saritura in-naltime

The Gospel Commission, Michael Horton

gcMichael Horton este unul din teologii pe care i-am urmarit sustinut in ultimii ani. Are cunostinta de a pozitiona concepte teologice intr-o paradigma biblica decenta si degaja un soi de prospetime prin contextualizari contemporane a ideilor teologice. Dupa “Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church” si “The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World”, Michael Horton prezinta o expunere teologica si practica despre “Marea Trimitere” expusa de Isus Christos in Matei 28:18-20, The Gospel Commission: Recovering God’s Strategy for Making Disciples.

Prin acest volum el lanseaza o provocarea de a reanaliza misiunea si ucenicia crestina. Sunt multe lucruri bune in aceasta carte pentru a o sintetiza in cateva randuri. Parcurgand-o rapid am gasit lucruri argumentate intr-o finalitate cu care nu am fost de acord dar decenta discursului, forta argumentului, este o invitatie la o dezbatere si analiza in aceste puncte in care intelegerile difera.

Cartea este un bun punct de start pentru a gandi/intreba/verifica identitatea si scopul marturisirii crestine.  Horton nu incearca neaparat sa ofere modele de lucrare; el doreste sa repozitioneze  prioritatile in orientarea misionara a bisericii.

Teza lui centrala a lui Horton nu este noua descoperire dar degaja forta printr-o reafirmare raspicata: “nu exista biserica fara misiune si nu exista misiune fara biserica” (pp.14).

Cateva idei ce mi-a retinut atentia la prima lectura:

Puternic, relevant, influent. Asa isi doresc a avea mesajul si transpunerea lui in practica, majoritatea bisericilor crestine nordamericane. Autorul chestioneaza scopul lor si metodele stabilite pe o filosofie a lucrarii.

Horton este inclinat sa creada ca noi(ca si ambasadori ai lui Dumnezeu) avem deja scriptul pentru mesaj si trebuie sa-l folosim asa cum este ne mai fiind nevoie de strategii si alte planuri. Folosim ce avem sau facem schita pentru o posibila alta imparatie? Este o intrebare de substanta in jurul careia se contextualizarea si elementul creativ al metodei, fie incurca, fie sustine.

Autorul face o observatie pertinenta despre valul doi al generatiilor subliniind faptul ca de obicei copii tind sa rastoarne si inlocuiasca conceptele parintilor; in plan istoric el leaga aceasta idée de generatia Iluminismului si Romantismului care s-au impotrivit formei organizate a religiei, valul acesta incluzandu-I pe Kant, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Marx, Hume si Hegel. Multi copii de pastori, pregatiti in teologie devin un alt val care matura crestinismul subtiindu-l de substanta christica, reducand Christosul din crezuri la o experienta privata ce se termina deseori intr-o respingere de nuanta mistic-naturalista.

Astfel pericolul la adresa crestinismului nu il identifica a fi cauzat de valul de secularism, ateism prezent/promovat in afara bisericii ci de imbolnavirea/lipsa de sanatate a marturiei crestine in societate. Secularizarea bisericii a condus spre aparitia mesajelor eretice.

In contextual pierderii marturiei crestine si subtierii identitatii christice Horton aduce o observatie pertinenta: “In efortul nostru de a castiga pe cei pierduti ii pierdem pe cei salvati.” Autorul pune declinul prezentei si participarii la serviciile bisericilor protestante si evanghelice pe faptul ca acestia nu stiu ce cred si de ce cred. Am falimentat in a transmite mai departe copiilor nostri valorile crestinismului si in acealsi timp ne-am bucurat ca am ajutat valorile crestine sa ajunga la marginile pamantului.

O alta intrebare intersanta despre comunitatile crestine: ”S-a intins biserica mai mult decat Isus i-a incredintat mandatul original?”

Biserica este o insitutie vizibila in istorie si nu o asociere invizibila a unor persoane mantuite. Adevarul biblic trebuie sa fie valabil si intr-o biserica veche care functioneaza in acelasi loc de cateva sute de ani dar si intr-un camp de misiune actual dintr-un tinut african. Cautand adevaruri general valabile, intalnim biserica definita a fi spatiul in care Christos lucreaza prin Cuvantul Sau si Duhul Sfant convinge oamenii de pacatul lor. Acolo unde Scriptura este prezenta si proclamata, unde sacramentele bisericii sunt administrate/oferite responsabil putem considera ca avem de a face cu o lucrare prin care Duhul Sfant se manifesta.(pp.293)

Ucenicia este inteleasa gresit atata vreme cat dinspre biserici se aude: “te chem/invit sa vii la Christos nu sa vii la biserica”. Pentru Horton misiunea si mandatul lui Isus este nu este sintetizat doar in a duce mesajul Evanghelei catre alte zone/popoare ale pamantului ci si de a ingriji comunitatile crestine unde ucenicii isi pot afirma si consolida credinta promovand-o apoi local si pretutindeni. Christos ca intemeietor al bisericii i-a dat acesteia o misiune care priveste dimensiunea sprituala si cea sociala; nu trebuie sa existe nici o prapastie intre ele.

Autorul afirma ca proclamatia lui Isus referitoare la Imparatie este identica cu afirmatia apostolului Pavel referitoare la Evanghelia Indreptatirii/Justificarii” (pp.75). “Imparatia lui Dumnezeu in faza prezenta este auzita si mai putin vazuta. Noi spunem si proclamam Imparatia prin prezentarea Evangheliei, in sacramente si disciplina bisericeasca.” (pp.67).

In detaliile cartii Horton discuta deasemena pluralismul cultural, inclusivismul teologic, variile forme de pietism si practica protestant-evanghelica; puncteaza intelegeri gresite ce afecteaza scopul misiunii crestine: contextualizari teologice facute la pragul consumerismului (pp.114-132), idea ca noi “traim Evanghelia” (pp.266-285), tensiunea intre imparatie si biserica (290-293).

Cartea are o prezentare solid teologica si aduce o critca valida asupra a varii intelegeri ale misiunii crestine. Dorinta pe care Horton o are in alcatuirea acestei carti  este aceea de a reaseza biserica pe linia originala a marturisirii ei considerand ca ne-am rasfirat/departat prea mult in metodica si ne-am redus/am depreciat din esenta.

Pe o piata a literaturii crestine destul de permeabila se gaseste cineva sa-l traduca pe Michael Horton si in romana?

“Cartea mi-a fost pusa la dispozitie prin bunavointa Baker Publishing Group si Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Este disponibila in orice librarie care prezinta Baker Books, o divizie a Baker Publishing Group“.

EG

Michael Horton is one of the theologians whom I watched sustained in recent years. I liked his way to placed the theological concepts in a biblical paradigm, expressing a decent and fresh ideas in contemporary theological contextualization. After “Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church” and “The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News Bad News People in the World”, Michael Horton shows a theological and practical exposure about “Great Commission” of Jesus Christ displayed in Matthew 28:18-20, The Gospel Commission: Recovering God’s Strategy for Making Disciples.

Through this book he is launching a challenge to review where we are with the Christian mission and discipleship. There are many things in this book to summarize in a few lines. Reading it quickly I found a variety of questionable interpretation (based on my present knowledge) but he has a decent speech, a strength of argument, and I took his explanations as an invitation to debate over the different understandings.

Some ideas that had my attention at first reading:

Horton’s thesis is not a new discovery, is a boldly reaffirmation: “there is no church without mission and the mission without the church” (pp.14).

Powerful, relevant, influential. Highlights about how many pastors want to see their North American churches. The author questions their philosophy and methods in order to achieve the godly commission.

Horton is inclined to believe that we (as well as ambassadors of God) we already have the script for the message and you have to use it as it is we need strategies and plans. We use what we have or do another sketch for a different kingdom? It is a question of substance around the creative element of contextualization.

The author makes a pertinent observation about the second wave of generations usually pointing out that children tend replace the parents’ biblical concepts; he links this in a historical Enlightenment and Romanticism exposed a generation that resisted to any form of organized religion, including Kant, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Marx, Hume and Hegel. Many children of pastors, well trained in theology represent sometimes a another wave that sweeps an substance layer from Christianity, often ends in a rejection of mystical-naturalistic faith.

In the context of losing the Christ identity in a Christian testimony Horton brings a pertinent observation: “In our effort to save the lost we loose those are saved”; A very serious warning: we failed to pass the Christian values to our children.
Looking for generally accepted truths, the church is defined as a space in which Christ works through His Word and the Holy Spirit convict people of their sin. Where is this scripture and proclaimed, where the church sacraments are administered / provided we believe that we are responsible for dealing with a work by which the Holy Spirit manifested. (Pp.293)

Apprenticeship is misunderstood as long as we are hearing from the churches open doors: “I invite you to come to Christ did not come to church”. For Horton the mission and mandate of Jesus is not only summarized to promote the message of the Gospel to other areas / peoples of the Earth but also to care about the new local disciples in Christian communities where faith can be affirm, strengthen and then promoted everywhere. Jesus Christ, as the church’s founder, gave it a mission witch involves the spiritual side and the social dimension, without any gap between them.

The book has a solid theological presentation and makes a valid criticism of the various understandings of Christian mission. It’s worthy to read and talk about it.

“The Gospel Commission: Recovering God’s Strategy for Making Disciples” is a good starting point to think / ask / verify your Christian identity and purpose of Christian witness. Horton wants to reposition the priorities of the church missionary in orientation.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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