Friday, January 18, 2008

Theological Reflections on Church Planting

In his book Church Planting, Stuart Murray first lays some foundational theological frame work of Church Planting. He makes sure that the reader recalls that “Theology refers primarily to the study of God and by extension to the activities of God within creation.” In doing so he then explains that to refer to “a theology of church planting” seemed “increasingly problematic.” Such phraseology, though popular and superficially impressive, may in fact hinder theological reflection. He goes on to say that “to suggest that there is a theology of church planting is surely to confuse strategy with theology and processes with principles.” He instead likes the terms “theological perspectives on” or “theological reflections on”, saying that these are a more accurate use of language, which reserves the term theology for the central task of reflection on God.

Now with this terminology in mind, Murray then goes on to talk about three fundamental theological concepts. The first is the mission Dei. (mission of God) He says that missiologists are “increasingly drawn to this phrase to express the conviction that mission is not the invention, responsibility, or program of human beings, but flows from the character and purposes of God.” The second theological principle is that of incarnation. Stating that “If mission originates in the character and activity of God, the means by which God engages in mission are paradigmatic for those who participate in this mission.” And lastly the “Kingdom of God”. This Kingdom mind set provides a framework within which a more wholistic understanding of mission can be understood.

He concludes the book by exploring the church’s role within the Kingdom of God and His mission in order to better understand that the church’s primary task is the mission Dei.