New Theological Directions
As you think about the importance of understanding that "all God's people are
in mission throughout every aspect of their lives," you may come to visit
theological directions or questions such as these:
- The "priesthood of all believers" may not be a preferred state or status
for contemporary Christians, who see "priesthood" as a lowered, ineffectual
role in today's culture. Perhaps "vocation" carries more meaning and power.
- The Old Testament is written and read in a context of simmering
disagreement and tension regarding the spiritual authority of kings, priests
and prophets in the lives of ordinary Jews, and in the destiny and place of
Israel in God's world.
- In deriving current authority for clergy, we rely heavily on Pauline
theology and less on the example of Jesus' (lay?) ministry. Jesus' ministry
was centered on the sustainable practice of discipling; Paul's work was
aimed at a world in need of conversion.
- Jesus' emphasis on eschatology is minimal, hence his devotion to the
godly life now; Paul's mindfulness of the end of all time is greater. Jesus'
teachings on church-as-institution are minimal; Paul's are necessarily
- In Jesus' ministry, daily life settings — not the Temple — are
overwhelmingly evident as locus for ministry.
- Luther's view of "two kingdoms" is instructive in destroying the (false)
dichotomy of "sacred and secular."
- "Evangelism" and "stewardship" are subsets of ministry in daily life
- Incarnational theology — God was in Christ — does not stop with Jesus
Christ. God's nature and purpose invade the whole of theology, the whole of
churchly existence, the whole of human existence.
- In a post Christian world — or in post-modern culture — the church needs
new images and language by which to vision and articulate its
self-understanding for the good of the world.
- A theology of ministry in daily life cannot romanticize the laity,
especially in the matter of abdicating to "professionally religious people"
their responsibilities and privileges under the Gospel.
- The wisdom of God available in the church can come from the wisdom of
God available in the world. For example, the wisdom of science and art, the
wisdom/knowledge of philosophers and blue-collar workers.
- Ministry in daily life honors God's people in the world. Hence it can
serve as a (new) way by which the church can find institutional health and
- The distinction between "loyalists" and "inactives" belies the
spirituality of both groups, and limits the church's effectiveness to the
minority who populate church programs and structures.
- The church can be a place where laity and clergy learn from each other,
because both are uniquely gifted.
- The role and function of "pastor" and other professional church workers
must change in order to restore health and manageability to these offices.
- The congregation can best be understood as "an equipping place," where
value is added to the capabilities of individual Christians to minister in
their worlds of work, family, and leisure.
- Without a substantive infusion of ministry in daily life practices, the
institutional church as it is presently framed may not be sustainable.