Monday, April 27, 2009

Newbigin's Take on Mission

Lesslie Newbigin, village evangelist in India, takes his cue on the church's mission from the Gospels and Acts. In these five narrative accounts there is an "indissoluble nexus between deeds and words". Miraculous deeds perk curiosity of a new reality which is then explicitly stated in word. Preaching without these deeds is about as unhelpful as answering questions that aren't being asked. But where these deeds are present, questions abound concerning the new plausibility structure of which they are a part, and gospel proclamation answers those very questions.

The point here is not to prove every word was accompanied by a miraculous deed, but that such deeds prompted right questions to which the gospel could respond.

The Church inherits this mantle of powerful witness inasmuch as she marries deed and word. The Kingdom of God is not an abstract reality but a Person who we have encountered and whose new creation we have a forestaste in the Spirit. "To set word and deed, preaching and action, against each other is absurd. The central reality is neither word nor act, but the total life of a community enabled by the Spirit to live in Christ, sharing his passion and the power of his resurrection."

How do our lifestyles reflect a new reality? How do we proclaim "Jesus is risen" not just on Easter Sunday but in the company we keep at our table? In the hurt we mend? By the injustices we confront? Through aspirations for our children?

Sadly so much of our lives play out the script of this present reality. No wonder nobody's asking.

1 comment:

Jon Furst said...

How can we better reflect our creator than to also make His Word flesh? Good thoughts.