Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation

Article excerpt

The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation.

By Craig Van Gelder and Dwight J. Zscheile. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011. Pp. xx, 186. Paperback $19.99.

This book gives pride of place to the book Missional Church, edited by Darrell Guder (1998), as the touchstone for evaluating a range of voices in the "the missional church conversation." By this standard, and using as a primary rubric the issue of divine agency, the authors map various popular expressions in the conversation (books and online resources that discuss "missional" or "missional church") as belonging to one of four "branches" (though their labels reveal they are more about degrees of reception): discovering, utilizing, engaging, and extending. Frequent misapprehensions of the core notions of missional church in this slice of "the conversation" and the resulting elasticity in the use of the phrase itself are taken to be due to certain unresolved tensions, conundrums, inconsistencies, and ambiguities in the book Missional Church, which they deem to be its failings.

Based on these criticisms and in light of the perceived effect on the conversation, the authors make a series of "biblical and theological" proposals for reframing and undergirding the conversation. …

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