Andreas Kostenberger, on his blog (which is also available in Spanish!), recently shared twelve theses for the church’s mission in the 21st century. Often when we hear of the church’s mission, it is couched in a pragmatic discussion, focusing on methodology to the neglect of theological reflection. Kostenberger’s excellent theses, I believe, should serve as contours in future missiological study and practice. Here are his theses:
(1) The church’s mission-in both belief and practice-should be grounded in the biblical theology of mission.
(2) Reflection on the church’s mission should be predicated upon the affirmation of the full and sole authority of Scripture.
(3) The church’s mission should be conceived primarily in terms of the church’s faithfulness and responsiveness to the missionary mandate given by the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture.
(4) The church’s understanding of its mission should be hermeneutically sound.
(5) The church’s mission is to be conceived ultimately in theocentric rather than anthropocentric terms.
(6) The church’s mission, properly and biblically conceived, is to be trinitarian in its orientation, but not at the expense of neglecting the distinct roles of the three persons within the Godhead.
(7) The contemporary context of the church’s mission, while important, ought not to override the church’s commitment to the authority of Scripture, its need to be grounded in the biblical theology of mission, and the understanding of its task in terms of faithfulness to the gospel.
(8) The church is the God-ordained agent of his mission in this world today.
(9) The way in which the kingdom of God is extended in this world today is through regenerate believers acting out their Christian faith in their God-assigned spheres of life: the church, their families, their workplace, the societies in which they live (Eph 5:18-6:9; 1 Pet 2:13-3:7).
(10) There is no true lasting social transformation apart from personal conversion through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
(11) Human organization does not necessarily entail a lack of acknowledgment of God and his initiative in mission.
(12) The church’s task today is to nurture, renew, and plant churches composed of a spiritually regenerate membership and constituted in keeping with the biblical teaching regarding church leadership.
I would love to see a discussion started on these twelve theses. Kostenberger has recently written some excellent works, including Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: The Trinity in John’s Gospel (which I am currently reading). I encourage you to check out Kostenberger’s works. My hope is that we could see a more robust commitment to ecclesiology wedded to an unrelenting resolve in missiology that is grounded in a theocentric vision where God’s glory is the goal.
Take a moment and read the entire article. It will be well worth your time.