The church and the dynamic of salvation, II: mission?

So, having written the last post, I'm left wondering what it does to mission:
The church has no necessary participation in the economy of salvation.  I wish to be clear: the church is not a necessity in the relationship between God and creation.  The communion of the people of God is a consequence of salvation.  It is a result, by no means an ordained one, and in no way a mediation.  It is, on the other hand, a key place in which we act out our being-in-the-dynamic-of-salvation.  It is, at its best, the place par excellence of that mode of being, the place designed by and for that mode of being in preference over all others.  As such, it is the place of the sacraments.  As such, it is the place of the gospel.  It is the place in which we participate in God's given means of grace because of salvation already achieved in Christ and being acted out under the Spirit.  It is the exemplary realm of ethical being-in-the-world on the basis of being-in-the-dynamic-of-salvation.  Or at least, it can be.
Mission is ethical being in the world, being under the command of God and the Spirit of God as a result of salvation.  As such, it is also a consequence of salvation -- but I would rank it as prior to the church/communion of the people of God.  I want to say that salvation creates missionary obedience creates koinonia partnership.

And yet it is clear from scripture that koinonia may precede conversion -- and that whole communities may become missional as they become aware of their salvation in Christ.  I do not say, "as they become saved" -- because that happened already, whether it is acknowledged or not in the present.  But as I say that, I'm not sure that the nature of the word koinonia describes what survives the change in intentional community.  If the intentionality of the community changes, it then has a new nature as community, and is a new koinonia, a new communion.


  1. Hey Matt,

    You're sitting in front of me at the conference right now... ;-)

    I think Barth is very helpful here. He structures his ecclesiology in CD 4 under the headings of gathering, upbuilding and sending. The key is not to understand these things as existing in a temporal order (even if they have a logical ordering), but as always already bound up together in the church's (and believer's) life.

  2. You're right, I will have to go back into IV for help here. I do appreciate the ordering within the life of the believer/community found there, especially as it follows on the development of II and III. Thanks!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts