Thursday, 3 April 2008

Chris Wright - from the West to the Rest

This week PTC hosted a visit from Chris Wright, International Director of Langham Paternership. Chris is a leading evangelical thinker in the area of how the world church can grow. He has written two books which I am very excited about Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (IVP, 2004) and The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative  (IVP, 2006). 

It was a great chance to hear Chris live. His theme was missiological rather than OT or Biblical Theology, however those themes showed through at several points. He talked about three obvious gaps which exist in the world church: economic disparity, geographical dispersion and theological difference. Each of these, he observed, were part of the NT church as well. This is yet another way in which our situation is more like the NT era than was the church in so-called Christendom. How did the NT church address these issues? The first was addressed by striving for economic equality (2 Cor 8-9), the second by a constant interchange of personnel and the third by working hard at relationships and hearing from each other. He then looked at some strategic responses we need to make. For me Chris' lecture took me another step from what I'd been thinking about after Easter, when I was seeing more clearly than ever the need for us to be diligent in works of mercy for the marginalised. Chris did not deny that, but he reminded me that many of the poor of the majority world are my brothers and sisters. So we have a special duty to care for them (Gal 6:10) and as we resource the church we can expect to see a maturing church impact societies. He also helped us see how exciting it is to be part of a growing world church.

An MP3 download of the talk should be on the PTC website in the next few days.

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