This download includes all three talks plus a question and response time from the first plenary session at our Once & Future Mission event focused on the Anabaptist tradition.
One of the defining marks of Anabaptism is a focus on Jesus in which the whole of his life impacts the whole of ours. Such an encounter, both personally and corporately, transforms our allegiances, the character of our lives, our theology, and our practices – aligning them the reality of the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, various factors have and continue to inhibit people and churches experiencing this sort of encounter with Jesus. This plenary session will explore some of those factors and how Anabaptism might offer a fresh encounter with Jesus that can advance the witness of the Church in our Post-Christian culture.
Presentation 1: Greg Boyd
At the center of the Anabaptist vision of the Kingdom is an on-going and always fresh experience with God through Jesus Christ. Sharing the journey that he and his church (Woodland Hills) have taken from American Evangelicalism to Anabaptism over that last two decades, Pastor Greg Boyd will address various aspects of Christendom that have hindered this encounter with Jesus and that (Anabaptist) disciples today must vigilantly oppose if we are to continue to have fresh encounters with Jesus and remain true to the calling of the uniquely beautiful kingdom Jesus inaugurated.
Presentation 2: Meghan Good
Many (evangelical) Christians have been taught to see Jesus solely as atoning Savior and salvation as a matter of life after death. Anabaptism offers a fresh encounter with Jesus as Lord, envisioning salvation as induction into a whole new Jesus-shaped existence. Jesus calls for disciples who will go where he goes and do what they see him doing. To be a Christian is to accept his invitation to join the movement of dying and rising that characterize his own life and ministry. Drawing on Luke 9, we will explore the call to Christian discipleship as a life characterized by two simultaneous movements: the downward journey of the cross , which includes relinquishing of power and status, identifying with the vulnerable, and willingness to bear the costly consequences of confronting lesser kingdoms, and the upward journey of resurrection, embracing the full power and authority of Jesus Christ as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Presentation 3: Brian Zahnd
Divorcing Jesus from his ideas—especially divorcing Jesus from his political ideas—has been a huge problem that’s plagued the church from the fourth century onward. The problem is this: when we separate Jesus from his ideas for an alternative social structure, we inevitably succumb to the temptation to harness Jesus to our ideas—thus conferring upon our human political ideas an assumed divine endorsement. With little awareness of what we are doing, we find ourselves in collusion with the principalities and powers to keep the world in lockstep with the ancient choreography of violence, war, and death. We do this mostly unconsciously, but we do it. I’ve done it. And the result is that we reduce Jesus to being the savior who guarantees our reservation in heaven while using him to endorse our own ideas about how to run the world. This feeds into a nationalized narrative of the gospel and leads to a state-owned Jesus. Thus, our understanding of Christ has mutated from Roman Jesus to Byzantine Jesus to German Jesus to American Jesus, etc. Conscripting Jesus to a nationalistic agenda creates a grotesque caricature of Christ that the church must reject—now more than ever! Understanding Jesus as the Prince of Peace who transcends idolatrous nationalism and overcomes the archaic ways of war is an imperative the church must at last begin to take seriously.