I used the word "linear" in a bad way yesterday... I used it to describe my shorthand:
CHRISTOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY vs. CHRISTOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY>>MISSIOLOGY
And somehow in my sentence structure, it sounds like I'm saying Ed Stetzer is linear in his thinking. Sorry. It was my lame attempt to put complicated concepts in a shorthand form.
Len has a new post here regarding linear thinking. And I want to assure Len that I'm doing my best to work out of the whole linear way of thinking as he is.
But my real concern is not whether it's C>>M>>Ch or C>>Ch>>M (and I'm not sure it can be dissected so cleanly, which is Dr. Ed's concern) because in a non-linear world - such as ours - things happen from all sides at different times. And we can't always see cause and effect so clearly.
So I'm apologizing.
Last year, in another place, I wrote about my real concerns...
...For the last century, we’ve mostly done it this way: ESCHATOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY. By that I mean our end-time theology (Jesus is coming soon!) and all the fear and frenzy that it evokes, produced an evangelistic fury in missions that was weak on disciple-making and consequently in church development. Our eschatology drove our missiology – our participation in mission – and left it shallow, heaven-centered and escapist rather than centering on building communities of Christ-followers.
It should have been (if I read the Bible correctly) this way: CHRISTOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY. The fact that Jesus is Lord of the universe; the fact that Jesus is the redeemer-king should impel us to the far corners of the earth with the good news of the Kingdom. And groups of reproducing Jesus followers should result in reproducing missional churches.
The ESCHATOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY kinda missions and church has resulted in spectator, consumer-driven groups who are waiting for the next revelation and the trumpet-signal for outta-here.
So, going in Jesus’ name is a result of knowing who He is, and knowing what He desires to accomplish… which I understand is gatherings of disciples (aka church) who worship, experience Jesus' empowering presence daily and love a broken and fallen world.
So there you go... For me, it's not which comes first. It's not about the chicken or the egg. It's about being on the mission and whether or not the revelation of Jesus drives us - motivates us - moves us out of the comfort zone into the world for the fruit of the Kingdom, for the love of the Savior, for the sake of the world.
It just seems to me that the SENDING of God - and He sends us all - and our actual GOING - movement into the neighborhood, the city the world - in the MISSION of living His Life is the big issue.
Sorry if I misrepresented anybody.