The C1 principle that we who participate in the one loaf are one body [1 Cor 10:16 – 17] now often seems a distant, ritualised memory. For, twenty centuries of issues, splits and unhealed broken relationships have now passed; never mind the strictures of John 17:20 - 23.
So, we have to ask a hard question: can we work together, today, in this region and beyond?
Or, is that just naive, rosy-tinted idealism, long since irretrievably shattered by two thousand years of painful reality?
There is a classic answer, which can be given in three balanced points:
I: UNITY in core essentials;
II: Room for DIVERSITY and mutually respectful DIALOGUE in other things;
II: Above all, and in all things, CHARITY.
Such an ideal is always a challenge,and we will always fall short of it in practice. But, without accepting the challenge to live up to it, we will make little or no progress. So, as we contemplate the development of a regional missionary vision and action network [MVAN], expressing itself locally through missionary vision and action teams [MVATs], let us reflect now on some principles of working together in love and truth:
MVAN/MVAT Statement of Principles
Recognising the Missionary Mandate given us by our Lord, to make disciples of all nations [Matt 28:18 - 20], and being aware of the many missionary opportunities and challenges facing the Caribbean in a globalised, postmodern world, we the members of the Caribbean Missionary Vision and Action Network [MVAN] and associated Missionary Vision and Action Teams [MVATs] do hereby joyfully and solemnly agree to work together under God towards fulfilling our Mandate, through the power of the Spirit given to empower us in life and witness [Jn 7:37 - 39, Ac 1:4 - 8, Eph 1:11 - 14, Rom 8:1 - 39], and in light of the God-inspired biblical principles, examples and teaching [2 Tim 3:10 - 17].
Accordingly, we commit ourselves to:
1] Christ, His Church and its Global Mission: faithful witness to the Gospel, leading to salvation of souls and biblically based discipleship; thus resulting in God-blessed transformation of lives, families, communities, institutions and nations/peoples under the Lordship of Jesus the Son of God.In the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, risen and glorified Christ.
2] The Historic, Apostolic, New Testament, gospel-based Christian Faith "once for all delivered unto the saints." [Jude v. 3 , cf. 1 Cor 15:1 - 11, Ac 17:16 - 31, 2 Cor 10:3 - 5, Col. 1:3 - 29, Jn 3:14 - 21 (& 17:3), 5:17 - 47, 1 Jn 1:1 - 2:11, 2:18 - 27, 4:1 - 16 & 5:1 - 15, 2 Peter 1:16 - 2:3 & 3:1 - 18, 2 Tim. 3:10 - 4:5.]
3] The enduring Mission of the Church in the Caribbean, especially the evangelising and discipling of Caribbean peoples, with the associated application of the gospel to address our region's core intellectual and cultural issues, concerns and challenges; through Spirit-led, Bible-based, prophetic -- thus visionary, renewing, God-empowered and transformational -- intellectual and cultural leadership. [Cf. Mt 28:18 - 20, Ac 1:8, Eph 1:3 - 14 & 4:9 - 5:21, Gal. 3:1 - 14 & 26 - 29, Col. 3:1 – 17, Titus 2:11 - 14, 2 Peter 1:2 - 11.]
4] Support, inform ourselves about, pray for and participate in the global, gospel-based missionary outreach of the Church, with a particular focus on the 10/40 Window (from which many of our ancestors came, and with which we share many ethnic and cultural affinities); and also on those lands in which the Caribbean Diaspora is concentrated.
5] Praying for, promoting, and helping to develop, field and support a strengthened Caribbean Missions Force, especially in the lands of the 10/40 Window.
6] Collaborate and cordially cooperate in these tasks, making decisions, working together, resolving differences and disagreements in light of the truth in love and purity, godly wisdom [cf. James 3:13 - 4:12] and applicable biblical instructions, principles and examples.
7] Mutual Support towards these ends, through prayer, encouragement, consistent regular communication, transparency and sharing of skills, knowledge and tangible resources as appropriate and needed.
Amen and Amen.
Workable? Why not give it a try?
So, again: Why not now? Why not here? Why not us? END