Mission and Dialogue

Knitter, Paul

Given the seismic shift from church-centeredness to kingdom-centeredness in the Christian understanding of mission, given the growing awareness that to pursue the kingdom as Jesus did requires a preferential concern for the poor and marginalized, given the recognition that Jesus went about his ministry by means of a self-emptying dialogue with others—putting together all three of these new perspectives in Christian theology, we can describe the contemporary Christian understanding of mission as follows: Mission is dialogue with others in service of God's kingdom for the poor and marginalized. In such mission-as-dialogue, conversion remains a goal, but it is primarily (not exclusively) conversion to the service of God's kingdom.



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Union Theological Seminary
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April 11, 2012