Essential Convictions
09
Apr
2017

Essential Convictions

Missions is an Impossibility apart from the Power of God. All men of every culture are born radically depraved, at enmity with God, and restraining the truth. The conversion of a man and the advancement of missions are an absolute impossibility apart from the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in the regeneration of the individual and the life of the church. Many church growth strategies and mission methodologies often overlook this essential truth.

 

The Scriptures are Sufficient. The Scriptures are the source and standard for our doctrine, ethics, and ministry. In this, we mean that the Scriptures are not only inspired and infallible, but they are also sufficient. They are all that is needed so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17). In our desire to fulfill the Great Commission, we will employ those means, strategies, and methodologies which are afforded us in the Scriptures. The more we stray from the biblical standard and rely upon our own ingenuity or cleverness, the less we will see of the power of God and the advancement of His kingdom! It is a contradiction to employ unbiblical means in order to propagate biblical truth. It is equally dangerous to employ means that are not warranted by the Scriptures in order to fulfill the very tasks the Scriptures assign to us.

 

Prayer is a Necessity. The impossible work of missions can be accomplished only through the power and wisdom of God. Therefore, prayer must be at the forefront of all our missionary endeavors. The first stanzas of the Lord’s Prayer prove the necessity of prayer for the advancement of the Great Commission: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). Furthermore, we are to pray for laborers (Matthew 9:37-38), open doors (Colossians 4:3), and clarity and boldness in proclamation of the Gospel (Colossians 4:4; Acts 4:29-30). According to Jesus, it is through prayer that we bear much fruit and so prove to be His disciples (John 15:7-8, 16). All the missionary strategies and zealous activities in the world will not compensate for prayerlessness.

 

A True Gospel must be Proclaimed. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), and the preaching of the Gospel is the great “means” and “methodology” of missions. The Gospel is, first and foremost, God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (II Corinthians 5:19). It answers the eternal question of how a just God can rightly justify wicked men (Romans 3:26). It points to Christ alone, who bore the sins of His people upon the cross, was forsaken of God, and crushed under the full force of His just wrath against sin. The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ’s death satisfied the justice of God and won salvation for a great multitude of people. This is evidenced by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).

 

The Gospel Transcends Culture. The greatest need of all men of every culture is the clear proclamation of the Gospel. Men are saved through the Gospel and grow in sanctification through the full counsel of God’s Word. Although differences in culture should be considered, it is more important for the missionary to be biblically sensitive than culturally sensitive. A missionary was once asked how he preached the Gospel to a certain remote tribe. He declared, “I do not preach the Gospel to a remote tribe. I preach the Gospel to men!”

 

Superficial Evangelism is one of the Great Obstacles to Missions. Non-theological preaching, entertaining skits, and Gospel films are no substitute for the biblical exposition of the Gospel. Inviting men to raise their hands and pray a prayer is no substitute for the biblical call to repentance, faith, and personal discipleship. Biblical assurance of salvation does not flow from a past decision or a prayer, but from the examination of one’s enduring lifestyle in the light of Scripture.

 

Church Planting is the Primary Work of Missions. There are many gifts and callings in the body of Christ, but all of them are to work together on the mission field with the primary goal of planting biblical churches. It is one thing to do mass evangelism and to boast of the numbers of decisions; it is quite another to establish a biblical church.

 

The Autonomy and Centrality of the Local Church. While The Hope Movement works in partnership with indigenous churches, their leaders, and missionaries, it is our non-negotiable theological conviction that each local congregation is independent, autonomous, and directly accountable to and under the headship of Jesus Christ. Consequently, we are careful to respect, uphold, and affirm the autonomy of our partner churches. The Hope Movement is not a supra-ecclesiastical authority but a society or fellowship of like-minded churches and individual believers moved by the demands of the Great Commission and led by the Spirit of God to strengthen indigenous local churches and their ministers and to partner with them in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

 

Incarnational Missions is Essential. Although there may be some effective non-personal means of communicating the Gospel, there is no substitute for one man living among a people, teaching the Gospel to them, and living out his faith before them. God sent his own Son, and He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14; 3:16).

 

True Missions is Costly. Amy Carmichael explained that missions is no more and no less than an opportunity to die. We live in a fallen world that is at enmity with God and opposes His truth; therefore, missions and suffering go hand in hand. Any advancement of the kingdom of Christ into the dominion of the devil will be met with warfare. There are many countries and people groups where martyrdom is unavoidable.

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