I was disappointed recently when I read an old post on the Aquila Report, You Will Hear Crickets. The author, Anthony Bradley, is a professor of Ethics at Kings College in New York City, and apparently has some aversion to the missional church movement.
Bradley opens his article:
So I’m beginning to wonder if it’s “a wrap” on this whole “missional” movement splash, especially in terms of church planting? I can definitely see the wind being taken out of the sails for some. I’ve been particularly curious about crickets I hear when bringing up a few issues among missional Christians
He then lists four issues that he seems to believe puts a nail in the coffin of this movement. He even appears to take delight in its reputed demise.
While I have come to understand concerns about some practices and practioners who wear the missional label, I have difficulty understanding why anyone is opposed to the missional movement. Granted some within this movement, including some prominent faces, may have drifted toward heterodoxy, but Missional is a BIG umbrella. If the errors of some, even many, gives reason to eschew the basic principles, maybe I should rethink being identified as Presbyterian. The recent actions of the PCUSA have no doubt caused confusion and concern about what we Presbyterians believe and stand for.
But I do not think I should stop being Presbyterian simply because some have strayed off course. I would rather stand firm and not give over the label to those who no longer stand for the principles. Likewise, I don’t think we need to throw out the baby with the bathwater in attempt to clean up the Missional label. Rather, I think we should work to reform the movement, bringing all things into conformity with Scripture, all the while remembering the mantra coined by Marco Antonio de Dominis, often attributed to Augustine, and popularize by Puritan Richard Baxter:
- In Essential – UNITY
- In non-Essentials – LIBERTY
- In All Things – CHARITY