How can we bring the theologians who dominate our schools and our doctrinal developments into the discussion? As long as the unreached peoples remain a concern only of professional missiologists in our schools and the secretaries of our boards, our understanding of ecclesiology will continue to reduce itself to introverted churchliness. There was disappointment and anger and frustration. Reformed church people have had a long tradition of listening carefully to theologians. And no one at the consultation was proposing a change in that healthy respect. But we yearned for the hour when theologians would listen to the concerns of this gathering. One sensed our theologians were seen as placing the church as the goal of missions. The stress was on her isolated piety and liturgy, her inner riches. Where was the vision of the church “inside out,” in exodus to the world and as a sign of the kingdom of God? (Reaching the Unreached, pg. ix, Harvie M. Conn)

Harvie was speaking about a consultation of theologians who collectively were hosting a discussion on how to most effectively reach the unreached in thrid-world countries. The ‘disappointment and anger and frustration’ Harvie mentioned was due to the lack of actual Third-world theologians present for this dialogue. But Harvie also mentioned that ‘theologians were not listening to the concerns of this gathering’.

What struck me about Conn’s vision was everything, everything he said I have longed to see occur in the Church. Oh that the Lord would cause us to be a people who’s ecclesiology was not reduced to an ‘introverted churchliness’, that our theologians of the Christian academic world would ‘listen’ to missiologist talk about the concerns of the missio dei, and that our stress would not be on ‘isolated piety and liturgy’ but rather the outer riches of God’s glory saving sinners which flow deeply from our union with Christ our savior.

Is the Church ready for this kind of vision? Are our Christian academy’s, our seminary’s, our theologians/Christian-Academics ready for such a vision as this?

My wife and I live in Philadelphia on the boader of bad crime areas which are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural; Harvie and his wife lived just a few blocks from where we live now (Harvie has finished his race), except they lived right in the middle of the bad areas. Harvie was a missionary to prostitutes in Korea, cripled by pimps because of the changed lives prostitutes were experiencing. Harvie’s wife continued to minister to prostitutes just a few blocks from where we live. As Paul would say, “THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY OF SUCH PEOPLE…”