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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

trinitarian missional theology... how'd we miss that?


The Mission of the Trinity – Singaporean theologian Simon Chan says 'missional theology' has not gone far enough.
Interview by Andy Crouch / Christianity Today

Simon Chan may be the world's most liturgically minded Pentecostal. The Earnest Lau professor of systematic theology at Trinity Theological College in Singapore is both a scholar of Pentecostalism and a leader in the Assemblies of God, but his recent books, Spiritual Theology and Liturgical Theology, engage with wider and older Christian traditions as well. Worship, Chan believes, is not just a function of the church, but the church's very reason for being. "I think that missional theology is a very positive development. But some missional theology has not gone far enough. It hasn't asked, What is the mission of the Trinity? And the answer to that question is communion. Ultimately, all things are to be brought back into communion with the triune God. Communion is the ultimate end, not mission."

See the whole article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/june/11.48.html


regressivepresby said...

Amen. Saw and read the article too. I've been fascinated and drawn to the work Thomas Oden, and the recently late Robert Weber were doing on the ancient/future faith convergence. Chan seems to be parralleling their thinking, or rather- all are keeping is step with he same Spirit.

Great sermon on Phil. Thanks for posting it, I tend to check your blog a couple times a week.

grace and peace to you and yours,

Macon said...

Ultimately, all things are to be brought back into communion with the triune God. Communion is the ultimate end, not mission.

I very much agree!

I also think that most "Missional" churches get that purely being "missional" isn't the end. It might not be as explicitly expressed as Rev. Chan expresses it, but that's ok. Saying I'm "Missional" is like saying I'm "active." The question is, "Well, great! You're 'Missional,' we're going somewhere fast! Where are we going?" :-)

But Rev. Chan really grounds it beautifully and succintly. And I'm sure I will use his articulation quite often from here out!

regressivepresby said...

In his book, "Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremecy of Christ in World Mission" (something to that effect, can't see it on my shelf right now), John Piper says this...

"mission exists b/c worship doesn't. there will come a time when mission ceases, but worship will never cease." Again, he said it better than that... but the point is- by placing the worship of a glorious God at the center of our mission endeavours, by seeing the end not just as seeing people saved- but seeing Christ worshipped-- this is a truly well rounded, robust and reformed ethic and motivation for mission in the most difficult and extreme circumstances. Very parallel with the idea of communion-- Communion & Worship-- maybe two sides of same coin- God's action, our redeemed response?

grace & peace,

robert austell said...

a distinction I made once in an officer training retreat (and before 'missional' became an in word) is that our worship should be missional and our missions should be worshipful. in other words, the quality and nature of our worship should cause us to want to go out in love, bearing the love and light of christ. our missions should always be grounded in christ. twice now (2 churhces) i've gone through the exercise with the mission committee of evaluating our missions in terms of gospel faithfulness. both churches supported united way type agencies - wonderfully good stuff, but nothing the church is uniquely qualified to do.

i'm very much on the bandwagon with piper about the eternal centrality of worship. [and macon, fyi, i'm about 65% done with]

Alex said...

Hey All,

Found this blog via the Stokes...I read this article last week and really liked it as well. I've been thinking some about "missional" work and how to help folks understand the centrality of it. Dallas Willard gets right upset about churches that are more growth-oriented and evangelistic centered, arguing (in his tellingly titled book, "The Great Omission") that we aren't actually making disciples, just converts.

But in my experience in both the "discipleship-centered" context and the missional, more outward-focused context, discipleship-centered communities (churches, parachurch ministry, whatever) do good disciple-making with almost no evangelism whereas evangelistic-centered churches do great evangelism and (in my experience) have a solid number of long-term disciples as well. In other words, discipleship-oriented churches make few converts whereas more missional churches make both converts and disciples.

I like Piper's concept of worship. Obviously, it all points to that. "missions exists because worship doesn't" is his phrase. I would tweak that a little bit to say, "Missions exists because Triune worship doesn't" since the truth of the matter is that all of us worship something, it's just usually the wrong thing.

robert austell said...


Thanks for reading and commenting! I've commented once or twice on Piebald Life... it's good to connect with you.

Hope you'll check back periodically!


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