Human Agency in the Missio Dei and the Problem of Discipleship

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At the heart of this article is an inquiry into the relationship between human and divine agency in the doctrine of the missio Dei and a critique of the turn to the language of discipleship in looking to articulate this agency. Taking the World Council of Churches’ Commission of World Mission and Evangelism's two recent documents, Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes (TTL) and the “Arusha Call to Discipleship,” as a case study, this article will seek to articulate an account of human participation in the missio Dei which maintains the emphasis on spirituality in TTL. Through a close reading of TTL and the Arusha Call, the article will demonstrate that the introduction of discipleship language has not solved the issue of agency but rather has changed the account of agency and, as a result, the missiology. By turning to accounts of faithful participation from qualitative research into British Methodism, to John V. Taylor's Go-between God, and to Pope Francis’ Evangelii gaudium, I will suggest that a better account of human agency in the missio Dei can be developed by emphasizing the pneumatology of TTL and by turning to language of attentiveness, accompaniment, and discernment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-124
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Review of Mission
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2023

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