The Missional Church – Book Review Part III
The key means to aid in the re-understanding of the church in this way demands a “fresh hearing of the gospel.” The gospel is Jesus. (87) Of course, the question is what is it about Jesus and his message that is the gospel? They write, “Jesus’ good news that the reign of God is at hand is clothed with meaning by his continuing presence as the risen, reigning, and glorified Lord. Believing in Jesus also means believing Jesus Christ about the reign of God.” (88) What is this reign of God? It is the idea of shalom that “envisions the full prosperity of a people of god living under the covenant of God’s demanding care and compassionate rule.” (88) This understanding of the reign of God is must be the focal point of the gospel if the church wants to be missional. “It is in these findings that any biblically rooted and contextually relevant sense of the calling of the church in North America must begin.” (96) This is because finds its identity in “representing the reign of God” as well as being an “agent and witness.” (103) The “church is the preview community, the foretaste and harbinger of the coming reign of God.” (108)
The church must also be apostolic. This essentially means that it is “sent out on behalf of the reign of God.” (110) As the church exists as an apostolic community, it must figure out how to be “in the world but not of the world.” This means challenging powers (113) and it engages with the culture without being controlled by the culture while constantly trying to communicate the gospel in the surrounding culture and “is cultivating and forming the culture of god’s new community, a culture not of this world.” (114-115) The church also needs to see itself as an alternative community in the face of a dominant society (127).