Theologia vitae

Volume 12 (year 2022), issue 1

Mission and Identity

   Mission without Church, Church without Mission?
Gospel outreach in the secularized and pluralistic Czech society

   (Pavel Černý)

In our contemporary age we can witness on one hand underestimating of the role of the church in mission and on the other hand struggling for the new shape of the church. We live on the turning point of the different social and church paradigms. Besides existing churches we can see new expressions and forms under the names like emerging churches, fresh expressions of church, church without barriers, church in a different way, synodality. In this article I would like to show that mission has always been a challenge for the church and out of her practice their forms developed and were theologically reflected. The church without mission suffers and mission needs the church. Mission is the commission not for individualists but for the church – the body of Christ. The church is the hermeneutical community, where the contextualized forms of the Gospel are handed down and in the same time also new forms of the church ministry.

    Mission Identity of the Czech Christians in light of the Cape Town Commitment
    (David Symon)

The article is based on the conference paper at ‘Christian Identity and Mission in the Divided Europe and the Czech Republic’, Prague, 21 November, 2018. This article engages the connection between Christian identity and mission, with a specific focus on international mission, and points to the basis on which Christian identity can be perceived as mission identity. The understanding of Christian identity as mission identityis grounded in several partial motives for mission, which are presented in this article: love, biblical motive, needs and calling. First of them is addressed in a bigger detail – the Cape Town Commitment from the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in 2010. The author argues for the justifiability of Christian mission identity, namely that mission, and more specifically international mission, is an integral part of what it means to be a Christian. The article considers possible outcomes for the current Czech ecclesial context in the reflection of the Cape Town Commitment challenges to the Czech Evangelicals’ attitudes to mission and to their mission practice within the Czech Republic and the Czech mission abroad.

    Paul at the Areopagus as an inspiration for a dialogue with contemporary postmodern and postfactual skeptics
    (David Novák)

The article is about apostle Paul’s well-known speech on Areopagus, in Acts 17. It is a great speech, yet we see that Paul did not share many important areas of Christian faith. The article reviews why Paul did not express some aspects of faith and why it is still a good example of Christian message. The goal of this article is to defend the thesis that when we communicate Gospel we need to take carefully into account who our listeners are. The first part of the article deals with the role of religion and philosophy in ancient Greece. The second part examines the content of the apostle’s speech and how it is accommodated to his listeners. Conclusion summarizes six ideas which can be an inspiration for sharing Gospel today.

    Church as a community of grace and mercy
    (Pavel Černý)

Individual Christian churches are defined as communities gathered around their Lord and Saviour. They strive to focus on their relationship with Christ. But Jesus leads us into mutual love which is manifested in a community of grace and mercy. That’s why today we speak of the church being characterized by koinonea, and some are focusing on church planting, synodal processes or the renewal of small house groups function- ing for sharing, teaching and intercessory prayers. The emphases are on cooperation, serving together, mutual help, and missional calling within our society. Our problem in Europe is individualism, which doesn’t support the church as a community of grace and mercy. This article grapples with this situation and points out some emphases which the church must not abandon. It also refers to the question “who is my neighbor?” which is addressed by Jesus in the Scripture. The dangerous problem of dualism between the material world and spiritual salvation is outlined as well. We also touch on an important question about the role of the church regarding social issues and politics.

    Do Christians and Moslems worship the same God?
    (Andrew B. Funka)

God’s work is captured in the Holy Scriptures in a fascinating way. God’s invisible power is clearly seen in the things which the Lord has created and is creating up until today. This, of course, does not mean that we do not have any problems in interpreting and applying passages about God’s creation. This article touches on the painful division between biblical theology and natural sciences which has over time only increased. In some aspects, this separation can be overcome, but some mistrust remains in existence. The human fall into sin and the subsequent expulsion out of paradise and death remain as a challenge to biblical exegesis. As a result of disobedience, God pronounced death. But the first people, after eating fruit from the forbidden tree, did not die physically. What does the biblical text mean in this context? In what way is Adam representative of all humanity? And is it actually possible today to try to reconcile our faith in creation and contemporary science? Where are the limits of science and where are the limits of our understanding of biblical texts? Each person develops a certain worldview about how life on earth occurred and how human existence appeared. In this article, we will take a look at some interdisciplinary discussion and will outline some possible answers.

    Reformation and Leadership in the Church
    (Paul Bernhard Rothen)

The article focuses on examination of grounds for the theory and practice of some contemporary churches, while refusing the concept of leadership. There is a contrast between Martin Luther and the fathers of modernity (Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx). Decisive question is how detailed is the picture of the church government according to the Bible. Martin Luther and others held on and did not spell the details which Bible does not tell. On the other hand H. Bullinger or J. Calvin went “beyond” Luther and defined (different) number of church offices. Their descendants are today influenced farther by modernity and welfare state. The author builds his analysis on the lectures of M. Foucault from 1977. The problem of leadership is seen even in Bible translations. The author also comments on the recent development of possibility of new bishop of the Protestant Church in Switzerland.

    The diary of the urban pastor
    (Jan Valeš)

Pastoral care is of high importance in the ministry of a pastor. There are many perennial questions concerning the pastoral care – what is actually meant by it, how to draw in more people, what is the role of the spiritual gifts or of the lack of them, etc. This article offers personal experience of pastoral ministry in an evangelical church of the author who distinguishes five types of pastoral care: 1. staying in touch with all people participating at the life of church, 2. walking along and offering guidance to all who ask for it in times of need, 3. building teams where the pastor is in the lead, 4. personally giving hand to people in need, and 5. being a disciple in mutually accountable relationships. The aim of the article is to offer details based on the specific experience. For example there is a list of 12 life situations of the ministry of walking along together with statistics based on the number of cases (the most common situations are: people looking for new church, solving life problems, pre-marrital counseling, interest to be more involved in the church). What comes out of this reflected experience is postponed to others, this article offers hard data and the first reflections. Author defends his personal approach to pastoral care based on the story of the new commandment written in the Gospel of John, chapter 13.

    At the intersection of religious and sexual identities:
A Christian perspective on homosexuality

    (Mark A. Yarhouse)

This article is a Czech translation of the English text available online at the pages of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, U.S.A.

The goal of the article is to encourage the church to expand the vision of the Chris- tian who is navigating sexual identity issues beyond the expectation of complete het- erosexuality or the expectation of heterosexual marriage. It reaches the goal by a way of a nuanced Christian understanding of sexual identity. First it offers an overview of a scientific research in four main areas of prevalence, causes, status as a pathology, and change of sexual orientation. The author tells the story of sexual identity construction theories. There is a statistic difference between those who report attraction to the same sex, and those who experience such an attraction to the same sex that they report a homosexual orientation. So called “milestone events” play an important role in con- temporary researches. And they show that among Christians some of these milestone events come several years later than in researches who do not cover religious groups of respondents. It is possible that this is a reason for prolonged identity construction. A notion of “intersectionality” might help to clarify relation between homosexuality and Christian faith as it describes complex process in which multiple aspects of identity combine. Farther helps distinction between organismic (taking cues from one’s own impulses as a guide to shaping identity) and telic congruence (looks ahead to who one is becoming). Resolving sexual identity conflicts takes a form of three life trajectories: 1. Affirm gay identity as central; 2. Move from homosexual to heterosexual orientation; 3. Move away from gay identity. Article touches upon theodicy from the point of view of how to trust in God’s goodness in the midst of such inner tensions. Article ends with the challenge to re-center self (designation of Miroslav Volf). As evangelical Christians we need to revisit our view of singleness and how we communicate what it is we value in the local church. Much can be gained – to trust God as sovereign over the same-sex sexuality, rediscover the issue of Christian vocation, and to experience that the most important expression of love and intimacy in the life of the Christian is meant to be experienced in Christian community. (This abstract is not included in the original, it has been provided by the editor of Theologia vitae.)


    Symposium Teologie na misijní cestě 29 January, 2021, Kolín,
topic: Teologie a nové výzvy misie a evangelizace,
speaker: Jiří Hedánek
lecture:   Komunikace teologie v evangelikálním kontextu
(referred by Jan Valeš)


    J. P. Moreland & al., editors,
    Theistic Evolution
    A Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Critique.
Wheaton: Crossway, 2017, 1007 stran.
(Josef Potoček)

    Josef Potoček: Mýtus evoluce
    Co je základem našeho života: evoluce, nebo stvoření?

Mělník: Juda, 2020, 156 stran. ISBN 978-80-87239-55-1
(Jiří Hedánek)

    Marek Macák:
    Minoritní sexualita v pastoraci věřících

Praha: Česká evangelikální aliance, z. s., 2022.
(Tomáš Cvejn)

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