Mike Goheen spoke three times over the weekend. The first session was on globalisation. He took a refreshing approach. Globalisation is the outworking of the cultural mandate, to spread out spatially and globally - however, it has become distorted and misdirected. It has become shaped by economic idolatry. It has deep religious roots that can't be ignored.
His second session was on Newbigin and his desire for the 'laity' to fulfill their cultural callings. This session crystalised a numebr of key themes for me, discipleship, mission and worldview. Below are some of my notes for this session.
Unfortunately, I missed the third session on Sunday evening.
A neglected area of congregational life Newbigin's plea for training Christian for their cultural callings
Newbigin's understanding of mission
Mission: all of life bears witness to the gospel. Jn 20:21
God's people are a sent people - we can distinguish certain aspects
- Evangelism as words
- Deeds, mercy and justice
- Various callings in culture
The latter he saw as the primary witness.
It's not (just)
- Evangelism at work
- Personal ethics - don't steal rubber bands; don't cheat on taxes; don't commit adultery with your secretary etc.
- Living out God's creational intent for those areas of creational life
It's the primary witness, but it is the most neglected. It is also one of the hardest things to put into effect.
The church “must equip its members for active and informed participation in the public life of society in such a way that the Christian faith shapes that participation” (Newbigin Public Truth).
". . . a farmer who farms his land but neglects to say his prayers will be certainly condemned by Christians as failing in his duty. But a farmer who says his prayers, and allows weeds, bad drainage, or soil erosion to spoil his land, is failing in his primary duty as a churchman. His primary ministry in the total life of the body of Christ is to care rightly for the land entrusted to him. If he fails there, he fails in his primary Christian task" (Newbigin 1952 The Christian Layman in the world and in the Church).
How can we do it?
Formation of structures that equip for callings
- Study centre
- Frontier groups
- Leadership that enables training folk for their callings