that rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. The precise meaning of the word “greatly” in this instance is still in some dispute.

Well, 2010 is Unorthodox So Far…

mawwiage.jpg Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Some movies yield many memorable lines.
Crash, Eddie: Were you killed?
Buck: Sadly, yes. — But I lived!
Sometimes I start to wonder if we even know what we’re saying anymore.

But let’s clarify.

I think Andrew meant unorthodox as in unusual or breaking with convention, rather than unorthodox as in a doctrine at variance with the officially recognized position. But I could be wrong. I do know that we’re losing our grip on the meaning of the word “marriage” — not for talk of extending it (or not) to gay and lesbian unions, but for talk of whether it represents a spiritual or a legal union and whether it’s a contract or a covenant and what technicalities facilitate their binding constitution or allowable dissolution.