Earlier this week I had a stimulating online conversation with my friend Michael Cooper. Michael is a missiologist, and back in the day, when he used to hang out with Communitas, we spent long hours talking about scripture, narrative, history, and mission in the post-Christian western context. So it was great to catch up with him and look again at the question of how we draw the lines between the New Testament and contemporary mission. Much of Michael’s work is now channeled through his Ephesiology paradigm, so check that out.
The conversation was hosted by John Morehead, who is Director of Multifaith Matters. It must have been a bit of a departure from his usual focus on “multifaith conversations through deep differences, and religion’s role in popular culture.” Michael and I do not have deep differences, though I think we could probably have tried harder; I’m not sure my work is that “popular”; and I’ve barely begun to consider the implications of the narrative-historical method for multifaith conversations. But hopefully we began somewhat to get to grips with the challenge of telling a joined up story about mission—as I would see it—at the dawn of the Anthropocene.
You can either listen to the podcast on Podbean or get all the action on YouTube.
Thanks for coming on the podcast, Andrew. Although the topic might seem off-base for the program’s focus, a part of what we wrestle with at Multifaith Matters is how the gospel is shared with those in a pluralistic world. In this the historical-narrative and missiological perspectives have much to say, and we can learn how and what to share with others. I also think the conversation was helpful in that missiologists and New Testament scholars tend not to engage in cross-discipline conversations. I hope listeners and viewers find your exchange helpful.
Dear Andrew, I have now understood once again that your suffering, or rather your tension between an application-oriented theological (missiological) perspective and a historically distancing (struggling for first century truth) perspective is the existential price of your research work.
For me as a pastor of a local church, this tension is of course existentially much more difficult to endure than for an independent researcher…. :-)
Thank you also for clarifying once again:
the lack of an eschatological perspective is the real shortcoming of (today’s) theology. And this perspective is needed to understand God as a historical God.
Your three-horizon approach to biblical eschatology completely changes the guiding culture of our Augustinian-influenced national church theology.