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What must we learn and unlearn to be agents of God's mission in the world?

That is the question that CT's Christian Vision Project is asking in this year's focus on the mission of God. Let me stop here and say this - you MUST read their most recent article from Chris Wright entitled An Upside Down World. It is a tour-de-force on global Christianity and the mission of God.

Warning: it will challenge you to think outside of the bubble, so don't read it if you like yourself. Here are a few quotes:

There are more Baptists in Congo than in Britain.
The old peripheries are now the center. The old centers are now on the periphery. Philip Jenkins brought this shift to popular attention in The Next Christendom.
[ see my Book Review of Jenkins' book ]
Can the West be re-evangelized? Only if we unlearn our default ethnocentric assumptions about "real" Christianity (our own) and unlearn our blindness to the ways Western Christianity is infected by cultural idolatry. It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but it is often harder to receive than to give.
That reverses the polarity of patron and client and makes us uncomfortably aware that what Jesus said to the Laodicean church might apply to us in the West: "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17).
With the growth of the multinational church, mission is becoming multidirectional. The U.S. remains the largest single contributor of Protestant cross-cultural missionaries. But which country is the second largest? Not a Western nation, but India.
Mission today is from everywhere, to everywhere.
Perhaps what we most need to learn, since we so easily forget it, is that mission is and always has been God's before it becomes ours. The whole Bible presents a God of missional activity, from his purposeful, goal-oriented act of Creation to the completion of his cosmic mission in the redemption of the whole of Creation—a new heaven and a new earth. The Bible also presents to us humanity with a mission (to rule and care for the earth); Israel with a mission (to be the agent of God's blessing to all nations); Jesus with a mission (to embody and fulfill the mission of Israel, bringing blessing to the nations through bearing our sin on the Cross and anticipating the new Creation in his Resurrection); and the church with a mission (to participate with God in the ingathering of the nations in fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures).
But behind all this stands God with a mission (the redemption of his whole Creation from the wreckage of human and Satanic evil). The mission of God is what fills the Bible from the brokenness of the nations in Genesis 11 to the healing of the nations in Revelation 21-22. So any mission activity to which we are called must be seen as humble participation in this vast sweep of the historical mission of God. All mission or missions that we initiate, or into which we invest our vocation, gifts, and energies, flows from the prior mission of God. God is on mission, and we, in that wonderful phrase of Paul, are "co-workers with God."
Not that there's much more to read, but you can continue reading here...


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