Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who's in Charge of This Thing?

World evangelization is a messy and complex thing, and I'm pretty sure none of us really know what we're doing. However, I'm relieved to see that this hasn't stopped the world Christian movement in the past and if history is any guide, is not a significant obstacle for the future.

"We don’t inherit Jesus’ ministry," says Steve Addison, a student of movements. "We are not his successors, but his companions. He is still in charge, he is still active. Jesus still calls his disciples to follow him in obedience and take the gospel to the ends of the earth."

If Jesus had taken off and left the disciples to carry on his mission, things would not have gone very far. Addison makes the point from the life of Paul:
"In Luke’s accounts of Saul’s conversion, Jesus is in charge. He shattered Saul’s world, he commanded and Saul obeyed. He appointed Saul, the destroyer of the church, to be his servant and his witness. He promised him protection from all his opponents.

"Paul’s mission was the Lord’s, not Paul’s. When Paul proclaimed the gospel, the risen Lord would open eyes, and turn both Jews and Gentiles from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Jesus was the one who would grant forgiveness of sins, and a place among God’s people (26:17-18).

"What was true for Paul is true for all—the risen Lord continues his ministry through his disciples. He is present with them. He calls them, directs them, he protects them, and speaks through them."
(Source: blog post with attached PDF here)

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