Incarnational Life

Suddenly some Christian leaders began talking about “incarnation” and “incarnational” but the terms were referring not to God Incarnate, that is, God-becoming-body-and-flesh-and-blood, but instead of Christians and churches having an incarnational approach instead of an attractional approach. Then “incarnational” folks got tied to “missional” so that incarnational and missional mean much the same to many. [Read More…]

The Mission of God

Undoubtedly one enduring term today is the word “missional.” What is “missional,” you ask? The answer often comes back with this: “It is to see ourselves in light of God’s mission, the missio Dei, in and for the world.” To me that is like answering this question — What is baseball? — with this answer: “It’s [Read More…]

Prodigal Christianity

My friend and colleague, David Fitch, is the co-author of a book with his co-pastor and our fellow colleague at Northern Seminary, Geoff Holsclaw, called Prodigal Christianity that I really like. David and Geoff are missional theologians, they are also pastors and professors. I have concerns about what might be called “armchair ecclesiologians,” that is, academics [Read More…]

An Every Person Ministry

Tim Keller suggests it takes about 20-25% of a congregation to be engaged in ministry for a church to become a genuine “missional” community. I repeat what I’ve said before: many like to say they are “missional” because they want to avoid being “evangelistic.” Tim Keller is at the other end of the spectrum: missional [Read More…]

Reformed and Missional

The word “missional” has a history: it owes its origins in Karl Barth who spoke about the action of God in this world but it was captured by the ecumenical movement to become mostly social activism in the public sector. Two theologians, probably neither “evangelical,” recaptured the term “missional” and reshaped it toward its more [Read More…]

Free Churches

The Reformation attempted to purify the church from corruptions. Luther’s and Calvin’s reforms were aimed at a better theology, a better worship, and a better society. The Roman Catholic Church, the then dominant form of the church, was intertwined with the state – with governing the whole of society. The Protestant Reformers experienced the authority [Read More…]

Practices of Missional Spirituality

The first missional theologian in the church — after the resurrection — may have been James who had to poke the messianists of his community in the eyes and thump a bit on their chests with words that said believing is not enough; you must be doers. Faith without works, he said, is deader than [Read More…]

Protestants and Missional

No one questions that the Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox have a high(er than average) view of the church; it is the Protestants who struggle with forming a robust ecclesiology that is not just liturgical but also missional. As I said before, what we need is a good textbook that is theologically conversant with a [Read More…]

The Four Elements of Missional Theology

If you had to pick the top three, four, or five ideas in “missional theology” which would you choose? I know some would choose justice, and others — those who think “missional” means “evangelism” — salvation or justification, while yet others would choose church-state relations or even participation in society. Do you think anything central [Read More…]

Smooth Places in Turbulent Waters

Perhaps the 21st Century will be when evangelicalism develops an ecclesiology. Perhaps, I say, because the prospects right now are nothing but turbulent waters. Denominations are shrinking noticeably; more and more churches are going rogue. Some are calling for reviving the 1st Century’s house churches and others are non-denominational and mostly disconnected from one another. But [Read More…]