David Westerfield

Theology. Culture. Technology.

Category: Philosophy of Ministry Page 1 of 3

Missional-ism: What is the Mission of the Church?

(C) by http://www.martin-liebermann.de

(Resources at the bottom of the page pertaining to this topic)

Over the past several years, the missional movement has picked up steam and has become a common modus operandi for ministry in mainstream evangelicalism, even within aspects of my own church. The term ‘missional’ has taken on many different definitions depending on the point of view. Tim Keller uses it one way, Dan Kimball, Dallas Willard and others [Doug Pagitt, McLaren] use it quite another.

[CORRECTION and update: apparently I’m wrong about Kimball and Keller having different views on missional-ism. Oddly enough, after just writing this, Keller and Kimball are on the same page it seems after releasing a joint manifesto along with some others such as Ed Stetzer and J.D. Greear: http://www.missionalmanifesto.net/ … so I retract that one part and added a couple of other names to show the contrast in views. In the manifesto, they make this statement: “It is first necessary to be clear about what missional does not mean. Missional is not synonymous with movements attempting to culturally contextualize Christianity, implement church growth, or engage in social action. The word missional can encompass all of the above, but it is not limited to any one of these.” And I’m glad they have said this. There is still the concern though about “mission creep” in this movement, that it can inadvertently become those things. I digress.]

Regardless, at the heart of the drive behind missional ecclesiology is a legitimate concern that the Western world at large needs to be re-evangelized, that believers need to go out as missionaries, as it were, and that we need to be reaching out more to the lost in both word and deed. I certainly share those concerns.

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Gospel-Driven – Michael Horton (MP3’s)

Session #1: The Front Page God (MP3)

Session #2: The Promise-Driven Life (MP3)

Session #3: Feasting in a Fast Food World (MP3)

Session #4: Question and Answer (MP3)

Taken from: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/gospeldriven.html

Liberating a Captive Church – The Foreword to Christless Christianity

Here we are in the North American church—conservative or liberal, evangelical or mainline, Protestant or Catholic, emergent or otherwise—cranking along just fine, thank you. So we’re busy downsizing, becoming culturally relevant, reaching out, drawing in, making disciples, managing the machinery, utilizing biblical principles, celebrating recovery, user-friendly, techno savvy, finding the purposeful life, practicing peace with justice, utilizing spiritual disciplines, growing in self-esteem, reinventing ourselves as effective ecclesiastical entrepreneurs, and, in general, feeling ever so much better about our achievements.

Notice anything missing in this pretty picture? Jesus Christ!

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An “Emerging” Debate in Reformed Circles

Something is starting to boil. It has been simmering for a while, kind of quietly on the back burner, but it seems the critiques have really escalated in the past few weeks and been brought to the forefront ever since Time Magazine published their 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now in which the “New Calvinism” was named Idea # 3. The article mentions Mark Driscoll as one of the key players, in addition to John Piper and Albert Mohler who have done a significant amount of work in bringing a resurgence of Reformed theology and thinking to the church, particularly to my generation. But, what has also fueled the debate that has now been brought to the fore in the Reformed world is that Driscoll has been in several TV interviews and debates (and even hosted one at Mars Hill Church in Seattle recently) on various major TV shows (particularly on ABC), in which it is implied he is the face of this New Calvinism in the media (at least that’s what I’ve gathered). In addition, Matt Chandler was a featured speaker at the 2009 Desiring God Pastors Conference which has really brought the Acts 29 Network into focus within many Reformed camps.

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A Discussion on Christianity and Culture (MP3)

This is a very important program that ministers, leaders, counselors, and pastors in the church should take the time to listen to. The White Horse Inn radio program recently did a show entitled The Foolishness of God in which a discussion took place on the relationship of the church to culture. There are a thousand different “approaches” out there. But more and more, it seems many within evangelicalism are bent on the idea that the primary role of the church is to address the various needs of the culture in various temporal ways, instead of primarily ministering the Gospel to its own people. This isn’t just in the emerging church now either, it’s in many average evangelical congregations and fellowships. The question is which approach is Biblical?

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The Seeming Successes of Evangelicalism – John Piper (MP3)

This has to be one of the best introductions to a sermon I’ve heard. At only seven minutes long, John Piper hits the nail right on the head concerning the state of evangelicalism. Very excellent analysis, yet very saddening. The truth is hard to hear sometimes, but we must properly and truthfully identify the problems in order to administer an adequate remedy. This is an audio excerpt from the sermon My Anguish, My Kinsmen Are Accursed, pertaining to Romans 9:1-5.

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What Do You Think About the State of Today’s Church?

These are not just a bunch of Reformed people criticizing what’s “out there” as it were … these are people from various backgrounds, denominations and traditions within evangelicalism, including the emerging church, discussing what they see as the gutting of historic Christianity in America. The Reformed movement is not immune to these critiques either, I might add. I pray we can all realign our focus again in teaching, preaching, ministering, and counseling … all centered upon Christ and Him crucified as the central message we proclaim, in place of all the alternative, sub-par messages floating around out there.

The Pragmatism of the Church – John MacArthur

“Pragmatism has engulfed and swallowed up the professing church. Theology has been replaced by or subverted to styles of methodology. I think it is a strange phenomenon that throughout history denominations were established based around a common theology and now associations are established based around a common methodology. So much of current evangelical strategy is to identify what people desire and tell them Jesus will give it to them if they choose Him as their Savior. In fact, God is seen as sitting in heaven loving them so much that it’s almost irritating to Him that they won’t come to Him for the things that they desire. Few seem to be considering the fact that what the unconverted sinner desires is the last thing God wants to give him … until he desires righteousness and deliverance from sin and death and judgment.” – John MacArthur at T4G ’08 in this message (MP3)

Christless Christianity – Michael Horton

Check out this site www.christlesschristianity.org and get the book. Good stuff.

A Call To Move Forward – The Practical Results of Seeker-Sensitivity

As Carl Trueman on Reformation21.org and Al Mohler on almohler.com have pointed out recently, something is so fascinating with the recent wave of criticism by the left of Obama asking Rick Warren to perform the invocation at his inauguration (which I must give Obama credit on being a consistent relativist as opposed to others on the far-left): no matter how friendly, or nice, or palatable or seeker-friendly you make your message concerning what Scripture says about God’s Law or the Gospel itself, those who are unbelieving and God-hating, those who are adamantly opposed to what is said still view you as a crazy, fanatical nut.

Warren even goes so far as to be a middle-of-the-road kind of guy politically speaking, I’m guessing with the hope with bridging a cultural divide. Yet it seems to not matter to those who hate Scripture. Now Obama is receiving a backlash of criticism from the far-left gay rights community for asking Warren to do the prayer, as well as those who simply believe in the normalcy of homosexuality, because Warren believes it to be sin according to Scripture. And in doing so, they believe Warren to be a “fundeemeentaleest,” even though he has gone to great lengths to make his message more acceptable to a hostile, post-Christian (quickly becoming anti-Christian) culture.

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