False dichotomies in mission (C. Wright)

False Dichotomies in Mission by Christopher J.H. Wright (Koinonia)
 Part 1:

…I do not want to be only negative, or to stigmatize our whole evangelical movement, but I was asked the question, and here is an honest answer! I think that as evangelicals we have tended to make some false dichotomies, or to separate things that ought to be kept together (because the Bible holds them together), and then to give one priority over the other. And this unbiblical separation has had some regrettable bad results.

1. We have tended to separate the individual from the cosmic and corporate impact of the gospel, and to prioritize the first. That is, we put personal salvation and individual evangelism at the centre of all our efforts, (and of course individual evangelism is an essential part of our commitment.). But Paul’s order of the gospel message…

2. We have tended to separate believing from living the gospel, and to prioritize the first. That is, we seem to think that there can be a belief of faith separate from the life of faith, that people can be saved by something that goes on in their heads, without worrying too much about what happens in their lives. So long as they have prayed the right prayer and believed the right doctrine, nothing else ultimately matters, or at least, whatever happens next is secondary and distinct.

Yet in the Bible faith and obedience are inseparable. Paul…keep reading part 1

Part 2:

3. We have tended to separate evangelism and discipleship, and to prioritize the first. In fact, we speak of the Great Commission as an evangelistic mandate (and of course it implies and includes the necessity of evangelism – for if people are to be baptized, they need to have responded to the proclamation of the good news), when in fact the primary explicit command is "Disciple all the nations". It has been said, the New Testament is written by disciples, for disciples, to make disciples. Yet our emphasis has often been on getting decisions and converts, making Christians. Actually

4. We have tended to separate word and deed, or proclamation and demonstration, and to prioritize the first. But again,

5. We have tended to separate evangelism from ecclesiology, and to prioritize the first. That is, when we talk about "the whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world", we see the church only as a delivery mechanism, a postman delivering a letter. It doesn’t really matter if the postman… Read all of part 2

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One thought on “False dichotomies in mission (C. Wright)

  1. […] Ben Byerly points his readers to a two part article on false dichotomies in evangelical thinking (by Christopher JH Wright). I had three initial reactions: […]

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