This is the 2nd in a series of posts taken from a paper I offered at this year’s American Society of Missiology gathering. It was offered as part of the ongoing project, “The Future of the Discipline of Missiology,” led by Dr. Craig Van Gelder.
Toward a Mission-Shaped Vision of Theological Formation: Implications of the missio Dei for Theological Education
Previous posts in this series:
Below is just the abstract of the paper. I put it out there just to preface where I am coming from in what follows. Has anyone else had this same sense or experience? Anything you’d add or nuance?
One of the most important theological developments in the last century has been the articulation and application of the doctrine of the missio Dei. As a Trinitarian doctrine, missio Dei has resulted in discussions about ‘mission’ moving from the periphery to the center of theological debate. As such, we have seen the rise of the categories of ‘missional theology’ as well as ‘missional church.’ What has lacked, however, is commensurate work in applying the doctrine of the missio Dei to the field of theological education. This paper seeks to contribute to overcoming this deficiency. In providing a brief sketch of the origins and variations of the doctrine of the missio Dei, this essay proceeds to explicate implications of this doctrine for how we understand the nature, purpose, and practice of both theology and ecclesiology, noting the unique relevance of Anabaptism for the latter category. This serves as necessary groundwork for the ultimate aim of this piece, providing conceptual frameworks as well as practical suggestions for how the doctrine of the missio Dei impacts the way in which we understand the nature, purpose, and practice of theological education. It is argued that such a perspective results in what may well be termed, a mission-shaped vision of theological formation. This paper is offered in the hope that it might enliven the renewal of existing centers of theological education and provide a trajectory for new apostolic ventures in theological education from a missiological perspective.