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Issues Facing Missions Today: 39.4 ‘Are We All Missionaries?’

Issues Facing Missions Today: 39.4 ‘Are We All Missionaries?’
The fourth, questionable point we want to consider in our hypothetical ‘Mission 101’ course is one that is often heard from Evangelical pulpits.  There is also an anti-clericalism about it as it relates to both missions and ministry.  It is this:
Point 4: ‘We are all missionaries. Missions is not just for a select group of professional missionaries.’
Such a way of thinking is the product of a ‘priesthood of all believers’ theology, an appropriate theological conviction from the Reformation period so long as it is not overdrawn to the point of undermining serious ministerial training and a distinction of roles in a body of believers with different but complementary gifts of the Spirit.  Indeed, in language slightly altered from the previous post, which tackled the question of broadening ‘missions’ into everything, if everyone is a missionary, then nobody is a missionary.
Not everyone is gifted to be a missionary, however we d…

Issues in Missions Today: 39.3 ‘Mission is Everything?’

Issues in Missions Today: 39.3 ‘Mission is Everything?’
We come to Point 3 in my list of 20 questionable statements needing clarification in our imaginary ‘Missions 101’ class:
Point 3: ‘Mission is really everything the Church does in ministry.  It is preaching, translating, teaching, church planting, compassion ministries, development work--everything.’
Mission work does, unquestionably, ‘creep’; it easily expands into everything.  In this point, the error appears more immediately obvious than in the previous two points in this basic introduction to themes in missions.  Yet the inability of so many to distinguish between a mission and the mission of the Church is a common problem.  We can turn most anything into a mission, including cleaning out the gutters on an autumn afternoon.  Missionaries, too, get involved in virtually every activity under every name, sometimes so remotely related to the spread of the Church and the Gospel that one wonders how we ever got to this point.
What the m…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 44. Do Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Traditional Africans Worship the Same God?

Issues Facing Missions Today: 44. Do Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Traditional Africans Worship the Same God?
As Islam receives increasing attention in the news in the West, people have begun to explore what it is Muslims believe and whether it might be said that they and Christians worship the same God.  The same might be asked of other monotheistic religions, such as Judaism and traditional African religions.  All these religions believe in a Creator and deny that there are other gods.  Some fanfare around this question has popped up at Wheaton College, where Professor Larycia Hawkins was recently suspended for advocating that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.  She donned a hijab during Advent this season to affirm her affinity with Muslims.  Some of the Wheaton students and alumni/ae (one might say ‘predictably’) tossed in their support of the professor and criticized the administration’s suspension of her.
While the Wheaton incident may have more to do with inadequate ve…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 43. A Question of Truth for the South African Church

Issues Facing Missions Today: 43. A Question of Truth for the South African Church

Proverbs 1:20-23 Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice.  21 At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:  22 "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  23 Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you.
Introduction
The mission of the Church involves the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the central truth of which is the good news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised on the third day from the dead.  The Gospel that we proclaim makes both historical and theological claims about truth.  Proclaiming the Gospel as truth, however, has any number of challenges—perhaps never so much as in our own day.  We see different understandings of truth today (Pontius Pilate is not alone in…