The Capetown Commitment is now available here.
My initial impression is positive. I like the effort made to bring 'unchanging gospel' and 'changing world' together for this time in which we live. Neither text nor context seems compromised. The initial reading causes heart and mind to come alive to both word and world. I am looking forward to the opportunity to savour it a bit.
The conclusion of the Commitment caught my eye.
The words go like this:
"We sought to listen to the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in his mercy, through his Holy Spirit, Christ spoke to his listening people. Through the many voices of Bible exposition, plenary addresses, and group discussion, two repeated themes were heard:
The need for radical obedient discipleship, leading to maturity, to growth in depth as well as growth in numbers;
The need for radical cross-centred reconciliation, leading to unity, to growth in love as well as growth in faith and hope.
Discipleship and reconciliation are indispensable to our mission. We lament the scandal of our shallowness and lack of discipleship, and the scandal of our disunity and lack of love. For both seriously damage our witness to the gospel."
So, when all is said and done, these two remain:
Reconciliation & Discipleship
Just as companies and countries talk about investing in Research & Development to open up their futures, it would seem - from Capetown, anyway - that the global church needs to be doing the same with this other R & D.
But where is the first step and how do you take it?
(a) I wonder about placing this R & D in a series of concentric circles. Not too many circles - say, (a) personal/family; (b) local church/community; (c) regional/national; and (d) global.
What if every follower of Jesus, every single person who is in Christ, became committed to a single Reconciliation initiative and a single Discipleship initiative in each of those concentric circles?
What if, in the language of Stephen Covey, this R & D become the 'rocks in their jar' which receive first priority and best energy?
What if church leadership freed people to make this the priority of their peoples' lives?
What if there were praying and sharing times where these initiatives were the sole focus - as one means of keeping people accountable?
(b) I also wonder if we acknowledge enough the attractional missional possibilities of communities living like this. This R & D is very attractive. Today we hear so much about incarnation and not enough about attraction. Being incarnational is pretty much a waste of time, if there is not an attractional dimension going on as well. Heavily contextualised models of ministry where there is an obsession with being relevant and fitting-in often miss this dimension. It is possible to fit in so well that we fall in - and miss the power of living distinctively with distinction.