We must give full recognition to the already-not yet dynamic, so basic to biblical eschatology. Or to put it differently, we must get our expectations right this side of the new creation. While the church can indeed have an effect on culture, especially when its counter-cultural witness is clear and strong, nevertheless, transforming the culture is beyond both the church’s calling and the church’s ability. We cannot “bring in the kingdom,” much less may we participate (here and now) in the final renewal of all things.
It has never been more urgent for the PCA to articulate a clear vision of mission—calling all its member churches to obedience to the summons of Christ to reach the nations with the good news of Jesus Christ. We must remain “faithful to the Scriptures, true to the Reformed Faith, and obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.” Understanding mission with clarity is vital if we are to stay the course and fulfill our calling. Before we outline the mandate given to the church by Christ, allow me to suggest three trends that threaten missional clarity. None are new to the church, but these three continue to distort or distract from the mission entrusted to us.
Threat - Clarity - Faddishness - Expectations - Tribe
The first threat to missional clarity is what I’ll call aesthetic faddishness.Constrained by the expectations of our ecclesiastical tribe, we too readily insist that unless a church adopts our aesthetic—especially in worship—it simply will not be effective. But in moments of honesty, too many of us must confess that what we are really doing is signaling to the available market-share of Christians in our region that we speak their language, embrace their “vibe,” and thus they will find a ready home among us. For some, being “missional” is less a description of our stance and commitment to the salvation...
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