Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hate-Word of the Month: Missional

I have recently subscribed to the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary podcast, and I was listening to a classroom discussion dated 5-3-06 concerning the General Assembly report on the Trinity. The discussion is a good addendum to an article written by Andrew Purves and Charles Partee in the March/April 2006 issue of Theology Matters.

Given some of the recent discussion concerning the Presbyterian Global Fellowship, I found this intriguing quote by Andrew Purves...
I've decided over the last couple of weeks that my hate-word of the the month is "missional." I've gotten tired of "missional." And I've gotten tired of "missional" because I see it more and more functioning as an abstract adjective. Then it gets filled in with content from wherever. I keep wanting to use the word, "christological." Because if we are in union with Christ, of course, we will be a mission people. We can't be otherwise.

I am a pastor whose favorite books in seminary were Calvin's Institutes and Bosch's Transforming Mission. I believe Guder's Missional Church is essential reading for pastors. I am currently leading my congregation with the help of the Center for Parish Development to become more "missional." Despite all this, I am totally in agreement with Purves.

Jesus Christ is more foundational than the mission to which he calls. Mission has definitely been a neglected part of ecclesiology. However, we must not over-compensate by neglecting christology.

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