Missional Interpretatio n of Scripture Missional Theology Movement

Missional Interpretatio n of Scripture Missional Theology Movement

Missional Interpretatio n of Scripture Missional Theology Movement Traces its theological roots to Karl Barth Primarily motivated by the work of Lesslie Newbigin, British missionary The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (1978); Foolishness to the Greeks: Gospel and Western Culture (1986); The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society (1989); and Truth to Tell: The Gospel as

Public Truth (1991) offered a mission strategy to re-reach the Western world Missional Theology Movement Newbigin and David Bosch (Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shift in Theology of Mission (1991) brought missiology and theology together in Missional Theology North Americans appropriated this movement through The Gospel and Our Culture Network headed by George Hunsberger

Eerdmans published Missional Church edited by Darrell Guder as part of their The Gospel and Our Culture Series Missional Theology Movement A shift from the mission of the church to the mission of God (missio dei) The church does not have its own mission but participates in the mission of God The mission of God is to restore all of creation to Gods original design and purposes for it

Missional Theology Emphasizes the Triune nature of God Focuses on Christology since Christ plays the central role in Gods mission Gives Pneumatology a central place because of the role of the Spirit in enabling the church to participate in the mission of God Finds Ecclesiology critical as the church understands itself as participating in the mission of God

Missional Theology Attends to Theological Anthropology, Hamartiology, and Cosmology to understand Gods original designs and what has gone wrong to need redemption This leads to special interest in culture Emphasizes Soteriology because redemption and restoration of all creation is the whole point of Missional Theology Missional Theology Must ultimately ground itself in Scripture

Thus it must develop a missional hermeneutic or a missional way of interpreting Scripture That work has engaged The Gospel and Our Culture Network for the past four or five years George Hunsberger (2008) suggested that at that time four distinguishable ways of interpreting Scripture missionally had developed 1. The Framework is the Biblical Story

Most influential approach to missional interpretation of Scripture Appeals to Wesleyans because it begins with the grand sweep of Scripture Is narratively focused Most influenced by OT scholar, Christopher Wright The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bibles Grand Narrative (2006); Knowing Jesus through the OT (2007); The Mission of Gods People (2010) 1. The Framework is the Biblical Story

Also influenced by Michael Goheen A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story (2011) Chapters on God Forms Israel as a Missional People, Israel Embodies Its Missional Role and Identity Among the Nations, Jesus Gathers an Eschatological People to Take Up Their Missional Calling, The Death and Resurrection of Jesus and the Churchs Missional Identity, The Missional Church in

the NT Story, and NT Images of the Missional Church 1. The Framework is the Biblical Story Does not negate other methods Places interpretation in light of the grand narrative of Scripture An heir of the Biblical Theology Movement of the mid-20th century Uses the whole range of exegetical methods but orients the interpretation to the function of the passage in the grand biblical narrative

1 John 4:7-12 in the framework of the Biblical Story Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 Gods love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

1 John 4:7-12 in the framework of the Biblical Story In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 10 1 John 4:7-12 in the framework

of the Biblical Story Historical context is a split in the church Call to love one another echoes Jesus command in Johns Gospel God is love is theological foundation for this command Christs sacrifice is the supreme example So we ought to love one another like Christ loved us 1 John 4:7-12 in the framework of the Biblical Story God is love - missional explanation rather

than ontological declaration God sent his Son as sacrifice to fulfill his mission of redemption and restoration God is love points us to Gods missional motivation We, the church, are invited into that mission of love and so much love one another 1 John 4:7-12 in the framework of the Biblical Story V. 12 If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is perfected in us. By loving one another we participate in the

missional life of God, a life of love The perfecting of Gods love in us is not abstraction or internal experience it is the concrete reality of loving one another 2. The Aim is an Equipping Purpose Darrell Guder argued this, Jesus personally formed the first generation of Christians for mission. After that, their testimony became the tool for continuing formation. Goheen claimed the OT was written to equip Gods people for their missional

purposes; the NT was written to form, equip, renew the church for their mission in the world. 2. The Aim is an Equipping Purpose This approach does not deny the grand narrative sweep of Scripture, but focuses on each passage in its role of forming and equipping Gods people Gives attention to genre, literary forms, and historical contexts Assumes the formation of identity is also

the narrative purpose of Scripture Points us to application today 1 John 4:7-12 as Aim to Equip Author wants to form a community of love Step one is to love one another Such love of one another would mean they would be born of God and would know God Being born of God is favored Johannine language To be a child was to share an identity and

character Children of a God who is love will love one another 1 John 4:7-12 as Aim to Equip Author also promises they will know God if they love one another This was a cultural goal for his readers They desired gnosis (knowledge), but in their culture gnosis was separated from matter (flesh) which was considered inherently evil

Jesus could not have come from God in the flesh or he would have been evil according to their culture 1 John 4:7-12 as Aim to Equip The author promises the desired knowledge of God but it comes through love demonstrated by Jesus who came in the flesh as an atoning sacrifice for sins If the readers are formed into a community of love they will be equipped to embody that love of God to each other and to the

world the missional purpose of God 1 John 4:7-12 as Aim to Equip Learning to love will not come as some disembodied religious experience It will come through the concrete and difficult task of loving one another This points us to application If we love one another we will forgive each other, cover each others failures, and give what is precious to us to bring others into the community of love

3. Faithful Reading In Location This approach is from Michael Barram who claims, Christian congregations caught up in the missio Dei read the Bible from a social location characterized by mission. Social location writers/speakers and readers/listeners make judgments, understand, value, and think from a context That context shapes the way we hear/read and speak/write

3. Faithful Reading In Location Barram agrees with Guder that Scriptures purpose is to equip and form, but not via experts Rather, the church participating in the mission of God is a social location from which we read/hear and thus understand and interpret Scripture Scholars and pastors must be part of the community doing faithful reading in location 3. Faithful Reading In

Location Latin American base ecclesial community theologian Pablo Richard described this social location as hermeneutical space Academic space is the location where scholars speak Traditional space is the location where institutional leaders those who guide worship and administration speak Communitary Space is the location where the community of faith reads Scripture 3. Faithful Reading In

Location This communitary space is a place where those without power (the poor, the rejected, the youth, women, indigenous natives, foreigners and those of other races) can participate Barram believes missional interpretation of Scripture occurs when the church knows its social location is a community participating in the mission of God Such a community asks six questions 3. Faithful Reading In

Location 1. Does our reading of the text challenge or baptize our assumptions and blind spots? 2. How does the text help to clarify appropriate Christian behavior--not only in terms of conduct but also in terms of intentionality and motive? 3. Does our reading emphasize the triumph of Christs resurrection to the exclusion of the kenotic, cruciform character of his ministry? 3. Faithful Reading In

Location 4. In what ways does this text proclaim good news to the poor and release to the captives, and how might our own social locations make it difficult to hear that news as good? 5. Does our reading of this text acknowledge and confess our complicity and culpability in personal as well as structural sin?

6. How does this text clarify what God is doing in our world, in our nation, in our cities, and in our neighborhoods--and how may we be called to be involved in those purposes? 1 John 4:7-12 Read in Location Reading from a missional location would begin not with leaders reading the text to the congregation, but the community together reading The community asks, What does this text say to us as it equips us for our missional identity?

What does this text say about our community practices? Do our actions show that we love one another? 1 John 4:7-12 Read in Location What changes in our practices might more clearly demonstrate love for one another and the love of God within us? In what ways do we demonstrate redemptive and atoning love for each other?

Do we demonstrate forgiveness in a public way? What evidence is there that God is living within us? 1 John 4:7-12 Read in Location Do we have any measures that would suggest that Gods love is being perfected in us? Such questions do not have predictable answers Answers to these questions are not found in

commentaries or sermons The impact of Scripture is not found in the content of biblical exegesis, but in the transformation of the community as it examines itself in light of the text 4. The gospel as Interpretive Matrix Jim Brownson pioneered this approach It considers how biblical authors (as leaders of a missional community) addressed the people of their own time and place in terms of a received tradition

This involves drawing on the elements of a prior tradition and bringing them into critical dialog with the present moment 4. The gospel as Interpretive Matrix This process happened throughout the OT It is especially obvious in the NT as NT authors use OT texts to describe how one lives in Christ The process is important because the process itself is application and thus shows us how to missionally apply biblical texts to

our time What happens in the NT is paradigmatic for the daily engagement of the gospel with our own culture 4. The gospel as Interpretive Matrix Brownson built on the work of famed Princeton Pauline scholar, J. Christiaan Beker who argued that we could discover the coherent core of Pauls thought by observed the contingent application of that core in specific contexts

Brownson adds to coherent core and contextually contingent application a third item that functioned as a gyroscope always orienting the way Paul taught 4. The gospel as Interpretive Matrix For Brownson that third element was simply the interpretive matrix which was the gospel This may be most evident in Romans, but it is present in most Pauline letters Ross Wagners work on Romans provides

further illustration of Brownsons principles 1 John 4:7-12 Through an Interpretive Matrix of the gospel We might assume the Johannine understanding of the gospel included Gods love for the world, Gods sending of Gods own Son into the world to redeem the world,the appropriation of that love through believing in Christ and receiving life in his name, and the embodiment of that love

through the formation of a community characterized by the members loving one another 1 John 4:7-12 Through an Interpretive Matrix of the gospel This Johannine understanding of the gospel challenged the cultural assumptions of those in Ephesus at the end of the first century From gnostic/mystery religions influence, salvation in Ephesus came from knowledge of God received by initiation into the mystery

That knowledge was individualistic and devalued matter 1 John 4:7-12 Through an Interpretive Matrix of the gospel Deity had no passion (unmoved mover) Flesh was evil and threatened ones immorality Sin was not moral, but a lack of true gnosis One could be confident of salvation through this knowledge without ones life being changed and without consideration of anyone else

1 John 4:7-12 Through an Interpretive Matrix of the gospel The Johannine gospel radically challenged these cultural assumptions by proclaiming: A God who loved A God who became incarnate and took on human flesh One can know God and participate in the life of God by believing in the incarnate Christ and by loving one another

1 John 4:7-12 Through an Interpretive Matrix of the gospel The Christian expectation of a community which demonstrated its salvation by loving one another challenged the individualism of the gnostic and mystery religion approaches The same Johannine matrix of the gospel challenges a number of assumptions that fly under the banner of Christianity even to this day. Conclusion These four approaches are not contradictory

or mutually exclusive Some texts work more easily with some approaches than do other texts, but all yield helpful teaching when examined by all four approaches These approaches compliment each other and overlap in the interpretive results they produce Hunsbergers Four Concluding Questions 1. What is the story of the biblical

narrative and how does it implicate us? (missio Dei) 2. What is the purpose of the biblical writings in the life of its hearers? (equipping witness) 3. How shall the church read the Bible faithfully today? (located questions) 4. What guides our use of the received tradition in the context before us? (gospel matrix)

A Missional Interpretation of Scripture Does not require radially new methods of Biblical interpretation It involves the traditional questions of history, culture, literature, and history from the perspective of the mission of God to redeem and restore all the world This way of interpreting is especially compatible to Wesleyan theologians This invites us to participate in the mission of God

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