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Oct 27, 2008


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"The Church of Jesus Christ is the provisional demonstration of what God intends for all of humanity. The Church is called to be a sign in and for the world of the new reality, which God has made available to people in Jesus Christ. The new reality revealed in Jesus Christ is the new humanity, a new creation, a new beginning for human life in the world: Sin is forgiven. Reconciliation is accomplished. The dividing walls of hostility are torn down."

Sounds a lot like a radically catholic vision of the church. Unfortunately, it also doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard in any of the PCUSA churches I've encountered. One thing that I think is missing (unless it is elsewhere than the section you posted) is Eph 3:10 - through the church the wisdom of God is proclaimed to the powers. It is precisely by being the community of reconciliation in Eph 4 that the powers see this. So even though the book of order says, "the Church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life," I think it would do well to articulate precisely why it might lose its life. Let's get real about the rulers and authorities and through who/what their rebellion against the ascended Lord is manifested, even as we call to them to submit to his Lordship.


I want to thank you for sharing this information with us. I know that it has helped me understand more what missional means and really where God is directing His church.

Viola Larson

Thanks for posting this. I think it is good. It takes all of the terms like God's new reality and places them in Jesus Christ where they belong. It does not separate what Jesus Christ has already done from what God is doing. What Jesus Christ has done is the new reality. That is one of the problems I was having with Paul Hooker's What is Missional Ecclesiology? . If you are interested see http://www.naminggrace.org/id68.htm. I do need to read some of Darrell Guder. I am writing of Missional blind!

Michael W. Kruse


I didn't mean to imply that this was descriptive of what PCUSA congregations presently are. I'd also add that I don't know of many churches who claim to be missional that would fit this description by their actions either.

Rather, we are looking for those things in our Presbyterian DNA that we can draw on to call forth a missional reformation. All PCUSA pastors, elders, and deacons take ordination vows that say they agree to be governed by the polity of the church. These statements come from chapter 3 of the BOO are in the first four chapters, which is the foundational statement about who we believe God has called the church to be. So if we take our vows seriously, we have already affirmed we will take these words seriously. We can now ask the question, "Are we taking this seriously?"

Preacherman and Viola

See my earlier post for links to three online articles by Guder about being missional: "Presbyfest" and Missional Presbyterians

For a quick summary of the questions we are confronted with see: On Becoming Missional in the Twilight of Christendom


1st reaction: It's too long. Can it be described in 25 or so words that stick in the memory. Maybe in the form of poetry or a hymn instead of several paragraphs of prose.

2nd reaction: I have about decided that "missional" has been used so much that it is a useless term. When used by a Presbyterian it seems to mean getting rid of those aspects of being Presbyterian that the speaker/writer does not like.

3rd reaction (that occured as I was rereading #1): Maybe John Bell's "The Summons" is close to the type of defintion that I was talking about in #1

Viola Larson

Thanks Michael,
I have so far down loaded two of those and read one. I will read them all and your posting. That is very helpful.


I realize this was not meant to be descriptive, my sentence beginning "unfortunately" was actually a lament, not a critique. I would love to see PCUSA churches - missional or otherwise - live this out.

Michael W. Kruse


All good points. At this point I'd be happy to get folks energized about what they say they already have in common through these statments. The term "missional," and a concise definition of the term, are secondary issues that may (or may not) come latter as I see it. Thanks for the Bell heads up.


You're welcome!



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