Friday, March 7, 2008

Attractional vs. Incarnational

There is, particularly in the Global North, and among “younger church leaders”, a keen debate surrounding “attractional” vs. “incarnational” forms of Church. This has been described most simply as “come to us” vs. “go to them” ( Attractional is “dedicated to producing an event that pagans will want to come to”, while incarnational is “to ‘go’ to their world and enculturate the gospel there” ( I downloaded the five most viewed Attractional vs. Incarnational articles on the Internet, and compared their various emphases. It is interesting to note that, in a comparison of Church vs. Trinity (each including various terms, e.g. "Church" including "εκκλησία", "community", "Christ-followers", etc.), Church receives 99% and Trinity 1% emphasis in the articles (or 90% and 10% if the Trinity is seen to include Christ in His humanity). By way of contrast, as best I am able to recognise it, there tends to be a greater emphasis in the Global South on the exalted Christ as both the Attraction and the Incarnation. The concepts “attractional” and "incarnational” thus seem to become fairly redundant. QUESTION: What do the above emphases signify? To what extent would one’s Christology generate one’s ecclesiology or missiology? Thanks to for the table.

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