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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Newbigin, L.(1988) Mission in Christ's Way: A Gift, a Command, an Assurance. 

Newbigin, L.(1988) Mission in Christ's Way: A Gift, a Command, an Assurance. Library of Christian Stewardship

According to the 4th gospel, Jesus sent his disciples out on their mission with the words: “As the father sent me so I send you” (Jn 20:21). This must determine the way we think about and carry out the mission; it must be founded and modelled upon his. We are not authorised to do it any other way. Pp 1

When the message of the kingdom of God is separated from the name of Jesus two distortions follow, and these are in fact the source of deep divisions in the life of the church today. On one hand, there is the preaching of the name of Jesus simply as the one who brings a religious experience of personal salvation without involving one in costly actions at the points in public life where the power of Satan is contracting the rule of God and bringing men and women under the power of evil. Such preaching of cheap grace, of a supposed personal salvation that does not go the way of the cross, of an inward comfort without commitment to costly Action for the doing of God’s will in the world – this kind of evangelistic preaching is a distortion of the gospel. A preaching of personal salvation that does not lead the hearers to challenge the monstrous injustices of our society is not mission in Christ’s way. It is peddling cheap grace.

On the other hand, when the message of the kingdom is separated from the name of Jesus, the action of the church in respect of the evils in society becomes a mere ideological crusade… pp9

In the mission of Jesus we see that there is both the presence of the kingdom and also the proclamation of the kingdom. Jesus himself is the presence of the Kingdom; but Jesus also preaches the kingdom. It is present, but it has to be preached. But if it is not present, then the preaching is empty words.


So words without deeds are empty, but deeds without words are dumb. It is stupid to set them against each other. It is, for example, stupid to say “The one thing that matters is to go everywhere and preach the gospel; all other activities such as schools and hospitals and programmes for social action are at best auxiliary and at worst irrelevant …. Why should people believe our preaching if there is nothing happening to authenticate them?


Our preaching is mere empty words if it does not have behind it a costly engagement with …all the powers that rob men and women of their humanity…But equally our programmes for teaching, healing, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and action for justice and freedom are futile if they do not point beyond themselves to a reality greater than they – to the great healer, the great liberator, the one who is himself the living bread. Pp 12

Johannes Blauw (the missionary nature of the church) contrast between the centripetal missiology of the OT and the centifugal missiology of the NT


It is a stiking fact that in all his letters to the churches Paul never urges on them the duty of evangelism… mission in other wordss is gospel an d not law; it is the overflow of a great gift, not the carrying of a great burden. It is the fulfilment of a promise: “you shall be my witness, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Pp21

In the context of authentic mission the futility of the quarrel between evangelism and social action becomes obvious. Preaching that does not challenge the cruelty and greed and wanton lust of our society is not preaching the kingdom…but equally a merely politoical programme is on a road that leads nowhere. Pp 27

Great Commission - Taken in isolation from jo 20:19-23; acts 1:6-8; mk 1:14-18 it could be seen to validate a sort of triumphalist style of economic expansion of the European powers … an expansion with which missions were (inevitably) so much connected. It is indeed necessary that we should take it along with the other texts. If we take it alone…then mission becomes part of the law rather than an expression of the gospel pp 32


Monday, June 13, 2005

Northcott, M. (ed) (1998) Urban Theology: A Reader 

Joppa – story witnesses to the new things that the spirit of God is doing in the church and the world after the coming of Christ , and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in those empowered and called by the spirit to challenge exclusion, to transform division into communion and to draw the marginalised into the heart of the community of the people of God. Pp2

We need a church of the poor not for the poor pp5

Walter Brueggemann ‘ a sense of place is a primary category of faith’ Space becomes place only when there are stories and hopes lodged there. ‘ the central problem is not emancipation but rootage, not meaning but belonging, not separation from community but location within it. Pp9

The geographical location, the encounters and the teaching of Jesus in the gospels all point to the marginal as key to the coming and presence of the kingdom of God. 3 stories of children of Abraham – woman in the synagogue, zac Laz – all point to a concern to include those who are denied full participation in the society to which they rightfully belong pp10

In order to do theological reflection…we have to develop methods of bringing into juxtaposition our present life experience and the treasures of our Christian heritage, to check one against the other, to let each talk to each other, to learn from the mix and to gain even more insight to add to the store of Christian heritage pp14

Perter Sedgwick God in the City

Ballard and Pritchard – Practicall Theology in Action

The God of Exodus is a God who redeems a poor and marginalized people from slavery, and who demonstrates divine opposition to oppression and persecution of one group of people by another.

…Nehemiah insists that the restoration of the physical city and the temple must also be accompanied by the recovery of social justice, and the liberation of all the people from debt-slavery and hunger. The vision of Jerusalem restored is a vision of a society which has recovered the priority of kinship and the fear of God over monetary gain and rebuilt a divinely shaped community in which every family and household experiences the dignity and freedom which is the just expectation of all God's people who share kinship of the nation of Israel.


The Christian vision of the potential of every person, made in the image of God, to be indwelt by the creator Spirit of God, and empowered with the gifts of the Spirit to serve the people of God, is a vital corrective to the postmodern exclusion of the new poor from the good life of the restored city (Warren).


Isaiah 65:17-24


To struggle with the oppression of the poor, the powerlessness of the powerless and the marginalization of the stigmatized, is to struggle with the forces of evil. To be sure, there will be times and events which cause ambiguities in such a struggle, but confronting such ambiguities may lead us on to a path not only towards the liberation of the oppressed, but towards a simplification of the very life of the Church itself. In other words, the Church's act of transcendence in existing with, acting with and suffering with the oppressed, is its moment of purification. This is to be found not only in Its prayer, its penance, its pilgrimages, but in its identification with the prayer of the powerless, the suffering of the powerless and the journeying of the powerless towards a better life. One cannot leave the latters' demands of life to reports, sermons and specialized apostolates.


Poverty is an offence against the dignity of persons because by denying the poor an adequate income the poor are excluded from relationships of respect and recognition – this is why Jesus’ offer of recognition to those whom hgis own religion excluded was so important. 106

Zechariah 8:2-5

The breakdown in relations between young and old and the failure of the rich and powerful to respect the poor and vulnerable, the widow and the elderly is viewed by the Hebrew prophets as the consequence of the failure of the Israelites to worship God in truth, and to follow God's law which enjoins respect for elders and care for children, widows and the weak as fundamental features of the justice the Lord requires. Micah identifies alienation between the generations as direct consequence of the idolatry and greed of the wealthy and Israel's rullers The text from Zechariah sees this alienation being reversed as the worship of true God is restored in Zion. In an evocative image of social harmony and justice in the city, the prophet envisions the old sitting, and the young playing freely. in the streets of jurusalem

Pp 163-4

Worship of the true God is the essencxe of what it is to be the people of God...the church can never be satisfied with becoming just another social work or development agency. The church exists firsts and foremost not to change the world but to worship the God who is in the rejected Jesus.

pp 222

pp 240

In commiting themselves to a community ministry approach, church leaders have to be alert to the tension within the model, and the possible tension within themselves. Community ministry requires people to achieve sufficient control over their ego to appreciate that the reward is in heaven or not at all.


1 cor 1:25-31 --- mere nothings to over throw...

the church that ceases to exist as a distinct loving fellowship of salvation, worship and action is a church which has lost its vocation to be the visible body of Christ in the world (Wallis)


Those who would limit Jesus to teh saving of souls and those who see him merely as introducing new ethical principles are both wrong. The purpose of God in Christ is neither simply to redeem individuals nor merely to teach the world some new thoughts. Gods purpose in Christ is to etablish a new community that points to th eplan of God for the world...the living witness of teh Chritian community is intended both to demonstrate and to anticipate the future of teh world that has arrived in the person of JC. (Wallis)

pp 304


Carson, C. (ed) (1999) Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr 

“…I want to tell you …it is not enough for us o talk about love. Love os one of the pivotal points of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice…” pp60

Deeply etched in the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God and that they are souls of infinte metaphysical value, the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth. If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungary, to see mn victimised with starvation and ill health when we have the means to help them pp261

We have allowed the poor to become invisible and we become angry when they make their presence felt. But just as noviolenmce has exposed the ugliness of racial injustice, we must now find ways to expose and heal the sickness of poverty – not just its symptoms but its basic causes pp 262

Justice at its best is love correwcting everything that stands against love

The great tradegy is that christinaity failed to see that it had the revolutionary edge. You don’t need to go to Karl Marx to learn how to be a revolutionary… I got it froma man calkled Jesus who said he was annoited to heal the broken hearted. He was annoited to deal with the poor…that is where we get our inspiration pp351

Dives? 353

Good samiritan “if I do not stop to help this man what will happen to him…?” not what will happen to me? 363


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