Brian McLaren wrote an article on how efforts to renew the church are often misguided. In the article McLaren quotes the late missiologist Leslie Newbigin.
Lesslie Newbigin often spoke of the greatest heresy of monotheism (in its Jewish, Christian, and Islamic forms): cherishing Clause A of the Abrahamic call while conveniently suppressing, forgetting, or ignoring Clause B. So, we want to be blessed (big, exciting, vibrant, wealthy, healthy, wise). We want to be great (a great nation, a great denomination, a great congregation). To this end we pray and pay and read and plead and strive and strain and yearn and learn and groan and labor. And we give birth to wind.
Meanwhile, might God be otherwise occupied, scanning the earth for people who will also cherish Clause B: to be made into a great blessing, so that all people on earth can be blessed through us? Are we seeking blessing so as to be a blessing to the world God loves?
Do you see the difference between renewing the church as our mission, and blessing the world?
Our lack of attentiveness to the Scripture once again points out our penchant to move personal conviction and personal opinion ahead of the authority of Scripture. After all, who would not choose to be blessed over being a blessing? Now, in the same way we cannot extract the second greatest commandment from the first, we cannot separate “clause b” from “clause a.” To do so means we miss our missional identity as the people of God. Would this then not be to repeat the mistakes found in the history of the people of God?