Friday, November 14, 2008

In Defence of Missionary Work and the work of Preaching

I recently read a website that makes the following claims:

They are obeying the Great Commission to "make disciples" by publishing and promoting Bibles in many languages.

That they are reaching places that traditional missionaries cannot go.

They make converts using the presentation of the Jesus Film and follow up of groups with a recorded Bible translation players using a electronic device with the Bible on a chip and solar power / crank power..

That they have started 600 + churches in unreached areas, using this electronic device with the Bible on a chip and solar power / crank power.

That the doctrine of the ones who distribute these things are from groups which do not even know or believe the gospel of grace. For example, a Roman Catholic priest when offering a Bible to a Catholic says, this book is not the final authority, the Roman Catholic Church is. A Islamic adherent will tell you that the Bible has been perverted by the translators. Jesus' disciples founded the Jerusalem Church with no complete Bibles but trained and ordained leadership who passed the Word of God orally first to people.

My comment:

The great commission is not just publishing Bibles. It IS teaching and training believers and leadership. (cp. Titus 1:5) This takes cross cultural missionaries in many cases (not just Americans, of course) it could mean a Thai Christian who is a genuine believer who reaches a Thai or an Arab Christian who is reaching a fellow Arab.

Let's look at the great commission and see if it speaks about Bibles being translated, translations being recorded and played to groups, or even movies about the translation:

Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen
Nope, not here....

Psalms 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
Psalms 98:2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
I don't see it in Psalms either...

Isaiah 52:10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Hmmm...Isaiah missed this "translation" and "reading" idea too.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
I guess Mark missed the idea too...

Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Surely Luke would have spoken about it...they claim the "Jesus Film" is from the book of Luke...Nope not here either...

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Perhaps this should read...and it "shall receive power from a hand crank or solar panel and it shall be witnesses..."

Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Of course God always works through the agency of his written word, which he entrusted to the people of Israel. But what happens is they "put it from" themselves. False doctrine is rampant in those who have heard some of the word but lack qualified and saved and baptized obedient believers...

Luke continues to quote Paul saying...
Acts 13.47
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
He did not say a projector screen or a audio device...

Romans 10:15-18 tells us that there has to be the agency of a preachers...and the people of Israel heard it all but they did not understand the gospel.
18 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Churches are planted by missionaries who learn their language, spend time making disciples and train those who are in that culture to carry on the message. This CANNOT be done by a movie nor a electronic player.

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Consider the following passages which demand a saved teacher in the culture:
2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Titus 1:9-10
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers...

2Peter 2:1-2 tells us that not just any person can be a teacher...
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Paul told us that there would be people unable to know what is true.
2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

God is calling men and women to preach his Word.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.