Is missional movement the same as apostolic movement?


July 5, 2015 at 6:24pm

I'm doing the 2nd Edition of The Forgotten Ways at the moment. I made this comment and thought it was worth posting for your opinion. You think I am right here or not? Is it worth saying? .......

One more note about terminology before we get under way, throughout this new edition the reader will find that I tend to use the term apostolic and missional somewhat interchangeably. This should not be surprising because that Latin term missio is actually a translation of Greek term apostello and both translate to the English word sent or purposed. The reason for this subsequent shift is that not only do I prefer the terminology of the NT itself to that of later theological discourse, but that in my humble opinion, the historical thinking around missional seems to somehow fall short of what the Bible itself means by apostle and by extension, the adjective apostolic. For some reason most theologians (and strangely even missiologists) shy away from, and will in many cases actively denounce, the use of the explicit biblical terminology for missional! I sense that what we are therefore dealing with is some form of attenuated missiology as a result.

I believe that there is something deeply wrong here and that instead of simply complying with the ban, we should all be somewhat alarmed. As Protestants, we would not abide with similar censure around other key biblical words that are even used less frequently (e.g. “righteousness”, “reconciliation”, “holiness”,etc.) why these ones? There seems to be a dropping of something really significant in the inherited ban on using the language of the Bible itself. I believe this ban comes from deep within the Christendom mindset and needs to be challenged if we are to move beyond the reductionist Christendom ecclesiology and manifestly evident missiological blindspots. I, along with all who hold to the authority of Scripture,  believe that in order to recover the truths that the Bible itself seeks to reveal to us, we need to get to grips with the very language that God chooses to reveals himself to us. Why should we refrain from using biblical words for biblical ideas? Why exactly are we censured for using the language of apostle and apostolic? Are we not seeking to be a biblically defined people after all?

Should this go in the new edition?  Is this worth debating about?