Pastor Doran did a longer session this afternoon. The quote of the day so far was definitely Pastor’s statement, “I was born incarnate.”
In this session, Pastor attempted to confront how the missional movement interprets a key statement in John 17:18 where Jesus states, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” Pastor noted that the missional movement uses this verse to argue that the church’s job is to find out what God’s overall mission is and to participate in that mission. It is argued rightly that God’s mission is larger than the church. For example, Colossians 1 teaches that God is reconciling all things to himself through Christ. Based on this fact the movement concludes that since Christ’s mission was broader than the establishment of local churches, we must not restrict ourselves to the church either. We must involve ourselves in God’s broader mission. As such, the missional movement places a heavy emphasis on the need for the church to solve social ills.
In response, Pastor noted that Christ’s point was not that we have the same mission as Christ. This is because in John 17:4, Jesus states that he had finished the mission which the Father had given him. Furthermore, there are aspects of God’s mission which we clearly are not a part of. For example, no one claims that the church’s mission involves the punishment of evil or that we need to aid the process of destroying this world in preparation for the new heavens and new earth. He noted the logical inconsistency of saying that we need to participate in all of God’s mission and then only embracing sections of that mission. Rather, he argued that the point of comparison in John 17:18 is not the content of our mission but the fact that God has given us one to fulfill. And he argued that this mission is defined for us in clearer commissioning texts such as Matthew 28:18-20.
In sum, Pastor Doran sought to prove that the mission of the church and the mission of God are not one and the same. We must responsibly study the Scriptures to see what God has called the church to do.