Think Tank 2012 Live-Blog: Two-ism and the Missional Life (David Fandey)

by Chris Poblete on February 8, 2012

Speaker: Dave Fandey (lead pastor, Fields Church)

Session: Two-ism and the Mission Life

The missional life is cross-cultural by its very nature. Culture is not amoral, and we need to understand the elements of our culture in order to understand the culture that we are trying to reach.

Mission involves the horizontal nature of the gospel. When I planted a church in Carlsbad, I was aware that I had to understand the culture around me. However, I also felt like an alien in my own culture (since I am a citizen of a heavenly kingdom).

There is another reason our culture is hard to reach: it is more and more monolithic. We need to think about what it means to live missionally in the culture that God has placed us in.

Dr. Jones: “share the gospel in a way that challenges the ideas of the culture we live in.” Question we need to ask regarding the culture: What are the gods that they serve? We need to understand what drives the locals so that we can take the gospel to them.

We may believe that we are thinking Biblically, but we need to ask how political and social and religious ideologies have shaped our worldview. Are we carrying a true Biblical gospel message? Or are we carrying a gospel that has been informed by our subculture? I’ve learned that my cultural background served as a great breeding ground for pharaseical tendencies. The Pharisees ignored God’s Biblically informed worldview in favor of their subculture’s.

The issue is the gospel. It’s what’s important. The gospel is what changes people’s hearts. The gospel when seen clearly (in a two-istic perspective) is beautiful and compelling. Let’s let the authority of the Word of God inform our worldview.

Let’s turn to the gospel of John to see how Jesus carries the gospel missionally. Let’s observe what He does and drive out some practical applications.

John 4:

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), He left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as He was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? … Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:1-11, 13-14

Note: If you were a good Jew, you would have avoided Samaria. Not Jesus; He goes right through Samaria. Jesus “had to pass through Samaria”. He wanted to go.

The woman comes to the well at high noon, which is not the usual time to go. This woman was likely trying to avoid any and all human conflict. She was aware of her guilt, but tried to hide it by avoiding others.

Jesus broke cultural norms by going to Samaria and talking to a Samaritan woman. Further, He engages her and crosses every possible barrier to share the gospel with this person. Ask self: What barriers are you willing to cross to share the gospel in a one-ist culture? Jesus crosses all.

Jesus: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” In other words, living a life under a one-ist worldview will never satisfy. One-ists have thirsty souls. They turn toward idols (anything that is not the living God), and it leaves them empty.

God loves His people so much that He will not allow them to be satisfied in anything other than Himself.

C.S. Lewis:

The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bath or football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasantness, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home

Jesus: “Go, call your husband and come back.” As you follow the conversation, it appears that the discourse is zig-zagging and random. Jesus, however, cuts to the chase. He knows the ugly details of her life. Jesus states the facts, is not afraid to offend, speaks the truth in love. We do not accuse, nor do we excuse. Jesus does this so that she can draw conclusions about her life (and guilt in sin).

Jesus confirms and declares to her that He is the Messiah. In turn, she goes and tells everyone: “Come see this man who knew me and my sin. Could this be the Christ?”

v31-38: Jesus says that His food is to do the will of the Father. In other words, Jesus says, “My food is to live on mission.” Don’t be a practical atheist. You are made to live on mission for His glory. This is the will of the Father.

The Samaritans in the town believed because of the woman’s testimony. The Samaritans then flock to Jesus and believe that He is the Savior of the world.

Jesus crosses cultural boundaries, she gets saved, she shares with others, and many more believe.

Applications of the Missional Life in Light of Two-ism:

Let us pray consistently for more workers to go into the fields. Jesus said the fields are ripe. Let’s believe these promises of Jesus.

  1. We must engage the culture and not retreat from it. We live in a culture called “Two-ism” but the culture of the day is one of “One-ism”. We need to be careful and humble, walking with a good dose of grace and humility. We don’t back down from the truth or the gospel, but we need to be gracious and loving. We need to be aware of our own pharisaical tendencies.
  2. We need to love and not hate. Dr. Jones notes: “They see us as bigots.” When I hear about this—what they think about us—I want to fight back (apologetically). It grieves my spirit to see one-ism take root. But what I need to ask: Am I grieving because of the ravages of sin, or am I grieving because my team didn’t win?
  3. Hold to the truth. We are committed to teaching the truth. We don’t pull punches. Contextualization does not change the message but adapts the way the message is shared with the culture.
  4. It will cost us to live missionally. It will cost us because it will call us to interact with sinners and love them. You will get hit from both sides when you live missionally. The pagans will think you are a bigot. The religious will slam you for hanging out with sinners.
  5. It will take time to see results.
  6. We need to live authentically. It is not just the people out there who need the gospel. I need the gospel too.
  7. We need to be in prayer. Jesus: “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers.”

People are perishing. They need the gospel. Will we live the gospel authentically before them? Will we reach out in love? in grace? in truth?

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