What is the Mission work? — James Scherer

christ one wayLutheran missiologist, James A. Scherer, writes in Gospel, Church, & Kingdom, “… it is important to agree not only that mission work should be done, but also on what it is. To that question we answer that mission consists in activities which are not identical with church work in general, least of all with the maintenance of institutional ministries, however valuable or necessary.  Mission as applied to the work of the church means the specific intention of bearing witness to the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ at the borderline between faith and unbelief.  Mission occurs when the church reaches out beyond its inner life and bears witness to the gospel in the world.  The entire life of the church has a missionary purpose, to be sure.  But the heart of mission is always making the gospel known where it would not be known without a special and costly act of boundary-crossing witness.  This is precisely the point made by the apostle Paul in his reference to the inseparable relationship between confessing Christ with the lips, believing with the heart, hearing with the ears, proclaiming the gospel with the mouth, and sending out the proclaimers (Rom. 10:9, 14-15). Such an understanding will protect the specificity of mission within the totality of the church’s activities and safeguard its mission from being swallowed up by the pressing institutional demands. (Gospel, Church, & Kingdom: Comparative Studies in World Mission Theology, Augsburg Publishing House, 1987, p. 37)

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