J. Todd Billings (vgl. hier) beschreibt in einem Beitrag für CT Problemzonen des so genannten inkarnatorischen Dienstverständnisses (gelegentlich wird dazu auch „missionaler Ansatz“ gesagt). Kurs gefragt: Was, wenn es gar nicht zu unserem Auftrag gehört, Jesus für (andere) Kulturen zu sein? Seine Analyse ist übrigens nicht polemisch, sondern ausgewogen:
Viewing the Incarnation as a model for ministry leads to a dangerous imbalance in two ways. The problem is not the doctrine of the Incarnation, which is central to Christian faith. Rather, the problem results from a distortion of that belief—turning the uniquely divine act of the Word becoming incarnate in Christ into a „method for ministry“ that is repeated in our own lives. Let me offer two examples of this distortion—one more common in mainline Christian circles, the other more common among conservative evangelicals.
At a two-hour workshop on urban ministry, leaders began by quoting Eugene Peterson’s artful rendering of John 1:14, which describes the incarnation of Jesus Christ: „The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.“ If moving into the neighborhood and immersing oneself among the people is God’s strategy for ministry, I was told, then certainly it must be ours. Throughout the workshop, I heard many techniques for adopting a second culture, listening to others, and immersing myself in an urban neighborhood. But there was apparently no need to mention Jesus any further. Jesus provided the model for how to immerse oneself in another culture, but the specific content of his life and teaching, and his death and resurrection, were beside the point.
The workshop’s approach—seen in other segments of the church—reduced „incarnational ministry“ to its core metaphor: The point is to identify with another culture rather than to testify to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Indeed, at a recent missions conference for a mainline denomination, missionaries claimed they did not need to bear witness to Christ. Instead, they were simply called to become „incarnate“ in the second culture. The slogan in these circles is to „live the Good News rather than preach the Good News.“ Surely it’s important to offer a ministry of presence to those in need. But when the gospel is reduced to identifying with others, the uniqueness of Christ’s incarnation becomes an afterthought, and the Good News becomes merely a personal ethic.