Moving on from Modernist Perspectives of Theology & Mission

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Currently I’m working towards my Doctor of Intercultural Studies/Missiology with Fuller Theological Seminary. The theme of my dissertation will be the impact that missional formation (both missional learning and praxis) has upon spiritual formation. We usually focus on how spiritual formation (or spiritual growth) leads to mission. But I am convinced of the reverse as well: missional formation will lead to the church’s spiritual formation. My short time of research thus far has not led me to many works that focus on this angle. And I’m particularly considering this topic and its effect amongst emerging creative folk, which is the context of those I participate with in work and ministry each day at Visible Music College.

Tonight I was reviewing a certain work on mission: The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends. It’s a book that deals with 12 issues of change in our world today and how the church needs to rethink mission (both globally and locally) in light of these issues. It has some good stuff we need to think through as we participate in mission in the 21st century. Continue reading

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Dr. King Reminds Us of Another

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Today marks a day of remembrance for a man who pioneered one of the greatest developments in modern American history – the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Or, better articulated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helped open the doors of dignity and respect for our African-American brothers and sisters. For he knew, was correctly convinced, that these honors were due to all humanity created in the image of God.

And as I was pondering this morning who this man actually was and what he actually did, I realize that he embodied the Jesus of Scripture in a unique way, in a way that gets easily overlooked in our western evangelical context.

How so? Continue reading

Why The Title, ‘The Prodigal Thought’?

rembrant-prodigal-son-detailI once looked into contributing regularly for an online Christian magazine. When asked the title of my column, I gave the name, The Prodigal Truth. Though one cannot very well know tone of voice or body language through email, I think the title somewhat shocked the editor. The title did not sound overly Christian, possibly even anti-Christian in one way or another. And it is understandable. I suppose the same might stand true with the title of this blog. Thus, I find the need to provide a little helpful explanation for the choice of such a title, since words are life and semantics are important, at least from my standpoint.

I know God has placed a desire deep within me to teach, explain Scriptural and theological truths, to exegete and understand what all Christians might not be so excited about studying. But I must make clear that I do not do so (or do not plan to do so) with the aim of sounding smart and theologically noble. I do all of this with the purpose of seeing people set free.

Jesus did teach, ‘…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Truth equals freedom. Not necessarily 2 + 2 = 4, although that could be helpful. But rather the truth of God coming forth and setting captives free – in their minds, in their hearts, even in their bodies. Set free from fear, from depression, from self-contempt, from anxiety, from bondage, from false concepts about our Father, and so much more. And that’s where I want to go.

I do not believe we are called to study the Word so we can write systematic theological treatises, though those can be helpful. I believe the people of God are called to dive into the Word so that we can know the truth and be set free by it.

But some of our thoughts have gone ‘prodigal’, if you will. By this, I mean they have gone astray, gone down the wrong path. Not so much along the lines of heresy or perverse thinking, though maybe for some. But rather our thoughts have gone astray from a sound and helpful understanding of the Scriptures. I am not trying to sound all pious and overly religious about reading our Bibles twice a day and memorising five Scriptures each week. But there has been some unhelpful teaching out their on specific topics, and this has led people down wrong paths in their own thinking. It has even caused some to be seriously locked up.

Therefore, I find myself developing a heart to try and bring us back to true Biblical teaching. Again, all for the sake of seeing us set free by the truth so we can fully and faithfully love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. As a result of this, over the next days, weeks, months, years, and maybe even longer, I give you The Prodigal Thought.

The title is not about seeing our thoughts run ‘prodigal’. Rather, it this blog is about seeing God reel in any prodigal thoughts as He reveals His truth. I expect that you will not agree with everything I write, but know that, if you are a Christ-follower, then we are starting from the same standing ground. So read, ponder, consider, discuss these articles. Then, when the day is over, I hope we can all truly be encouraged that our thoughts were corralled in by the truth of God and that we tasted a little more freedom as well.