Today we continued our conversations on David Bosch’s “Transforming Mission”. We read the chapters on Matthew and Luke as preparation and spent most of our time in his chapter on Matthew. One of my new friends also joined us and it was really good to be with such a diverse group of people. Here are some of the things that stirred me …
Our discussion started with the age-old tension between grace and works. It seems to our group that the South African churches most of us grew up in, emphasized grace at the expense of works.
Bosch frames the missionary paradigm of Matthew in terms of Matthew 28:20, known as the “Great Commission”. Bosch states that, “… , this ‘teaching of them’, together with the preceding ‘baptizing them’, appears to be the real content of disciple-making, and therefore of mission, in Matthew’s understanding.”(1993:65).
It almost sounds to me that with this view the disciplines of evangelism and discipleship are collapsed into mission. In other words the mission then becomes teaching and baptizing. The teaching Bosch refers to are more than just information input, “Jesus’ teaching is an appeal to his listeners’ will, not primarily to their intellect; it is a call for a concrete decision to follow him and submit to God’s will”(1993:66).
This appeal flows into a love of God and other people and therefore, “love of neighbor may be regarded as the litmus test of love of God” and “To ‘believe’, to ‘follow Jesus’, to ‘understand’, all contain an element of active commitment that flows into deeds” (1993:67) This, in other words shows a perfect harmony between grace and works. In most of the Christian circles I live in we battle with an unbalance towards the grace side.
In Bosch’s theological language, “Orthopraxis is hereby made into a critical yardstick for orthodoxy and becomes the norm for God’s covenant people” (1993:68).
Lollie has been a great example for me in terms of what Bosch is talking about. She has divided her journal into three columns … Listen, Hear and DO. Inspired by her and James 2 I’ve used the scrumming rhythm of touch, pause, ENGAGE. How is God touching me/us? Pause and reflect on that. Then engage with all of our might. [For those of you who haven’t been introduced to the wonderful game of rugby, here is a short video showing a parody on touch, pause, engage].