Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bringing the Circus to Town

Tim Keller has posted at The Gospel Coalition on the movement needed to change a city with the gospel.  Amid the missional double-speak, he rightly contrasts the work of believers in this world with the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit.  Indeed, he explicitly states:
In short, we cannot produce a gospel movement without the providential work of the Holy Spirit.  A movement is an ecosystem that is empowered and blessed by God's Spirit.
Now things begin to unravel.  He describes three circles the Holy Spirit uses, (Contextual Theological Vision; Church Planting and Church Renewal Movements; Specialized Ministries) but, as described, all the work is being planned, initiated, and undertaken by believers, and only if everything is in place will the Holy Spirit work.

The third ring is further broken out into multiple required elements:
  1. A prayer movement uniting churches across traditions in visionary intercession for the city.
  2. A number of specialized evangelistic ministries, reaching particular groups (business people, mothers, ethnicities, and the like).
  3. An array of justice and mercy ministries, addressing every possible social problem and neighborhood.
  4. Faith and work initiatives and fellowships in which Christians from across the city gather with others in the same profession.
  5. Systems for attracting, developing, and training urban church and ministry leaders.
  6. An unusual unity of Christian city leaders. Church and movements leaders, heads of institutions, business leaders, academics, and others must know one another and provide vision and direction for the whole city. They must be more concerned about reaching the whole city and growing the whole body of Christ than about increasing their own tribe and kingdom.
You can understand why I entitled this way: this is a three-ring circus with the Holy Spirit as ringmaster.  The recent Mars landing took less work by NASA than is being asked here.  I guess there is no hope for the gospel to go forth in the world.  Time to pack it in, folks.

How did the first apostles get the gospel out without all that infrastructure?

Maybe I am misreading Keller and being overly harsh, but the work of the gospel seems incredibly simple: go out, make disciples by baptizing and teaching Christ and Him crucified.  Take the opportunities you have and remain faithful to the Word of God.

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