Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

A Missional View of the Doctrine of Election – Part II

How a Robust View of Election Leads to a Holistic Gospel and Meaningful Missional Engagement

Catch up on the introduction, if you missed it.

Missional Modes of Theological Reflection
Van Gelder describes the development of missional modes of theological reflection over the last century in his book The Missional Church in Perspective(Van Gelder 2011:15-98). Karl Barth is credited to having kicked things off, as he re-introduced the Trinity and a Trinitarian missiology to the conversation. Consequently the concept of missio Dei developed and there was a shift from a church-centric approach to mission to a Theo-centric approach. The starting point for mission was no longer the church, but God. As Jurgen Moltmann has said, “It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church” (Moltmann 1977:64) In other words, there is mission because God is a missionary God.

The initial quest for the historical Jesus as well as the third quest put a needed emphasis on the life and teachings of Jesus, with a developing consensus in regard to Jesus’ central message – the kingdom of God. Thus a more holistic understanding of the good news was developing. God wasn’t just interested in saving individuals, but there was also a corporate and cosmic aspect to the good news.

As ecclesiology and missiology began to be fused back together through the understanding of missio Dei and the kingdom of God, the realization that the church was missionary in essence was being understood at a deeper level, as was reading the scripture with a missional hermeneutic. Lesslie Newbigin was a key figure in all of this, which in turn shaped his approach to the doctrine of election.

With this in mind, I will bring Grudem and Newbigin into conversation, comparing and contrasting their view of election at three particular points – their starting points (key questions and key texts), their understanding of the purpose of election, and how election relates to judgment. I will then assess their views on the doctrine of election from a missional view, looking at how it speaks to the nature of salvation, it’s usefulness for missional engagement and how it shapes our understanding of God.

Join me for part three as we look at their starting points (key questions and key texts) in Part III.

7 Responses to A Missional View of the Doctrine of Election – Part II

  1. love this conversation. thanks for doing some hard work and then passing it along to us, this discussion is like biting into a juicy steak…

    i had grudem in seminary, great guy, great professor. this is a bit of a RABBIT TRAIL (sorry), but since my days at TEDS i have wondered why his sys theo book does not have one chapter devoted to the missio dei. not one.

    i wonder how so many brilliant people can overlook the very nature of our missionary God and the mission that shapes the very core of who the church is called out to be. we definitely need a radical reshaping around our sent Messiah.

    keep up the good work brother.

  2. John says:

    Hi, I am from Australia.

    Who “elected” you?
    And why does everything have to turn out to be Christian?

    Please find a completely different Spiritual Understanding of the Secrets of the Kingdom taught and demonstrated by Jesus while he was alive.


    Plus related references on Truth, Reality and Right Life


  3. JR Woodward says:


    That is cool you had Grudem, he seems like a humble man. I’ve never met him, but I appreciate the time or two that I have heard him on tape. On this issue, as you will see, I think Newbigin has more to offer.

  4. JR Woodward says:


    Hey my friend. Glad you could stop by. I trust as you follow this conversation you might get some inside on how I understand the idea of election and even how it relates to me. As far as your question, it probably depends on what you mean when you say “Christian”.

  5. Andrew Arndt says:

    Yo dude – glad I saw this. Been preaching through Ephesians in Bloomland this summer… so these issues are front and center. Looking forward to your thoughts and ALWAYS love when I get a chance to remember how much I love Newbigin : )

  6. JR Woodward says:


    I think you will love the next few posts on this topic. Newbigin is the man. I love the book of Ephesians. Dude, we should talk on the phone soon. I’d love to catch up. Your bro.

  7. markn12 says:

    The missional conversation is fascinating. I got introduced to it through The Faith of Leap, a new book by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch about how the church must embrace risk and adventure and eschew the idols of safety and security if it is to remain viable. Here’s a link: http://dld.bz/Z5ba. Looking forward to what you have to say next!

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