In 2014, D. A. Carson preached from Galatians 5 in the chapel of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  You will find this sermon helpful and convicting.  I commend it to you for your listening.

Build Your Reference Library with Top Works in Just One Purchase – Some really good offerings available from Logos Bible Software if you’re looking to increase your library.

Local Man Relieved After Spiritual Gift Test Comes Back Negative For ‘Giving’ – Fake news?  Perhaps, but there’s always a nugget of truth in the reports by The Babylon Bee!

4 Cautions on Elder Training Programs – Some helpful advice here by Jonathan Leeman.

A Great Teacher Can Simplify without Distortion – R. C. Sproul writes, “The great teacher can express the profound by the simple, without distortion. To do that requires a deep level of understanding. The great teacher imparts understanding, not merely information. To do that the teacher must understand the material being taught.”

Alistair Begg and Bob Lepine Discuss the Centrality of the Gospel – This is a good conversation – definitely worth 3 minutes of your life.

Scripture, the Atonement, & Sanctification – Ligonier’s $5 Friday is especially good today.

Here is My @TGC Conversation with Nancy Guthrie about How to Teach the Book of Romans – “It was Romans that Martin Luther was reading when the light clicked on regarding justification: ‘The righteous shall live by faith’ (1:17).  And it was Romans that Augustine read when he heard the child’s voice say tolle lege: ‘So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light’ (13:12).”

The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Tour – In September of next year, just days from the precise 500th anniversary of the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, we will be touring through Europe visiting key locations in church history.  You’ll want to join us for this one if you can make it.

Theology Word of the Week:  Missiology

Missiology is the ordered study of is the Christian church’s mission. As such it is a discipline within theology, incorporating a number of strands. Biblical study investigates the basis of the church’s mission in the missio Dei, the calling of Israel to be a light to all nations (Is. 49:6) and Jesus’ commission to his disciples to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth and the end of time (Mt. 28:18–20; Acts 1:8). Historical study surveys the growth and expansion of the church at various periods and assesses its impact on different societies and cultures. Systematic theology studies the interaction of Christian faith both with secular philosophies and ideologies and with other systems of belief. Ethical studies, are incorporated into missiology where the church has a reponsibility to declare God’s will for the whole of life (see Ethics; Social Ethics). Pastoral theology seeks ways to intruct new converts and integrate them into the church.

Because of the wide scope of missiology it has an important role to play in the integration of other areas of theology. Put another way, every aspect of theology has an inescapably missiological dimension, for each one exists for the sake of the church’s mission.

In popular imagination mission is often misconceived as Christians crossing national frontiers to spread the gospel. This view reflects a past age when Christians tended to divide the world neatly into Christian and non-Christian. Today, however, ‘the missionary frontier runs round the world. It is the line which separates belief from unbelief.’ Mission takes place from and to all continents and within each nation.

Some Christians want to restrict missions to evangelism, understood as proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ and inviting people to believe in him for salvation. Most students of mission, however, see it in wider terms (see Lausanne Covenant).

‘Mission’ conveys the biblical idea of ‘being sent’, classically expressed in Jesus’ saying, ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’ (Jn. 20:21). The parallel between God sending Jesus and Jesus sending his disciples describes both the method and the content of mission. The church’s mission, then, encompasses everything that Jesus sends his people into the world to do. It does not include everything the church does or everything God does in the world. Therefore, to say the church is mission is an overstatement. Nevertheless, to ignore or compromise the commission to go into all the world as Jesus’ representatives shows a defective life. ‘A church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning.’

The church’s mission can be summed up in five general tasks. The order in which they are listed is not intended to suggest priorities. Biblically speaking each is vitally important. By stressing one more than the others, different groups of Christians have tended to see them as alternatives. God, however, allows us no choice.

1. It is to be involved in stewarding the material resources of creation. This means encouraging a wise and harmonious use of the natural order created by God, by engaging in the numerous aspects of conservation and the elimination of pollution (see Nature, Theology of). The church will point to the creator’s gift of life for all which implies renouncing greed, and a restrained enjoyment of material goods by all in such a way that future generations will find life sustainable on earth.

2. It is to serve human beings without distinction and whatever their need. It has a compassionate task to aid refugees and the victims of drought and famine and to help set up development schemes, literacy campaigns, health education and housing programmes. It has a particular responsibility to minister to the needs of the handicapped, old people, the bereaved, children at risk and families in tension, and to rehabilitate offenders against the law, alcoholics, drug-addicts and chronic gamblers.

3. It must bear witness to ‘the truth as it is in Jesus’ (Eph. 4:21). This includes a number of tasks, sometimes separated into apologetics, pre-evangelism and evangelism. Bearing witness means both the verbal communication of the apostolic gospel and visual demonstration of its power to bring new life and hope to human relationships and communities.

4. It should be engaged in seeing that God’s justice is done in society (see Righteousness; Society, Theology of). In particular, the church will be active in promoting and defending the integrity of family life against easy divorce (see Sexuality), abortion, casual or abnormal sexual relationships, pornography, the exploitation of women and children, and experimentation on early human life (see Bioethics). it will also seek alternatives to policies which give rise to more homeless, badly educated, undernourished and unemployed people. It will fight for human rights and against human discrimination (especially racism; see Race). Finally it will challenge the inexorable build-up of weapons of mass destruction and the increasing arms trade between rich and poor nations (see War and Peace).

5. It has a responsibility to show what it means in practice to be a reconciled and liberated community in the midst of a corrupt, distressed and despairing world. It is sent to demonstrate the reality of God’s unmerited grace by practising forgiveness (see Guilt), the sharing of goods and resources, by eliminating prejudice and suspicion, and by exercising power as servanthood, not as domination and control. The church is to be both a sign and an agent of God’s purpose to create a new order where his peace and justice will reign.

Missiology engages in serious theological reflection on all these aspects of the church’s mission. In addition it has, in recent years, focused on a number of specific issues to do with the implementation of its task. Is it right for Christians to be involved in violence to overthrow non-elected, repressive regimes (see Revolution, Theology of)? What is the right approach in sharing Christ with people of other faiths—dialogue, proclamation or simply presence among them? Should churches of ethnically and culturally homogeneous groups be encouraged for the sake of church growth? What role, if any, should mission agencies, which exist independently of any church, play in evangelism, relief or development? How may human and financial resources be shared in genuine Christian partnership between different parts of the worldwide church in a way which commends the gospel. [1]


  1. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 434–436.

 

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