Monday, June 18, 2012

William Carey - The Father of Modern Missions

William Carey once said, “Expect great things; attempt great things”.[1] And attempt great things he did! Carey was born August 17, 1761 in Paulerpury, England and went home to be with the Lord June 9, 1834. Carey enthusiastically embraced the Christian faith even going so far as to teach himself New Testament Greek.[2] Later, as a teacher, Carey was intrigued by the stories of Captain Cook’s discoveries in the Pacific and it was in these stories that he became convicted of the obligation of the church to preach the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world.[3]

Among his contributions to global missions was Carey having founded the Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel amongst the Heathen (later shortened to Baptist Missionary Society) setting the missionary example that other denominations would follow.[4] It was Carey’s perseverance throughout his life and ministry that many historians, including Gonz├ílez, give credence to him being referred to as “the father of modern missions”. In his An Inquiry Into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens published in 1792, Carey made rather extensive use of statistical data and plain language to argue his case for the church of his day being engaged in missions.[5] Carey was informed, well organized, and tenacious in his approach.

The founding of a missionary society in his day is important and it being an example to others is certainly noteworthy but Carey’s persistence is something we should take note of in our day and age. We know that with God all things are possible yet too often the largest thing our churches dream of is a larger building. Another contribution I have in mind is Carey’s willingness to go. After creating the Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel amongst the Heathen, Carey was unable to find someone to send as a missionary. He packed his bags and family and went to India himself![6] There Carey’s perseverance is again displayed as he endures great personal hardships and losses.

A strong argument can be made that his Bible translations were his greatest contribution of the founding of the society that would become a model for others to follow might be it but if Carey had not been willing to answer God’s call, the society would not have had the credibility it did nor would the translations likely have been completed. Carey took to heart Matthew 16:15 to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature: perseverance and the willingness to God where God leads.



[1] Galli, Mark and Olsen, Ted. 131 Christians Everyone Should Know. (Nashville, TN: Brodman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 245.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Eckman, James P. Exploring Church History. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002), 78.

[4] González, Justo L. The Story of Christianity Vol 2: The Reformation to the Present Day. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1985), 306.

[5] Winter, Ralph D., and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader (4th ed.). (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1981, 1992, 1999, 2009), 312-18.

[6] Ibid, 309-310.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day 2012

Happy Father's Day everyone! The love of our parents is to be cherished all of our days and we are to honor them (Exodus 20: 1-21; Deuteronomy 5:1-23; Matthew 15:1-9, 19:17-19; Mark 10: 17-19 ; Luke 8:18-21). May this day be filled with laughter enjoyed with those you love. For those whose fathers may have already gone on to Glory, may the emptiness you feel be filled with the presence of the Father.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Apostle Paul's Missionary Methods

Let’s talk about the Apostle Paul and his missions. As the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul undertook several lengthy mission trips. There are many characteristics of the Apostle Paul’s missionary methods. Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive but here are five of those methods that really stand out in my mind:

_____1. The limited duration of Paul’s stay in any given location: It would have been quite easy for Paul to plant a new church and remain there long-term. There is a great deal to be said about building something from the ground up. While this can certainly be taken to extremes, this not necessarily norm for all missionaries.[1] Paul held to an ideal universality that Christ died for all sinners, Jew and Gentile alike, and each person assumes an equal position before God as sinners.[2] Paul was determined to share the good news of redemption through Christ with as many people as possible.

_____2. Forming communities of Christians: Of course Paul sought to win people to Christ. That should go without saying but Paul was likely the first apostle to fully understand the Great Commission, what it involved, and who it sought to obey.[3] Making disciples of all nations meant, to Paul, creating communities of Christians as a means of spreading the gospel.[4] A strong base of support, such as the church at Antioch, is necessary for continuing missions.

_____3. Missions are a team effort: Paul worked as the leader of a team in his mission efforts. His teams recruited and trained their own members, were financially self-sufficient, and even disciplined their own members when necessary.[5] Though it is difficult to argue with the notion of there being safety in numbers, this was especially true in Paul’s time when travelling alone was a rather dangerous undertaking. When writing his epistles, Paul went out of his way to share authorship the members of his team. This sharing of responsibility by Paul and his companions modeled the pattern set by Christ and the disciples in their proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom of God in Mark 6:7.[6]

_____4. Understanding the need to change the message based on the audience: This most certainly does not mean changing the gospel to suit different audiences. It does mean altering the method of delivery so that those who are hearing the good news proclaimed hear it in a way that they may be more receptive to. Paul understood from his own conversion experience that Christ had liberated him his sins and from the powers, he was free to become a Jew to the Jews and a Gentile to the Gentiles.[7] Paul even went so far as to remove obstacles from those who hear the gospel by circumcising Timothy acknowledging his responsibility as the messenger to do so.[8] This contextualization modeled by Paul has been followed through the centuries by such apologists as Tatian, Justin, Clement in the early church, Cyril and Methodius to the Slavic peoples, Nobili in India, Matteo Ricci in China, etc.[9]

_____5. Willingness to endure hardships: Paul was not only willing to endure hardship and persecution, he tackled them head on! Paul knew all too well that he would suffer for the sake of whose message he carried to the nations as he knew them. This includes the physical suffering Paul endured during his ministry as well as the spiritual attacks he endured encountered.[10]

As I said, there are other methods that one might identify and expand on in a discussion such as this. For me, these five really jump out when considering how Paul went about spreading the Gospel throughout his travels. Feel free to add you own in the comments!



[1] Moreau, A. Scott, R. Corwin Gary, and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 61.

[2] Peters, George W. A Biblical Theology of Missions. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1972), 148-50..

[3] Glasser, Arthur F., with Charles E. Van Engen, Dean S. Gilliland, and Shawn B. Redford. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God's Mission in the Bible. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 290-91.

[4] Moreau, et al., (2004), 61-62.

[5] Winter, Ralph D., and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader (4th ed.). (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1981, 1992, 1999, 2009), 150.

[6] Glasser et al., (2003), 295-96.

[7] Ibid, 297-98.

[8] Moreau, et al., (2004), 62.

[9] Ott, Craig, Stephen J. Strauss, and with Timothy C. Tennent. Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 274-75.

[10] Winter and Hawthorne, eds., (2009), 152-53.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Missions - Definition Needed!

My regular readers know I am wrapping up my MRE with a couple of classes focused on missions. Well, as I have said here before, nothing about studying the things of God academically are easy. One would think that the concept of missions is pretty straight forward. Au contraire my dear readers! As usual, theologians have gotten a hold of this topic with a passion which necessitates some explanations about terminology.

Mission is a broad term that refers to everything the church does to point toward the kingdom of God.[1] Missio Dei is a term coined as a missiological term in 1934 by Karl Hartenstein and was later used in the 1952 Willingen Conference to stress that mission is God’s and it does not belong to the church.[2] The term mission includes all of the work that the church does but is by no means limited to it as God works both in and out of the church. The mission of the church is to send our missionaries to all parts of the world until everyone has had the opportunity to hear good news of Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord.[3]

In contrast to this, missions is specific the term used to describe the work of the church and agencies in the task of reaching people for Christ across cultural boundaries.[4] Missions is the practical realization of the mission of the church. It should be noted that there is still ongoing debate concerning the usage of these terms.[5]

Hopefully this is a pretty clear albeit basic explanation of these terms. I will stay focused on missions in the coming weeks and encourage your comments. The importance of the discussion cannot be overstated!



[1] Moreau, A. Scott, R. Corwin Gary, and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 17.

[2] Moreau, A. Scott, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000) 636-37.

[3] Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, and Archie England et al. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1140.

[4] Moreau, A. Scott, R. Corwin Gary, and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 17.

[5] Moreau, A. Scott, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000) 637-38.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Milestones

Life is filled with milestones as the years roll by and recently my family and I celebrated Commencement 2012 at Liberty University. Though still wrapping up two classes this summer before my Master of Religious Education degree is conferred, I am so ready for the next challenges the Lord has for me.

In the realm of social media, I have also reached several milestones I wanted to mention to everyone. Last week saw the 50,000 visitor to my humble blog since I started tracking this late July 2010. That is so amazing! I also recently posted my 300th blog since beginning this blog. I must admit that blogging has become a labor of love that I continue to be excited about as I become more seasoned in the blogosphere. Finally, I recently posted my 4,000 tweet on Twitter (@Chris__Sanchez).

So many ways to connect with other people! So many ways to build and maintain new relationships. This is truly an amazing time. It will be fun to see how social media continues to develop as the years roll by. Thank you all so much for your continued support. It means more than I can put into words!

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Role of Giving in the Life of the Christian

The question of the role giving should play in the lives of Christians arises fairly often and in my experience the answers vary depending on who is broaching the subject. There can be no doubt that giving both talent and treasure should play a central role in lives of Christians. How much should we give? Great question! I believe the tithe is a good place to start but it is certainly not the end of the giving one ought to do. Though some would say we are no longer under the law and are therefore not obligated to tithe, I would respond to that by saying, we are no longer under the law, is murder now okay? Of course not! By the way, the tithe came before the law (Gen. 14:18-20), was practiced under the law (Malachi 3:10), and is at work after the law (Matt. 23:23).

Now here is something many Christians do not consider: the gift of one’s time in service to the body of Christ. The 80-20 rule (80% of the work in the local church being completed by 20% of the congregation) ought never to exist in the local church. Rather, there should be so many volunteers for the various ministries of the church that people need only serve a few times a year. Regrettably the 80-20 rule has been the norm in my experience. The church needs more people willing to serve the body of Christ across all ministry areas!

This leads me into the next point: Christians should feel free to give to other causes worthy of their time and treasure. I teach a budgeting/money management class each week for a work recovery ministry. This is not a ministry supported by the church where my family and I are members though the ministry is well known in our area of Metro Atlanta. This is a ministry where my educational background is put to very good use. Here’s the thing: my wife and I understand that we cannot support every worthy cause, Christian or secular, that has need of funding and volunteer hours. But the fact that we cannot contribute to all of them should not prevent us from contributing to some.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Sin of Gambling: Part 5 - Conclusion

Conclusion

The matter of whether gambling should be permitted or not has a long history. At present, the perception of gambling is changing. No longer is gambling considered vice by governments and even some Christians. Rather, the industry has successfully sought to recast itself as part of the larger entertainment industry and participation in gaming activities of all varieties simply a matter of having fun.

Reasons why gambling should be permitted are convincing. Not only do many see gambling as a form of entertainment to be enjoyed, albeit by responsible adults, people have a right to engage in harmless entertainment if they so choose. It is an abuse of the power of government to prohibit citizens from engaging in an activity that is seemingly harmless while providing economic benefit to the community, the state, and individual participants. Legal gambling also provides government with a way to redistribute wealth from people higher up the socioeconomic ladder to those below by using the funds raised for special projects that primarily benefit the poor at the expense of the more affluent. Further, the presence of gambling in the Bible suggests that Christians are free to engage in this harmless fun.

While these arguments may seem convincing to some, especially Christians, each argument has been thoroughly refuted. The fact is that gambling is not merely entertainment. It remains an exploitive activity that drains financial resources from the economy, leads people into addiction, oppresses the poor, and ultimately undermines biblical principles for living the Christian life. With so much evidence pointing to the ills associated with and caused by gambling, it is rather simple to conclude that gambling is a sin and should be avoided by Christians. While it is easy to arrive at such a conclusion, describing the Christian response to gambling is a bit more difficult.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that believers are to be light and salt in the world. We are to live in a manner such that people will see our good works and glorify God (Matt. 5:13-16). Aside from concluding that Christians are not permitted to gambling, perhaps a lesson from Jesus will best summarize how the Christian should address gambling. In Matthew 22:15-22, the Pharisees tried to trap Christ by asking about the payment of taxes. Understanding the trap being laid for Him, Christ affirmed that some things rightfully belong to Caesar (the government) and some things belong to God.[1]

Governments have the right to legalize gambling if they are so persuaded. Sociologists will continue to analyze the culture and report on it from both a secular and Christian perspective.[2] Christians should avoid gambling, point out the inherent dangers of engaging in all forms of gambling, and should love those ensnared by gambling when the opportunity presents itself.



[1] Feinberg, John S., Paul D. Feinberg, and Aldous Huxley. Ethics for a Brave new World. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1996), 388.

[2] Carson, D. A. Christ & Culture Revisited. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co,, 2008), 226.