It’s day two at the MACP. We had an excellent service last night with our church family. Our pastoral assistant for urban ministry, Ben Edwards, did a presentation challenging us to be involved in urban church planting. He provided some great statistical and biblical arguments for why the modern church must emphasize urban church planting.
This morning, Pastor Doran did his third general session which was entitled, “The Gospel and Mission.” As his starting point, he began in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and argued that the gospel has very specific content which is outlined in Scripture. One cannot say that the gospel is our subjective view of what Christ is; rather, Scripture tells us its content. And he noted that the Bible is clear that we are not allowed to add to or take away from this content.
From this foundation, he transitioned to discuss how the missional movement has at least in some contexts compromised this content. He noted as he did yesterday that the missional movement is built on the idea that the church is commanded to be involved in the missio dei (mission of God) which is God’s purpose to restore and redeem all of creation. From this it is argued that the church must follow the example from Christ’s ministry of preaching the Kingdom. Specifically, Christ both preached and performed miracles. And it is argued that in performing miracles, Christ was working to restore creation. As a result, the church must also be involved in similar works such as working toward social justice.
Pastor Doran argued that the missional movement has misunderstood both the Kingdom which Christ preached and the purpose for which he performed miracles. First, he argued that the Gospel of the Kingdom was rejected by the Jews and has been delayed as a result (for the future Millennial Kingdom). He argued that while the apostles did preach at times about the Kingdom, the NT never says that it was present or that Christ is the “King” of the church. Rather, they preached that people must be ready for the future kingdom.
Pastor Doran also argued that the missional movement has misunderstood the purpose for which Christ performed miracles. The purpose of his miracles was not to restore creation; rather, their purpose was to validate Christ as the messenger and the message which he preached. From there, Pastor presented several quotes from the missional movement which demonstrate how they believe social work is an essential aspect of evangelization. And he concluded that we must be seriously concerned about how this movement has mixed social work with the gospel.
The last session of the conference at 2:50 pm. Lord willing, I’ll provide a summary of that session later in the day.