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Ambassadors of Reconciliation A Study of 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 in Light of Missio Dei.

Introduction The mission of God (missio Dei) bids every believer to enter into a broken world with a transformational message. At the core of the message is what the Apostle Paul calls reconciliation. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and compelled by love, Christ followers proclaim the message of reconciliation to the enemies of God. This message announces the Kingdom of God has come to those who place their faith in Christ, as well as, urging all who not come to saving faith to be reconciled to God. The Kingdom, however, is not a place but a position and attitude. To live in Gods Kingdom is to live under Gods rule by radical selfdenial in order to reveal the Lordship of Christ. By examining 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (New International Version) we will investigate how the Apostle Paul perceived reconciliation; and the believers role of becoming an ambassador of the message and ministry of reconciliation. First, the paper will examine the historical and cultural context surrounding the Corinthian letters written by the Apostle Paul. Second, the paper will conduct a general exegesis of 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 focusing primarily on Pauls use of the words ministry and reconciliation." Third and fourth, based on the exegesis, this paper, will attempt to present the Pauline idea of reconciliation and ambassadorship. Then we will look at the ideas of reconciliation and ambassadorship in light of missio Dei. Lastly, there will be a personal reflection on what the Holy Spirit is leading the author to do in light of Gods plan to make him an ambassador of reconciliation. Historical and Cultural Context of 2 Corinthians Corinth was a large, wealthy city on the western end of a finger like land bridge that lead to a larger connected land mass in the Aegean Sea. The shape of the land formed a

natural harbor on its northwest side called the Gulf of Corinth.1 The geographical location of Corinth made it an international crossroad of trade. Corinth, known for pagan religious practices, had large numbers of temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and fertility, seemed the primary focus of Corinthian pagan worship. Consequently, McRay estimates a single temple to have housed approximately one thousand prostitutes.2 The city also played host to the Isthmian Games, a precursor to the Olympics.3 These factors and more lead to the conclusion that Corinth was a city of great importance in Pauls world. Pollock describes Corinth as the City of Unbridled Love4 implying that Corinth was a highly immoral place. Reading the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians clearly demonstrates the Corinthian church struggled with issues of sexual immorality (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 7:2; 10:8; 2 Cor. 12:21). It is into this context Paul begins a long, and sometimes tumultuous, relationship with the converts at Corinth. Pauls love for the Corinthian believers and his desire to help them mature in Christ is evident in the number of letters and visits. The book of 2 Corinthians is the last of four letters written by Paul to the church in Corinth. The first letter no longer exists. The second letter, 1 Corinthians, has survived and is part of the Canon. The occasion for the first letter is unknown, but the occasion of the second letter (1 Corinthians) is clear: the Corinthian church had fallen into gross sin and Paul was determined not to allow the enemy any further ground. He urges the Corinthian Christians to walk united in love and truth. The message of 1 Corinthians is strong and powerful but also practical. Paul attempts to help them sort out issues of sexuality and marriage; spiritual gifts

John McRay, Paul: His Life and Teaching (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003),


2 3

Ibid, Paul, 166 Ibid, Paul, 166 4 John Pollock. The Man Who Shook the Earth (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1972), 119. 2

and communion; as well as, a host of other topics. However, the letter did not have the impact Paul had hoped. The church in Corinth had fallen prey to religious hucksters who were claiming the title of apostle. These men were evidently preaching a different Jesus and a different gospel than Paul had preached (2 Cor. 11:4). The textual evidence infers this group of men brought into question Pauls authority and apostleship (2 Cor. 11:5-6). Paul, once again, has to assert his calling from Christ to the office of apostle. These challenges were also cause for Paul to leave Ephesus to visit Corinth (2 Cor. 12:4; 13:1-2) in an attempt to solve the problem. Like his previous letter, the actual visit was also unproductive; therefore, Paul returned to the Ephesus. After returning Paul apparently writes a letter shaming the Corinthians.5 Paul sends the letter to the church in Corinth with Titus (2 Cor. 12:8) while he remains in Ephesus.6 Sometime after sending the letter with Titus, Paul decides to go to Corinth. Paul sets out for Troas hoping to find Titus, but he is not there (2 Cor. 2:13). Paul pushes on toward Macedonia where he and Titus reunite (2 Cor. 7:5-7; 13, 16). The meeting of Paul and Titus is cause for considerable encouragement. Titus had been to Corinth to deliver Pauls letter and was presumably making his way back to Ephesus. Upon their meeting in Macedonia, Titus gave a favorable report to Paul that the church in Corinth had responded positively to his stern letter. They had repented with godly sorrow and were now seeking to do justice (2 Cor. 7:10-11). Having received this report, Paul writes the fourth letter (2 Corinthians) to the church in Corinth. The Book of 2 Corinthians, as we now know it, begins with a tone of affirmation. After some preliminary greetings (2 Cor. 1:1-11), Paul begins to defend his apostleship, as Kenneth Schneck. Jesus is Lord: An Introduction to the New Testament (Marion: Triangle Publishing, 1996), 519. 6 Some scholarship asserts 2 Corinthians 10-13 is the harsh letter Paul had written to the Corinthians. However, there is no manuscript evidence to support this proposition. 3

well as, answering questions rising from his opponents (2 Cor. 1:12-7:16). Second Corinthians chapters eight and nine focus primarily on the benefits of generosity and Pauls desire to receive an offering for the church in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:1-9:15). Central to Pauls Corinthian message is the concept of reconciliation. The New International Version (NIV) employs the words reconciled, reconciling or reconciliation five times all of which are in the fifth chapter of 2 Corinthians (2 Cor. 5:1820). The sacrifice of Christ reconciles the Corinthians to God; therefore, they have the ministry (2 Cor. 5:18) and message (2 Cor. 5:19) of reconciliation. The Corinthian believers are ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) for God, bringing a message to the world: be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). Exegesis of 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 The Life Application Study Bible7 outlines the book of 2 Corinthians as follows: I. Paul Explains His Actions (1:1-2:11) II. Paul Defends His Ministry (2:12-7:16) III. Paul Defends the Collection (8:1-9:15) IV. Paul Defends His Authority (10:1-13:14) As stated previously, 2 Corinthians 1-9 demonstrates an attitude of Paul's deep love for the Corinthian believers. Paul begins the section by explaining how he had gone to Troas to find Titus, the one chosen to deliver Paul's letter. While in Troas, God opened a door to Paul for gospel proclamation (2 Cor. 2:12). Even so, he had no peace of mind because he had not found Titus (2 Cor. 2:13). Consequently, Paul leaves Troas for Macedonia in order to visit the Corinthian church in person. After the brief explanation of his altered plans, Paul begins his defense of his ministry by outlining the genuine characteristics of an apostle (2

2 Corinthians, in The Life Application Study Bible New International Version (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005), 1943 4

Cor. 2:14-7:4). 8 It seems Paul is drawing a contrasting picture for the Corinthian believers to compare with the super-apostles (2 Cor. 11:5; 12:11) who had infiltrated the church in Corinth. It appears Paul will leave it up to the church to decide who is the true apostle and who is not. Earlier in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul called attention to the motivation for genuine ministry: the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14). He goes on to present love as the overarching characteristic of the real apostles true ministry. Paul employs the Greek (synech)9 translated in the NIV as compels. The NLT and NASB translates synech as controls and the KJV, constraineth. Colin Kruse states the rudimentary meaning of synech, is to press together, constrain.10 This should not be viewed in a negative sense. Instead, it describes the love of Christ as a positive force, compelling believers out to proclaim and minister reconciliation outwardly to the world and within to believers. Further emphasizing his idea of true ministry, Paul employs a structural inclusio centered on the idea. Beginning in 2 Corinthians 3:3, Paul points to the fruit of his ministry then concludes in 2 Corinthians 6:3 by saying his ministry has never been a stumbling block bringing disgrace to himself or God. Ministry, asserts Paul, must bear fruit. It must be characterized as a means of building bridges to God that fallen humanity can easily pass over. Paul portrays the concept of ministry as, both the specific service of material relief and the total range of Christian duties, whether internally to the believing community or externally to the non-Christian world.11 Ministry is then a two-pronged approach balancing

Daniel Wallace, 2 Corinthians: Introduction, Argument, and Outline, http://bible.org/seriespage/2-corinthians-introduction-argument-and-outline, N.D. 9 Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for synech (Strong's 4912)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 5 Dec 2011. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4912&t=KJV 10 Colin Kruse. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Inter Varsity Press, 1987), 122. 11 Arthur Glasser. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of Gods Mission in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 309. 5

both the needs of the church with the mandate of Kingdom announcement. The focus of ministry, if properly conducted by the church, looks outward to meet needs within its context while not forsaking the edification of the saints.12 The intersection of internal and external ministry is where the Kingdom of God and the mission of God meet and flourish.13 Pauls depiction of a dynamic and multifaceted idea of ministry illustrates how genuine ministry operates and it illuminates the flaws of weak or flawed ministry. The emphasis Paul places on true ministry implies a contrasting false ministry. Paul states, If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness (2 Cor. 3:9). The implication is obvious: false ministry carries an air of glory that astounds people but leads them to unrighteousness; true ministry is also glorious but leads to righteousness. Eventually, Paul compares the false apostles to agents of Satan who masquerade as servants of God (2 Cor. 11:12-15). True ministry does not divide people from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by insisting on its own agenda. Instead, true ministry proclaims a message of reconciliation to God through Christ. Furthermore, the reconciled become representatives of the Kingdom to the world. Therefore, reconciliation becomes central to the ministry of Gods missionary people. The Pauline Concept of Reconciliation Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the Greek (katallass)14, translated as reconcile and (katallag)15 translated as reconciled. At the core of Paul's concept of reconciliation, is the fact that humanity is, in its sinful state, an enemy of God. Even so, God sent His son as the expiation of sin providing the means of reconciliation between humanity and the Creator (Rom. 5:10a). Christ destroyed the barrier of hostility

Ibid, Announcing the Kingdom, 309 Ibid, Announcing the Kingdom, 309 14 H. Vorlander and C. Brown, Reconciliation, in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 3, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 166. 15 Ibid, New International Dictionary, 166.


making a way for both Jew and Gentile to be reconciled to God (Eph. 2:13-16). Reconciliation implies an exchange of assumptions: humanity assumes Christs righteousness and God assumes humanities sin (2 Cor. 5:21).16 Having been reconciled through Christ to God, believers receive empowerment to continue on toward sanctification (Rom. 5:10b). The assertion of Pauls theology of reconciliation is that Christs expiatory death not only saves the sinner, but also, makes available resources for the redeemed to remain in right relationship with God. Justification is only the beginning work of reconciliation to God. Believers, having been justified, are now empowered by the Holy Spirit to become all God has intended humanity to become. Because of the reconciliatory nature of salvation, all of humanity can return to the full personhood intended by God but lost in the Garden.17 The salvific work of Christ to remove all barriers between humankind and its Creator is the central message of Pauls theology. Christs willing sacrifice makes possible the reconciliation of humanity to God. The message of reconciliation is, therefore, the message that Christ came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). The message of reconciliation is, then, that God has done everything required to restore a broken relationship. The ministry of reconciliation occurs when reconciled human beings, motivated by love, act to propagate the message of reconciliation to those outside the body of Christ. The dynamic of reconciliation is a cyclical process that continually reveals God to humankind.18 This is the epitome of missio Dei: God sent Christ to save sinners, and now, sends reconciled sinners out to minister reconciliation through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom is revealed. Pauls reconciliatory theology announced the Kingdom rule of

Ibid, New International Dictionary, 169 DeLonn Rance, 05A Mission In the New Testament (presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011). 18 De Lonn Rance, Gods Redemptive Plan (presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011).


God, first by urging individuals to come under the Lordship of Christ, so that, secondly, they may be empowered ambassadors of the Kingdom embassy to all nations. The Pauline Ambassadorial Concept God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ; the reconciled receive the ministry and message of reconciliation; therefore, believers are ambassadors urging others to be reconciled to God. The Pauline ambassadorial concept, however, has to be viewed in light of its cultural context. Corinth was a Roman city and as such Pauls allusion to the idea of an ambassador would not be lost on his audience. It appears, however, that Paul does not simply adopt the Roman meaning of ambassador, but adapts the term to convey his theology of reconciliation.19 A Roman ambassador, strove to defeat enemies and to bend nations and peoples to the will of the Pax Romana.20 The Pauline idea of an ambassador had nothing to do with any power other than the gospel of reconciliation to God through Christ. The emissary of Christ does not enter a nation intending to force its people into reconciliation with God. On the contrary, the emissaries of Christ compel others to be reconciled to God because of love, not power; and demonstrate love through humble service. The ambassador of Christ comes as a suppliant21 working on His behalf, not as a lord to be feared and worshipped. Jesus Christ modeled the true nature of ambassadorship by giving His life a ransom (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). In so doing, Christ demonstrated that love, not power, was the ultimate force leading humanity toward reconciliation to God. Van Engen offers a plethora of terms to describe how the emissaries of Christ interact within their context: covenanters,

Ibid, New International Dictionary, 167. Matthew Lowe, Pleading and Power: The Missional Theopolitics of Pauls Ambassadorial Soteriology in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (paper presented at the annual international meeting for the Society of Biblical Literature, San Francisco, November 2011), 4. 21 Ibid, Pleading and Power, 3


illustrations, family, pilgrims, foreigners, witnesses enfolder-gatherers, providers, lovers.22 The Pauline concept of an ambassador, then, has less to do with asserting personal or governmental power and more about acting on behalf of a King and Kingdom who willingly share power with all who come to faith. The Ministry Reconciliation and Missio Dei Henri Nouwen vividly illustrates the attitudes of reconciled ambassadors as they go about fulfilling the mission of God: A Christian is a Christian only when he unceasingly asks critical questions of the society in which he lives and continuously stresses the necessity for conversion, not only of the individual but also the world. A Christian is a Christian only when he refuses to allow himself or anyone else to settle into a comfortable rest. He remains dissatisfied with the status quo. And he believes that he has an essential role to play in the realization of the new world to come even if he cannot say how that world will come about. A Christian is a Christian only when he keeps saying to everyone he meets that the good news of the Kingdom has to be proclaimed to the whole world and witnessed to all nations (Matt. 24:13).23 As agents of reconciliation, all believers are called to participate in missio Dei. York rightly declares that the mission God began with Israel in Exodus 19:5-6 will be fulfilled through the New Testament church.24 Gods missionary people continually evaluate their cultural context searching for ways to insert the gospel of Christ. They do not settle into a lifestyle of comfort or assume their personal reconciliation to God has no broader implications on their world. Instead, Gods people participate in the cyclical dynamic of reconciliation by being cognizant of peoples lost-ness, their role as ambassador and the willingness of God to save. Therefore, missio Dei is advanced when the people of God actively listen and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit, and engage their world with the saving

Charles Van Engen. Gods Missionary People: Rethinking the Purpose of the Local Church (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991), 127. 23 Henri Nouwen. Selected Writings (Maryknoll:Orbis Books, 1998), 116. 24 John York. Missions in the Age of the Spirit (Springfield: General Publishing House, 2008), 98. 9


gospel of Jesus Christ. Arthur Glasser offers a theological perspective on the role of the Holy Spirit in mission. Glassers theology of mission is founded upon the idea of reconciliation as seen through the sending activity of the Trinity. He calls upon a sending motif found in John's Gospel, to illustrate the sending nature of God and the church. The Father sends the Son to accomplish reconciliation (John 1:18; 4:34; 5:23; 6:38-39); the Son returns to the Father and together they send the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:7-11) to both reveal the Kingdom and empower believers for mission. The act of sending the Son made possible a means of reconciliation so that Spirit enlivened believers have the means to proclaim the message of reconciliation. There is no doubt the Holy Spirit is vital to activating believers in global mission (John 20:19-23). The age of the church, says Glasser, is preeminently the age of the Holy Spirit, the age of world mission.25 Holy Spirit enablement is not only fundamental to being reconciled to God, but also, to the believers motivation to fulfill his or her role in Gods mission. God does not send believers with empty hands; instead, they have a message to minister: be reconciled to God. The mission of God and His reconciliation remind the believing community of an already and not yet reality to missio Dei. That is to say: the word of reconciliation has to be proclaimed and received. In one sense, Christ completed reconciliation once and for all through His powerful sacrifice at Calvary. This means that anyone can be reconciled to God because Christ has built the bridge to God in this present age. However, the preaching of reconciliation has to be carried out and people must hear to be reconciled. Unless they respondthey cannotexperience the reconciliation.26 In other words, the Kingdom of God is available now to all who will believe; but because not all have believed, it is still a

25 26

Ibid, Announcing the Kingdom, 243. Ibid, Tyndale Commentaries: 2 Corinthians, 127-28 10

Kingdom coming.27 Therefore, the believer is grateful for his or her entrance into the Kingdom, but also, recognizes their preaching of reconciliation will further reveal the Kingdom in the lives of those who are yet to believe. Reconciliation is both a goal and a catalyst of Gods mission. The goal of heralding the good news of Christ is that others will believe and enter into the family of God. The goal is, however, catalyzed through reconciliation. Michael Knowles states that only as, one is antecedently the object of Gods reconciliation may he or she bear its message to others.28 Reconciliation is part and parcel of the missio Dei because it is the event that transpires when the enemy of God becomes the friend of God. The Lukan account of Jesus words prior to his ascension form the basis of a universal missions model that looks forward to an active participation in missio Dei by Gods ambassadors. The Ambassadorial Role and Missio Dei Reconciliation of God's enemies happens because of love; and that same love propels them into the world to proclaim reconciliation for all people. As such, believers become Spirit empowered, ambassadors on behalf of Christ fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 2:21). Rance illustrates the movement from believing to ambassadorship by looking at the church in Antioch.29 The Antioch saints demonstrate missionary vision, attention and obedience to the voice of God.30 Their obedience to Gods will displays missio Dei in action by reconciled believers compelled by the love of Christ. Luke presents a model for participation missio Dei in for the New Testament ambassadors, like the Antioch believers, in Acts 1:8.

Delonn Rance, New Testament Mission (presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011). 28 Michael Knowles. We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2008), 241. 29 DeLonn Rance, 07A Missionary Church of Antioch (presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011). 30 Ibid, 07A Missionary Church of Antioch, Slide 4. 11


Van Engen readily admits that Acts 1:8 has been overworked in missionary theory.31 Nevertheless, one cannot overlook the picture of the ever-expanding establishment of the Church in the world. Van Engen posits that Luke, through the words of Christ, is offering a picture of the church being-in-the-world.32 The Church, then, sees itself as the community of the reconciled, having sustained growth by consistently urging others to be reconciled to God. As such, members of the Body of Christ act as representatives of Gods reconciliation pleading for others to come under the Lordship of Christ. The ambassadorial nature of the Church is a witness (Acts 1:8a) to the world that Jesus is, tangible, real, visible and effective.33 Therefore, as lost people heed the message of Christs emissaries, the Kingdom expansion creates a geographical and cultural ripple effect that pushes the message from Jerusalem out to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8b). The implication is simple, the centrifugal movement of the gospel of reconciliation pushes out across geography, but more significantly, into cultures other than that of Jerusalem (e.g. from Judaism to Gentile culture).34 No matter the cross-cultural barriers, however, the message of the ambassador is still the same: be reconciled to God.35 Love is the ambassadors motivation and the Holy Spirit provides the power to fulfill God's mission. Personal Reflection On Being an Ambassador or Reconciliation Considering the Pauline concepts of reconciliation and ambassadorship is cause for hope and frustration. Because of the love that emanates from the person of Christ, I have eager anticipation that the message of reconciliation will prevail against the darkness of our present world. After all, the mission of God is larger than the sin of the world. The atoning sacrifice of Christ, though often viewed as foolishness by humanity, still affects the lives of Ibid, Gods Missionary People, 42. Ibid, Gods Missionary People, 89. 33 Ibid, Gods Missionary People, 97. 34 Alan Johnson. Apostolic Function in the 21st Century (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 121. 35 Ibid, Missions in the Age of the Spirit, 79.
32 31


people every day. The mystical exchange whereby Christ takes on the individuals sin and imparts to her or him the righteousness of God is a mystery. Nevertheless, this exchange happens each and every day because the missionary people of God hear and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, there is some sense of frustration at the reality that some who profess Christ are unconcerned about those who do not know Christ. According to a 2005 study by the Barna Group only 55% of evangelicals have shared their faith with a non-Christian in the last 12 months.36 At first glance, the figure may seem high. If evangelicals lived by the same standard as baseball players, they would undoubtedly be above average, but they are not. Christians live by a standard of reconciliation that requires the ambassadorial action of calling others to reconcile with God. The love of Christ poured into our hearts should produce an active response of service from true believers. At the risk of sounding Pollyannaish or even arrogant, I pray for a renewal of heart among the Church of Jesus Christ. A renewal of remembering what it felt like to be without Christ, but also, to remember the joy that flooded our souls when the Holy Spirit enlivened our hearts to salvation. Nonetheless, I have a responsibility first to examine my own heart and service in light of Gods mission of reconciliation seeking to discern what the Holy Spirit is calling me to do. My family and I left South Africa in June of 2011. We had served there for nearly a decade planting churches so that people could be reconciled to Christ. Through we absolutely loved our time in South Africa, we knew it was time to step away and evaluate our future. Our hearts broke as we boarded the plane for the United States but we received grace from the Lord to move into a time of rest and refocusing. After several months of reflection we have realized our hearts are still deeply attached to the land of peoples of South Africa. Gods

Barna Group. Survey Shows How Christians Share Their Faith, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/186-survey-shows-how-christiansshare-their-faith (accessed December 1, 2011). 13


mission for our lives is to continue to bring the message of reconciliation to this wonderful nation. South Africa is a nation with a long history of deep racial and political division. The era of apartheid has ended but it has left a deep scar on the lives of millions of people. The message of reconciliation must become the central focus of what God is calling me to do. Reconciliation with humanity begins by first being reconciled to God. No manner of human love or sentiment can erase the painful scars of division. Only the supernatural love of God is able to truly bring healing and stability to the people of South Africa. As such, the gospel of reconciliation has to be proclaimed with integrity and fervor that others may begin to heal. While researching this paper I came across a paper presented at Lausanne 2011 entitled, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, by Antoine Rutayisire.37 In his paper, Rutayisire presents a case study of Rwanda and the horrible role played by the Church in the genocide. Statistically 89% of Rwanda claimed to be a part of the Christian church prior to the killing of nearly 1,000,000 people between 1990-1994.38 He considers the question of how such atrocities could take place in a country so highly Christianized. Rutayisire offers an Autopsy of the Church[s] Failure39 to positively influence the country away from the catastrophic loss of life. Rutayisire posits the church became selective in its presentation of the gospel message. 40 Instead of contextualizing the gospel in order to engage the various ethnic groups, early missionaries preferentially preached the gospel to a select group. This preferential treatment ostracized other groups and served to bolster deep racial division already in existence. The church in Rwanda failed to speak out against the initial violence against Antoine Rutayisire, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, (paper presented at the international meeting of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, Capetown, South Africa, 2010), 1. 38 Ibid, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, 2. 39 Ibid, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, 4: emphasis mine. 40 Ibid, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, 2. 14

certain tribal groups; therefore, it gave passive approval to it. Furthermore, when the church had opportunity to use its influence in government it did not for fear of losing the comforts it had been afforded. Rutayisire accuses the church in Rwanda of speaking about love [but] sowing division.41 In the end, the church threw away its opportunity to be ambassadors of reconciliation choosing to act from a motive of security instead of love for all peoples. The Lausanne paper ends with a positive outlook on the future of the church in Rwanda. Rutayisire urges todays Rwandan church leaders to formulate a post-genocide identity inclusive of reconciliation to God and to each other. The central characteristic of this new identity is radical call to participate in the authentic mission of God that seeks to reconcile and not divide. Considering the implications of Rutayisires paper, I could not help but draw parallels to South Africa. It seems there may be a place for frontier missions42 that brings reconciliation to Christian nations where the gospel was radically abused to further political agendas. In many of these places, the gospel has become a stumbling block to reconciliation because of its use as a divisive political means and not a radical call to unity. My part to play in being an ambassador of reconciliation to South Africa is to follow Rutayisire advice: preach a complete and full gospel.43 In other words, recognize that before all humanity can participate in the mission of God, all humanity must hear the gospel of reconciliation, hear and obey. The love of Christ compels me to follow the example of Christ who came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10 King James Version) no matter their position or politics.

41 42

Ibid, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, 3: emphasis mine. Johnson, Apostolic Function, 103-56 43 Ibid, Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation, 3. 15

Bibliography 2 Corinthians, in The Life Application Study Bible New International Version. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005. Barna Group. Survey Shows How Christians Share Their Faith, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/186-survey-shows-howchristians-share-their-faith (accessed December 1, 2011). Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for synech (Strong's 4912)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 5 Dec 2011. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4912&t=KJV Glasser, Arthur. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of Gods Mission in the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003. Johnson, Alan. Apostolic Function in the 21st Century. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009. Knowles, Michael. We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2008. Kruse, Colin. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Inter Varsity Press, 1987. Lowe, Matthew. Pleading and Power: The Missional Theopolitics of Pauls Ambassadorial Soteriology in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. Paper presented at the annual international meeting for the Society of Biblical Literature, San Francisco, November 2011. McRay, John. Paul: His Life and Teaching. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Nouwen, Henri. Selected Writings. Maryknoll:Orbis Books, 1998. Pollock, John. The Man Who Shook the Earth. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1972. Rance, DeLonn. 05A Mission In the New Testament. Presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011.


_____________Gods Redemptive Plan. Presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011. _____________ New Testament Mission. Presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011. _____________ 07A Missionary Church of Antioch. Presentation, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, September 24-28, 2011. Rutayisire, Antoine Rediscovering the Gospel of Reconciliation. Paper presented at the international meeting of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, Capetown, South Africa, 2010. Schneck, Kenneth. Jesus is Lord: An Introduction to the New Testament. Marion: Triangle Publishing, 1996. Van Engen, Charles. Gods Missionary People: Rethinking the Purpose of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991. Vorlander, H. and C. Brown, Reconciliation, in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 3, ed. Colin Brown. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 166. York, John. Missions in the Age of the Spirit. Springfield: General Publishing House, 2008.