“People Will Be Miserable”

Motive For Mission

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Tim. 2:3-4 NKJV

Christian mission is the divine call to share the good news of Jesus Christ, the story of his life, miracles, death, and resurrection, to the world by establishing churches in different cultures, locations, and language groups. Missions should be a joy not a burden to the believer. Missions means lives knowing and experiencing the love, joy, and peace of Christ: they are no longer miserable. Missions means pleasing God’s heart by sharing the truth of his Son to those whose need is greater than they know.

Missions is calling the world to do what they were created to do, namely, to enjoy making much of God forever. If missions does not reach a people with the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Christ, God will be dishonored and the people will be miserable—forever. Therefore we are driven by two motives (which turn out to be one): the glory of God, and the good of man. They are one because praise to God is the consummation of pleasure in God.

John Piper, “Everlasting Truth for the Joy of All Peoples


“The Church Is Mission”

Evangelical Essentials (Part Twelve)

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power. Be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Rev. 5:12-13 (NKJV)

During the early years of my Christian ministry, I desired to be a missionary to China. I read numerous biographies of James Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission. I studied the lives of the great men and women of Evangelicalism who suffered the loss of their own family members, friends, and fellow co-workers as they attempted to reach the areas of the world that did not know the gospel. Names like Watchman Nee (China), Amy Carmichael (India), C.T. Studd (Africa), Jim and Elizabeth Eliot (Ecuador), and Oswald Chambers (Egypt) resonated deeply within my spirit as people who loved Christ, walked in the Holy Spirit, and communicated the gospel clearly and effectively. God did not create an opportunity for me to go to China, but he did use that desire to burn within me the importance of sharing the gospel both near and far. In our self-centered culture, we often forget that God is on a mission, and if he is on a mission, then we are on a mission with him to make known the saving work work of Christ to every person, family, and nation.

Mission is the people of God intentionally crossing barriers from church to non-church, faith to non-faith, to proclaim by word and deed the coming of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ; this task is achieved by means of the church’s participation in God’s mission of reconciling people to God, to themselves, to each other, and to the world, and gathering them into the church through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit with a view to the transformation of the world as a sign of the coming of the Kingdom in Jesus Christ.

[Charles Van Engen, Missions on the Way: Issues in Mission Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1997).]

There are the five parts of the Bible. The God of the Old Testament is a missionary God, calling one family in order to bless all the families of the earth. The Christ of the Gospels is a missionary Christ; he sent the church out to witness. The Spirit of the Acts is a missionary Spirit; he drove the church out from Jerusalem to Rome. The church of the epistles is a missionary church, a worldwide community with a worldwide vocation. The end of the Revelation is a missionary End, a countless throng from every nation. So I think we have to say the religion of the Bible is a missionary religion. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable. Mission cannot be regarded as a regrettable lapse from tolerance or decency. Mission cannot be regarded as the hobby of a few fanatical eccentrics in the church. Mission lies at the heart of God and therefore at the very heart of the church. A church without mission is no longer a church. It is contradicting an essential part of its identity. The church *is* mission.

[John Stott, “The Whole Christian,” Proceedings of the International Conference of Christian Medical Students, ed. Lee Moy Ng (London: ICCMS and Christian Medical Fellowship, 1980),  46.]


On Having a Missional Mindset

Missional is an attitude and an approach which recognizes that whether I am home or away my resident culture needs to be reached for Christ. A missional mindset recognizes that the North American culture is just as much in the need of the gospel as the deepest, darkest parts of Africa. In short, missional means being a missionary where you are from your church to your culture and in your context.

Missional implies taking the approach of a missionary—being indigenous to the culture, seeking to understand and learn, adapting methods to the mission field—but winding up in the biblical form of a church.

[Ed Stetzer, Planting Missional Churches (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2006), xii.]


Why I’m Not (Eastern) Orthodox


“Because I Am Committed to Key Distinctives of the Protestant Evangelical Tradition.”

Daniel Clendenin puts into words from his experience my own commitment to Evangelical truth: original sin, penal substitution, imputed righteousness, justification by faith, and sola scriptura, etc.

While Protestant evangelicals have never agreed on the precise meaning or mode of the sacraments, they have historically emphasized two related truths that diverge from the Orthodox understanding of the sacraments. Evangelicals urge the necessity of personal conversion through the faith and repentance of the individual believer, as opposed to the Orthodox idea of regeneration by the sacraments.

Also, while evangelicals wholeheartedly embrace the full-orbed New Testament descriptions of the work of Christ (reconciliation, ransom, redemption, forgiveness, adoption, etc.), since the Reformation, justification by faith and substitutionary atonement have enjoyed pride of place in our understanding of the doctrines of sin and salvation. Luther urged that Christianity would stand or fall with this doctrine; Calvin called it “the hinge upon which all true religion turns.”

In the history and theology of Orthodoxy it is startling to observe the nearly complete absence of any mention of the doctrine of justification by faith. Rather, “theosis” (literally, “deification”), or the progressive transformation of people into full likeness to God, in soul and body, takes center stage. (2 Pet. 1:4). Further, the Orthodox reject the idea of inherited guilt; we are guilty only for our own sins rather than for the inborn consequences of Adam’s fall. Conversely, evangelicals argue that this forensic framework for sin and salvation is not merely a historical and unduly negative carryover from Augustine and Anselm, but rather is the clear teaching of Paul in his Letters to the Romans and Galatians.

Read Daniel Clendenin’s entire essay entitled, “Why I’m Not Orthodox: An Evangelical Explores the Ancient and Alien World of the Eastern Church” originally published in Christianity Today (January 6, 1997): 33.

HT: Journey with Jesus