Monday is for Missiology
Every Monday, I will post something about mission, missions, missional, or missiology.
Here is the first-- a guest blog from a missionary living in a Muslim country. He cannot use his name because, well, many people in the world are not excited about what he is doing. So, we will call him Bob.
Feel free to interact with him in the comments.
For a little more than a decade my family and I have been living in Asia. Our desire has been to "model and multiply missions and ministry among Muslims." By that, we mean that we want to be directly involved in praying for and sharing the gospel with Muslims, seeing them discipled and brought into the fellowship of the saints. And we want to be teaching and encouraging others to do the same thing.
Often people ask us why we do it. Why have we left our families, our culture and our homes to live in the third world with Muslims? Why are we not back in America where life is "easier," our boys can get a "good" education, where it is "safe" and we can care for our ageing parents? Honestly, sometimes I ask myself the same question.
Perhaps you have heard the following complaints, "Mission work is expensive and dangerous. Besides, most people don't want to hear the gospel anyway, otherwise why would missionaries have to go into these places undercover." Today many people are accusing mission boards of being reckless for sending people to share their faith in a dangerous, hostile world.
And it is not just foreign work that is so dangerous. Papers carry the story of a student being killed for her faith in a Colorado school. I have had a gun pulled on me in Louisiana when inviting someone to a church function. If people are not interested, why bother? Why not just join with people like Hasan (not his real name) who recently said, "I pray that there are no Bridge People in heaven--they are just evil, hateful people who deserve to go to Hell."
So, how can we answer these questions? What is the point of communicating the Gospel with non-Christians? I have a brother who is an atheist. He told me once that he was sure I was too smart to believe in the gospel so I must be doing this for the money. Now, we have been extremely blessed by the generosity of Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, but we took a fifty percent salary reduction to come here, so I couldn't be that smart if money was my motivation!
Johannes Bavinck, in An Introduction to the Science of Missions defined the aim of missions as "To glorify God, establish the kingdom, and convert the heathen." In practice, this process is generally accomplished in reverse order. We share the gospel with those who have not heard it in a way they can understand. Then we gather them into congregations where they can be discipled and join others in worship. Those congregations become a part of the Universal body of Christ, reflecting God's glory throughout eternity.
Bavink was not the first missiologist to make this correlation between evangelism and the glory of God. In John 15:8, Jesus said "This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
If you are a Christian you know the greatest joy available to human kind--a personal relationship with the Almighty Creator. We do not share our faith to "stem the Islamic tide" or "defeat the postmodern agenda." We share our faith with others out of a sense of love for God and those who are separated from Him. We share out of a concern for His glory.