I tried to make a comment on David Fitch’s blog but was not successful as the comment editor does not leave me enough room to draw some of what I wanted to say.

Read David’s post and then read this rambling reply of me doing theology on the run:

David,

I love your questions and thinking.

The use of Hauerwas is helpful but maybe we need to go back to the God question.  Jesus was sent by the Father from the Trinity into the world, so the Church was sent by God from the people of Israel into the world.  Both start with an act of God’s sending.

The epistemological issue is how do we know God?  Well we know God through Christ mediated through the church and scriptures.  So the knowing (al a Volf) comes from encounter with the church. “All members of the church create the ‘plausibility structures’ in which the communication of faith and life in faith become possible.”

This implies to me a twofold issue to use Len’s shorthand:

> Church
God
> Mission

Going to Trinitarian theology God the Trinity’s mission precedes Christology as there is no need to send Christ with no mission.  Thus we have:

> Church
God’s Mission > Christ
> Mission

God’s Mission also creates more than just church it creates God’s people amongst whom Christ is incarnated and from whom his human identity is derived.  Thus:

> Church
God’s Mission > God’s people > Jesus Christ
> Mission

Now the epistemological questions seem to disappear as it is in the what is the relationship of the Church and Mission to God’s people we get an answer.  God’s people were always supposed to be on a mission thus:

> Church
God’s Mission > God’s Missioning People
> Jesus Christ

Maybe we need to summarise not as the church is a missiology but:

The church does not have a mission, the church is missional.

Epistemologically we may not be God’s people if we are not missioning.

Thoughts?

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