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In a 2010 article from WSJ (see below), the writer who was an observer at Edinburgh 2010 World Missionary Conference opined the “dramatic change” and “paradigm shift” in the focus of world mission today, away from original focus of the commission that Jesus has  commanded to one which is merely a vacation style outreach “to battle the ills of poverty and to stretch their own spirituality.”. This is the sad state of mission boards and its supporting churches which have lost its understanding of the Gospel and that they exist to spread the good news of the  Gospel and to make disciples of all nations for the glory of God.

It appears that 21st century mission boards and missionaries have lost sight of purpose and intent of the Great Commission that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded all Christians and for which He has promised His power to enable them to do so faithfully: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:18-20.

How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire
by Mr. Greenberg-the creator of TheGodBlog.org.

The 1910 World Missionary Conference was a watershed moment for Protestantism. Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, the assembled 1,200 Protestants believed that Christianity was on the cusp of spreading to every corner of the world, and that Christ would come again once every ear had heard the good news of salvation. Their master plan for missions would hasten his return.

But Edinburgh 2010, the centenary conference that concluded last month, drew only about a quarter of the crowd and received attention only from a few Christian publications. The modern master plan was less ambitious as well: a call to global missions and “to witness and evangelism in such a way that we are a living demonstration of the love, righteousness and justice that God intends for the whole world.”

This dramatic change was summed up at a small gathering of academics and missions professionals at Fuller Theological Seminary in late May. “At (1910) Edinburgh, people thought they were going to take over the world,” said C. Douglas McConnell, dean of Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies in his opening remarks. “And now many of our students wonder if they should even try.”

Indeed, colonialism is dead (thankfully). But the term “missions” itself now carries with it a negative connotation, even in politically and theologically conservative circles. Christians today typically travel abroad to serve others, but not necessarily to spread the gospel.

While meaning well and certainly doing good, this form of outreach has allowed the pendulum to swing too far from 1910. Today, Christian missionaries need to balance both actions and words. The overwhelming majority of American missionaries today are “vacationaries.” Joining mission trips of two weeks or less, they serve in locales where Christianity already predominates.

The purpose, then, of their visit is to battle the ills of poverty and to stretch their own spirituality. According to studies by Robert J. Priest, a missiologist and director of the doctoral program in intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 82% of short-term missions today go to countries in the most-Christian third of the world. Only 2% land in the Middle East.

The work these missionaries do reflects a paradigm shift—from spreading Christianity, to living it, …………………….missions experts note rising interest in strictly social justice and humanitarian work, even on short-term visits.

…..Unless foreigners explain that they are motivated to help by their religious beliefs, locals may be grateful for the new home but they should not be expected to connect dots that they may not even know exist.

The reality is the Church should be doing both: serving the needy and spreading the gospel. This is what makes the humanitarian work of Christians different than that of the American Red Cross. Both are motivated by the desire to help others, but Christians are spurred by that Jesus thing…………..

by Mr. Greenberg-the creator of TheGodBlog.org.
Read the full article at @ How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire

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