The SBJT Forum -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 15:2 (Summer 2011)
Article: The SBJT Forum
Author: Anonymous

The SBJT Forum

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the forum’s format. Gregg R. Allison, Hershael W. York, John Folmar, and Brian Vickers have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: What does it mean for a church to be missional?

Gregg R. Allison is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Allison served many years as a staff member of Campus Crusade, where he worked in campus ministry and as a missionary to Italy and Switzerland. He also serves as the book review editor for theological, historical, and philosophical studies for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Dr. Allison is the author of numerous books, including Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Zondervan, 2011), and Jesusology: Understand What You Believe About Jesus and Why (B&H, 2005).

Gregg Allison: If you have listened much to contemporary conversations about the church, you realize that one of the most intense and widespread discussions is the missionality of the church.1 The church is missional in that it is identified as the body of divinely-called and divinely-sent ministers to proclaim the gospel and advance the kingdom of God. Key to understanding and embracing this attribute is the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to his disciples recounted in the Gospel of John:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:21-23).

After demonstrating to his fearful followers that it was genuinely he, the once-crucified-yet-now-resurrected Lord, Jesus commissioned his disciples with the same commission with which he had been commissioned by the Father. Now, what is this commission?

The missio Dei—the mission of God—on which the Son was sent by the Father (John 3:16) and which was accomplished by the Son through obedience to the will of the Father (John 4:34; 5:30) was saving rather than condemning the world (Jo...

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