Professor John T. Pless of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana has an interesting article on “mercy” in “For the Life of the World” (July 2011, Vol. 15, No. 2, p. 15).
Here’s a sample of what Professor Pless writes, “If proclamation is the mouth of mission, then mercy is mission’s hands. Faith comes by hearing the words of Christ confessed and preached. Works of mercy are not bait used to entice or manipulate unbelievers into the church. Neither are the efforts of missionaries to provide bodily care to the sick and needy, the dispossessed and oppressed, humanitarian programs that take the place of proclamation. Where the Gospel of God’s reconciling mercy in Christ is announced and received, there also will be works of mercy enlivened, supported, and extended by the good news of our Lord. Whenever the word of the cross is preached, the Spirit is calling, gathering and enlightening a holy, Christian people who have received mercy from God. Christians show mercy because they have first been given mercy.”