I am reading a new book – not that I have finished my other new books I have been reading. Darrell Guder wrote, “The Continuing Conversion of the Church.” In the preface he makes the following statement,
However, it became clear to me (and many others) that any evangelistic parachurch movement which speacializes in a particular constituency or approach to evangelistic ministry must shape what it does as a program, rather than as the expression of the very life and calling of a mission community.
When this happens, evangelization tends to be understood in terms of methods, effectiveness, and measurable results, and the gospel itself becomes a manageable “product.” I began to see this separation between evangelization and communtion as a problem of “reductionism,” with questionable conseuences for all concerned. The church, which is intended to be the evangelizing community, tends to reduce or neglect its essential missionary character. The evangelistic organization, with no negative intention, tends to proclaim something less than the full gospel. Such reductionisms stand in obvious tension with an incarnational approach to mission, which is committed to biblical integirty and faithfulness.
… The students’ work, in particular, revealed the inadequate exposition of the kingdom of God in my approach, especially in view of the way that theme dominates Jesus’ own proclamation of the gospel. That led me to explore the curious separation of salvation from the kingdom of God in the church’s evangelistic proclamation, going back a long time. (Guder, p.ix-x)
From time to time it is good read what you have been thinking. We have, somewhere along the way, disconnected the church from the Kingdom of God. The results are an inadequate ecclesiology, stunted soteriology and misdirected eschatology. Now that we have identified needed places for reconstruction, let the work begin.