Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rediscovering Forgottetn Ways III

I find that every page I read in Alan Hirsch's The Forgotten Ways deeply stimulates my thinking. One of Hirsch's concepts is the notion of what he calls "Apostolic Genius." By this he means "the total phenomenon resulting from a complex of multiform and real experiences of God, types of expression, organizational structures, leadership ethos, spiritual power, mode of belief, etc." (p. 78) Apostolic Genius is what cased the early church explode upon the Roman Empire as a new way of thinking, believing and acting. Apostolic Geniuis is what led the Chinese church to grow from 2 million to 60 million while undergoing persecution. A review by B. Brisco shares the following summary. "So what are the key elements of Apostolic Genius? The six distinctives identified by Hirsch are: 1. Jesus is Lord 2. Disciple Making 3. Missional-incarnational Impulse 4. Apostolic Environment 5. Organic Systems 6. Communitas, Not Community" It is both fascinating and inspiring to understand that Apostolic Genius springs out of a core theological conviction. Jesus is Lord! Hirsch writes: "This is cleray the situatino of the gospel in the early church as well as the Chinese revoltuon. The desperate, prayer soaked human clinging to Jesus, the reliance on his Spirit, and the distilliation of the gospel message into the simple, uncluttered message of Jesus as Lord and Savior is what catalyzes the missional potencies inherent in the people of God." This is deep and heady stuff! It is also, I think, a reminder gift from a God who dares to love us. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, it is the return to a focused center!

1 comment:

  1. But, I think you have to add, too, the willingness of the Disciples and even the Chinese Christians to give up, to sacrifice, to risk, even to die for what they believed to be true, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It got the attention of all those who heard the Gospel from the Apostles. Their suffering was a testimony to the validity of the Gospel. The Gospel transforms but only if those who have ears will listen and those who have eyes will see. In the early years of Methodism, there were circuit riders who risked their lives, endured hardship, lived a lonely life all for the sake of sharing the Gospel. As pastors, modern day Apostles, are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel? I wonder. How about give up our pensions, or perhaps our 6-digit salaries for the sake of the church? Live as the original Apostles lived, by faith in the midst of adversity.