Missio Dei (post 5)-Final

The act of redemption by Christ through the cross began in the incarnation, when, as Eugene Peterson puts it, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (Jn 1:14).” Jesus took on a human body, emotions, pain, personality, family, and culture in their fullness and brokenness. “John’s Gospel reveals that as Word made flesh, Jesus comes alongside us and touches us with the gracious truth of his holy love (Jn 1:14;3:16).”(Metzger) While being Word, Jesus, the Word and deed, did his mission by proclaiming and doing love. John records seven “I AM” statements of Jesus (6:48; 8:12; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:11) and his deeds through “signs” of turning water into wine (Jn 2), healing the sick (Jn 6), raising the dead (Jn 11), and so many others that, “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25). The salvation brought by Jesus’ act of redemption on the cross and defeat of death is not merely spiritual. “Salvation is all-encompassing, involving our relationship with God, with one another, and with the creation in its entirety. Salvation also involves the redemption of our entire being.” (Harper & Metzger)
Living in the reality of redemption in the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the church, God’s new humanity (Eph. 2:15), we live in the tension of the now and not-yet. Theologian George Eldon Ladd describes this tension of awaiting consummation in the Apostle Paul’s writings, stating, “The events of the eschatological consummation are not merely detached events lying in the future about which Paul speculates. They are rather redemptive events that have already begun to unfold within history.” This means that while we still live in the reality of a broken world, we live for the complete revealing, and begin to realize the full glory of the coming Kingdom of God! “The church reflects in a broken fashion the eschatological communion of the entire people of God with the triune God in God’s new creation.” (Ladd)
This is why I believe the application in redemption and consummation pertains to the calling of God in relationship to the leaders and people of God. While it is clear that “Christian leaders are called to live the Incarnation, that is, to live in the body, not only in their own bodies but also in the corporate body of the community, and to discover there the presence of the Holy Spirit” , it is also clear that “Ministers and priests are also called to be full members of their communities, are accountable to them and need their affection and support, and are called to minister with their whole being, including their wounded selves.”(Nouwen) This means that in our desire to be Jesus to others, we must also come alongside the people we minister to and be vulnerable and honest that we are broken sinners too. The professional distance that is comfortable often creates an air of disconnection, snobbery and arrogance for those in leadership.
In conclusion, my theology of ministry is shaped by the Trinitarian nature of the communal reality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in relationship to missio dei completed by the church, God’s new humanity, as portrayed in Heilsgeschichte (salvation history) through creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. Ministry must flow out of our faith in God, hope we have in Christ, and love through the Spirit to bless the nations and restore relationship with God under his covenant community of the church. We do this by authority, relationally, creatively, holistically, obediently, and in accountability towards God and others for his gospel.
Metzger, Paul Louis, The gospel of John: When love comes to town, (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2010.) 28.
Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger, Exploring Ecclesiology: an evangelical and ecumenical introduction, (Grand Rapids, Brazos Press, 2009.) 250.
Ladd, George Eldon, A theology of the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1993.) 596.
Volf, Miroslav, After our likeness: The church as the image of the trinity (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1998.) 235.
Nouwen, Henri J.M., In the name of Jesus: reflections on Christian leadership, (New York, Crossroads, 1989.) 68, 69.

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