Lately I have been hanging out over at Jesus Creed and gleaning scraps from the table of some of the most brilliant theologians of our time who are wrestling with some very deep issues related to how we understand the Christian story. Scott McKnight got to what I think is the core area of contention within the present debate, the issue of election, in his post Soul Sort One More Time: David Opderbeck.
McKnight writes “Scripture seems to suggest quite strongly that God chooses a particular people in Christ. On this question of particularity, a “missional” approach to election seems to be emerging. In this view, “election” refers primarily to God’s choice of some people to engage in His mission of redeeming all of creation. When we reflect on the doctrine of election, the point is not to divide “who’s in and who’s out” in terms of final judgment. The final judgment is God’s prerogative alone. What we can know is that, having received the grace of the Gospel, we are chosen to bring the Gospel, in all its fullness, into all of creation. (For some hints at this approach, see Leslie Newbiggin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, and Christopher J.H. Wright, The Mission of God.) We, the Church, have been elected for mission. But this emphatically does not mean that those outside the visible Church are forever outside the reach of God’s grace.”
What would it mean to your faith and the way you understand the Christian Story to see “election” as being chosen to go on mission with God? What do you think of McKnight’s suggestion that our present focus on election as final judgment is in error? How would this new way of understanding election change the way you tell the Christian story?
I encourage you all to take a trip over to Jesus Creed and read the whole post. Also check out some of my other posts related to the topic including Social Justice vs Evangelism, Confessing my Ignorance – Revised, and A new twist on the conversation.