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Discipleship is no easy church program. It is a summons away from our characteristic safety nets of social support. It entails a resolve to follow a leader who himself has costly habits, in order to engage in disciplines that disentangle us from ways in which we are schooled and stupefied and that introduce new habits that break old vicious cycles among us, drawing us into intimacy with this calling God. Discipleship requires a whole new conversation in a church that has been too long accommodating, at ease in the dominant values of culture that fly in the face of the purposes of God.

It is right to conclude, in my judgment, that the God who calls is the God of discipleship, the one who calls people to follow, to obey, to participate in his passion and mission. Such disciplines — in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, and now — intend and permit a drastic reorienting of one’s life, an embrace of new practices and, most particularly, a departure from other loyalties that have seemed both legitimate and convenient.

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Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-10-21 04:02:18.

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God Sends

The God who calls is the God who sends. This God sends because God has compelling authority to issue imperatives that anticipate ready acceptance, and God has a compelling passion for what is to be effected and enacted in the world that this God governs.

1. The sending of Abraham (and Sarah) is perhaps the overarching missional dispatch in all of Scripture. God issues to Abraham an initial imperative: “Go.” Then God makes extravagant promises to Abraham concerning land, name, and blessing. But the sending culminates with this responsibility entrusted to Abraham: “By you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

Israel exists to cause a blessing that is to be widely shared. “Blessing” is not a religious or moral phenomenon in the world of Israel, but is a characteristic feature of creation that is fruitful and productive. Blessing means that the world should be generous, abundant, and fruitful, effecting generative fertility, material abundance, and this-worldly prosperity — shalom in broadest scope. Israel’s life is to make the world work better according to the intention of the Creator.

Genesis 12:1-3 functions, on the one hand, as a hinge to what follows.2 The passage looks forward toward the entire family of Abraham that exists in order to evoke blessing in the world. More stunning, on the other hand, is the awareness that this mandate looks back to Genesis 3–11, that is, to all the nations of the world that are under curse: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Flood, and the tower. All of these narratives tell of the families of the earth becoming alienated from God and living in contradiction to the will of God. In God’s missional mandate to Abraham, Abraham is called to exist so that the general condition of curse in the world is turned to a general condition of blessing, life, and well-being. Israel’s mission is to mend the world in all its parts.

Paul quotes this very text from Genesis in urging that the gospel pertains to the Gentiles: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you’” (Gal. 3:8). The wondrous phrase of Paul, “gospel beforehand,” is a recognition that from the outset the good intention of the Creator God cannot be limited to any ethnic or racial or national enclave. Here is the warrant for a vision of a community of shalom, rooted in God’s own vision of the creation, that repudiates every death-bringing distinction and every leverage of some over against others. Moreover, the mandate in Genesis is not to make the nations over into Israelites, nor even to make them Yahwists. The foc

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