Thursday, August 17, 2006

writing for mission

I have been posting less frequently in the last 10 days because I have been doing some other writing for print media, who have different deadlines and different rules on copyright.

1. A 3,000 word piece of Ministry Today, a UK journal. I have been asked to reflect on emerging church within traditional church, so I have been playing with my recent ministry journey, God as Trinity and a multi-congregational model. In many ways it is a Postcard 10, another chapter, for my Out of Bounds Church? book.

2. A 1,000 word piece for the New Zealand Baptist magazine. I contrast the mission of the Great Commission with the mission of Luke 10:1-12. 3 themes; mission as God’s idea (not our idea), central (not an extra for the mature), changing us (before we think about changing them). I am wondering if our changing world means we find Biblical resources in fresh places.

This is another step in the Mission Reader and emerging AD:missions projects (see here and here). I am also bouncing off David Bosch’s Transforming Mission. (IMHO no-one should be allowed to talk about emerging church until they have read this book. It is such an essential missionary text). Bosch suggests six periods in mission history; Jesus and early church [added in thanks to vigilant comment of Dave]; primitive; patristic; reformation; enlightenment; ecumenical (or postmodern).

He argues that each mission period is shaped by a different Biblical text which indicates a different overall frame of reference and way of understanding God, humans and the world.

John 3:16 in the patristic Period (the love of God, seen in the sending of Jesus, is extended by God’s messengers);

Luke 14:23 in the Middle Ages (compel them to come in!);

Romans 1:16 in the Reformation (God’s rightliving means grace and mercy, not punishment);

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) in the Enlightenment period.

“The transition from one paradigm to another is not abrupt … This produces a kind of theological schizophrenia, which we just have to put up with while at the same time groping our way toward greater clarity … The point is simply that the Christian church in general and the Christian mission in particular are today confronted with issues they have never even dreamt of and which are crying out for responses that are both relevant to the times and in harmony with the essence of the Christian faith …. The point I am making is simply that, quite literally, we live in a world fundamentally different … The contemporary world challenges us to practice a “transformational hermeneutics”, a theological response which transforms us first before we involve ourselves in mission to the world.” (Bosch, pages 188, 189).

Bosch suggests the immense challenges of our contemporary world are signs of a transition into a new period. He notes 13 trajectories. I am wondering aloud in this Baptist article if Luke 10:1-12 might need to be our new dominant mission text.

Posted by steve at 08:38 PM


  1. “Bosch suggests six periods in mission history; primitive; patristic; reformation; enlightenment; ecumenical (or postmodern).”

    Um, I only read five there 🙂

    Comment by David — August 18, 2006 @ 11:18 am

  2. yup, the missing one is the mission of Jesus/early church/new testament. thanks.

    Comment by steve — August 18, 2006 @ 11:38 am

  3. “I am also bouncing off David Bosch’s Transforming Mission. (IMHO no-one should be allowed to talk about emerging church until they have read this book. It is such an essential missionary text).”

    i could not agree more! i’ve picked it up again and i’m hoping to start bloggin some of its contents. i’d love to hear thoughts that you enjoy from the book too

    Comment by todd — August 19, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

  4. Todd, I have a series of posts at

    they are based on a companion reader that sits alongside bosch; a sort of sampling of key original texts (compiled by Norm Anderson I think). my series of posts (mentioned above) is my reflection on these original texts from an emerging church perspective.

    i quite liked the idea of bouncing off discrete sampled texts (sort of like a DJ) than off Bosch himself.

    having completed the first section, i have paused the series, but am definitely planning to return to it at later point.

    Comment by steve — August 19, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

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