Wednesday, September 20, 2006

World Missions...and Things cont'd.

God has a heart for missions. His final word of command was to send His followers to every people group on the earth to share the good news of Christ. However, His followers don't seem to be nearly as excited about missions as God is. It seems that missionaries throughout the ages have been reluctant to leave the comfort of home and safety for the unknown perils of the mission field. In God's Story in History, we are told how the gospel spread through the world despite the believing community.

"Where possible God accomplished His will through the voluntary obedience and godliness of His people, but where necessary, He did His will through involuntary means." ~ Ralph Winter

In Genesis 12, God unfolds the vision for His plan for the world. From Genesis 12 to the end of the Bible, one long drama unfolds: God's plan to redeem His fallen creation through the giving of His Son. God intended the Israelites, starting with Abraham, to be a missionary people. The "blessing" He promised to Abraham was conditioned upon Abraham sharing his blessing with the nations. But the Israelites failed over and over. They refused to go willingly. So God sent them unwillingly. Time and time again, God used the Israelites' disobedience to display His power and might to the surrounding nations, whether His children were cooperative or not. This often meant sending them into captivity. Their captors saw the power of God, even when the Israelites did not.

Then Jesus appears on the scene. He was sent to His "own" but the second He reveals God's plan to share the blessing with the Gentiles, His "own" erupt in fury. The Israelites just aren't okay with serving a missional God. They failed in their job of blessing the nations, so God moves on to the next group: the Gentiles.

Unfortunately, the Gentiles don't do much better. More on that tomorrow.

On a lighter note...I am tempted to watch the season premiere of America's Next Top Model tonight. This is probably the only TV show that I have a desire to watch.

5 comments:

Ulovebeth said...

Do you want to watch it because your trying to find out which twin is evil?
I'm trying to get over my Project Runway addiction.
Which reminds me, I need to buy a Lot 8 shirt. Maybe Am.Top Model & Project Runway could team up and make a SUPER show. It would be Reality Deluxe TV.

Troy said...

I am having a hard time digesting this. Can you clarify what you mean by God sending the Israelites? The Abrahamic covenant does state that the whole world will be blessed through Abraham's decendants, but it also explicitly states that the Promised Land would belong to the nation of Israel. I haven't checked to see if God adds a commissioning to this covenant when He renews it with Isaac and Jacob. Again, while I could be mistaken, I do not recall a commissioning or sending being detailed anywhere in the Mosaic covenant either.

It seems to me that the Israelites weren't sent until they reached the end of God's patience while breaking His covenant. This differs from the Great Commission. The Great Commission is a command. The Exile was punishment. While both resulted in the display of God's power and might in the surrounding nations, I have a difficult time in saying their basic intents were the same.

The comparison of the Exile and Great Commission is new to me. It seems interesting on the surface, but after a short consideration (which has only been about twenty minutes to this point) is seems that it is an attempt to explain the Old Testament through a "reluctant missionary" paradigm. I think this could very well result in an incomplete understanding of the Old Testament and the state of Jewish society during the life of Christ.

James said...

Troy,

Once the Israelites are given their promised land, God gave them the Mosaic convenant. In Dueteronomy we see promises of blessings through following God's Law (crops, land, etc.), and cursings if they didn't.

The purpose was so that those outside of Israel could see the attributes of God on display, (which were shown through the times of Israel's obedience and disobedience), so that those outside would ask "Who is this God?"

Laurie, is that kind of what Perspectives teaches?

Laurie said...

Troy,
If you have time to write this comment, you have time to update your blog. I'm just sayin'...

Ulovebeth said...

Wow. I feel really superficial for only replying to the Top Model comment.