- Missionaries can’t distinguish Christianity without an inerrant Bible.
- Missionaries can’t establish and maintain healthy churches without an inerrant Bible.
- Missionaries can’t train indigenous pastors without an inerrant Bible.
- ‘Evangelical inerrantists have labored for decades to uphold the simple axiom that Scripture is entirely true and without any formal error or contradiction. But here’s the stark reality for us as we consider the task of the Great Commission: If we lose inerrancy, we lose global missions. How can I make such a statement? Consider these three reasons.’
- ‘Without inerrancy, the Bible is all diversity and no unity, and the idea of a cogent systematic theology becomes elusive if not impossible.’
- ‘The Bible is breathed out by our holy God (2 Tim. 3:16), and therefore true (Ps. 19:9; Prov. 30:5), pure (Pss. 12:6; 19:8), complete (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18–19), perfect (Ps. 19:7a), sure (Ps. 19:7b), enduring (Isa. 40:8; Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:17), and trustworthy (2 Pet. 1:19).’
–Derek J. Brown
Read the whole article here
(GSiV: Missions and Evangelism;
“What is a Healthy Church?”
Chương 5: Dấu Hiệu Thiết Yếu Của Hội Thánh Khỏe Mạnh: Giảng Giải Kinh
‘Nếu một Hội thánh khỏe mạnh là một hội chúng ngày càng bày tỏ bản tánh của Đức Chúa Trời là bản tánh được bày tỏ trong lời của Ngài, chỗ hiển nhiên nhất để bắt đầu việc xây dựng một Hội thánh khỏe mạnh là phải kêu gọi các Cơ Đốc nhân lắng nghe Lời Đức Chúa Trời. Lời của Chúa là nguồn của mọi sự sống và sức khỏe. Đó là thứ để nuôi dưỡng, phát triển, và bảo tồn sự hiểu biết về Phúc âm của chính Hội thánh.’
Hãy đọc thêm
‘Gospel work, especially when it is compounded with the wear and tear of cross-cultural ministry in a hostile context, is accomplished because of hard things not despite them. For example, learning a new language and a new script is hard work. There’s nothing glamorous after months of study and practice to finally speak on the level of a local toddler!’
Read the whole thing here
“A missionary plods through the first year or two, thinking that things will be different when he speaks the language. He is baffled to find, frequently, that they are not. He is stripped of all that may be called ‘romance.’ Life has fallen more or less into a pattern. Day follows day in unbroken succession; there are no crises, no mass conversions, sometimes not even one or two to whom he can point and say: ‘There is a transformed life. If I had not come, he would never have known Christ.’ There will be those among the Indians [or whichever people group] who say that they accept Christ, but what of the forsaking of heathen custom and turning from sin to a life of holiness? The missionary watches, and longs, and his heart sickens.
“The forces of evil, unchallenged for so long, are now set in array against the missionary.”
-Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor, 40th anniversary ed. pp. 151-152
What would the Baptist missionary Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) teach us about biblical missions?
- ‘As an adult, Aylward stood less than 5 feet tall in her ragged clothes, and she had little formal education. This small woman looked unlikely to make much of a difference in the world. According to her credentials, it was doubtful she would affect thousands with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- ‘When our lives feel stagnant and ordinary, Aylward’s life can encourage us. God uses the weak—not the strong—so that no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Cor. 1:27–31). Aylward didn’t set out to become a well-known missionary. She didn’t expect to be a world-changer. She simply set her face on Christ, then toward China. God accomplished the rest.’
- ‘Our plans may fail. Aylward’s mentors insisted she join a missionary society, enroll in their college, and be sent to the mission field under their care. The missionary society committee, however, found her unfit in terms of education and intellect. They rejected her and told her the Chinese language would be far too difficult for her to learn. With her rejection by the missionary society, Aylward’s dream seemed impossible.’
- ‘God’s plans won’t fail. Aylward’s initial plan to get to China may have failed, but God’s plan to use her there succeeded. She put her hope in his sovereign plan, knowing whatever he willed would succeed. She trusted that this was the way God would be most glorified.’
- ‘…Aylward’s story encourages us that even our failures lead to success–when we define success as God does.’
- ‘…despite her weaknesses.’
Read the whole thing here
‘In 1 Corinthians 3:5–9, Paul explains that while he planted and Apollos watered, God gave increase to the church. Paul and Apollos were merely servants through whom the Corinthians believed. They were not owners who could claim credit for the growth; they were stewards whom God graciously used to accomplish his purposes.
‘If church history has taught us anything, it is this: Church-planting pastors are most dangerous to their flock when they act as owners—men who view God’s people as their possession, to serve their selfish interests—rather than as servants seeking the good of the church and the glory of Christ.
‘One practical way church planters can guard against acting like owners is by proactively seeking and welcoming accountability. A pastor who refuses to live as a man under authority is more likely to feed his selfish desires to the demise of his flock.
‘Are your fellow elders empowered and encouraged to address sin in your life? Have you surrounded yourself with “yes men,” or do your elders consistently challenge you? Are you open to constructive criticism from your flock? Or have you created a culture of fear and intimidation that encourages them to keep their concerns to themselves?’
Read the whole thing here
Whether we are pastors, missionaries, writers, or some other kind of Christian leader, we have much to learn from God’s Word and Adam Ramsey’s article on humility and wrong motives in vocational ministry.
He opens with a clear message on how motives can shift: “Every church planter begins with a desire for his church to grow. And yet, what can often be missed—even as we come hurtling out of the gates with all our plans, prayers, and strategies—is the deadly desire to build our own empire. This kind of desire for church growth, if left unchecked, will have catastrophic results. There is a type of desire for church growth that has the capacity to prove deadly to you, your family, and your church, because its driving motivations are worldly….”
Ramsey rightly points out that motives matter and gives us a few great soul-searching thoughts:
- “As a church planter and pastor, I have to make war every day on ego and impatience, while breathing the toxic air of a wider church culture that readily applauds quick results over godly longevity.”
- “But when producing results comes at the expense of building on a gospel foundation with gospel motivations, we may as well be trying to erect skyscrapers on frozen lakes.”
- “Those he was called to serve were turned into a platform from which he could be seen. And the results were, predictably, catastrophic.”
- “Though the two appear similar in many ways, the distinction between godly aspiration and worldly ambition is ultimately revealed in our willingness to be unseen. To receive none of the credit. To have every last bit of human applause fly over our heads to Christ.”
Then Ramsey gives us a question that should help all of us search our hearts: “If God were to answer every one of my prayers for revival and renewal in my city—and he chose to do it primarily through another church—would I rejoice simply because he has done a great work?”
Thus, he beautifully concludes: “While we are owed nothing, in Christ we have received everything. And because of that reality, we can give ourselves to planting, shepherding, and serving churches with everything we have (1 Cor 15:10).”
-Adam Ramsey, The Dangerous Desire for Church Growth
Read the whole article here
Sinners in Hands of an Angry God (Việt-Eng)
‘This transcript is the most well-known sermon of pastor Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). He preached this sermon in Enfield, Connecticut [USA] in 1741.’
‘Bài giảng này là bài giảng nổi tiếng nhất của mục sư Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Ông giảng bài này ở Enfield, Connecticut [Mỹ] vào năm 1741.’
“Their foot shall slide in due time.” Deut. 32:35
“…Vào lúc chân của chúng nó trượt ngã….” Phục Truyền Luật Lệ Ký 32:35
- “Lý do duy nhất mà họ vẫn chưa ngã đổ vào sự hủy diệt đang chực chờ là vì ngày giờ Chúa định cho họ chưa đến. Như vậy, khi đến thời điểm ấy, chân của họ sẽ trượt ngã. Họ sẽ ngã bởi sức nặng của thân thể họ. Chúa sẽ không đỡ họ nơi trơn trợt ấy thêm một phút giây nào nữa, nhưng sẽ cho họ té ngay lập tức vào sự hủy diệt. Như một người đứng bên bờ dốc trơn tuột, sát mé vực thẳm, người ấy không thể đứng vững, và khi không còn gì níu giữ lại, người ấy sẽ rơi xuống và biến mất.”
- “That the reason why they are not fallen already, and don’t fall now, is only that God’s appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, “their foot shall slide.” Then they shall be left to fall as they are inclined by their own weight. God won’t hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands in such slippery declining ground on the edge of a pit that he can’t stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.”
(See other Vietnamese and English articles at GSiV: Missions and Evangelism)
An article about great things the Lord has done in the country of Mongolia, also gives opportunity for discussion of the idea of maturity in believers in areas where the gospel is fairly new.
Many of the missionaries there want to see strong disciples, guarded from the dangers of the so-called “prosperity gospel.” They want disciples strong like oak trees.
- Providentially, ‘the prosperity gospel has not flourished like one would expect. Part of the reason was the solid theology of those first missionaries…’
Sharon Luethy is a missionary there who testifys to what God has done and what she’s seeing in the lives of Mongolian believes. Both Luethy and Wood are quoted in the article.
- ‘And their nomadic history means Mongolians don’t mind the travel or the boldness required to be a missionary, Luethy said. “They have reached out to neighboring countries . . . [and] possibly thousands have come to faith outside the country.”’
- ‘That’s encouraging to missionaries who labor on in Mongolia, teaching Bible classes, translating Scripture and resources, and caring for the sick, the orphaned, the hungry. They’re taking the long view.’
Mark Wood is director of Mongolia’s Kingdom Leadership Training Center.
- ‘“We’re finding it takes us about 75 to 100 years in one place to really establish a national church,” Wood said. “In the West, we think we can rush maturity, can bring about a national church in seven years and then be on to the next country.”’
- ‘Not so, he said.’
-Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
Read whole article here
Also see at GSiV:
‘The question remains, however, is it possible for Protestants today to be both faithful to the gospel and be in sync with the Vatican?…. While commonalities between Roman Catholics and Protestants do exist and should be celebrated, key issues that were at the heart of the controversy five hundred years ago continue today.
‘Below are eleven important doctrines upon which we agree, followed by two critical teachings upon which there is still disagreement and that make continued separation necessary.
‘“Commonalities between Catholics and Protestants do exist and should be celebrated, but issues that were at the heart of the controversy five hundred years ago still continue today.”
‘Eleven Doctrines upon Which Protestants and Roman Catholics Agree
· ‘The Trinity, The nature of God, Divine revelation, The person of Christ, The work of Christ, The Holy Spirit, Human beings, Sin, Salvation is initiated by God, The church, Living hope.
‘Despite this widespread agreement, however, at least two major differences still separate Catholics and Protestants.
‘Two Doctrines about Which Protestants and Roman Catholics Differ Significantly
‘1. Ultimate authority: Catholics hold to an authority structure consisting of three elements.
- One aspect is Scripture….
- The second aspect of divine revelation is Tradition….
- The third source of authority is the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Catholic Church, consisting of the pope and the bishops….
‘The Protestant principle, by contrast, is sola Scriptura: Scripture alone is our ultimate authority….
‘2. Salvation: Catholics believe that salvation is a lifelong process by which God through his grace, and fallen people aided by that grace, work together so people engage in good works and thus merit eternal life….
‘The Impact of the Reformation on Missions
‘These two issues–authority and salvation–were at the heart of the controversy five hundred years ago. Because they continue to divide Catholic and Protestants today, the Reformation is not over….
‘May God use the gracious efforts of faithful, gospel-loving believers to break the chains of tradition that once bound Reformers like Martin Luther and still blind millions today….’
-Gregg R. Allison
Read whole article here
(Resources in Vietnamese and English at GSiV: