Question 5. “Is our representation of Christ not part of the mission?”
Kevin and Greg responded here to five questions.
Today they expand on their answer to the fifth question—thus far the biggest criticism of (and confusion about) their argument. The whole thing is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight this point where they reference Schnabel’s work on this:
We like the way Eckhard Schnabel puts it in his massive work Early Christian Mission. Schnabel argues that “expansive proclamation” is “the centrifugal dimension of mission” and “attractive presence” is the “centripetal dimension” (1:11). Our words ring out; our deeds draw people in. So the “elements of mission” include not only the ministry of the word but also “charity” and “ministry of grace.” But this is not same as saying missions is charity or that a missionary is anyone who serves others in good deeds. According the Schnabel, “missionaries” are “envoys sent by the risen Jesus Christ to proclaim the good news” (1:11-12). Just as important, he clarifies what mission is striving for. “The result of mission is conversion: people accept and adopt the message proclaimed by the missionaries, they are integrated into the new community of faith, and they start to practice a new way of life with new behavioral patterns” (1:12).