Thursday, June 04, 2009

Michael J. Gorman on "A Missional Hermeneutic"

I recently read Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology, by Michael J. Gorman. Along with NT Wright's Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision, it is one of the best books out there taking a look at Paul's understanding of justification. In particular Gorman's focus is on theosis, which he defines as the "transformative participation in the kenotic, cruciform character of God through Spirit-enabled conformity to the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected/glorified Christ" His own summaries of the book can be found here, here, and here.

Today on his blog, Gorman has begun a series on having a Missional Hermeneutic, which looks to be very interesting. Below is an excerpt in which he outlines some key definers of what Mission is and isn't. I am not sure how long he will be spending with the topic, but it looks to be pretty promising.

1. Mission is not a part of the church’s life (represented locally by a small line item in the budget) but the whole, the essence of the church’s existence; mission is comprehensive.

2. Mission is not the church’s initiative but its response, its participation in God’s mission; mission is derivative.

3. Mission is not an extension of Western (or any other) power, culture, and values; rather, it is specifically participation in the coming of the kingdom of God. It is therefore critical of all attempts to coerce Christian mission for implicit or explicit political purposes other than the “politics” of the reign of God—the realities of new life, peace, and justice (shalom) promised by the prophets, inaugurated by Jesus, and first spread to the world by the apostles. For Christians in the West, it is crucial that they recognize the failure of Christendom as something to be welcomed, and that they see the church appropriately and biblically as a distinctive subculture within a larger, non-Christian culture. Mission is theo- and Christocentric.

4. Mission is not unidirectional (e.g., West to East) but reciprocal.

5. Mission must become the governing framework within which all biblical interpretation takes place; mission is hermeneutical.


Brad Foster said...

Wow, that first book sounds like a sure cure for insomnia but I'll take you're word for it that it's good, haha.

rheimbro said...

The Gorman book is actually a lot more accessible than I thought it would be. Once you get a handle on the main few terms it is all pretty easy to track with.