Sometimes the mission context serves not only as a theater for adapting the presentation of Christianity; it also serves as a catalyst for recovering something essential and precious within Christianity. (p. 84)
- George Hunter The Celtic Way of Evangelism
Much of Christian theology was developed because the mission context required further clarification. Would we have Athanasius without Arius? Would we enjoy Augustine without the Pelagians? Would we have heard of Luther without his conflict with Tetzel? Would we know much about Paul if the early church didn't struggle to maintain it's grip on the gospel?
All through Paul's writings, he is clarifying the gospel. I'm not saying that that's the only thing he does, but it seems to be one of the main things.
We are a multi-ethnic community because of the gospel.
We live by these ethics because of the gospel.
We pursue these disciplines because of the gospel.
The gospel informs and shapes our lives, deeply and richly.
But some of the depth and a lot of the richness has come about along the way. We overemphasize things (go shallow) and ignore things (turn poor) and if we are to experience the depth and richness of our union with Christ, we must constantly be recorrected: firstly, by God and secondly, by the people he sends.
Paul corrected people right and left, recovering for them the deep and rich gospel of Christ. He did it because he was on a mission. And to complete his mission, he needed people to know the complete gospel.
What might we be recovering in our particular mission?
How can we communicate our rediscoveries to the wider church?
"And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost." Anyone guess the quote?