The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: P-Q

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Preaching mission

"Our community has all too often separated doctrine from practice. We have not seen that doctrine is intended to bring forth living and love towards others. The doctrines of the one faith are not merely empty theological statements devised as a test of our understanding and obedience. They are what they are so as to inspire in each one of us a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

"We Christadelphians have analyzed some aspects of doctrine, especially relating to the atonement, to an extent that is inappropriate; and we have virtually -- and sometimes actually -- divided over these matters. And yet the pseudo-intellectual minutiae over which there has been such strife contain no power to enable the believer to live the new life. It is the basic Gospel itself which has the power to bring forth the new man after the image of Christ.

"It is crucial to true 'theology' that it not be separated from the call of doctrine to be the vital force for the transformation of human life. After 150 years of 'holding the Truth' and not really preaching it very much nor living it very deeply, western Christadelphia has developed a complex intellectual system that is very much in need of a focus for application and practice. That focus should be in the preaching of the Gospel to the poorer world, and within the more desperate parts of Western society. In such areas there is plenty of opportunity for practicing what we believe: especially in developing an adequate doctrinal underpinning. People do not know their Bibles, do not know doctrine, and yet they so want to be taught.

"Things are coming together, slowly, as western Christadelphia starts to see its need to reach out, and is encouraged by the successes the Lord has granted. We are starting to realize that the true theological cannot avoid the challenge of knowing personally life in its most traumatic forms. It has been truly observed: 'theology cannot but have a mission.' Unless 'theology' is put to the service of our mission, to save men and women and glorify the Lord, then there can only be an ever-increasing gap between the 'theologians' and the grass-roots ecclesia, especially in the mission field. The two halves must come together, or else the new converts will wander, and the 'theologians', shocked at the lack of perception in the converts, will likewise go their own way, into ever-increasing abstraction and theory.

"It is worth observing the very simple fact that the New Testament is essentially a missionary document -- all the expressions and articulations of doctrine and theology found there are in the context of the preaching of the Gospel and the immediate problems of men and women who respond to it. That is why we are not given a cold statement of faith or catechism in the New Testament, but rather the history of the mission of Christ at its very beginning." (DH)

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