The Western church emerges from Christendom in crisis. For some, the crisis is clear, but for others the crisis is unseen. Attendance increases, buildings are built, cash flow is good, members are involved, and the main show is a smash! Church doors are open, but segments of society are uninterested. Culture has changed, and the marginalized church is ineffective to share good news.
The anthropocentric church promotes self-focused, consumeristic Christians; Kingdom rebels become church customers. The ecclesiocentric church creates workers to support its own growth and development; living gospel messengers in the world become corporate volunteers. The gospel and kingdom are relegated to a servant of the church.
Christianity, through intellectual and modernistic pursuits, allowed itself to be identified as a set of beliefs rather than a people acting on behalf of their God for the good of the world. Simplicity and individualism caused the gospel to become a five-point plan to get to heaven, rather than freedom for all from all in Christ.
Biblical knowledge became the hallmark of spirituality. The belief that biblical knowledge automatically transfers to kingdom lifestyle has produced “smart” Christians, but stupefied actual growth.
Each degree of change obscured God’s goals. God’s passion is for all relationships with God, self, others, and all of creation to be right. God’s vision, plan, and work are to bring health and restoration to all aspects of the broken world. Christians are not waiting for a future heavenly kingdom; they are joining God to expand his kingdom ix borders now, through Jesus as Lord.
Critical evaluation sprouted a missional movement; missional thinkers believe a revolution is needed. To faithfully join the restoring work of God, one must release old paradigms, and read the missional story of God. The meaning of gospel, kingdom, church, and Christianity must be realigned. Scripture takes on new meaning when missio Dei is central. Contextualization of the gospel into each new culture producing a counter kingdom culture is key.
This doctor of ministry dissertation supplies evidence for needed change and a theological foundation for change of direction. The accompanying wiki provides a simplified view of missional hermeneutics and biblical overview from a missional perspective. This presentation is one influence to help move someone toward understanding and eventual practice of a missional lifestyle.