If the Western Church is to be effective in its mission as it loses favor in secular society, it’s going to mean embracing peacemaking and remembering our role as a royal priesthood, speakers at Missio Alliance’s Awakening Conference advised.
Theologians and pastors from around the country spoke about the future of the Western Church as Christianity loses its place of privilege in secular society that it held for centuries. The discussion was part of a panel at Alfred Street Baptist Church on March 29.
Faced with the need for a new missional approach to engaging the culture, Al Tizon, a professor of missional and global leadership at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, said he believes Christians must embrace peacemaking and reconciliation as a Gospel imperative.
“In our brokenness we have made a bloody mess of God’s beautiful, diverse world,” Tizon said, adding that the human condition is the same all around the world.
“I contend that in a world literally quaking and cracking along racial, ethnic and cultural fault lines, the Church must embrace peacemaking and reconciliation as the primary paradigm for mission today,” he continued. “We can no longer relegate peacemaking to fringe pacifists and historic peace churches. Peacemaking needs to be central to the whole churches whole mission throughout the world.”
He added that he wants the word “peace” to become as hip as justice has become.
Keesha Polonio, associate director of the Tampa Underground Network, stressed that it’s vital for Christians to consider the image of the curtain in the temple being torn when Christ was crucified, particularly their role as priests.
“We need to remember that the veil was split in two and that now I, you, we can interact and engage with the Holy One. We have direct access,” she said, referencing 1 Peter 2:9 in which Apostle Peter speaks of God’s people being a royal priesthood.
“But I wonder if the Church has forgotten this?” she posited. “Will the Church give everyone an opportunity to live out their responsibility as a priest?”
That might mean for churches to give up their freedom to dream in order that the dreams of others can live, she suggested.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter