What are the greatest practical obstacles we face to the practice of unity among believers?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 3:39 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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Once again, you hit the ball out of the park my friend! I am so grateful for these wonderful articles and hope many will read them. I posted this on my face book and urged folks to get them. I will also mention it on my new book blog spot: http://www.yourchurchistoosmall.com.
I am seeing and hearing stories, almost every day, of how missional-ecumenism is working around the world. The understanding is growing and a movement seems to be developing. Keep leading the way and helping train leaders for the future of the church.
I think you have elucidated arguably the single most vital, and if we really apprehend it, the most revolutionary concept of New Testament Christianity. In my own teaching over the years I have tried to emphasize this vertical unity with the Father, Son, and Spirit which Jesus speaks of here in his high priestly prayer, and unity with one another, in mutual love, service, enjoyment, and mission. This is the core passage which expresses what I called, in my Masters thesis, perichoretic-missional ecclesiology.
After I completed my thesis I found parallels in the perichoretic ecclesiology of Colin Gunton, the British Reformed theologian whose trinitarian theology places him among the greatest English language theologians of the Twentieth century.
But I think your emphasis of the shared mission is equally important. Jesus invites us to join his mission, incarnating his redemptive presence in the world (not taking his place in atonement, but being his Body, his manifest presence, he in us and we in him) calling, serving and loving the world.
Is there any more compelling theological vision that can renew, revitalize and ultimately reshape the church in our time?
It is interesting that you bring up Colin Gunton’s important work in Trinity and perichoretic theology. My next book, which I am working on now, will be one rooted in this same view and I will show how it impacts the missional church movement so powerfully. Together with John 17 and Ephesians 4 unity I agree that these are the two really big ideas we need to recover and actually put into practice, not simply think about as theoria. Praxis must be the result of our theology. Sadly, this is the centuries old problem in the West and I think various trans of recovery show there is hope for recovery.
This just in from a Missional Journal reader: Thanks Dave for the article. I enjoyed reading it here in South Africa where God has Deb and me for another month. The latter verses of John 17 have been a major focus in our preaching/teaching around the country here, too. May God allow “the glory” of his love to fill us and the church as we re-unite in love for life and service together. Bonhoeffer’s Living Together has always blessed me. Ed
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