Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America

by Darrell L. Guder (Editor) et al.

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (February 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802843506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802843500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches

This book offers an excellent treatment of the relationship between Church life and missional practice. Essentially, it argues that the church does not have a mission, but is a missional community itself. This leads to a total revamping of the traditional approaches that churches have taken to "missions." Typically, missions have been seen as something that takes place in areas outside of Western cultures which are not "Christianized." The authors of Missional Church show profoundly well how the church is always in a missionary situation in every culture, and indeed it cannot consider itself "at home" in any culture. To do so is to sucomb to the Constantinian temptation wherein the church, in seeking cultural legitimacy uses the power of the state to achieve it's ends, thus violating the way of power offered in the Cross and Resurrection (cf. Yoder, The Politics of Jesus).

The authors offer some excellent discussion of the relation between Christ and culture(s), showing how these discussions cannot take place in the abstract, the way that Niebhur framed his argument in the famous book, "Christ and Culture." The relationship between Church and Cultures is always a dynamic, not a static one that must be determined contextually, taking into accoun the nuances of the culture in which the church finds itself.

"Christ and Culture." The relationship between Church and Cultures is always a dynamic, not a static one that must be determined contextually, taking into accoun the nuances of the culture in which the church finds itself.

The authors then go on to examine church as representative of the reign of God. This concept of the church as centered in the kingdom of God paves the way for the authors to talk about how the church must offer an alternative to the dominate culture. Thus, the church has an alternative politics, an alternatiive economics and an alternative vocabulary. All of these discussions are excellent and go a long way toward grounding Christian ethics in a thorughougly Christological congtext that is centered on the kingdom of God and embodied in the church as a community.

In sum, this is an excellent volume which significantly seeks to rework and reorient the defunct consumer church in North America. I certainly hope that the important call of this book is heeded by a largely compromised and unfaithful church. Highly recommended - by Halden Doerge, Portland, OR United States (Used without permission)