Missional Church


My good friend, Jason Kuiper, gave me a book on the Lord’s Day. It is one that I have been intending to read, but have not found the time due to life’s demands and other readings that are required and/or exegetical in nature.

I have been meaning to read it because I like to interact with the Emergent Church movement. I have many friends, even godly friends, who are a part of the ‘conversation’ and I do what I can to be a part of it as well (even though I am an uncool confessional-dogmatic-Calvinistic-systematic theology loving-modernist). But let’s face it- emergent I am not, even though there are some aspects of the movement that are very biblical and useful.

Today at work I took the book along in case I had some down time to read. I did; and I began reading it with much interest. I also read a lot of it this evening (some reading is like watching TV… it is just too fun to stop even though there are other things that could be accomplished.)

The book is Why We’re Not Emergent (by two guys who should be). It co-written by the Pastor of Lansing, Michigan’s University Reformed Church and some ESPN sports writer. So far it is quite good.

In their discussion of God’s knowability, here is their critique of the Emergent Church:

We may all be, by nature, like blind men touching the elephant without knowing what we are feeling is a trunk, tail, or ear. But what if the elephant spoke and said, “Quit calling me a crocodile, or a peacock, or a paradox. I’m an elephant for crying out loud! That long thing is my trunk. That little frayed thing is my tail. That big floppy thing is my ear.” And what if the elephant gave us ears to hear his voice and a mind to understand his message (cf. I Cor. 2.14-15)? Would our professed ignorance about the elephant and our unwillingness to make any confident assertions about his nature mean we were especially humble, or just deaf?

Because of the emerging church’s implied doctrine of God’s unknowability, the word mystery, a perfectly good word in its own right, has become downright annoying. Let me be very clear: I don’t understand everything about God or the Bible. I don’t fully understand how God can be three in one. I don’t completely grasp how divine sovereignty works alongside human responsibility. The Christian faith is mysterious. But when we talk about Christianity, we don’t start with mystery. It’s some combination of pious confusion and intellectual laziness to claim that living in mystery is at the heart of Christianity.

If you are emergent, pick it up and read it. If you are not emergent: it gives a balanced approach to why you shouldn’t be- all with humor, grace, and respect for the brethren in this movement.

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When will the church start being the church? This is a question that many in evangelical circles are asking. The context of the question is the fact that many view church as one or two services a week and then a mind-your-own-business-spirituality the rest of the week.

This was not the practice of the Lord Jesus and his disciples, the early Church, the Reformation church, the Puritans, or even Victorian Christianity. There have been great periods of the church doing ministry and living out her faith to a degree that changed lives for the sake of the Gospel. This is our duty. I think of the words of Wesley: the world is my parish! We have a duty to mankind to bring the Gospel and its life changing message. This begins in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, and extends to all spheres of life with which we have contact. Most importantly, this is done in Word and in deed.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The Lord has been showing me this more and more and I know that there are many saints in the Reformed churches that are seeing the need for Jesus Christ to break into our lives and to make a people that are more than ‘Sunday Christians’. It is sad to see the Emergent Church and the Evangelicals doing more- and with less Truth. There is much work to do. The Lord Jesus said,

Matthew 9:37-38 The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

He also said concerning those who claimed to be Christians, but did not do these works that the Gospel requires of them:

Matthew 25:42-46 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

We have much to reform in the Reformed churches; much of which does have to do with doctrine, but with practice. Our heritage is filled with men and women who lived for the sake of advancing the Gospel; many of us are but consumers. My pastor has challenged his congregation with this.

What should be done from? Should we continue with individualistic consumerism, or be the Church?