Hirsch gets going into the “heart of it all” in chapter 3. This chapter lays out the necessity for Jesus to be Lord. This is the center of mDNA, oh, wait, I am ahead of myself. What is mDNA? This is the organic coding for Apostolic Genius. What is Apostolic Genius?

Well, it’s the results of mDNA.

Enough playing around. mDNA is comprised of the five key principles along with the driving story that “Jesus is Lord.” mDNA it is argued is found within each believer and when it is unleashed the result is Apostolic Genius which is best understood to be the ability to live out what it means to be the church.

The five key principles:

  1. Disciplemaking
  2. Missional-Incarnational Impulse
  3. Apostolic Environment
  4. Organic Systems
  5. Communitas NOT Community

The next few chapters will be focused on these six concepts. So, let’s begin with the driving story that Jesus is Lord.

The heart of Chapter 3 is this controlling story that Jesus is Lord. Hirsch provides the technical term of “Christocentric Monotheism.” This story is the one that defines who we are as men and women that seek to follow Jesus. The monotheistic concept, Hirsch argues, takes form only in tension with the polytheistic worldviews that existed in the Older Testament accounts and in the Newer Testament accounts and in our own time.

It is easy for people to think about the story in tension with the Baal worship of the pagan Ancient Near East. It is easy to think about the Greek and Roman gods creating tension. But, what about now? What about in the contemporary West? Sure, there is Hinduism and certain forms of New Age religion, or even Buddhism (which in its truest sense is atheistic). But, these religions don’t seem to create the tension that we see in the Bible.

Hirsch argues that it is consumerism in our time. Consumerism the critical story in conflict with the Jesus story in our day and time. The gods of Consumerism create the conflict with other religions, within our own religion, and with one another.

The reason that Christocentric Monotheism is in such conflict with the gods of Consumerism is because at its heart this radical monotheism is not a theological perspective but is an “existential claim that there is only on God and he is Lord of every aspect of life (Hirsch, 89). This concept gets fleshed out further in the following chapters as it plays into the five principles.

Hirsch also argues that there is no secular/sacred division for the follower of Christ. This is critical. He states unequivocably that as Christians divide their space then they become practicing polytheists. One god for Sunday, one for Monday, one at work, one on vacation (go to spring break in Panama City Beach or ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’).

I was deeply challenged by this chapter and it has caused me to again consider what is at the heart of my relationship with God. Why am I Christian? Do I live daily in the reality that Jesus is Lord? Am I a practicing polytheist? I know I am not a practicing atheist. But am I a polytheist? Or am I fully committed to the one God. For the LORD is our God and the LORD is one.

Is Jesus the heart of it all?

Quick link to all posts in this series: The Forgotten Ways

One Comment

  • A simple search on the Internet and in scholarly literature will uncover two erroneous claims Hirsch makes:

    He claims he had the revelation of the Apostolic Genius and then invented and coined the phrase (“Forgotten Ways Handbook,” p. 36). Nothing could be further from the truth. The phrase Apostolic Genius was used in Roman Catholic circles for at least 200 years before Hirsch used it (See Frederic Godet, “Commentary on the Gospel of John;” Harald Steffes, “An Apolitical Apostolic Genius;” John A Hardon, “Quest’ ore di fulgente, May 29, 1954;” and many more.
    He claims that the “Christocentric monotheism” is his guide (“Forgotten Ways, pp. 100, 104-105). He refers to his claim of this theology three times. A search of scholastic literature reveals that this phrase referred to the ancient 2nd century heresy of modalism of which Monarchianism and Sabellianism represent. He then holds to the ancient heresy of Christ.

    Be careful with Hirsch. I am in the process of preparing an article for publication on Hirsch and his false theology of Apostolic Genius and mDNA. He is not biblical.

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