Transforming Mission – Chapter 2
March 27, 2009
The second round of conversation on Transforming Mission happened yesterday, and I’m getting more and more impressed (or maybe uncomfortable) with level of conversation happening. Not because it’s intellectually the most challenging conversation imaginable, although it’s definitely inttlectually challenging, not because you have around the table the most knowledge on the theology of David Bosch, or even on Missiology… but because a group of people are being deadly honest about their own journey’s of being Christian in South Africa today, are working with an brilliant and challenging text (Transforming Mission, as well the the books of the Bible being discussed), and are applying it to their own lives first and foremost, before anything else.
Chapter 2 was under discussion, on the Matthean sub-paradigm of early Christian mission. Matthew is known as the discipleship book, known for the sermon on the mount, and the Great Commision. All of this was discussed. I made some comments on Matthew 28 two days ago, and wrote about Bosch’s interpretation of this passage in my dissertation last year:
“In this article Bosch expounds his exegesis of The Gospel According to Matthew, especially chapter 28:18-20, to counter an interpretation which says that this text talks about leading non-Christians to a first commitment to Christ (make disciples), which only then must be followed by a stage of “perfecting” (teaching them to observe) (Bosch 1984:19). As Bosch explains, the teaching is not something which follows making disciples, but qualifies the main verb “make disciples” (Bosch 1984:24). The content of the teaching Bosch summarizes using two words: justice and love (Bosch 1984:26). “In summary then: Jesus has commanded the fulfilling of the Law which is the practice of justice-love. To love the other person means to have compassion for him or her to see that justice is done. Love of neighbour and enemy manifests itself in justice” (Bosch 1984:27). He endorses the words of Waldron Scott who wrote: “One must understand discipleship in order to make disciples, and discipleship is not fully biblical apart from a commitment to social justice…. To be a disciple is to be committed to the King and his Kingdom of just relationships” (Scott in Bosch 1984:28). Of the narrow evangelistic interpretation against which Bosch is writing in this article he then says: “They falsely teach that if individuals have a personal experience of Christ in traditional pietistic terms they will automatically become involved in the changing of society” (Bosch 1984:29).”
From Chapter 4 of David Bosch as Public Theologian
In conclusion: The way we live was of absolute importance to Bosch. We don’t evangelize people into heaven, and then disciple them into a way of life. We live the way of Jesus, the way of love, and make disciples, others who join us in living this way of love.
Others who blogged on chapter 2 of Transforming Mission:
Feel free to blog your own thoughts on this chapter, and send me the link. Even if you’re not joining us in conversation.