The following is an excerpt from a post I found today on Justin Taylor's blog over at the Gospel Coalition. It is by Lifeway Research director, author, and missiologist, Ed Stetzer. You can read the whole thing here.
I thought this worthwhile to post especially for my Missio Dei readers. Stetzer talks about how "missional" Christianity has become a catch-all term for ministry as opposed to joining God in the very specific task of proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples around the globe. He makes some good points. If you have time, consider reading his entire post. The main thing I want to point out is this: When we say that we as Missio Dei value "incarnation before declaration," that should not be taken to mean that declaration is not important. Both are vital to being on mission with God as a people. It's simply that, too often, we Christians proclaim a Story that we aren't fully living out of ourselves. Before we can declare that the Gospel of Jesus is true and necessary, we must, by the Holy Spirit, put flesh and blood to it ourselves. Isn't this what God did in sending Christ?
Here is Stetzer:
"In refocusing on God's mission, many are focusing on being good news rather than telling good news.
St. Francis allegedly said,"Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." Interestingly enough, Francis never actually said this, nor would he have done so due to his membership in a preaching order. But it is a pithy quote tossed into mission statements and vision sermons in missional churches all around my country. Why? It seems that many in the missional conversation place a higher value on serving the global hurting rather than evangelizing the global lost. Or perhaps it is just easier.
I am not urging a dichotomy here, only noting that one already exists. It is ironic, though, that as many missional Christians have sought to "embody" the gospel, they have chosen to forsake one member of Christ's body; the mouth."