mission shaped church
ascension, is the sole foundation of the Church.
We are stewards of a
gospel that tells what he has done.
The Son of God expressed this mission in terms of the kingdom of God.
The kingdom is a divine activity whereas the Church is a human community.
Kingdom agenda and values are often more radical than church readily
allows. In bringing the kingdom, God is on the move and the Church is
always catching up with him. We join his mission. We should not invite
him to join ours.
It is the work of the Spirit to empower the Church to preach and embody
that gospel in ways appropriate to each cultural context.
In a world of ever increasing social complexity the church cannot simply
adhere to fixed traditional forms. It must reach more and more deeply
into its own realities and dynamics within the purposes of God for the
world, and invite the Holy Spirit to stir its heart, soul, mind and strength.
If it does so, it will learn to participate more fully in the energy of the
Spirit of Christ by which God, through his church, is drawing all human
society to its fulfilment in the kingdom of God.
The mutual ministries of the Son of God and the Spirit of God are essential
to a Christian understanding of the relationship between gospel and culture.
Although the Son of God became a human being within one particular
culture, the eternal salvation he won is universally offered to all cultures.
The Spirit, through whom the Son became incarnate
and through whom
he offered himself for our salvation,
inspires and directs the particular
form the gospel community takes within each culture.
christ and culture
The diversity of creation, through Christ, with its diversity of human cultures
and communities, gives a further indication of the appropriateness of
diversity in expressions of church.
For example, the second century Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, spoke
of people's ability to grasp parts of the truth even before Christ's coming
because they possessed `seeds of the Word'. At Christ's coming the Logos
spermatikos or `seed bearing Word' took shape and was made human.
Justin reconciled elements of Greek thought with Christianity by asserting
that, while the Church had the complete truth, there were also truths of
philosophy that might be attributed to the working of the same Logos who
revealed all truth in his incarnate life and was both the creative Word and
(as the Stoics taught) the divine Reason.