How much seminary training does a missionary need?

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An old pastors’ adage says, “Those who can’t, go; those who can’t go, teach”—the shortened aphorism for “Those who can’t preach, go to the mission field; those who can’t go to the mission field, teach.” Whoever created this useless and unbiblical proverb deserves appointment as minister of sanitation over church restrooms. This adage contradicts the following truths:

  1. Every man going to the mission field must be able to preach the Word.
  2. No one should go to the mission field as their second or third option for ministry.
  3. Every man who / must be able to preach the Word.
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Why is Bible translation an important missions ministry?

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The Word of God must be at the core of all missions strategy. Without the Word of God, no ministry can be satisfactorily performed—

  • the Word provides the authority for ministry,
  • the instruction for ministry,
  • the power of ministry, and
  • the message of ministry.

To all of this nearly all agree. But what we too often neglect is how Bible translation fits into missions strategy.

Bible Translation and Evangelism

First of all, James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23 declare that the new birth itself is by means of the Word of God. That means that a missionary must speak from the Bible in the language of the people in order to evangelize.… Continue reading

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Reprise: A Gospel Conversation

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Oh NoThe adult Sunday School Class at the local church I serve has recently taken up the topic of evangelism. In this class we are all seeking to better understand the concept of evangelism and what it is as well as what it is not. During the first part of our study of this topic we are focusing on answering the question “What is the Gospel?” by utilizing the book of the same name authored by Greg Gilbert (reviewed here). As part of this endeavor each week we look to provide biblical answers to questions which arise from our study. This week part of the assignment is to answer a series of questions which explain to whom man is accountable, what is the chief problem facing man, what is the solution to this problem as provided by God, and finally how do we respond to this information.Continue reading

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Have You Had Your Gospel Vaccine?

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Fall is in the air: days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, and everyone is ready to break out the long pants and pumpkin-spice everything. For many, it’s a relief from a long, hot summer; for others, it’s the first hint of another long, cold winter.

But fall is also the start of something else (say it with me, now): flu season! And with the start of flu season comes the yearly reminder from all quarters that everyone who is able to do so should get a flu vaccine.

The basic idea behind a vaccine, of course, is simple, if brilliant: give your body an inactive or weakened dose of something that could cause disease, letting your body learn how to fight it without actually having to suffer its consequences (an oversimplification, but hopefully good enough).… Continue reading

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The Consequences of an Easy Gospel

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A common strategy in sales (or at least a stereotype of the sales world) is to present a product to someone while maximizing the benefits but minimizing the drawbacks. After all, who wants to highlight why a product you are buying is not necessarily exactly what you want?

salesman

Unfortunately, this mentality is not limited to the business world, as it is easy for the church to do the same in its gospel presentations.

The gospel is a message of unfathomable grace. But it is also a message with a high cost (Luke 9:23; Luke 14:26-27, 33). And when people hear about the cost, they often don’t find it so appealing any longer (Luke 18:18-27).… Continue reading

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