He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Monday, October 22, 2012 

Mission in Bold Humility

J.J. Bonk writes in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research:

With support from texts such as Isaiah 14:12–20, theologians have generally agreed that the mother of all sins—Lucifer’s folly—is pride. We human beings have proven sadly receptive to the Great Deceiver’s DNA. Pride of race, nation, clan, religion, profession, and accomplishment flourish in the fertile soil of individual and collective egocentrism. Perhaps, as Sayers suggested and as Jesus’ encounters with the professionally pious of his day proved, it is especially the prestigiously pious among us who reveal pride’s most hideously debilitating malformities.

...Robert Wuthnow’s book Boundless Faith: The Global Outreach of American Churches (2009) reflects the American conceit that “we are still the center of the show.” Long held to be a self-evident political, economic, and military truth, this delusion has too often infected Christian mission. Any pride, including religious, requires comparison. We human beings are comparative creatures, knowing who we are and where we fit, principally by measuring ourselves against others. Pride is so woven into the warp and woof of our lives that we are scarcely conscious of it. Theologically self-assured missionaries in the days of Jesus received his stinging condemnation: “You cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves” (Matt. 23:15). We can be sure that this was not what those missionaries set out to do!

...Whatever the thrust of Christian missionary labors—whether incarnation among Muslims or disembodied voices over the airwaves—genuine humility is not only appropriate but essential (Mark 10:41–45). Mission, in line with the wise counsel of the late David Bosch, is a life of adventure that requires bold humility.

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