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.

2 comments:

Musiqal1 said...

Great post. I find this interesting not only because I like words and am an English major but because I love God and I feel as if I am on a mission. Perhaps it is good to remind people exactly what a mission is to ensure they are actually doing the work they were called to do. Thanks for the post.

Chris Sanchez said...

Thanks Stephanie! If we truly love the Savior, we are all on mission with Him!