"As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21).
With the reality of broad-scale secularization in the West and the attendant cloud of insignificance hanging over the church, is there any hope for the re-evangelization of the West?
In this comprehensive theology of mission, Ross Hastings directs the fretful gaze of the church to the trinitarian commission of John 20. There we find Jesus granting peace to his disciples by breathing his Spirit on them. He formed them into his community of shalom. Leaving their locked room, these "sent ones" went out to participate in God's own ongoing mission to the world.
Hastings also tackles the dual challenges of isolation from and accommodation to the surrounding culture. Building on the works of David Bosch, Lesslie Newbigin, Christopher Wright and Darrell Guder, the author corrects numerous dichotomies that hinder the church. In the power of the Spirit the gathered church is spiritually transformed and also scattered as it proclaims God's forgiveness and freedom.
This comprehensive theology of mission opens possibilities for renewal of faithful effort as we join in Christ's mission to the world.
"This expository tour de force integrates all the main themes of half a century's missiological reflection. Its central thesis, that the heart of the missional heart of John's gospel is the Easter evening narrative, is totally convincing."
"With his characteristic commitment to the church as well as his facility with and passion for trinitarian theology, Ross Hastings offers a perspective on ecclesiology and mission that cuts through the extremes that are so prevalent in the contemporary ecclesiastical culture without being esoteric on the one hand or overly pragmatic on the other."
"Drawing on theological conversation partners throughout the history of the church, and more importantly the text of Scripture, Ross Hastings has crafted the definitive work on the missional church. Hastings brings into a dynamic synthesis years of pastoral experience and academic research and teaching. This is theology at its best: grounded in the Word of God, immensely practical and founded supremely on the beautiful reality of the missional triune God. After a careful analysis of our societal and ecclesial reality, Hastings takes us on an inspiring tour of trinitarian theology, Christian humanism, the kingdom of God and a deep ecclesiology. The end result of God's mission, he argues, is the inbreaking of the kingdom, shalom in the world and a fully human existence for people inside and outside the church. Thus the missional church would be both wide and deep. Would that this book were read and applied by every church leader."
"Ross Hastings has written a masterful work that, while taking a step back in order to look at the sad state of much of the Western church, offers hope based on deep theological truths and a renewed understanding of what we as a community of believers are called to embrace. Looking at missional concepts from a communal context, Ross sounds a clarion call for the church to become what it was intended to be, a community of shalom, healing and forgiveness in a hostile land."
"Ross Hastings--pastor, theologian, scientist, lover of people--has written what can only be called a 'game changer.' With Spirit-infused passion, insight, precision and grace, Ross has engaged all the major players in the missional conversation and has significantly moved the conversation forward. Massively forward! Working with the Easter evening story of the resurrected Jesus in John 20, Ross moves things forward by relentlessly and joyfully drawing us deeper and deeper into a thrilling vision of the inner life of the triune missional God. As a result we can face the challenges before us out of renewed intimacy and 'intoxication' with the Great Missionary. This is the book we will return to again and again!"
"This comprehensive theology of mission opens possibilities for renewal of faithful effort as we join in Christ?s mission to the world."
1. The Greatest Commission
Outlines of John 20:19-23 and of This Book
Matters of Interpretation
The State of the Western Church
2. Breaking Free Through Discerning Inculturation
Inculturation Without Enculturation
Cultural Disconnection of Western Churches and Breaking Free
3. Breaking Free of the Entrapment of Indiscriminate Enculturation
Indiscriminate Enculturation of the Western Churches
Despair Leading to Isolation
Despair Within Even the Radical Emergent
The Despair Undergirding Radical Orthodoxy
Hope in the Christocentric, Trinitarian Church
4. Greatest Co-Mission: The Missional Trinity
What Does It Mean to Be Trinitarian?
The Trinity and the Power of Relationality
The Trinity and the Dignity of Personhood
The Trinity and Coinherence
The Immanent and the Economic Trinities (Two Trinities or One?)
The Trinity and Creation
The Trinity and Election
The Trinity and the Church: Unity with Diversity
PART ONE : DISCOVERING SHALOM
5. Communities of Christ's Risen Presence
Church as Christocentric Community
Church as Celebratory Community
Church as a Community of Shalom
Church as a Missional, Open Community: A Community of Hospitality
Church as Essential Community
Church as the One Catholic Community
Church as Community That Is Both Lively and Old
Church as a Missional Community
Church as a Catechetical Community
6. Mission of Incarnation and Resurrection
The Incarnation-Resurrection Dynamic Reaffirms
God's Creation and Confirms the Church's Mission as a Creational Mission
The Incarnation-Resurrection Dynamic Affirms That Christian Mission Is a New Creational Mission
7. Communities of Christ's Crucified Presence: Beautiful Scars
Communities of Christ's Crucified Presence: Joy Generated by Beautiful Scars
Communities of Christ's Crucified Presence: Through Christocentric, Cruciform Worship,Teaching and Community Life
8. Mission About the Cross, Mission Under the Cross: His Completed Redemption
Mission About the Cross
Mission Under the Cross
PART TWO: DISSEMINATING SHALOM
9. Communities of the Triune Missional God: Mission the Mother of Theology, Theology the Mother of Mission
Biblical Evidence of God as Missional
Theological Considerations of God as Missional
The Nature of the Missional Church
10. Mission as Theosis
Participation in the Son's Sentness by the Spirit
Participation in the Son's Sentness by the Spirit
Implications of Incarnational and Pneumatic Theosis for the Church's Mission
11. Communities of the Spirit: Gathered and Scattered
The Spirit in the Missional Church Gathered
The Spirit in Missional Church Moral Formation
The Spirit in the Missional Church Scattered
12. Communities of Forgiveness: Mission of Absolution and Freedom
Remission at the Heart of the Gospel
Remission Expressed in Participation with Christ by the Spirit
Remission as an Initial and Permanent Saving Act and as an Ongoing Relational Practice
Remission and Reconciliation as a Sign of the Kingdom
Name and Subject Index