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:
Tội Nhân Trong Tay Thiên Chúa Đang Thịnh Nộ
‘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
- ‘It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18-19. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!”’
- ‘Điều này cũng ám chỉ là sự hủy diệt có thể phủ chụp lên đầu họ bất cứ lúc nào. Như một người lảo đảo bước đi trên chỗ trơn trợt, người ấy không thể biết rằng với bước kế tiếp mình còn đứng được hay sẽ té ngã; và nếu bị ngã, người ấy sẽ ngã nhào ngay tức khắc mà không có một dấu hiệu nào báo trước. Điều này được miêu tả trong Thi Thiên 73: 18-19: “Thật vậy, Chúa đã đặt chúng nó tại nơi trơn trợt, Khiến cho chúng nó bị hư nát. Ủa kìa, chúng nó bị hủy diệt trong một lát….”’
(See other Vietnamese and English articles at GSiV: Missions and Evangelism)
Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was an American missionary in Burma who lived overseas for several decades. The Lord used him and his steady but hard work overseas to build the church in Burma. Usually, the work the Lord has before us is slow, despite modern attempts in the church planting world to make fast look like the norm.
‘…Churches faithfully supported the ministry of a man [Adoniram Judson] they’d never met. They only knew Judson by way of his reputation and the letters that came several months after current events. He never once visited with rousing stories of regular converts.
‘SPIRITUAL GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES
The result is story after story of dramatic conversions and mass movements. Churches rarely celebrate slow, hard-slogging work that’s yet to see fruit. In doing so, we unintentionally create spiritual versions of get-rich-quick testimonials, showing how through only a little extra giving and a little extra prayer, you too can see an entire unreached people group saved in your lifetime….
Jesus made it abundantly clear that the effectiveness of sowing the word cannot be accurately measured right away. The parable of the soils shows us it takes time to see if a conversion is substantial or ephemeral (Matt. 13)….
‘LOCAL CHURCH AS SPIRITUAL MUTUAL FUND
One of the best ways for a church to grow in patience is to look for evidences of enduring grace….
‘Healthy churches will foster amongst their members a dogged determination to see the lost come to faith….’
Read the whole article here
(Also see at GSiV:
Sometimes a commitment to the doctrines of grace has led some Christians to wrongly become hyper Calvinists (click here). This only proves that no system keeps man from being thoroughly depraved; but that point proves Calvinism rather than argues against it. Often though the doctrines of grace have rightly led Christians to care about the lost like God cares.
(See GSiV here)
(Also see GSiV here)
Here is a type of Creation to Christ (C2C) tool that is sensitive to Asian issues of shame and fear but doesn’t neglect guilt and sin. It is concise but includes important simple details of the Bible’s story about Israel and Abraham while telling redemption history (redemptive historical). It approaches the topic with the theme of God as King over the peoples (citizens) of the world, but especially his chosen ones.
In English and Vietnamese
God creates a good world.
- Đức Chúa Trời tạo nên thế giới tốt đẹp.
- Con người không vâng lời Đức Chúa Trời.
God keeps his promise through Abraham.
- Đức Chúa Trời giữ lời hứa của Ngài bằng Áp ra ham.
God judges Israel but keeps his promise.
- Đức Chúa Trời phán xét Israel nhưng vẫn giữ lời hứa của Ngài.
God fulfills his promise in King Jesus.
- Đức Chúa Trời hoàn thành lời hứa của Ngài bởi Vua Giê-xu.
King Jesus returns to judge and restore.
- Vua Giê-xu trở lại để phán xét và phục hồi.
‘The SBC [Southern Baptist Convention] was overwhelmingly pragmatic. During the middle decades of the 20th century, the SBC became preoccupied with growth—and we were good at it. The SBC grew, overtaking every other denomination in the United States. When Southern Baptist pastors got together, they basically assumed orthodoxy, and all their conversations were about program, pragmatism, and growth.
‘But pragmatism undermines orthodoxy. You simply measure your health by program, attendance, and growth, but that means you’ll do whatever it takes to get a crowd. Pragmatism means you minimize the theology and maximize the program—a recipe that led to liberalism inside our churches. Many Southern Baptists believed that if we were growing, we couldn’t possibly be liberal. It was a form of self-blindness.’
(See at GSiV:
Some Christians critical of the theology of the magisterial reformers often accuse them of not caring for the lost or evangelism. But is this true according to history?
“The Reformers viewed their task as a missionary one: they were planting true Christian churches.”
-TRUE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
-JOHN CALVIN’S MISSIOLOGY
- The Victorious Advance of Christ’s Kingdom
- Calvin’s Prayers for the Extension of Christ’s Kingdom
(Resources in Vietnamese and English at GSiV:
Have you ever tried to explain the Bible’s story in a few brief but accurate paragraphs? Ever tried to explain the Bible’s story to someone with no understanding of the Bible? Here’s a helpful tool in Vietnamese and English:
Bố Cục / Outline:
- Đức Chúa Trời tạo nên thế giới tốt đẹp / God creates a good world.
- Con người không vâng lời Đức Chúa Trời / Man rebels.
- Đức Chúa Trời giữ lời hứa của Ngài bằng Áp ra ham / God keeps his promise through Abraham.
- Đức Chúa Trời phán xét Israel nhưng vẫn giữ lời hứa của Ngài / God judges Israel but keeps his promise.
- Đức Chúa Trời hoàn thành lời hứa của Ngài bởi Vua Giê-xu / God fulfills his promise in King Jesus.
- Vua Giê-xu trở lại để phán xét và phục hồi / King Jesus returns to judge and restore.
Mr. David Platt spoke a few years ago about a problem he saw the Middle East among corrupt pastors and churches that also relied too much on Western money. Unfortunately, these problems are often worldwide. Through Christ there is grace to change and grow healthy congregations rather than focus on buildings and income.
‘Nhưng chúng tôi cũng đã có cơ hội để gặp gỡ một số nhà lãnh đạo hội thánh tại một số nước khác nhau và hình dung ra được tình trạng chung của các hội thánh tại đó. Không phải là việc có nhiều hội thánh tin lành, tức là những hội thánh thực sự tin vào sức mạnh của Phúc âm. Mà trong số những hội thánh có mặt tại đó, chúng tôi nhận thấy có rất nhiều người bị lôi kéo vào những sự tranh giành, mà chủ yếu liên quan đến hai điều: tiền bạc và quyền lực.
- ‘But we did have the opportunity to spend some time with some church leaders in a couple of different countries and to get a picture of the state of the church. And it is not a lot of evangelistic churches, churches that believe the gospel. But of those that are there, many of them, what we became aware of is that many of them are embroiled in struggles and a lot of those struggles deal with two things: money and power.
‘Một thực trạng là hầu hết các hội thánh tại đó đều được mở hoặc đang được hỗ trợ bởi các hội thánh tại phương Tây. Thậm chí tại một nước kia, không có một hội thánh nào được mở bởi những người bản địa. Tất cả đều được mở và hỗ trợ bởi các hội thánh phương Tây. Vì vậy mà chúng tôi thấy các nhà lãnh đạo hội thánh tại đó giành hầu hết thời gian để kêu gọi giúp đỡ nhằm xây dựng cơ sở vật chất và xây dựng các chương trình trong hội thánh để cạnh tranh với nhau nhằm thu hút được nhiều sự hỗ trợ hơn từ phương Tây, để rồi lại đầu tư vào xây dựng cơ sở và các chương trình khác.
- ‘And the picture is the majority of the churches over there have either been started by or are currently supported by churches in the west, i.e., here or other places, western culture. And in one particular country, all of the churches, there was not one church that was started by a nationalist. All started by westerners and supported by westerners. And so what you have got is the church leaders who are there spend much of their time raising resources from the west to build buildings and to create programs in the church and they compete with each other for resources from the west to build buildings and to create programs.
‘Và tại đất nước mà tôi có nói là không có một hội thánh nào được gầy dựng bởi người bản địa, có một hội thánh sắp sửa trở thành một siêu hội thánh. Đó là từ họ dùng. Họ muốn xây những tòa nhà thật to lớn. Một siêu hội thánh ở đó chỉ gồm vài trăm tín hữu. Họ chỉ muốn xây những tòa nhà cho thật to. Họ lập kế hoạch xây dựng và rồi tìm kiếm sự hỗ trợ để thực thi kế hoạch đó.’
- ‘And in that one particular country where there is not one church that has been started by a national one of those churches now is preparing to be a mega church in that country. They used the term. They want to build a big building. A mega church is a couple of hundred members there. They want to build a big building. They have a plan for a big building and they are going to get funds to build the building.’