A close look at the theology of Church Planting Movements

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The fall 2012 issue of the Southwestern Journal of Theology featured the theme “Scripture, Culture, and Missions.” The articles include:

  • A Biblical Theology of Missions and Contextualization”
  • Global Choices for Twenty-First Century Christians: Bringing Clarity to Missional Theology
  • Proclaiming the Changeless Truth in These Changing Times
  • Encountering Culture in Light of the Book of Daniel
  • Scriptura or Cultura: Is There a Sola in There?
  • Did Cape Town 2010 Correct the “Edinburgh Error”? A Preliminary Analysis
  • Introduction to McGavran’s Thoughts on the Church and Denominations
  • The Church, the Denominations, and the Body

Authors include veterans like Donald MacGavran, David Hesselgrave, and Norman Geisler, just to name a few.

Wrinkling Time

One of the three articles which can be downloaded without a subscription to the magazine is written by a veteran of sorts, John D. Massey,  who was an International Mission Board [Southern Baptist] missionary. His article,  “Wrinkling Time in the Missionary Task: A Theological Review of Church Planting Movements Methodology,” (pp. 100-137) takes both an appreciative and a critical look at this phenomenon, and is not afraid to dig somewhat deeply into the presuppositions behind what is known as CPM.

He issues a clarion call to his fellow Southern Baptists to examine whether this methodology has sacrificed faithfulness on the altar of pragmatism by doing “whatever it takes to finish the task.”

The article is must reading for anyone who has been influenced by CPM, and who has perhaps has been disappointed by promises of “rapid multiplication” that never materialized, or who has employed a strategy of “speed at all costs” only to find that their subsequent disciples suffered from a lack of staying power or depth.

May God raise up many more John Masseys who have significant field experience, as well as kind and keen theological eyes to spot missiological trends that will have huge consequences down the line.

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