SEND U blog

Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

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Follow-up of church plants

Follow-up: Making sure they get the Gospel right

As I said in a previous blog post, follow-up is an important aspect of the missionary task — not just follow-up with individual new believers, but follow-up with churches that have been planted. I want to look at several of Paul’s epistles to see how Paul did this follow-up for churches he planted.

Galatians provides us with an example of the need for church-planting follow-up, as well as a model of how to do it. Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia was probably written about a year after he and Barnabas planted those churches on their first missionary journey in Acts 13 and 14.  Elders had already been appointed (Acts 14:21-23). The disciples had been filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52). Yet, a year later the purity of the gospel was under attack.

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Bridging the Divide Network

In the October 2017 issue of Missio Nexus’ publication, Anthology, the article “Transforming Perspectives” caught my attention. The article reflects on the five consultations that have taken place since 2011 organized by the Bridging the Divide Network (BtD). This network has brought together people with different perspectives on Insider Movements to increase understanding in a safe environment. The article describes the consultation:

Nearly two hundred scholar-practitioners have been involved at some point, scores of papers have been presented and responded to, and dozens of group discussions have covered a range of topics related to ministry approaches among Muslims.

Anthology October 2017 vol. 5 no. 2, 22.

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How do we decide whether someone is a Christian?

You may have heard comments about “bounded sets” and “centered sets” in missions conversations. Since introduced by Paul Hiebert in 1978, these terms have been part of many missiological discussions. Frequently, in a somewhat reductionistic way, “bounded sets” are seen as Western and traditional and “centered sets” are seen as more progressive.

Let’s review what we are talking about. Bounded sets are defined by the boundaries used to describe the set. For instance, either conversion or baptism might be the boundary for a bounded set of the category “Christian.” According to this way of categorizing people, in order to be considered a Christian, you would have to have a conversion experience or be baptized. Often the list of characteristics that define a Christian are expanded to include things like: going to church regularly, not drinking alcohol, having assurance of salvation and espousing orthodox theology on all major doctrines.

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Biblical Theology of Mission: NT

(This continues my posts about the mission of God. See my previous posts about Missio Dei and Biblical Theology of Mission: OT).

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4,5 ESV)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3,4 ESV)

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The ‘Same God Question’ Revisited

In the December issue of Themelios  Fred Farrokh (a Muslim-background Christian who currently serves as an international trainer with Global Initiative) has written an article looking at how Muslim scholars view the question, “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?”(subsequently referred to as SGQ). The article is available online at this link.

Farrokh points out that Muslim scholars answer the SGQ with an emphatic and unequivocal “NO“. At most they would say that we share the concept of a creator God.

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A life of holiness

“Holiness is consecrated closeness to God.”

– J.I Packer in Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms

The final entry in SEND’s doctrinal statement reads:

We believe that the presence of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit in the believer will result in a life of holiness and a walk of obedience to the will of God.

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Meditations on the Work of Christ

82857-work2bof2bchristAs we continue in our meditations on the SEND Doctrinal Statement we are taking our second look at the third section:

“We believe in Jesus Christ, God the Son, the world’s only Savior; in His pre-incarnation, virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, burial, and bodily resurrection, and in His personal, visible return to earth;”

In a previous post we looked at  the person of Christ, in this post we will meditate on the work of Christ. How does our belief in Christ’s “sinless life, vicarious death, burial, and bodily resurrection, and in His personal, visible return to earth” hold our thoughts, affections and will, and actions?

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