Friday, 22 January 2010

What is Missions?

This is a hugely important question for the church to face because enormous amounts of finance and energy are expended in ways that might not be biblical. Furthermore the constant promotion of ‘new’ church growth methods and church evangelistic movements tend to foster ever-increasing frustration and confusion as their promised methods fail to produce real fruit. So what is missions? I think the apostle gives us a clear answer in Romans chapter 10 which reads:

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Here Paul raises a logical progression of rhetorical questions which indicate the New Testament plan for missions. The sequence is as follows:

1. Authorised Messengers (who are trained and ordained men).
2. Proclamation (preaching, especially in the context of the church is the primary instrument for the extension of the gospel. Not drama’s, music, plays, healing meetings, Christian TV etc.).
3. Hearing (note the gospel is to be heard, not seen in an audio-visual production).
4. Faith.
5. Calling on the Lord’s name.

This sequence is a challenge to many contemporary mission movements who are often dislocated from the church and they commonly do not see the need for ordained men to carry that message. Instead young people are often sent on short term missions trips with little equipping in the content of the gospel message. Perhaps a major missions rethink is needed and hopefully the passage in Romans 10:13-17 can be a good place to start. Our starting point must always be the Bible and not our private opinions as Paul also wrote in Romans 4:3, ‘For what does the Scripture say?’


Andrew Graham said...

Great stuff. This whole area of missions really needs to be re-thought and brought back in line with Scripture.

Kevin Bidwell said...

Andrew, Hopefully this blog article will at least cause people to do what the psalms teach us; Selah, which means stop, pause and think. We need to outward moving as a church worldwide but also our energy and resources need to be wisely used in the right direction.