Thursday, July 06, 2006

emerging AD:missions 7

emergingadmission1.jpg a series of posts called emerging AD:missions; reflecting on the emerging church in light of mission thinking.

MISSION IN THE BALKANS: Readings in World Mission, page 12-14.

The context is the 8th century, the place is the Balkans and the people group are Muslim. St Cyril learns Slavic, turns this oral language into a written language and then translates the Bible.

Missionary issue one: The Church in Rome responds by accusing Cyril of selling out to the culture. Oh how familiar. Some 1200 years later, the context is global and the people group are postmodern, and the emerging church in a missionary mode is often accused of selling out to the culture.

Cyril responds to his critics by quoting from Psalm 150:6; “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” and by celebrating that “the sun of justice [has] diffused the holy Christian faith throughout the earth.” Amen. The emerging church continues in the contextual missionary spirit of Cyril. May we have the grace to respond Biblically and prophetically to our critics. May we continue to be part of the diffusion of Christian faith throughout our globe.

Missionary issue two: Slavic Muslims want to follow the Christ. Cyril offers 1 day of catechical instruction, immediate baptism, followed by thorough education. Cyril recognises that Christian faith requires formation. Which leaves me wondering where formation occurs in the emerging church. We are often criticised for being soft on doctrine. How true is this criticism? In what ways are we paying close attention to the forming of disciples?

I am futher intrigued by Cyril’s decision to baptise early and form later. This is in striking contrast to authors like Stuart Murray in Post-Christendom and Robert Webber in Ancient-Future Faith who call for extended catechesis before baptism in our contemporary world. So, does the order of baptism and formation matter in any way?


This post ends the first section of readings; titled Early and Eastern Church. I have initiated a dialogue between mission history and the emerging church. Topics covered include culture | context | rhythm | focus | worship and formation | heresy. For an more detailed introduction to emerging AD:missions, go here. For all the posts in this series go here.

Posted by steve at 10:16 AM


  1. You wrote:
    May we have the grace to respond Biblically and prophetically to our critics. May we continue to be part of the diffusion of Christian faith throughout our globe.

    I pray you will. I truly believe the spirit of Christ is in this movement.

    I came on strong in a negative fashion, so I hope I haven’t chopped any ears off.

    I think those things that are being commodified are peripheral… and like I said what is real cannot be contained… especially in broken cisterns.

    Again, I hope you are recovering from jet lag. Maybe next time if you come back around the other side of the globe, you’ll get ahead 😀

    You made a comment a while back about Neo and youthful spirituality (or something of that nature). I probably fall into that category. Maybe you could point me somewhere.

    Comment by Keith — July 7, 2006 @ 7:13 am

  2. what interesting thoughts …tx

    Comment by Lorna — July 11, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

  3. I’m thinkingthroughthe idea of the church contributing moral capital to the community and culture. Moral Capital has been used in the context of economics and politics in the sense of virtues, everyone behaving well for the good of society, and behaviour leading to good habits thereby generating change. Is there a way that the church can contribute moral capital that is more than moralism and that is more than just virtures as we understand them?

    Comment by Wayne — August 25, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

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