Spiritual Research Network

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Emerging Church - Part 3 by Gary Gilley

The Emerging Church - Part 3
by Gary Gilley
(June 2006 - Volume 12, Issue 6)

How those professing to be believers understand the message of the gospel will determine how they view their mission in this life. Since the emergent church sees the gospel not merely as the redemption of lost souls but also as the restoration of the planet and salvation from man’s inhumanity to man, they comprehend their task as Christians differently from that of most evangelicals. They call it “missional”.

Emergent Mission: Missional

Missional is a term that seems to be drawn from the writings of missiologist Lesslie Newbigin who pops up all over emergent literature. It is difficult to pin down a good definition of missional, but it seems to mean that as Christians we exist to serve. We serve by loving and living in such a way that we bless those around us. But more than that, we are to be engaged in changing and even creating culture as we bring the kingdom of God to earth. Rather than calling people out of this world system and into “the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13), we are to bring the kingdom to them. It would appear that the goal of the missional Christian is to transform the “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) into the kingdom of God. McLaren tells us that his missional calling is summed up in these words, “Blessed in this life to be a blessing to everyone on earth.”[1] He adds, “My mission isn’t to figure out who is already blessed, or not blessed, or unblessable. My calling is to be blessed so I can bless everyone.”[2] Further,

From this understanding we place less emphasis on whose lineage, rites, doctrines, structures, and terminology are right and more emphasis on whose actions, service, outreach, kindness, and effectiveness are good…. [In order] to help our world get back on the road to being truly and wholly good again, the way God created it to be…. We’re here on a mission to join God in bringing blessing to our needy world. We hope to bring God’s blessing to you, whoever you are and whatever you believe, and if you’d like to join us in this mission and the faith that creates and nourishes it, you’re welcome.[3]
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