UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS PART ONE,Mission, the major task of the church is widely spoken of by Christians today, but the understanding of the concept and the way it should be done differ from people to people and places to places. It is often very important to compare the general understanding of the church about mission with what the Bible teaches. The true concept about mission does not only help us to do it correctly but also to maximize the use of God’s given resources to advance the work of missions.
THE BIBLE AND MISSIONS:
The Bible is the foundation and basis for every doctrine on missions. Missions is a demonstration of God’s love to humanity. The Bible reveals the magnificent, incomparable and unconditional love that God had for mankind right from the creation. This explains the great plan and purpose of God for humanity even before he was made differently from other creatures of God; from dust and in the image of God. God made man in His image so as to be able to relate with him and for man to represent and carry out God’s plan on earth. It was for this purpose that the Almighty God gave man authority to rule and dominate on earth. Man was placed in the midst of abundance whereby he did not need to toil before getting his needs met. What a fantastic plan and privilege, God’s incomparable love which is the genesis of missions.
POST CREATION DIMENSION OF MISSION:
The Post creation dimension of God’s mission to humanity was very crucial in the sense that it was a response to a need. God intentionally initiated and exercised His mission towards man who in turn consciously accepts the offer based on choice. The two basic ingredients for Post Creation Dimension (PCD) of God’s mission towards man are: The fall of man and God’s provision for redemption.
1. THE FALL OF MAN Man failed in his initial responsibility to keep his relationship with God through disobedience. The consequence of man’s disobedience to God was great. The immediate and first consequence of man’s sin of disobedience was a fall from God’s love into God’s judgment. These were the ways in which God’s judgment ons man manifested. 1. They lost God’s given glory and began to seek for their own man-made glory; Gen. 3:7: “The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apron”. 2. They hid from the presence of God which implies a broken relationship; Gen. 3: 8 “and they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden”. 3. They were afraid as a result of guilt implying a break in fellowship and a loss of trust in each other, (Gen. 3:10-12). It was since then that wickedness and its consequences began to multiply on earth (Genesis 4-11)
GOD’S PROVISION FOR MAN’S REDEMPTION:
The provision of God for man’s redemption is the other vital ingredient in God’s Post Creation Dimension (PCD) of His mission to humanity. God’s mission was to bring man to His original position in God’s relationship with man so that he can enjoy God’s abundant love again. This has been the basis and ultimate goal for missions at different ages.
MISSIONS IN DIFFERENT ERA:
After chapter 11 of Genesis, the Bible tells us the different efforts made by God from the Old Testament time till the time of Jesus Christ to accomplish the work of salvation for mankind. God did this through different people and groups of people at different times in the Bible days. The word missions was not used in the Old Testament; neither was there a common name given to the people who carried out God’s plan of salvation to man at different times. God spoke to these people in different ways, some of them heard God’s voice directly, while for some, God spoke to them through other people; while He led some through certain circumstances etc. But they all fulfilled God’s plan of salvation for man. They were not called missionaries but were called: Priest, Judges, Prophets and so on. As a result of missions evolution over the ages, today we have missions in its diversities and missionaries in their different operations. God bless you, we shall talk further on this topic in the next article by God’s grace.