Possibly the most important thing to come out of the missional conversation is the truth that all believers are missionaries in their country, culture, and context. This has contributed mightily to our exploration of cross-cultural mission work within our own cities and communities, leading us to embrace cultural distinctives rather than judging them. More and more, Christ’s followers see themselves, accurately, as missionaries.
This leads to a question: How should being a missionary affect our use of money?
When missionaries are sent into international contexts, there are expectations, both spoken and unspoken, that their lives will be sacrificial: lesser goods, lesser money, one car, less emphasis on possessions, and smaller houses. One well-known mission agency allows their missionaries to live only in homes up to 1,600 square feet in size. In virtually every instance, if a missionary demanded a U.S. sized home, multiple cars, a large yard, i.e., almost everything we as Americans expect, we would demand they either repent or come back home.
Why do we place expectations on missionaries we send to other countries but do not live according to the same expectations even though we are missionaries sent by God as well? How does the fact that we are in our home culture change the fact that we have the same gospel responsibility to our host culture as someone who travels to a new culture? It does not.
Marty’s book, The Generous Soul: An Introduction to Missional Giving, is available for $1.99 at Amazon (Kindle)—I just bought a copy and am really looking forward to digging in.
Paul Tripp’s What Did You Expect DVD is still on sale at WTS Books for $15 (75% savings). Stock up while you can!
C. Michael Patton on a very controversial subject:
While I do not believe that all sin is equal in God’s sight, there is no biblical reason to say that there are some sins that destroy the grace of God and need special penance and others that don’t. To say that we cannot have unconfessed sin when we die is problematic in many ways. Biblically, Paul is clear that once we have faith in Christ we have been saved. This salvation is primarily from the ultimate penalty of our sin—eternal death. If we cannot truly be saved until we die with all sins confessed, then we cannot ever say that we are saved as Paul does. The best we can do is say we might be saved (i.e. if I die without any unconfessed sin). Salvation would always have to be spoken of as a contingent possibility, not a present reality. Yet Paul says to the Ephesians “By grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:8). Christ says in John 6:24 “Whoever believes in mehas eternal life.” There is no contingency here. The question becomes, Do you really believe and will that belief persevere (another question, another time)?
Jared C. Wilson:
That voice in your head that keeps rehearsing the disappointments and flaws of your church is not from the Lord. It is the accuser, helping you get to the “I have no need of you” forbidden in 1 Corinthians 12:21. We may have legitimate concerns about our church’s maturity, its repentance, its effectiveness, or its “personality,” and there is certainly a place for sharing concerns and criticisms, a biblical call to honest appraisal, and plenty of space for exhortation and rebuke, but many claiming to do these things have shifted to a legal measuring none of us really has the authority for.