The Physics of the Missio Dei: a Leadership Series (P3)
Newton’s Third Law of Motion Applied to the Missio Dei Canonically
Law 3: “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.” (Principia p. 83).
Law 3 (simplified): For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction in relation to different parts.
Chris Webb highlights just one reaction to God’s movement of love in his book The Fire of the Word: “When we truly understand and experience God’s delight in us, his extraordinary love for us, we find Scripture becomes a text that captivates us” (p. 53). Far from the ‘name it and claim it’ forms of camp Christianity, and deeper than the moralistic stories from Sunday School, we must train ourselves to always ask: How is God the hero of this verse, this chapter, this book, this testament, this Bible?
It’s in vogue to examine the Bible’s metanarrative (or if you don’t like that term, “mega-story” so Horton chp. 1) to deduce the basic story line we are all familiar with: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation. Wright does a bit better adding “Israel” and “church” in his schema. Though none are able to outdo Kevin Vanhoozer’s paradigm of “Theodrama” on this topic (Chp. 3 of Four Views of Moving Beyond The Bible To Theology; introductory interview from desiringgod.org). Rather than rehash his theology on the matter what follows is what I call The Five Mountain Metanarrative of the Bible in graphic form, a synthesis of theodramatic theology.
In this representation there are peaks and valleys to the divine plot corresponding to conflict and resolution points within the grand canon narrative (see what I did there?). Vanhoozer explains,
“…each of the five acts of the theodrama has conflict, and in each case, the problem is Satan and his agents who call into question the authority of, rebel against, and ultimately reject, the word of God. The conflict, then, concerns the allegiance of the human creature: to whose word will we adhere? Whose word will we trust, and perform?” (personal correspondence).
Or, to apply Newton’s Third Law, God initiates the action and Satan the reaction in an attempt to counter his Creator and foil God’s plan. Yet, God always offers a counter-attack to each conflict that centers around the Messianic Hope to come.
Eventually by the time of the New Testament a second Adam is sent (1 Cor. 15:45-49), a second temptation is re-enacted (Matt. 4:1-11), an ancient, the most ancient of all prophesies are fulfilled as Satan lands a nonfatal blow sending Christ to the cross, but the Christ king counterattacks with the much more devastating mortal wound of his atoning death and justifying resurrection (Gen. 3:15; Jn. 16:11). “The reason the son of God appeared,” John reminds us, “was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8; 5:19; Heb. 2:14). Having eaten the cursed fruit of death and yet still overcome with victory, He now initiates the commission to be fruitful and multiply, and to fill the earth and subdue it under His Lordship (Matt. 28:16-20). It is not just Christ who crushes Satan, but the Almighty God of heaven and earth working through His church for as Paul reminds us, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). The church marches on against the evil one.
We dare not tread where angels go
Nor is there want to be to slow
But follow hard the Lord of light
Attacking all the demons of the night
For many battles yet to fight!
Give Satan no quarter
Give demons no rations
Stampede the gates of Hell with Holy Spirit filled passions!
The strong man has been bound
Dark powers put to shame
There is but one victorious king
and Jesus is His name!
Next: The Physics of Church Leadership