The Missional Church: Combining the Great Commission with Unbiblical Ideas

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Many churches throw about the word “Missional.” Seeker churches use it, and so do other denominational churches. But what does that mean? Of course our mission should be the Great Commission, but in the modern church that just isn’t good enough.  And of course it is redundant. It’s like saying, “We are a church church.” See what I mean?

Here is an older article via the now-defunct 5ptsalt.com site explaining the problem with Missional. Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Missional Falsehood

Missional. It is quite the buzzword these days. It is popular among ‘the reformed’. In fact, it is beyond popular, it is almost considered biblically necessary. From Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll and a hosts of SBC wanna-be’s to the Gospel Coalition, being missional is all the rage. It is also unbiblical, as presented, and I have no hesitation in saying so. In fact, I must say so, because those with whom influence rests are silent or participatory in it. They dare not risk their glorious theological careers.For example, Tim Keller, from his recent lecture “Contextual and Missional” at Urban Plant Life Conference in London, spoke regarding the nature of a missional church – please read this quote carefully:

A missional church gears absolutely every single part of its life–its worship, community, public discourse and preaching education–for the presence of non-believers from the culture surrounding it. A missional church’s congregation reflects the demographic make-up of the surrounding community–and therefore it gives non-Christian neighbors attractive and challenging glimpses of what they would look like as Christians.  A missional church’s worship is ‘evangelistic’ in the sense that it makes sense to non-believers in that culture, even while it challenges and shapes people with the gospel. A missional church’s people are outwardly focused, so involved in the local community, and so alert for every opportunity to point people toward Christ, that evangelism happens naturally through relationships.  Because of the attractiveness of its community, the contextual nature of its message, and humility of its people, a missional church will discover significant numbers of people always in the midst, ‘incubating’ and exploring Christianity.  It must welcome them in hundreds of ways.  It will do little to make them ‘comfortable’ but will do everything to make its gospel message understandable.

Wait a minute:

1) “A missional church gears absolutely every single part of its life–its worship, community, public discourse and preaching education–for the presence of non-believers from the culture surrounding it.”

First of all, the very phrase ‘a missional church’ clearly implies the existence of a non-missional one. Just so we are clear on this foundational truth, there is no such thing as a non-missional body of Christ. There is one Church, and it is missional. Any other ‘church’ or local fellowship who is not biblically missional is a false fellowship.

Secondly, the body of Christ, that is, a local fellowship made of believers, has never, is never, and will never be “for the presence of non-believers from the culture surrounding it.” Not in, as he says above, “every single part of its life–its worship, community, public discourse and preaching education–for the presence of non-believers from the culture surrounding it.” This is beyond biblical reasoning. Where in all of Scripture are we told that the church  worship service is for the presence of unbelievers in any sense? Don’t misunderstand me here, we are to work within the mandate of the Great Commission, but we are never given instruction, by command or precept, to exist for the presence of unbelievers within our worship services. Never. And “public discourse and preaching education” within the confines of the local fellowship is strictly for the equipping of the saints and the humbling of the same.

In a word, the meetings, the fellowshipping of the body of Christ is for the equipping of the saints, not the benefit of present unbelievers within a worship service.

2) A missional church’s congregation reflects the demographic make-up of the surrounding community–and therefore it gives non-Christian neighbors attractive and challenging glimpses of what they would look like as Christians.”

This is confounding.

How is a non-believer “attracted” in any way to the life of a believer when they are dead in their sins and have no concept whatsoever of what the Gospel requires, and demands?

3) A missional church’s worship is ‘evangelistic’ in the sense that it makes sense to non-believers in that culture, even while it challenges and shapes people with the gospel.

No, not at all.

A true fellowship of local believers is for the teaching and training of believers, not unbelievers. Absurd. The Church is for Christians only. NOTHING makes sense to an unbeliever regarding the Gospel, they are DEAD! They cannot understand anything, regardless of education. What was Tim thinking when he said this?

4) A missional church’s people are outwardly focused, so involved in the local community, and so alert for every opportunity to point people toward Christ, that evangelism happens naturally through relationships.

No! The truly missional church, namely, the only true body of Christ meeting locally, is focused outwardly only in the execution of the great Commission; the Church is focused inwardly as individuals and corporately on the grace and mercy shown them, on holiness, on sanctification, on the mortification of sins in their lives. They themselves are not outwardly focused, but they are inwardly focused, or better, they are upwardly focused on the grace and mercy shown them, and that is what their lives will reveal.

5) Because of the attractiveness of its community, the contextual nature of its message, and humility of its people, a missional church will discover significant numbers of people always in the midst, ‘incubating’ and exploring Christianity.  It must welcome them in hundreds of ways.

The true Church of Christ is never attractive to unregenerates.  That may make a large worldly clubhouse of false believers, but it is not the church of Jesus Christ.

By the way, in closing, if a local fellowships find “significant numbers of people always in their midst, “incubating and exploring Christianity” they are most likely lost people and they are NOT the Church; and as far as welcoming them in “hundreds of ways”…be ashamed Tim Keller, and Mark Driscoll, and all you SBC wanna-be celebrity hero’s of the world. The Church is for believers.

The problem is that those pushing ‘the missional church’ are presenting a reformed version of a ‘seeker-sensitive’ church, and that results in unregenerate memberships among other things. May this view be corrected.


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5 Responses to The Missional Church: Combining the Great Commission with Unbiblical Ideas

  1. Debi Menze March 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-_Anp-LLGE Mark Driscoll……REPENTENCE is needed!! Discernment is needed!!! We can't sit by comfortably in our own little bubbles while other's in so called Churches disgrace Jesus by calling "God" a bartender????Thanks for bringing more truth to light!

  2. Gio March 15, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    Awesome article. I visited a church and attended a meeting that I thought was an evangelism planning meeting. But I was so confused when they told me I needed to see the world with “Missional Eyes”. Huh. What is that? When I spoke up and stated that when I’m out in the world doing my daily doings and I see others, my heart breaks and I immediately think ” wow, that person may not know Jesus Christ”. I sieze the opportunity to have a conversation with them about eternity or at the least give them a gospel tract. After making that statement, I was met with bewildered looks, rolled eyes, deep sighs. Obviously I offended these “Missional Minded” people. When professing christians are offended by the name of Jesus Christ…..I knew it was time for me to leave that place and not go back.

  3. eeellama March 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    We met with an aspiring missionary this past week who asked for our support. I asked him to tell me what he thought the gospel was. His language was a little odd, and this “missional” term popped up. What I take from this is that they believe the church is not to be engaged in direct evangelism, but rather to live out their lives so that people ask questions and are drawn to the gospel.

    This is almost the same as the ridiculous quote of Ignacius of Loyola to “preach the gospel at all times; if necessary use words”. As the Bible says, “How will they hear without a preacher?” The offensive message of the gospel is not attractive to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. They don’t see the twinkle in our eyes, become convicted of sin, repent and believe. It doesn’t come out at all unless it comes out of our mouths.

    Unfortunately, the missional gospel is one where the words come out rarely if at all. It often becomes the gospel of building houses and feeding the poor–all good things that don’t require a crucified and risen Lord which can easily be done (perhaps better) by the Kiwanas, Lions, Habitat for Humanity, or your bowling league. All evangelism we see in the Bible was by proclamation of the truth, not community service.

    My past experience in The Salvation Army shows that an organization that sets out to evangelize by “soup, soap, and salvation” quickly becomes “soup, soap, and saving furniture and clothing from the trash bin”. It loses its salt. It quickly abandons every bit of doctrine in order to “do the most good” while deceiving itself that it is still a church.

    You are very right to oppose this.

  4. nannette March 15, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    The ‘Missional Church’ does not preach the gospel which is for those who do not know, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. They are part of the ‘New Calvinist’s’ see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Calvinism We have a problem then don’t we? Quote, “The New Calvinism is open to dialogue with other Christian positions.” What is other? Roman Catholicism, pure and simple. In other words Ecumenical. Behold Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)

  5. Manny1962 March 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    Amen Nannette, there are RED FLAGS everywhere in that “movement.” And some how the RCC figures in it. I’m seeing a pattern. The RCC is very surreptitiously infiltrating every “protestant” movement………..

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