One of Baptist21’s Contributors (Nathan Akin) was published in the Global Missiology Quarterly. His contribution is entitled, “AN EXAMINATION OF MICHAEL FROST’S EXILES: LIVING MISSIONARLLY IN A POST-CHRISTIAN CULTURE” (click here for the full PDF)
Baptist21 is posting the full article in 2 parts.
Part 2 –
Frustrations with the Book
However, there are some frustrations with this work. He rightly critiques the church in the west for being captured by modernity, but he in turn needs to be careful that he is not captured by Post- modnerity. I think in some ways you see this effecting his hermeneutic, as he seems to be egalitarian. Another big problem I have is with his social views. I think he rightly critiques the church for being far to little concerned with the poor and helpless, but in all this political rhetoric that I am hearing from this so-called “new evangelicalism,” it is frustrating not to hear them talk about abortion. Frost barely mentions abortion and really gives very little of a moral judgment of it. If we are going to be about the poor and defenseless, as this left agenda is calling for our conversation has to start with babies being killed in the womb. Indeed, fighting for abortion, orphan care, prostitution of children, oppression, and defending the helpless should all go hand in hand. I think this creeping agenda needs to be very careful to not sell their souls to the left as they most of the time rightly accuse conservative evangelicalism of selling their souls to the “right.”
In addition, he is writing a work about Ecclesiology but never mentions church leadership (other than to degrade it as being a trained professional that is always a man, this seems to forget that Paul used an awful lot of ink speaking about characteristics of an elder), regenerate membership (or membership at all for that matter, though it seems the Author of Hebrews is concerned about our involvement in the Church), church discipline, or Preaching (other than to again degrade it as being a monologue by a trained professional).
I think that his ecclesiology is to loose and that makes sense since he says he is calling for a “liquid church.” I also have some frustration with his thoughts on the “neo-apostolics.” Though I think the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention rightly has a mentality similar to this African Church Planter mentioned previously, this movement seems to miss the fact that Paul calls for no “recent convert” to be in a place of leadership. These rapid growing movements run the danger of syncretism because they place baby believers in places of leadership. He tries to quell concerns about heresy showing up in movements like these, but does so with no documentation or writing to back it up. Regardless, I think we have something to learn here about not relying on books, seminaries, buildings, conferences, and the like. And we can learn from the strategy in place, but we just need to make sure that the Missionary/Church Planter sticks around and pours his life into those people until they are healthy enough to lead a church. Healthier churches will beget healthier churches.
What We Need to Learn
So what do we have to learn from missional/incarnational stream? I think a good deal.
1. To Be Missional- (by missional I mean considering ourselves missionaries in the culture we live and by implication finding the places in or culture where the lost are and engaging them there, as Jesus did.) We have to learn that all our programs, though there is nothing inherently wrong about them, distract us from being like Jesus and engaging the Lost where they are. That might mean less programs at a church building and actually engaging the lost at the “third places” Frost mentions.
2. We Don’t Go To Church, We Are the Church- “Being the Church” is not a one-time a week “event” on Sunday morning. We have to remove ourselves from our insulated “Christian bubble” that is most of our churches and engage the tough, dangerous places where the lost are waiting.
3. We are Called to be a Missional-Community– We are to love one another, serve one another, be about “undefiled religion,” be on mission together, and I would add what he leaves out, worship corporately together. This will help us navigate the small pathway between syncretism and sectarianism, but that is why we are to do this in community and hold one another accountable.
4. We Must Break Down the Secular/Sacred Divide- We must begin to see all of life, every activity as an act of worship. That will change how we work, play, live, and think.
5. We Need to be Much More Dangerous- We also need to learn to have a much more dangerous mentality, in our singing and in our critiques of the host culture. A sissified Jesus and love songs to Him will not cut it. Instead, we are to engage the tough places and dirty places.
6. We Will Avoid the “Showy” Mentality of Much Modern Church- We must learn that large shows that pander to our consumer nature will not create the kind of disciples that
are ready to suffer for the faith. Instead, we are called to something much more radical than tanks on a stage; we are called to follow in the footsteps of the meek Nazarene.