In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
KRUGER, J.J.F.. Jesus' table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners: Aspects of a missional ecclesiology. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.45, n.2-3, pp.409-430. ISSN 2305-0853.
Christian churches with a historically powerful socio-cultural presence often have to adjust to a new marginalised and disempowered existence, stripped of influence in an increasingly secular society dominated by postmodern values. Many churches view this as a threat, and attempt to protect themselves through strengthening of the boundaries between them and the surrounding community, citing the holiness of the church as reason. This results in isolated and exclusive faith communities with no missionary identity, and a split between ecclesiology and missiology. This article proposes that Jesus' table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners provides a motif for restating a missional ecclesiology. Jesus defined his identity as the Holy One of God by removal of boundaries and an inclusive seeking out of the marginalised in the society of his time. He shaped a new community of God's people among them. Likewise, a missional church will understand her holiness not as separation from the world, but as service to God's redemptive purposes, and will devote herself to inviting vulnerability and redemptive entering into the lives of others similar to the incarnation of the Son of God. This will result in the conscious social relocation of the church to the disempowered margins of society, as a sign of the eschatological community of Christ that He continues to gather around Himself in the present.