THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS PAPER
September , 2xxx
There is evidence from the beginning of the Biblical text starting in Genesis, to the conclusion of the text with Revelation that God desires for man to fulfill His call for missions. The story of missions begins with around four thousand years ago when God calls Abraham.1 The Scriptures offer a clear explanation of the original calling of Abraham. God commands Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1 ESV) Genesis 12:1-3 signifies an assurance whose completion extends throughout the Scriptures, it is the original representation of the Abrahamic covenant. This covenant is a fourfold everlasting covenant. First, is the seed, which refers to Christ?2 Paul replicates this when explaining, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’” (Galatians 3:8) The “Good News” signifies the news of salvation for all the nations. Faith represents one’s ability to achieve salvation throughout every generation.3 It was by Abraham’s faith that he desired to fulfill his call to missions, and it was by the faith of the apostles that Christ asked them to fulfill the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:16-20) Next, are the land, the nation, and the divine blessing and protection?4 John MacArthur explains, “This covenant is unconditional in the sense of its ultimate fulfillment of a kingdom and salvation for Israel but conditional in terms of immediate fulfillment.” The apostle Stephen reiterates the importance of this covenant when he states, “Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.” (Acts 7:30) The call of man to go is evident throughout the scriptures. The Lord requested Abraham to go, and by faith, he fulfilled his calling. Through the words of Stephen, it is obvious, that God still expects every individual with faith to continue His mission purpose. The Lord Jesus Christ demands, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Christ did not ask the disciples to convert individual to a relationship with Christ, He instructed them teach the new believers the commandments of God. The commission continues as the faith grows. The new believer becomes the next individual able to fulfill God’s call. Missions are visible and intended for the past, present, and future. OLD TESTAMENT MISSIONS
Unfortunately, the missionary influence of the Old Testament promotes confusion with the overpowering emphasis upon one country, the Jews.5 Ralph Winter claims, “The greatest scandal in the Old Testament is that Israel tried to be blessed without trying very hard to be a blessing.”6 This is tragic, because from the very beginning God called Israel to fulfill his purpose through missions. There are numerous occasions where the biblical text illustrates missions’ throughout the Old Testament. Some great examples are Noah, Abraham, and Jonah. Each of these individuals produced evidence of God’s heart for missions throughout the ancient world. First, Noah is a representation of both a prophet and a missionary. Noah preached for 120 years that humanity should repent and turn toward God. According to Peter, Noah was a “preacher of righteousness.” The apostle Peter states, “If he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (II Peter 2:5) Noah’s message to the lost is, God is righteous and holy, and He will judge sin.7It is evident that Noah was mission minded. Noah believed the people...
Bibliography: Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2001.
Herrick, Greg. Soteriology: Salvation. http://http://bible.org/seriespage/soteriology-salvation (accessed September 8, 2013).
Johnstone, Patrick. The Church Is Bigger Than You Think: The Unfinished Work of World Evangelization. Scotland, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2000.
MacArthur, John. MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.
Mareau, A. Scott, Gary R. Corwin, and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academics, 2004.
Olson, C. Gordon. What in the World Is God Doing? Forest, VA: Branches Publication, 2011.
Ryrie, Charles C. Basic Theology. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, 1999.
Winter, Ralph D. Four Men, Three Eras, Two Transitions: Modern Missions. http://www.worldevangelicals.org/resources/rfiles/res3_429_link_1342028689.pdf (accessed September 8, 2013).
Winter, Ralph D., and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Pasadena, California: William Carey Library, 2009.
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